Reality Check: Allegations against Michels Corp. subject of new ad

MADISON, Wis. — After allegations of sexual assault and harassment at the construction company owned by gubernatorial candidate Tim Michels were widely reported, Tony Evers’ campaign quickly released an ad attacking Michels for those allegations.

While the reporting includes allegations from lawsuits that span back to the 1990s, the ad focuses on two suits from 2012. In those suits, two women say they were sexually assaulted and harassed by supervisors at Michels’ company.

RELATED: Michels blasts report detailing harassment, discrimination allegations at his company

The ad itself accurately portrays those allegations, but it is important to note that the two suits were settled out of court — so a jury has not evaluated the veracity of the allegations, nor has anyone been found liable of wrongdoing.

The ad also recounts that the women were dismissed as liars and fired other workers who spoke out, which is accurate to what is found in the lawsuits. One of the lawsuits alleges that a female worker at a Gillette, Wyoming, worksite run by Michels’ company was assaulted by a supervisor at the site and called a liar by another supervisor, who was a friend of the alleged assaulter. When the woman reached out to other coworkers to corroborate her story, the lawsuit alleges those coworkers were fired shortly afterward.

In a response to the reporting, Michels said that the allegations were unproven.

“These unproven allegations do not reflect the training and culture at Michels Corporation,” Michels said in a statement. “Harassment in the workplace should not be condoned, nor tolerated, nor was it under Michels Corporation leadership.”

How we got here: The sources used in this Reality Check

The ad was paid for by the Evers campaign, you can watch it on his YouTube page here.

The original reporting on the allegations against Michels’ company can be found here. Reaction to that initial reporting from Michels can be found here.

The full statement from the Michels campaign can be found here.

There are two federal lawsuits the ad cites, the primary one that involves the worksite in Gillette, Wyoming, can be found here.

A second lawsuit, dealing with harassment in Pennsylvania can be found here.

You can see more Reality Checks of political ads running locally here.