Tim Mapes, the longtime chief of staff for former House Speaker Michael Madigan, used to have a sign on the wall of his statehouse office that said everything about his status as Madigan’s gatekeeper.
“Nobody gets in to see the wizard. Not nobody, not no how,” the sign read, borrowing a line from the “Wizard of Oz.”
On Wednesday, Mapes became the latest member of Madigan’s inner circle to be criminally charged as part of an ongoing federal bribery investigation that ended Madigan’s record-breaking run as speaker rocked the Illinois political establishment.
Mapes, 66, who was ousted by Madigan three years ago amid a sexual harassment scandal, was indicted on charges of lying to a federal grand jury investigating allegations that Commonwealth Edison paid bribes in exchange for Madigan’s assistance pushing though legislation in Springfield.
Mapes lied to the panel even though he’d been granted immunity from prosecution by the U.S. attorney’s office and was told by the chief federal judge in Chicago that he must testify truthfully or possibly face criminal charges for perjury, according to the indictment.
Mapes’ alleged evasiveness during his grand jury appearance — even after being granted immunity — seemed to suggest the longtime Madigan loyalist may have decided to fall on his sword and avoid providing any damaging information on his former boss.
The indictment charged Mapes with one count each of perjury and obstruction of justice. The obstruction charge calls for up to 20 years in federal prison, while lying to a grand jury carries a five-year maximum prison sentence.
An arraignment date had not yet been set.
Mapes could not be reached Wednesday. His attorneys, Andrew Porter and Katie Hill, issued an emailed statement after the charges were made public saying Mapes had “testified truthfully in the grand jury.”
“His honest recollections — in response to vague and imprecise questions about events that allegedly took place many years ago — simply do not constitute perjury,” the statement read. “This case, of course, is not about him — but about the government’s continued pursuit of his former boss. Tim Mapes has in no way engaged in obstruction of justice, and looks forward to prevailing at trial when all of the facts are aired.”
The 11-page indictment alleged Mapes repeatedly lied during a March 31 appearance before the grand jury when asked about Madigan’s relationship with his longtime confidant Michael McClain, who was charged in November with orchestrating the ComEd bribery scheme.
He also lied when he said he had no knowledge that McClain had communicated with two unnamed state representatives in 2018 on behalf of Madigan, the indictment alleged.
A source with knowledge of the probe said the two lawmakers are Rep. Bob Rita of Blue Island, a longtime Madigan supporter, and former Rep. Lou Lang of Skokie, who had served as deputy majority leader under Madigan before resigning in 2019.
Lang could not be reached for comment. A spokesman for Rita said “we have no idea who or what they’re talking about in this.”
McClain is referred to in the charges only as Individual B and Madigan as Public Official A, though details in the document make clear who each person is.
The charges against Mapes marked the deepest blow yet into Madigan’s once-vaunted political operation in a still-active investigation that threatens to ensnare Madigan himself.
Madigan has not been charged with wrongdoing. He was the nation’s longest-serving state House leader before stepping down in January as pressure from the investigation was mounting, and weeks later gave up his seat in the House and position as head of the Illinois Democratic Party.
In addition to McClain and Mapes, the grand jury has also indicted former ComEd CEO Anne Pramaggiore, former ComEd executive Fidel Marquez, former ComEd lobbyist John Hooker and Jay Doherty, a consultant and former head of the City Club of Chicago.
Marquez pleaded guilty and is cooperating with prosecutors. McClain, Pramaggiore, Hooker and Doherty have all pleaded not guilty.
ComEd admitted to its role in the scheme as part of a deferred prosecution agreement with U.S. Attorney John Lausch’s office that was made public last July. The company agreed to pay a record $200 million fine and cooperate in the probe in exchange for bribery charges being dropped in three years.
Mapes, meanwhile, was long considered Madigan’s gatekeeper and hatchet man, serving as Madigan’s chief of staff, executive director of the Madigan-run Democratic Party of Illinois and for eight years as the chief clerk of the House.
While Mapes didn’t win popularity contests among staff and lawmakers, he was viewed as the guy who took care of the speaker’s interests and made sure legislation was on track.
