Founder of Centennial business incubator settles former employee’s lawsuit alleging sexual assault

Vic Ahmed

Vic Ahmed speaks to the Joliet City Council in 2017. (Eric Ginnard – The Herald News)

A settlement has been reached in the sexual assault and harassment civil lawsuit filed last year against a Centennial business incubator and his founder.

Suzy Gutierrez’ case against Innovation Pavilion and its founder, Waqar “Vic” Ahmed, was resolved this month. Ahmed must make monthly payments to Gutierrez until October 2020, according to court documents, which do not specify the payment amounts.

Gutierrez’s attorney, Mari Newman with Killmer, Lane & Newman, declined to provide further details about the settlement, and said Gutierrez was unable to comment.

“We’re glad that the case has been resolved,” Newman said.

Ahmed and an attorney representing him had not responded to a request for comment as of press time.

Gutierrez, a former Innovation Pavilion employee, filed the lawsuit against Ahmed and the company in May 2018, alleging Ahmed sexually assaulted her multiple times and used business trips “to try and cultivate a sexual relationship” with her.

The case, first reported by BusinessDen, resulted in Ahmed’s resignation as CEO. He released a video in response to the lawsuit in which he claimed his relationship with Gutierrez was consensual. The company dissolved months later.

Another former employee also told BusinessDen last May that she was sexually harassed by Ahmed.

Ahmed founded Innovation Pavilion in 2011 as a coworking and event campus for startups. The company’s operations at its Centennial campus at 9200 E. Mineral Ave. ceased last year, and Ahmed’s plans to open campuses in other cities — including Joliet, Illinois — never came to fruition.

Vic Ahmed

Vic Ahmed

Vic Ahmed speaks to…

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