When University of Wisconsin associate athletic director John Chadima abruptly resigned on Jan. 6, neither the school nor Chadima offered much explanation. Chadima, who handled scheduling and travel for a Wisconsin football team that had just returned from a Rose Bowl defeat, penned a resignation letter that was Nixonesque in its pithiness. Two sentences. No answers. But the rumors were soon circulating about what happened in Chadima's downtown Los Angeles Marriott suite one night during the Rose Bowl trip, when Chadima found himself alone with a young male student and a large quantity of rum.
The mystery of the well-regarded Chadima's departure had metastatic potential, and Wisconsin investigated immediately. Within weeks, the school's chancellor had an incident report on his desk detailing the alleged interaction between Chadima and "John Doe" in Room 1564 during the wee hours of Dec. 31, 2011:
At one point, as they were seated at the corner of a large table in the suite, Chadima told John Doe that he thought that Doe might be gay, and that some of the other student employees thought Doe was gay. Doe told us he felt very uncomfortable and defensive but was not sure what was going on. He said that Chadima reached over and removed Doe's pants belt and then inserted his hand inside Doe's pants on his genitals. Doe reported that he was shocked and frightened and slapped Chadima's hand away and swore at him. He reported that Chadima said, "I thought you liked it" and "What are you going to do about it?" and "I could have you fired." Doe quickly left the room. As he was leaving the room, Doe reported that Chadima seemed to want to gloss over the incident as "just joking around."
Two other men have since accused Chadima of sexual misconduct, prompting a second investigation by Wisconsin. The school released another report last Friday, about which you'll find more details below. Wisconsin also recently responded to a public records request we submitted in January. We've extracted the interesting parts, which come mostly from Chadima's heavily redacted text messages. (Other original documents are attached to the bottom of the post.)
To understand the context here, one must first appreciate that a bowl game is an opportunity for a large group of school employees to live it up on the road and rip through school money. Two dozen members of Wisconsin's 131-person Rose Bowl contingent racked up a $954.28 gas bill motoring around L.A. for a week. Another 11 of them devoured 162 ounces of steak at The Palm on Christmas Day, claiming hardship because the restaurant was one of the few eateries open near their hotel. That bill came to $970.72.
Chadima behaved extravagantly at bowl games, too. He was renowned, the first Wisconsin report noted, for the "B team" parties he threw during trips for the "unsung heroes" of the athletic department who unload equipment and do other menial tasks. Many B-team members are students. One of them is the alleged crotch-grabbing victim, who was the last person to leave the B-team party in Chadima's suite during the 2012 Rose Bowl trip.
But let's pick things up with the texts to and from Chadima's phone on Dec. 5, 2011, long before the Badgers arrive on the West Coast. Fans are already schmoozing for tickets, and Chadima is juggling multiple requests from friends, several of whom refer to Chadima by his unfortunate nickname of "Meat":
Many similar "Meat" texts are exchanged up to Dec. 28, 2011, when we find Chadima in L.A., ensconced in his Marriott suite and ordering provisions from a hotel employee:
Chadima is awake before dawn to respond to texts and e-mails from the previous evening:
The business of the day commences as Chadima entreats other Wisconsin staffers to address such matters as "Jump Around," the compelling and highly original group cheer performed by Badgers fans to the House of Pain song. (A side note: Chadima's salary was $129,000 at the time of his resignation. As a mid-level employee in the Wisconsin athletic department, he'd been making over six figures for half a decade to do this kind of work.)
Later that night, Chadima complains to the Marriott that his laundry hasn't been cleaned:
A few hours later, Chadima complains again, this time to a B-teamer. His tone is noticeably different. One could point to these messages as establishing a pattern of abuse of authority by Chadima, but a student employee interviewed for the second Wisconsin report told investigators that he sent the texts using Chadima's phone and that they were intended as a spoof of Chadima's tendency to jokingly fire subordinates. The student was in Chadima's room boozing with Chadima at the time and wanted another B-teamer to join them for a drink. (To read texts in sequential order, start from the bottom and work upward.)
Chadima gets some good news the following afternoon:
The party starts:
Chadima's texting declines dramatically over the next few hours as the revelry mounts. What information we have about the B-team party comes from the first Wisconsin report:
The party began about 7:30pm. Chadima provided alcohol, beer and mixers from which guests were invited to serve themselves. Each of the students employees with whom we talked attended the Chadima party and most consumed alcohol there. Several Athletic Department academic and classified staff also attended the party even if only briefly. Some of the student employees who attended were under 21 years of age. [...]
