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Local News

Joliet wants meeting with Innovation Pavilion

Founder Waqar ‘Vic’ Ahmed stepped down after sexual assault allegations last week

Joliet officials want a meeting with the interim chief executive at Innovation Pavilion to talk about the company’s recent legal troubles and the lack of progress for a proposed incubator campus in Joliet.

“We have asked the interim CEO to come to Joliet to have some discussion about that,” City Manager David Hales said during a City Council meeting Tuesday.

A civil lawsuit was filed two weeks ago against the company and its founder, Waqar “Vic” Ahmed, as a former employee accused Ahmed of sexual assault. The lawsuit alleges a pattern of sexual misconduct, and lawyers said they have affidavits from two other former employees.

Ahmed last week stepped down as chief executive officer.

Hales said city officials have been on the phone with people at Innovation Pavilion to ask what effect the developments will have on the company’s finances.

Joliet in July 2017 agreed to provide Innovation Pavilion with free city-owned land and $200,000 in cash incentives if the company moved ahead with a plan to build an incubator campus downtown to develop entrepreneurs.

“I just wanted you to know that we’re doing our due diligence to hold them responsible to what they committed,” Hales told the council.

Hales noted there is a “lack of local manager or agent [from Innovation Pavilion] here in the city of Joliet after one year of work.”

Innovation Pavilion operates an incubator campus in Centennial. The company has made agreements to develop other incubator campuses in Joliet and three other cities: Florence, Arizona; Olathe, Kansas; and Parker, Colorado.

Ahmed in a statement issued last week, when he stepped down as CEO, denied any sexual coercion but acknowledged having had “consensual relations with co-workers.”

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