The Allegations Against Kellner
We have now heard about charges against Assemblyman Micah Kellner – (D) Manhattan, from a former female staffer. Charges that were brought to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s office but resulted in zero action from the Central Staff or the Assembly Ethics Committee. Kellner’s Chief of Staff at the time Eliyanna Kaiser followed proper reporting procedures. It’s not clear if the powers-that-be did the same. And that will likely be the focus of the new JCOPE inquiry. Kaiser and others have received subpoenas.
Insiders say JCOPE Commissioners are furious that this information was not made available to them after they conducted an exhaustive, turn over every stone inquiry into the Vito Lopez matter just this past year. Lopez resigned from the Assembly as a result of the JCOPE report. During their inquiry, JCOPE investigators requested all documents related to sexual harassment charges. So, some are now wondering, what else is hiding in a drawer in the Speaker’s office? For his part, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver dismissed Attorney Bill Collins for failing to tell him about the allegations against Kellner. But it’s still very unclear why this was only brought to his attention this past June, when the first harassment allegations took place four years ago. There are some theories on why, but that is for another day.
Here is some new information about Kellner’s alleged behavior, this time to a male staffer. According to people familiar with the situation, Kellner made repeated inappropriate sexual advances and comments to a male employee. According to one person who asked to remain anonymous:
“Micah would comment about his appearance and his sex life all the time. It was creepy. One time Micah leaned onto his shoulders and told him he had pretty hands–and he just froze. It escalated to the point where he actually got up the nerve to confront Micah. And after that, things did not get better. Micah took him off projects, diminished his role in the office, and when everyone else got a raise a few weeks later, his salary stayed the same. No one was surprised when he quit”
Sources say the male employee confronted Kellner and then brought his complaints to the Assembly Ethics Committee. Once again, the Assembly took no action. In fact, all it brought this employee for complaining was zero help from the Assembly Democrats, and a hostile work environment. Kellner remained in his post unmolested. Some Albany insiders are very concerned that reporting procedures for this type of behavior are either severely outdated, or grossly inadequate.
Kellner is now running for City Council in his Upper East Side District. He has lost the support of City Councilwoman Jessica Lappin, but still has the support of Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney. Sources say the influential Lenox Hill Democratic Club was considering a resolution to withdraw support from Kellner, but that proposal was quietly dropped after powerful interests lobbied on Kellner’s behalf.
In a statement, Kellner said,
“If I had been aware that documents pertaining to me had been submitted to an Assembly counsel four years ago, I would have immediately requested an investigation. I welcome such an investigation now and I will cooperate fully.”
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