The largest chunk of a $400,000 settlement that ended lawsuits alleging harassment and retaliation by Kentucky lawmakers will go to the attorneys representing three women who brought the claims.
Attorney Thomas Clay and the law firm of Clay Daniel Walton & Adams will get $135,705.77 from the Legislative Research Commission, according to a copy of the settlement provided Thursday by Clay.
He represented three legislative staffers — Yolanda Costner, Cassaundra Cooper and Nicole Cusic — who alleged misbehavior by three lawmakers.
Costner will be paid $93,323.37, including $43,323.37 in cash and annual payments ranging from $2,000 to nearly $13,000 through 2030. Cooper will get $86,573.37, including a cash payment of $43,176.63 and periodic payments through 2033 totaling $43,396.74. Cusic will get a cash payment of $84,397.49.
Costner and Cooper alleged that Democratic state Rep. John Arnold, who later resigned, touched them inappropriately while they worked for House Democratic leadership. Costner also alleged that House Majority Whip Johnny Bell, D-Glasgow, fired her in retaliation for filing a lawsuit against Arnold.
Cusic said state Rep. Will Coursey, D-Symsonia, demoted her after she complained about inappropriate comments he made to female staffers.
Cooper and Cusic remain employed by the LRC.
All of the defendants have denied the allegations, and no "liability or fault" was admitted in the settlement.
House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, said last month that Arnold and Robert Sherman, former director of the LRC, made payments in addition to the $400,000 to settle the lawsuits.