Madigan ousted Mapes in the summer of 2018 when a minute clerk working for Mapes accused him of sexual harassment along with a lack of concern about abusive behavior. A legislative inspector general recommended that he be banned from serving in state government.
According to the criminal charges unveiled Wednesday, the federal grand jury investigating the ComEd bribery scheme was looking for information on whether Madigan ever directed McClain to interact with House members or “perform sensitive tasks” or “exercise (Madigan’s) power and authority.”
Specifically, the panel wanted to know whether Madigan — who was famously reclusive and rarely used email or cellphones — used McClain “as a means of communicating messages” to others between 2017 and 2019, when the bribery scheme was allegedly unfolding, according to the charges.
McClain had in fact exchanged numerous phone calls and emails with Mapes about Madigan during that time period, routinely discussing the details of meetings and Madigan assignments the speaker had doled out to McClain, according to the charges.
Mapes was served on Feb. 12 with a grand jury subpoena to testify, according to the indictment. The week before his March 31 appearance, he was granted immunity from prosecution.
On the morning of his testimony, Mapes was told by U.S. District Chief Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer that “his truthful testimony was required” under the immunity order and that his failure to comply could result in perjury charges, according to the indictment. He was then brought up to the grand jury.
During his testimony, Mapes was asked whether McClain had ever given him insight into his interactions with Madigan that he wouldn’t otherwise have been privy to, the indictment stated.
“No, that wouldn’t — that wouldn’t happen,” Mapes allegedly answered.
Mapes also denied knowing whether McClain had continued to work on Madigan’s behalf after his retirement as a lobbyist in 2016.
“Are you aware of any facts that would help us understand whether or not, in fact, (McClain) acted as an agent or performed work for (Madigan) or took direction from (Madigan) in that timeframe?” a prosecutor asked at one point, according to the charges.
Mapes allegedly answered, “I don’t know who you would go to other than (Madigan) and (McClain). Madigan, if he had people do things for him like I did things for him, was — didn’t distribute information freely.”
Mapes also falsely testified when asked if he was aware of any “impressions” that Madigan had of Joseph Dominguez, who was appointed as ComEd CEO in 2018 when Pramaggiore left for its parent company, Exelon, the indictment stated.
Mapes’ ouster from Madigan’s staff came nearly a year before the ComEd probe came to light as the speaker was dealing with a series of sexual harassment scandals sparked by the #MeToo movement.
During a June 2018 news conference in downtown Chicago, Sherri Garrett, who worked with and for Mapes in Springfield, accused Mapes of “sexism, harassment and bullying that creates an extremely difficult working environment.”
Garrett told reporters she had “personally witnessed bullying and repeated harassment that was often sexual and sexist in nature.” She alleged Mapes talked about her undergarments as well as other comments that left her “stunned and uncomfortable.”
The Mapes allegations came the same year that Alaina Hampton, a former campaign worker in Madigan’s operation, accused Madigan lieutenant Kevin Quinn of sexual harassment. Madigan promptly ousted Quinn, the brother of Ald. Marty Quinn, 13th.
Only a week before Mapes was booted, Lang stepped down from his position as one of Madigan’s deputy majority leaders when Maryann Loncar, a medical marijuana advocate, accused him of “inappropriate behavior” and years of harassment.
Lang immediately called the allegations “absurd.” The legislative inspector general would later say that “evidence does not support” the abuse complaints against Lang. Loncar declined to participate in the IG investigation. Lang won reelection, but resigned in 2019 and became a lobbyist.
In an outside investigation Madigan ordered to review how he handled sexual harassment complaints, the workplace culture and other issues, Mapes received some of the harshest criticism.
The probe, led by former federal prosecutor Maggie Hickey, “found sufficient evidence to conclude” that Mapes did not discharge his duties as chief of staff and House clerk in a “courteous and efficient manner” when he made inappropriate comments to or around Garrett.
The Hickey report said state workers she interviewed “believed that Mr. Mapes attempted to motivate workers through fear and that a few other supervisors throughout the years emulated this practice.
“Some people also raised the additional concern that, given Mr. Mapes’s political ties, he could make or break their careers outside of the speaker’s office as well,” the report stated.