Politics & Government

Former Bevin employee says state lawmaker sent her ‘highly inappropriate’ messages

Michael Meredith is a Republican member of the State House of Representatives from Oakland.
Michael Meredith is a Republican member of the State House of Representatives from Oakland.

A former employee in Gov. Matt Bevin’s office, who is also the daughter of an outspoken Republican lawmaker, said Thursday that a member of the State House of Representatives sent her “highly inappropriate” messages.

Jordan Morgan, 28, said she received several electronic messages from state Rep. Michael Meredith, R-Oakland, that “should not have come from a married man.”

Meredith, 32, was one of four Republican lawmakers who secretly settled allegations of sexual harassment made this fall by a legislative employee. After news reports about the settlement, state Rep. Jeff Hoover, R-Jamestown, resigned on Nov. 5 as speaker of the House and three others — Meredith, Brian Linder of Dry Ridge and Jim DeCesare of Bowling Green — were stripped of their positions as committee chairmen.

Gov. Matt Bevin has urged all four lawmakers to resign their seats but none has done so.

Meredith did not return phone calls or an email Thursday seeking comment.

Meredith, who has a bachelor’s degree in business management from Western Kentucky University, has represented the House’s 19th District in Edmonson County and part of Warren County since January 2011. He was named chairman of the House Local Government Committee earlier this year.

Morgan, who is the daughter of state Rep. C. Wesley Morgan, R-Richmond, said she never received any inappropriate texts or comments from any member of Bevin’s office, where she worked in the communications office for about 18 months after being involved in his successful 2015 campaign. Jordan Morgan left the governor’s office in June and is now an assistant commonwealth’s attorney in Boone County.

She was not involved in the confidential settlement with the lawmakers, she said.

Morgan said she did not keep all of the messages Meredith sent her, but she provided the Herald-Leader a series of messages between her and Meredith that were sent on Feb. 3, 2016.

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In them, Meredith wrote: “Plus you are like six foot tall with jet black hair and high heels and can probably find some way to persuade anyone about anything if force is needed lol.”

She replied: “Haha yeah right! I’m only 5’10 but probably 6’ in heels lol.”

He responded: “5’10 can probably get anything I need done!”

She replied: “Haha!”

Meredith then said “I’m just glad there are some good, smart, conservative young people working up here now. Doesn’t hurt that at least one of em is good looking too lol!”

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She also provided the newspaper with an image of a Facebook message Meredith sent her on Nov. 4, 2015, in which he asked “Where’d you go beauty?”

Morgan said she laughed off some of the comments because she was concerned about possible retribution.

She also said other legislative employees have been sexually harassed by lawmakers from both parties, but she declined to elaborate.

Morgan said she told her father about the messages from Meredith and “it made him mad.”

“That’s why Dad was so adamant when the sexual harassment issue came out,” she said.

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Her father was the first person to publicly name Meredith, Linder and DeCesare as participants in the confidential settlement and was the first Republican House member to call for Hoover’s resignation. He has accused Hoover and party leaders of trying to cover up the sexual harassment allegations.

Jordan Morgan responded to questions about Meredith on Thursday after her father was interviewed Wednesday on National Public Radio’s “1A” public affairs show.

On the show, C. Wesley Morgan said his daughter worked in the governor’s office during the 2016 legislative session and “she informed me of a few situations about texting that involved her.” He did not elaborate.

On Thursday, he referred all questions about the incident to his daughter.

Jack Brammer: (502) 227-1198, @BGPolitics

Gov. Matt Bevin addressed sexual harassment claims regarding members of the state House. "The people of Kentucky deserve better than the type of shenanigans that have gone on for far too long in this town."

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