Politics & Government

Hoover agrees to dismiss lawsuit against staffer who accused him of sexual misconduct

Jeff Hoover’s emotional admission to the Kentucky Legislative Ethics Commission

Former Kentucky House Speaker Jeff Hoover was required to admit that he violated the Legislative Ethics Code after he agreed to a settlement offered by the Legislative Ethics Commission Tuesday, April 20, 2018.
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Former Kentucky House Speaker Jeff Hoover was required to admit that he violated the Legislative Ethics Code after he agreed to a settlement offered by the Legislative Ethics Commission Tuesday, April 20, 2018.

Attorneys agreed to dismiss a lawsuit filed by former House Speaker Jeff Hoover, R-Jamestown, and two other men against a former Republican staffer with whom they entered a settlement agreement over her allegations of sexual harassment.

In Fayette Circuit Court Friday, the lawyer representing Hoover; Rep. Michael Meredith, R-Oakland; and former Rep. Jim DeCesare, R-Bowling Green, said his clients agreed to dismiss their lawsuit against the staffer, in which they claimed she broke the terms of their settlement agreement by telling others about the allegations she had made against them. They demanded that she repay the $110,000 they paid her in 2017.

The lawsuit names the former staffer, who resigned her job in the House Republican Leadership office, but the Herald-Leader does not generally name alleged victims of sexual harassment.

Greg Jackson, the lawyer representing the current and former lawmakers, did not say why his clients agreed to dismiss their lawsuit.

“No comment,” Jackson said, when walking out of the courthouse.

The lawsuit was the latest legal filing in a scandal that rocked Frankfort in late 2017, forcing the first Republican leader of the House in nearly 100 years to step down from his leadership role and creating a fissure between some legislative Republicans and Gov. Matt Bevin after he demanded the men involved resign from office.

Two other former House Republican staffers — Daisy Olivo and Brad Metcalf, both of whom have since been fired — filed whistleblower lawsuits in Franklin Circuit Court alleging they were retaliated against for reporting sexual harassment in the legislature. Those lawsuits have stretched for more than a year and have included a deposition by the staffer who entered the settlement agreement with the lawmakers. In that deposition, she alleged Hoover touched her inappropriately.

Gail Langendorf, the attorney representing the staffer, said she was happy the lawsuit was dismissed.

“My client is happy that they decided to dismiss the lawsuit and she just wants to move on with her life,” Langendorf said. “And that’s always been her position, so she’s very happy.”

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Daniel Desrochers has been the political reporter for the Lexington Herald-Leader since 2016. He previously worked for the Charleston Gazette-Mail in Charleston, West Virginia.
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