Kellner Appeals Silver’s Sanctions
Assemblyman Micah Kellner, the Manhattan Democrat accused of sexual harassment who was sanctioned this week by Speaker Sheldon Silver, is formally appealing the penalties.
In a letter sent to Silver and released Wednesday, Kellner lawyer Arnold Kriss asks the speaker to put a hold on the sanctions recommended by the Assembly Ethics Committee, which included a freeze on the lawmaker’s office allocations and barred from chairing any committees.
The penalties also included barring Kellner from having legislative interns and required him to attend harassment training.
For Kellner, who lost a city Council bid this year, the move also stripped him of his chairmanship of the Assembly Committee on Libraries.
Kellner is accused of having flirtatious and explicit conversations with Assembly staffers online in 2009.
The accusations against Kellner stopped at the office of Assembly Counsel Bill Collins, who left Silver’s office in June after the allegations became public.
Kellner apologized for his behavior after the details surfaced last year.
In a separate statement released Tuesday evening, a Kellner spokesman called the findings by the Assembly Ethics Committee “factually inaccurate” and the investigation “flawed.”
“Assembly Member Kellner will appeal the ruling in accordance with the Assembly’s 2009-2010 Assembly Sexual Harassment Policy, Article VI, mandating that a hearing officer be designated to conduct a public hearing concerning these findings,” the statement read. “At a hearing, sworn testimony must be taken from all witnesses permitting the fundamental right to cross examine the accuser and the evidence that exists. Perhaps then the real facts surrounding this matter will be heard.”
Kellner is one of three state lawmakers in recent months to be accused of sexual harassment. In May, Assemblyman Vito Lopez, D-Brooklyn, resigned after a Joint Commission on Public Ethics report found he harassed and abused several women working in his office.
In December, western New York Democrat Dennis Gabryszak was accused of sexual harassment by several women who worked in his office.
On Tuesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo called on both Kellner and Gabryszak to deny the allegations of harassment or resign from the chamber.
Silver himself has come under criticism for the scandals. His office approved $103,000 in settlement money to the women who accused Lopez of harassment, which was kept confidential.
Though Silver has not been accused of any legal wrongdoing, he’s apologized for keeping the settlement a secret.
|Print article||This entry was posted by Nick Reisman on January 1, 2014 at 12:30 pm, and is filed under Assembly. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.|