Ethics Committee Joins Fray Over Kellner Allegations

| 02 Mar 2015 | 05:00

    The New York State Assembly Ethics and Guidance Commission has launched its own inquiry into allegations of sexual harassment against Assemblyman Micah Kellner, according to Kellner's former chief of staff.

    This latest inquiry is separate from the one launched last week by the Joint Commission on Public Ethics.

    In 2009, a female staffer in Kellner's office brought 15 pages of chat transcripts to Eliyanna Kaiser, Kellner's chief of staff at the time. The chats included sexually suggestive comments by Kellner, who was 31 and not married at the time, to the staffer. Kaiser forwarded the transcripts to Assembly lawyer William Collins, where the complaint appears to have stopped and was never forwarded to the Assembly ethics committee. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver dismissed Collins over the matter when these allegations surfaced last month.

    Kaiser told Our Town that the latest subpoena, which she received Aug. 6, was for "all documents, including but not limited to communications relating to any inappropriate behavior on the part of Assemblymember Micah Kellner directed toward you or any other staff member." She said the subpoena "includes, but is not limited to, comments, actions and conduct of a sexual nature."

    Kaiser said the Assembly ethics committee's chair, Assemblyman Charles Lavine (D-13), interviewed her Aug. 1 about the 2009 complaint.

    Kellner, who is running for city council, apologized last month for his behavior. After news of the joint ethics commission broke, he released a statement, which 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."

    When contacted on Aug. 9, a Kellner spokesperson said he was not aware of any inquiry by the Assembly ethics committee.