U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren, R-Plano, said he had no choice but to fire former congressional aid Nick Provenzano after an Oct. 21 sexual encounter with a teenage boy was made public.
Hultgren recently spoke with the Northwest Herald for the first time about his decision to oust the former McHenry County Board member and current Nunda Township precinct committeeman in March.
“It was literally months between the incident and us finding out about it,” Hultgren said. “The only way he told us, told me, was when he thought it was coming out in your paper.”
Hultgren said Provenzano was a “very important person” on his team when the 56-year-old called him mid-March to inform him about the incident.
Hultgren said he was completely unaware of Provenzano’s actions, and took swift action when he found out.
“My chief of staff – I hire my chief of staff, and my chief of staff hires the rest of the staff – so he went and met with him and heard more and together we decided it was a significant violation of trust, and again, the fact that it was hidden from us for so long, that we needed to make a change, and we did,” Hultgren said.
Hultgren said he hasn’t spoken with Provenzano since but now has a “great functioning office doing awesome constituent service.”
When reached for comment by the Northwest Herald earlier this month about whether he still serves as a committeeman, Provenzano said “nothing has changed,” before abruptly hanging up.
On Oct. 21, police officers rolled down a dead-end McHenry street and found an SUV with its headlights turned off. Inside, they found a shirtless Provenzano with a teenage boy, according to a police report. The 17-year-old said they met on Grindr, a popular gay dating app.
Provenzano, who was not charged with a crime, told McHenry police they were “hanging out,” according to the redacted police report.
The teen told police the meeting was “sexual” in nature and consensual, according to the report. The age of consent in Illinois is 17.
Provenzano served on the County Board for 12 years and resigned in 2016 to work for Hultgren as deputy district director. Hultgren represents the state’s 14th Congressional District.