Update: Graziano, Trammell respond; July 29, 10 a.m.
Former City Council aide Jennifer Walle has filed a second complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, expanding on earlier charges that she was retaliated against after David Hathcock, longtime aide to City Council President Kathy Graziano, sexually harassed her in April 2010.
In the complaint filed Monday, Walle charges that following the January City Council meeting where the allegations where made public, she was subjected to “rude” comments from other city employees.
“Council members shared with me that Kathy Graziano, Councilwoman, made comments to them that I was being a ‘prick tease’ and enjoying the offensive touching by Mr. Hathcock,” reads the complaint.
Reached for comment following Thursday night’s special City Council meeting, Graziano says in a written statement to Style that she refuses to “engage in a media battle” with Walle and Fisher.
“I believe it is best for all of us to respect the legal process that is in motion and where testimony is given under oath,” Graziano writes. “While public opinion is important we need to trust the legal systems that are in place and I will not dignify the latest complaints with a comment until that process is completed.”
The new allegations came to light just hours before City Council was scheduled to vote Thursday on a long-gestating and controversial plan to build a new city jail. Hayden Fisher, Walle’s attorney, says the timing is coincidental.
The complaint stems from an April 2010 incident in which Hathcock, after walking into Walle’s office, allegedly pulled her onto his lap and attempted to kiss and fondle her buttocks. In a deal with prosecutors to drop the charges, Hathcock agreed in May to undergo workplace sensitivity training and perform 100 hours of community service.
In the city’s response to Walle’s original EEOC complaint in mid-July, however, lawyers hired by the city report that Hathcock maintains his innocence: “He denies ever touching her inappropriately or saying anything inappropriate to her.”
Hayden Fisher, Walle’s attorney, says he doesn’t know whether the EEOC has begun an investigation into Walle’s original complaint, or whether the newest complaint would be treated “separately, or jointly.”
Fisher says that Walle was told of Graziano’s alleged comment by Councilwoman Reva Trammell following a February City Council meeting.
But Tramell denies ever having spoken with Walle directly about the allegations involving Hathcock or Graziano. “We’ve never spoken about her case,” she said shortly after Thursday night’s Council meeting.
Trammell, as well as fellow council members Tyler and Marty Jewell, have been subpoenaed to testify in Walle’s pending lawsuit against Graziano and Hathcock in Richmond Circuit Court, Fisher says.
Walle’s employment with the City Council has since been terminated. She was dismissed by the city in April after agreeing to be put on administrative leave. In the most recent complaint, Walle says that she was fired when she failed to respond to a letter sent by City Clerk Lou Ali in April inquiring about her employment status. That letter, as well as the one informing her of her firing, was sent to the wrong address, Walle says in the complaint.
“I believe that I was discharged in retaliation for filing an EEOC charge and complaining of sexual harassment,” Walle says in the complaint.