Madigan’s chief of staff resigns amid sexual harassment allegations

Speaker Michael Madigan’s chief of staff Tim Mapes resigned Wednesday, hours after a House employee made allegations that said she endured harassment by Madigan's top aide.

Sherri Garrett, a Springfield account technician and clerk, said Mapes made inappropriate comments to her and around her both in the office and on the House floor.

"I heard him say to a colleague, 'Are you going to sex training?' Jokingly referring to the sexual harassment training," she said, "Tim Mapes said completely out of nowhere that I needed to make sure that I was not showing my pink bra to the judge."

Rep. Kelly Cassidy was with Garret at Wednesday's press conference. She said she has witnessed Mapes bullying people.

"They’re attacks, plain and simple. They are built and designed and intended to demean and put you in your place," Cassidy said.

Cassidy alleged that Madigan’s associates retaliated against her for criticizing the speaker.

In a statement, Madigan said he was not aware of Garrett’s complaints against Mapes and he reiterated his commitment to eliminating harassment.

Madigan released the following statement on Wednesday:

“At my direction, Tim Mapes has resigned as my Chief of Staff and Clerk of the Illinois House of Representatives.  Jessica Basham has been named Chief of Staff for the Office of the Speaker effective immediately. Further, Mr. Mapes has resigned as the Executive Director of the Democratic Party of Illinois and all other roles with my political committees. 

“Regarding Ms. Garrett’s concerns shared earlier today, neither I or the House Democratic Ethics Officer had been made aware of Ms. Garrett’s complaints against Tim Mapes.  My office was aware of the comments made by then Representative Dunkin and took action to handle the matter. That issue had been disclosed publicly earlier this year by my office along with all other known allegations of harassment.  It is clear that the culture needs to change and we need to ensure all issues are dealt with quickly and appropriately. 

“I have stated my commitment to eliminating harassment of any kind in the Capitol, as well as all political committees, and my desire to ensure we create a culture where individuals feel secure in making a complaint.  I intend to appoint an individual with extensive experience conducting investigations to review all operations of the House of Representatives, including but not limited to the Clerk’s Office where Ms. Garrett works.”

The Mapes controversy quickly reached the campaign trail, Democratic candidate for governor J.B. Pritzker’s campaign called for an independent investigation.

Also on Wednesday, Garrett accused former state Rep. Ken Duncan of making inappropriate comments.

"Ken Duncan approached the House well and said to me and another woman, 'I want to take both of you home and see which one of you will be the naughtiest,'" she said.

Last week, another key Madigan ally, Rep. Lou Lang, resigned from leadership after Maryann Loncar accused him of verbal abuse and retaliation.

In February, Democratic House campaign worker, Alaina Hampton, accused Madigan aide Kevin Quinn of inappropriate behavior.

Garrett, who’s worked in Springfield for 13 years, wouldn’t say Speaker Madigan is to blame, but she wants him to step up and solve the harassment issue.

"I feel like it’s time to do better. I feel like it’s time for him to pay attention to us," she said.

Late Wednesday, Garrett released a statement, saying she is relieved Mapes is gone but she wants an independent investigator in Springfield.