Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan’s office is accused of not taking action when two female employees alleged that they had been sexually harassed or assaulted by a male co-worker, according to a court filing in a lawsuit against Madigan’s campaign committees and the Democratic Party of Illinois.
Attorneys for former Madigan aide Alaina Hampton filed the documents Friday as part of Hampton’s ongoing lawsuit against Madigan’s three campaign committees and the state Democratic Party that he chairs. The document was filed in response to questions from attorneys representing Madigan’s committees in the suit, which Hampton filed in 2018, alleging that the powerful lawmaker’s political organizations ignored her complaints of sexual harassment and retaliated against her for bringing them forward.
Hampton’s attorneys said in the document filed Friday that “she came to learn that other females had been sexually harassed and/or assaulted by a male co-worker” and that they reported it “directly to” Madigan’s attorney Heather Wier Vaught, “but nothing was done in response.” The document identified the male staffer as Travis Shea and alleged that he “remained on the Speaker’s staff for an additional two years thereafter.”
Neither Shea nor Wier Vaught immediately responded to a request for comment. Records from the Illinois Secretary of State’s office show Shea registered as a lobbyist in 2018 after leaving his government position.
Madigan’s office said in a statement Tuesday night that Wier Vaught “was contacted with allegations of workplace intimidation” against Shea twice, with each woman claiming Shea had “intimidated them and threatened to ‘make or break’ their careers.”
Madigan’s former chief of staff Tim Mapes, who resigned in June in the wake of unrelated allegations of, and Jessica Basham, who was Shea’s supervisor at the time and was promoted to chief of staff following Mapes’ departure, were “immediately notified” of the allegations against Shea, Madigan’s office said.
Mapes met with Shea, according to Madigan’s office, who said Shea “was told the alleged behavior must immediately cease” and that it “would not be tolerated.” Basham met with Shea as well and “made it clear he was not in a supervisory role and told he would not be given additional responsibilities,” Madigan’s statement said.
Basham also met with each member of her staff to ask about any “issues they would like to bring to her attention,” according to Madigan’s statement, which said “no other issues were identified at that time.” Madigan’s office also said the speaker was “not made aware of the allegations.”
“Had the allegations been brought to the Speaker at the time, he would have terminated any employment relationship with Mr. Shea, as he has done on other occasions upon learning of such incidents,” Madigan’s statement said.
Hampton first spoke publicly of her own allegations in February 2018, accusing Madigan’s organization of preventing her from advancing professionally after she reported claims of "severe and pervasive sexual harassment at the hands of her supervisor Kevin Quinn," according to the lawsuit she filed the following month.
Hampton said Quinn harassed her for five months beginning in fall 2016, making multiple unsolicited advances and sending inappropriate text messages at all hours, even after she said she told him repeatedly that the relationship was strictly professional.
Quinn, who worked for the speaker for nearly 20 years, is the brother of 13th Ward Ald. Marty Quinn - perhaps Madigan's most senior operative and a figure that Hampton called her "mentor."
Hampton said she reported Kevin Quinn's inappropriate behavior to his supervisor, Ald. Marty Quinn, in February 2017, but her claims "were disregarded and ignored,” her lawsuit reads.
She said left the organization that April because "there was no way" she could continue to work with Kevin Quinn, the lawsuit reads. Hampton said she then wrote a letter to Madigan in November 2017 to explain her decision to leave because she did not want him to think she "abandoned [her] job for no reason" and "in hopes of returning to work on upcoming campaigns," according to her suit.
Hampton said in the lawsuit that she was then contacted by Wier Vaught, who Hampton claimed "minimized the sexual harassment I experienced and falsely told me that the party was not getting involved in a specific campaign for which I was well suited to provide assistance and wanted to work on."
The campaign in question was the Democratic primary for Illinois' 5th District, for which Hampton had previously managed the successful campaign of state Rep. Juliana Stratton, now serving as the state’s lieutenant governor. Hampton's lawsuit alleges that Madigan's organization "selected another individual" to run the campaign, despite the claim that the Democratic Party of Illinois would not be involved.
Hampton also alleged in the documents filed Friday that while seeking employment with the Chicago Teachers Union for the 5th District race, a CTU representative asked her if she was “on the outs” with Ald. Marty Quinn and that “she never heard back” about working with them.
A spokeswoman for CTU told WBEZ the organization was “baffled” to be “mentioned.”
“We take orders for any hiring decisions from no one,” CTU spokeswoman Chris Geovanis told WBEZ, adding, “We are quite capable of making our own hiring decisions.”
Throughout the ordeal, Hampton said in her lawsuit that Kevin Quinn "continued to work in a supervisory capacity" and was only fired as part of what she had previously called a "cover-up" in a news conference. Madigan said in a statement at the time that Quinn was terminated "after a thorough investigation."
Kevin Quinn released a 14-page document addressing the allegations in June, nearly three months after Hampton filed her lawsuit.
"It was never my intent to make Ms. Alaina Hampton feel uncomfortable," Kevin Quinn wrote in the document entitled “The Truth.”
"I take responsibility for sending the text messages she has publicly released between us and apologize for my attempts to get to know her outside of necessary interactions," he continued, before detailing the timeline of their interactions and the aftermath as he saw it. He claimed he was “never… Hampton’s supervisor,” that “there was never any sort of cover up” and that “she was not welcomed back into any of the Speaker’s political organizations” after she took a position working on a campaign against a political ally of Madigan.
"To our knowledge, no one within the Speaker’s government or political offices had any involvement with Kevin Quinn in preparing this document," a spokesman for Madigan said following its release.
Hampton's account disputing how the harassment allegations were handled, as well as the termination of another high-ranking operative in Madigan's organization over misconduct complaints the same week she came forward in 2018, put the country's longest-serving House speaker under a microscope.
In the months after Hampton came forward, two more high-ranking aides to Madigan were ousted after allegations of misconduct.
Shaw Decremer, who once worked as a Madigan staffer and is now a lobbyist who oversaw legislative campaigns on a volunteer basis, was quietly removed from that role in February 2018 after the speaker was made aware of "inappropriate behavior by a volunteer toward a candidate and staff," Madigan said in a statement at the time.
Then in June, Mapes – Madigan’s longtime chief of staff, clerk of the House and executive director of the Democratic Party of Illinois – was ousted from each role after a legislative employee brought forth claims of sexual harassment and bullying
Sherri Garrett, an account technician and minutes clerk in Madigan's office, detailed several alleged incidents in which Mapes made inappropriate comments of a sexual nature.
Mapes resigned from all of his roles with Madigan and the party later that day, Madigan’s office said in a statement at the time.
Hampton was scheduled to appear in court for a hearing on the civil lawsuit Thursday.