Four years ago, a junior staff member in Assemblyman Micah Z. Kellner’s office complained to her supervisor that she was being harassed by Mr. Kellner, an Upper East Side Democrat.And what kinds of pleasantries were exchanged?
In one exchange that took place well after midnight, Mr. Kellner told the woman that he had hired her because “you were cute during the interview.” He asked if she had a boyfriend and told her, “I guess secretly I didn’t want you to have one,” adding, “I like being the only man in your life” and “Don’t cheat on me.”Was this a one time thing? No.
The 2009 matter was not the only one to emerge in The Times’s review. Another former staff member of Mr. Kellner’s voiced similar concerns two years later.But That's Not All
In some ways, having Micah Kellner embroiled in a sex scandal is a shame. The evidence against his good judgement was already in. As widely reported in New York City, Kellner has become a poster child for legalized bribery and corruption.
Last year, a company called VPG persuaded Kellner to champion its version of the NYC taxicab for the TLC, the regulatory body for such things. Kellner prevailed, getting his favorite cab selected despite the much higher price. Part of that was getting the Assembly to vote for a $10,000 tax credit from the state for each and every new VPG cab. All of this might have been because this taxi is a hybrid and is more accessible for disabled passengers.
But that's not why Kellner was so interested in taxicabs. He also received $22,800 in campaign donations from VPG, and an additional $2,750 from VPG's Board chairman.
But perhaps what is most cringe-inducing about this is that VPG paid $90,000 to Dan Klores Communications for lobbying services between November 2011 and April 2012, and in that last month the firm hired Kellner's wife to be its vice president of government affairs.The Fallout
Yesterday, Council Member Jessica Lappin withdrew her previous "wholehearted endorsement" of Kellner. The NYC chapter of the National Organization of Women held a press conference outside Kellner's office and announced their endorsement of Kellner's opponent in the race, Ben Kallos.
What's building across the city and perhaps the country, is a full court press linking Anthony Weiner, Eliot Spitzer, Brooklyn's Vito Lopez AND Micah Kellner as the four horsemen of NYC's #PenisPolitics apocalypse. We could include the role of Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver and his office in shielding both Kellner and Lopez, and the echoes of all this in San Diego, what with that fine city's gropey mayor.
As a man, as a progressive, and (full disclosure) a strong supporter of Ben Kallos, my position is clear. Some of our electeds, including many who cynically use the progressive brand, are deviant, corrupt, power hungry and criminally oppressive to women working nearby. Getting rid of these folks should be a priority.