A former assistant producer’s lawsuit against Chicago radio personality Eric Ferguson over allegations of an “unwelcome sexual relationship” during their employment at WTMX 101.9-FM can proceed, according to a court ruling Wednesday.
Cook County Circuit Court Judge Daniel Kubasiak denied a motion by Ferguson’s attorneys to dismiss the suit filed last May by Cynthia DeNicolo, who worked with Ferguson at the Hubbard Radio hot adult-contemporary station for 20 years before her job was eliminated in 2020.
Ferguson left The Mix after 25 years as top-rated morning host in October amid a chorus of allegations of sexual misconduct and abusive behavior toward female co-workers that began with DeNicolo's claims.
From January until August 2004, Ferguson “coerced” DeNicolo into performing oral sex about twice a month, according to the suit. After she ended the sexual relationship, Ferguson continued “to torment DeNicolo by continuing to ask for sexual favors and constantly reminding her (in open and notorious ways) that he held the power over [her] job and would use that power to humiliate her and/or to reinstate his demands for oral sex.”
DeNicolo's position was eliminated as part of a staff reduction prompted by the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Hubbard Radio. The lawsuit claims Ferguson orchestrated her firing.
In their motion to dismiss the suit, Ferguson’s lawyers called it “completely devoid of factual allegations” and said Ferguson “emphatically denies the existence of a sexual relationship with plaintiff as well as engaging in the other conduct alleged in the complaint.”
In response to the Wednesday's ruling, Carmen D. Caruso, DeNicolo's attorney, said: “We look forward to trying Cynthia DeNicolo’s case against Mr. Ferguson in open court, and we have no doubt the jury will know Cynthia is telling the truth.”
Kubasiak gave Ferguson until January 12 to respond to DeNicolo’s complaint. A report on the status of the case was set for January 19.