Sadly, disgraced Assemblyman Micah Kellner refuses to quietly exit stage right. It seems that while the curtain is going down on his legislative career, he’s planning on the burning the theater down as he leaves kicking and screaming about an "injustice" done to him.
The poor reviews came from put-upon staff and an independent hearing officer: Micah Kellner is a sexual harasser.
Was Kellner a pain-in-the-butt and an embarrassment to Assembly Speaker Silver and his Democratic colleagues? Probably.
Was it easier to dropkick him and Dennis Gabryszak after the Vito Lopez affair and hush fund, er, legal settlement became public? Yes.
Was stripping him of staff and offices in Albany and in his Manhattan district a retaliation for his very vocal protestations against earlier sanctions excessive? Definitely. Was it deserved? Meh!
Micah Kellner broke the club’s, uh, Assembly’s rules, was sanctioned, cried foul and refused to move along with his life (and what was left of his reputation). Past transgressors accepted their punishment, turned in their IDs, made quiet good-byes, and went home to write their second acts.
Mr. Kellner, however, will have none of that.
He wants to sue his soon-to-be former Assembly colleagues. Kellner must believe he has evidence of discriminatory treatment. Or he’s become Jim Carrey’s "Fire Marshal Bill" incarnate.
But lost in this drawn-out Kellner affair is the whole issue of sexual harassment in the workplace — our State Capital. Are legislative staffers going to be assured that their complaints will be taken seriously, promptly investigated and, if found guilty, that the transgressors will be appropriately sanctioned?
Like many, I’ll be watching to see how this all plays out in the coming months and years. As for Mr. Kellner, I watch his self-immolation from the safety of my couch.
From today’s Daily News [via The Daily Politics]:
Assemblyman Micah Kellner Tuesday hinted he might sue the Assembly over sanctions he was hit with after he was charged eariler this year with violating the chamber’s sexual harassment policy.
"Shelly Silver & Ethics Committee continue to make it up as they go along," he tweeted. "Gonna make a great lawsuit."
The Daily News reported Monday night that the Assembly Ethics Committee says the sanctions stripping Kellner of his state offices should stand.
After a hearing officer last month ruled that Kellner was denied his due process over allegations he sexually harassed two staffers, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver asked the committee to revisit the issue.
The committee in a letter to Silver Monday said there were enough allegations upheld by the hearing officer that Kellner blocked a review of his office and directed his staffers to lie "to warrant all the sanctions imposed."
The committee also revealed it would hold a December 15 closed-door meeting with Kellner to address the sexual harassment charges. [Read more here.]