A former ColdSpark junior employee alleged in the suit that at a work dinner in late 2021 she was groped by Ryan Reynolds, a vice president of the firm. (Reynolds, who left the firm in December 2022, declined to comment for this story.) She asserted that senior management was made aware of the incident but did not address it.
The woman said that after claiming she was discriminated against and harassed, she was “constructively discharged,” meaning that the work environment became so hostile that she had no choice but to resign.
It is the woman’s “understanding,” according to the lawsuit, that both Harris and another ColdSpark co-founder, Mike DeVanney, were “informed” of the harassment. DeVanney is named as a defendant in the suit, while Harris is not. The woman, whom POLITICO is not naming because she is alleging she was a victim of sexual assault, did not respond to a request for comment.
Jeremy Neuhart, a spokesperson for ColdSpark, Harris and DeVanney, said the firm and the defendants deny her allegations and that many of them “fail as a matter of law.”
“ColdSpark Media and its owners only became aware of the allegations after [the plaintiff] resigned. ColdSpark Media and the other defendants believe that the court or a jury will find in their favor,” Neuhart added.
Timothy Prol, a lawyer for the plaintiff, said the complaint speaks for itself and expressed confidence the case would “establish the wrongdoing alleged in the complaint.”
Spokespeople for Haley’s campaign and super PAC, as well as a spokesperson for McCormick’s campaign, did not respond to requests for comment.
Haley has numerous ties to ColdSpark. The Haley-launched leadership PAC Stand for America and the joint fundraising committee Team Stand for America has paid ColdSpark more than a half-million dollars since March 2021 for consulting on digital, fundraising and communications, and list rentals, according to FEC records.
Since it started, Haley’s presidential campaign also has paid ColdSpark more than $30,000 in communications consulting, printing and graphic design work, according to FEC records. Her campaign’s communications director, Nachama Soloveichik, is a partner at Coldspark.
On a Coldspark website about their work for Haley, the firm touts an endorsement from Haley: “When I decided to launch Stand For America, ColdSpark was there every step of the way. We wouldn’t be nearly two million members strong without their help.” The firm said its efforts to help set up the group included “naming the organization, designing the brand materials, creating hundreds of pieces of content and launching a digital fundraising operation.”
McCormick is a client of ColdSpark’s, according to a September post by the firm on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter. His campaign paid ColdSpark nearly $115,000 during his unsuccessful 2022 bid for the Senate, per FEC reports.
DeVanney and Harris were also spotted huddling with McCormick at a recent state GOP meeting, said a person in attendance.