LOUISVILLE (WHAS11) -- A Kentucky House GOP staff member claims she was retaliated against for blowing the whistle on an inappropriate relationship between former House Speaker Jeff Hoover and a woman in his office.
The whistleblower lawsuit was filed on behalf of Daisy Olivo, who is the House GOP communications director.
Olivo says, in the lawsuit, she had her duties as communications director taken away after she told the Legislative Research Commission's general counsel and human resources director about the relationship between Hoover and a woman in his office.
6/8 @KYHouseGOP Comm Dir claims House Budget Director refused to share info on pending legislation after she went to LRC, calling her: just like @GovMattBevin "always twisting the truth". @WHAS11 pic.twitter.com/sRaBi16PzO— Chris Williams (@chriswnews) December 4, 2017
According to the lawsuit, the woman who accused Hoover of sexual harassment gave a detailed timeline to Olivo of her “physical, sexual encounters" with Hoover as well as 3 years’ worth of text messages between the woman and Hoover.
The lawsuit also states the woman told Olivo the settlement was paid off the public record, with private funds pooled from campaign donors.
The reason both of those notes are important is because the lawsuit appears to contradict Hoover's own description of the relationship and how the settlement was paid.
That leads us back to Hoover's November 5 news conference where he announced he was stepping down as House Speaker. At that news conference, Hoover was adamant that his inappropriate relationship was based on text messages only and that there were never any sexual relations.
Olivo says after blowing the whistle on the relationship to the LRC and HR director, she got an email the next day relieving her of her job handling media inquiries, according to the lawsuit.
Olivo also says she's been ostracized from her job duties and has been the subject of retaliation.
Statement from Kentucky House Speaker Pro Tempore David Osborne
“We will not comment on pending litigation. However, I feel good about what our investigators produced Friday and am glad we made the decision to turn this matter over to the Legislative Ethics Commission. I have confirmed with our attorneys this morning that some of the information contained within the complaint was not disclosed to them during their investigation. With the Ethics Commission involved and now a lawsuit that will make even more text messages and e-mail communications discoverable, I am more confident than ever we will ultimately get the full truth about what happened.
I’m disgusted by this entire mess and want to reassure Kentucky taxpayers that we remain committed to our actual work—solving the pension crisis and preparing for our upcoming budget session of the General Assembly. We remain committed to the public finding the truth, to creating a professional and efficient work environment, and to doing the work of the people.
Under no circumstances will sexual harassment or inappropriate workplace behavior be tolerated among the House Majority Caucus or its staff, and any results of the independent bodies now reviewing the allegations will guide our actions to ensure a safe and productive work environment.”
Statement issued from Rep. Jeffrey Hoover via his attorney
The allegations set forth in the whistleblower lawsuit filed today are absolutely not true. I have never engaged in sexual contact of any staff member during my 21 years in Frankfort. Never.
I will no longer sit back and let untrue, false, defamatory statements be made against me and others, regardless of the position of the person making them. During the course of the recent investigation by the law firm Middleton Reutlinger, 40 people were interviewed. The only staff person who refused to cooperate has now filed suit making untrue, false statements. This no coincidence. Also, the law firm report issued last week confirmed that no settlement funds came directly or indirectly from political donors or lobbyists.
Over the past few months, I have spoken out when unfair statements were made against teachers, state workers and others during the pension discussions. Why are some calling for the immediate resignation of myself and other legislators based on mere accusations and without knowledge or examination of the facts.
I welcome the investigation by the Legislative Ethics Commission. I look forward to certain persons having to answer questions under oath. I am confident I and the others mentioned will be vindicated.
Terry Sebastian with Attorney General Andy Beshear's office statement
“These are serious allegations that, if true, are unacceptable in any workplace. The people of Kentucky deserve the truth and full transparency. Our office is closely monitoring the situation.”
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