The report states that 25-30 people were in Chadima's room at any one time. Chadima and others were drinking heavily. Between 1:30 a.m. and 2 a.m., the party dwindled to Chadima and six or seven student employees. At some point, everyone left except one student. More:
John Doe was the one student left in Chadima's suite after the other student employees left early in the morning of December 31. He reports that as he was leaving the Chadima suite behind the other exiting students, Chadima called him back to "Stay here and have a drink with me." This had never happened to Doe before with Chadima, but Does had no reason to be suspicious. He had known Chadima for several years as a "nice guy" who was always friendly and was highly respected. He did not work directly with Chadima but says Chadima was often around the football team's activities. Chadima asked John Doe to make a drink for each of them. Doe did so and remembers making about three rum drinks each for Chadima and himself. Doe reports that both he and Chadima were intoxicated but were coherent and in control of their physical movements.
At which point, the alleged groping occurs and the student leaves Chadima's suite. Around 3:15 a.m., the student knocks on the hotel door of Chadima's immediate supervisor and reports the incident. Chadima receives the following text from an unidentified person moments later:
The texts are timestamped, but it's impossible to know when Chadima reads this. We do know, however, that he's up at 8:30 a.m. the next day to issue commands to underlings:
The first indication emerges that the B-team party was a rowdy affair:
Chadima sheepishly confirms room damage:
The damage is extensive:
The damage is expensive:
Only debris is left:
Five days later, Chadima would resign, his reputation and career in much the same shape as that Marriott coffee table. In late January, his predicament worsened when a former Wisconsin football player ("John Doe 2" or "JD2") contacted police to describe an experience he had with Chadima in 2010, when JD2 returned to school to attend a game. After the game, JD2 went to the football locker room with B-teamers and other former players. Chadima was there. Everyone was drinking. The group went to a bar afterward and kept drinking. When the party shifted downtown, Chadima offered JD2 a ride in his BMW. Instead of heading downtown, however, Chadima told JD2 they were going to Chadima's house, despite JD's repeated protests. That's when things got weird, according to the second Wisconsin report:
En-route to Chadima's house, Chadima made statements to JD2 speculating on the size of JD2's penis and that Chadima thought that JD2 had "a nice ass." JD2 stated that at this time, he went on "high alert." JD2 stated that he was intoxicated and could not get out of the car because Chadima was driving too fast. JD2 was unaware of where they were but it appeared to be a rural area.
JD2 stated that they eventually arrived at Chadima's house and went inside. Chadima gave JD2 a tour of the house. Chadima made an alcoholic drink for himself and JD2 declined the offer for his own drink. Chadima continuously mumbled comments about JD2's "ass." JD2 asked Chadima if he was gay. Chadima did mumble that he was gay. JD2 said, "It's ok if you're gay." JD2 continuously stated that he needed to go downtown. Chadima remarked that he [Chadima] wasn't going downtown and the JD2 could spend the night. JD2 was really nervous about Chadima's intentions and went to the first floor bathroom and locked himself in. JD2 estimates that he stayed in the bathroom for a couple of hours. JD2 waited to the point where he could not hear anything and opened up the bathroom door. JD2 went upstairs, looked into Chadima's bedroom, and observed that Chadima appeared to be passed out.
JD2 came forward only after seeing Chadima's oxymoronic statement about the Rose Bowl incident: "I make no excuses," Chadima said, "and have come to the realization that over the past few months, alcohol had controlled and consumed my life."
But Chadima didn't need alcohol to make crass overtures to another B-teamer, according to the second Wisconsin report. "John Doe 3" or "JD3" claims he was regularly harassed by Chadima, who repeatedly told JD3 that people thought he was gay and that Chadima "will always have an eye out" for him. On one occasion, Chadima pressed himself up against JD3 from behind. On another, he put both hands on JD3's shoulders and asked him if he was ready for "one last hurrah" at the upcoming away football game. But the incident involving JD3 that leaps out from the second report comes from a bowl game trip during the 2000s:
JD3 was at a party held during a time that the UW football team was at a bowl game [specific game omitted]. The party was in John Chadima's suite and there were three other student employees present. JD3 went into another room in the suite and was pouring himself a tonic water. Chadima came up to him and put his hand on JD3's lower buttocks and moved his hand "upward along the crack area" and then pushed his hand in by his anus. This was done on the outside of JD3's pants. JD3 got very upset and Chadima remarked something to the effect, "Don't talk to anyone. You should be grateful for this opportunity." JD3 then left Chadima's suite.
What opportunity is that exactly?