Prostitutes, Expense Accounts, More Harassment Victims Create New Avenues of Concern for Embattled Garbryszak
By Frank Parlato
Is there more to come?
The allegations of sexual harassment by four young women against New York State Assemblyman Dennis H. "Gab" Gabryszak may represent just the tip of the iceberg.
His resignation could come anytime.
As of last week, four women filed notices of claim with the New York State Attorney General - preserving their right to bring a lawsuit for one year against the state, the Assembly and Gabryszak - arising out of allegations of sexual harassment by their boss, Gabryszak, 62, who represents the town of Cheektowaga.
Sources close to the case said that two more women are ready to file claims this week and ultimately there may be as many as 11 women who will come forward to detail Gabryszak's sexual harassment - and the revolving door of women who worked for him - then quit because of his abusive nature - that date back to a time prior to his being a state assemblyman and continuing up until the present.
Contained in the allegations - and perhaps not fully evaluated in the wake of the surprising, salacious, sexual harassment claims - is that Gabryszak, allegedly, frequently mentioned visiting strip clubs and utilizing the services of prostitutes in front of the women who worked for him.
Combined with information about escort services found by at least one of the women on his cell phone, the fact that one of the women who worked for him said she received a call from what may have been an escort returning Gabryszak's call who left information about her measurements, and the discovery of photographs of scantily clad women believed to have been taken in hotels by the assemblyman, found on the assembly office camera, suggests Gabryszak may have not been joking, but hired prostitutes and/or utilized escort services and took the women to hotels.
If Gabryszak used public money or campaign money, this may be of public interest and perhaps much more.
According to reports, Gabryszak’s campaign finance account this past year lists $2,622 in unspecified expenses. Vouchers with the State Comptroller’s Office show Gabryszak was reimbursed for $40,712 since April 2012 on mileage and per diems for travel and costs associated with travel - including about $80 per night for hotels - without specifying where he traveled or what he did on those trips.
One source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that Gabryszak claimed on an expense report that a hotel room was rented for one of his aides who was never there.
Harassment Allegations Alone, if True, Will Sink His Ship
Meantime, if what the four women who already filed notice of claims say is even half true, Gabryszak's career as an elected official is finished. The women worked at his legislative offices in Cheektowaga and in the State Capitol.
The first three to file - former Communications Director Kimberly Snickles, her predecessor, Annalise C. Freling, and Legislative Director Jamie L. Campbell, are represented by Niagara Falls attorneys Johnny G. Destino and John Bartolomei.
They have indicated in court filings that there are at least two more woman who are expected to file a notice of claim.
Last week, Caitrin Kennedy, a 24-year-old community relations director in the assemblyman's office, became the fourth female aide to file a notice of claim.
Allegations Describe a Buffoon and a Bully
Freling, 28, alleges Gabryszak spoke about going to strip clubs. When asked to retrieve information from his cell phone, she found pictures of naked women or information about escort services. Among other things, Gabryszak is quoted as saying to Freling, “You’re so hot, you know what I want to do with you,” and "I got a boner when I walked into the office today when I saw you." and, after Freling spilled mocha on her dress, Gabryszak sent her a text saying he wanted to lick her. In late 2011, Gabryszak told Freling he was sending her a recorded message to play to his constituents - but instead sent a video "of him in a bathroom, either receiving or pretending to be receiving fellatio," the papers allege. Freling suggests he may have stolen her keys in order to lure her to his apartment. She quit her $34,000-per-year job in May after 18 months.
Snickles, 26, said Gabryszak took her to a massage parlor, told her he was "more of a butt guy than a boobs guy," that he had a tattoo on his penis, that she should wear bikinis to events, joked that Snickles was going to “sell her panties” at a garage sale and asked her if she “liked to be tied up” to train tracks. On work trips, Gabryszak talked about sharing a room, an offer she declined. When Snickles and another intern traveled in the back seat of Gabryszak's car, "he would regularly look in the rear-view mirror and ask them 'if they were kissing each other."
Snickles quit her $26,000 in October after six months.
Campbell, 24, worked for Gabryszak for three years, until October. She claims Gabryszak talked about prostitutes and visits to an Albany area strip club, Double Vision, sent a telephone video message showing him in a bathroom stall acting as if he was engaged in a sex act, talked about women he wanted to have sex with, and said to her, “Jamie just admit it. You know you bought sex toys.” She says Gabryszak offered her $100,000 to relocate from Clifton Park to Cheektowaga. When Campbell said she couldn't because of her fiancé, Gabryszak allegedly said, 'I guess I will just have to get your fiancé to break up with you.'
Kennedy’s lawyer, Prathima Reddy, outlined allegations that included: Gabryszak suggesting that he and Kennedy partake in a couples massage, suggesting she should become pregnant, suggested she should pose for pictures sitting on his lap and that she kiss and “touch butts” with his female legislative director, told her he’d like to get in a hot tub with her, suggested they visit strip clubs together, allegedly described her to another man as "an animal" and joked that if workers in the sex trade were to unionized, he would no longer be able to afford them. She claims she found stored on the office camera pictures of scantily clad women in hotel rooms.
Kennedy, who is still employed with Gabryszak, but has been placed on paid leave as a result of the allegations against her boss, earns $38,000 a year.
Call for Resignation
As of now, the allegations have been referred to the Assembly’s Ethics Committee for investigation. Lawyer Terrance M. Connors of Buffalo represents Gabryszak in the matter. Gabryszak has made no public statements related to the case.
Connors did not return a call for comment.
Grabryzak, who has been in the assembly for seven years, lives with his wife of 37 years, Louise, 61, in Depew. They have two adult children one of whom has Down syndrome.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, and Erie County Democratic Party Chairman Jeremy Zellner have all said that Gabryszak should resign if the accusations are true.
The time has come, most observers believe, when Gabryszak must either make a vehement public denial - call these women liars - or resign.
Unless there is more to come.
|Niagara Falls Reporter - Publisher Frank Parlato Jr.||www.niagarafallsreporter.com||
Dec 31, 2013