Throwback News: Connecticut Politician Faces Sexual Harassment Claims
Originally posted on August 5, 2016.
A former campaign aide for August Wolf claims the Republican U.S. Senate candidate made unwanted sexual advances toward her and violated election laws in a new sexual harassment lawsuit.
The 12-page complaint was filed Wednesday in state Superior Court in Stamford by Samantha Menh, a GOP political operative in her mid-20s who was hired by Wolf in March as a political consultant and finance director.
The lawsuit is seeking $ 2.6 million in punitive and compensatory damages for Menh, who alleges that Wolf asked her if she had “ever been sexually satisfied by a real man.” In addition to accusations that Wolf inappropriately touched Menh and called her “babe,” the lawsuit accuses him of suggestively jingling the keys to an apartment the campaign leased for her in Stamford. Wolf, 54, is divorced.
” His mind is always in the gutter; one time Wolf asked plaintiff whether she was sleeping with the campaign manager,” the lawsuit said. ” Wolf made inappropriate comments like, ‘When I am in the U.S. Senate, someone should put a Taser on my (penis) so I can stay awake.’” Wolf vehemently denied the allegations of Menh, who he said in a statement was motivated by money and is being represented by prominent Democratic attorney Kristan Peters-Hamlin.
“I was shocked and appalled by the outrageous claims made in this lawsuit,” Wolf said Wednesday. “I did not and would never engage in this type of behavior, and neither would anyone on the campaign. The allegations are completely baseless. They are an obvious attempt by a former contractor to extort money at a critical time in the campaign, which she did over the last five days.”
The lawsuit is the latest upheaval for Wolf, a 1984 Olympic shot putter and Stamford money manager whose candidacy has been beset by staff shakeups, the threat of election sanctions and allegations by two former campaign managers of a homophobic work environment. The timing coincides with a petition drive by Wolf, who is trying to force an August primary against the GOP’s endorsed candidate, state Rep. Dan Carter, of Bethel. The nominee will challenge Democratic incumbent Richard Blumenthal in November.
Wolf questioned the motives Wednesday of Peters- Hamlin, who hosted Hillary Clinton at her home in 2008 and is a campaign organizer for the former secretary of state.
“It is no coincidence that the attorney representing Mrs. Menh is a Democrat operative and fundraiser,” Wolf said. “It shows the lengths the Democrats will go to stop me from beating Richard Blumenthal.”
Peters-Hamlin said Menh, who was not made available for an interview, reached out to her because of her three decades of experience handling discrimination and employment-related cases.
“My client is not a Democrat,” Peters- Hamlin said. ” She is a Republican. She has worked for the Koch brothers.”
Another defendant Baylor Myers, who the lawsuit identified as Wolf ‘s campaign manager, is also named as a defendant in the case. The political operative referred questions on the matter to his attorney, Mark. R. Weaver, who characterized the lawsuit as a vendetta.
“Mr. Myers and Ms. Menh worked together at a previous employer, before either came to Connecticut,” Weaver said. “Well before they worked for the Wolf campaign, they had a romantic relationship that was essentially ended by Mr. Myers. At trial, we will present evidence that Ms. Menh had planned to quit her job with that previous employer and bring a false claim of sexual harassment to leverage a settlement. The allegations made in this lawsuit are false and we can prove it.”
Peters-Hamlin said she plans to subpoena some other former campaign aides, who she said have been afraid to take legal action against Wolf because they signed non-disclosure agreements. A subpoena would free them of their confidentiality requirements, she said.
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Source: Niel Vigdor, Candidate faces sex harassment complaint, The Chronicle (Willimantic, Connecticut), (Jun 2, 2016) at 8.
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