(WSIL) — A new report sheds light on misconduct in Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan’s office.
The report, released by Madigan’s office and authored by former Inspector General Maggie Hickey, focuses on how Madigan’s chief of staff had too much power and how that led to harassment and intimidation.
Madigan hired Hickey after consulting with a group of female Democratic lawmakers in June 2018, shortly after Sherri Garrett went public with accusations about then-Madigan chief of staff Timothy Mapes.
Mapes held several leadership positions: Madigan’s chief of staff, Clerk of the House and executive director of the Democratic Party of Illinois. He resigned from those positions after Garrett went public.
Many of the people interviewed in the report said they were afraid to report issues for fear of retaliation.
"Even though we identified only a few instances when the Speaker’s Office terminated a worker’s employment, workers commonly perceived that they could lose their jobs at any time and for any or no reason," Hickey wrote in the report.
Garrett made several accusations in the report. Among them, she told Mapes about a lawmaker making sexual advances towards a former legislative assistant and Mapes responded by asking if she was jealous because the lawmaker was giving someone else attention.
Garrett said Mapes also made several inappropriate comments, like referring to sexual harassment classes as "sex training"and talking about what bra Garrett would wear to an inauguration ceremony.
"While Mr. Mapes’ comments were of varying levels of inappropriateness, and some comments were open to interpretation, Mr. Mapes unequivocally violated the Speaker’s Policies when he dismissed and mocked Ms. Garrett for coming forward with her serious concerns about potential sexual harassment," Hickey wrote.
The report made several suggestions to make the workplace environment better.
"The report reaffirms much of what we have heard in the past, and I take responsibility for not doing enough to prevent these issues in my office," Madigan said in a statement. "For nearly two years I have actively worked with members and staff to change the culture of the Capitol, but I recognize there is still more to do."
Mapes issued a statement after the report’s release, ignoring accusations made against him and instead responding to how Madigan’s office was run during his tenure.
"It is my position that the recent criticisms made against me do not truly appreciate the size of the responsibility of my position," Mapes said. "The daily needs of my position required constant attention in order to ensure the successful operation of our government. I made every effort to satisfy these demands."
The report also investigated claims from State Rep. Kelly Cassidy, (D) Chicago, that Madigan, Mapes and State Rep. Robert Rita, (D) Oak Lawn, tried to intimidate her and threaten her role on House committees. Hickey said there was not sufficient evidence to prove there was an effort to punish or silence Cassidy.
The report also investigated sexual harassment claims a marijuana lobbyist made about former State Rep. Lou Lang and found there was not enough evidence to prove the claims were true.