In the wake of the Advocate’s expose’ last night of sexual harassment allegations made against East Baton Rouge Mayor-President Kip Holden (Oscar dived into the fray here), Holden wasted little time in responding.
Read his statement for yourself. To us, it came off a little squirrelly…
Mayor-President Melvin L. “Kip” Holden today issued the following statement:
My recollection of the visit to Baton Rouge by several staff members of Tetra Tech is that we met as a group. My wife and I took one of the women to dinner and to my birthday party as our guest.
When the two women at Tetra Tech had their employment dispute, I was contacted by the company and I assured them that anything more than that did not occur.
I was not aware of a lawsuit being filed and have never been named as a party or even asked to be a witness.
It is my understanding the woman involved made similar accusations against other public officials who the company met with and both of the women involved in this dispute no longer work for the company.
Sexual harassment in the workplace is a serious matter and complaints should be taken seriously. This claim was made five years ago and the matter was apparently settled by the parties three years ago without my involvement.
I have lived my entire adult life in the political arena and understand these types of things occur, as they are occurring now in a political race in Kansas City involving one of the parties. Fortunately, both my wife and I know the truth on this one.
First he says he met the woman he allegedy harassed, Cynthia Sloan, as part of a group. Her allegation is that even within the group setting Holden was “handsy” with her and there were witnesses. Then he admits to the dinner and the birthday party as settings for contact with her, but he doesn’t specifically deny her charge that he was inappropriate with her.
But he says that he denied the allegations when the company contacted him about the dispute. That’s peculiar; it’s already in the pleadings of the lawsuit that he denied anything untoward had happened. He’s not issuing a new denial, or a particularly forceful one.
Nobody cares whether he got sued or was made a witness – setting aside the obvious fact that if he had been we would have already known about it. And nobody cares whether Cynthia Sloan or the boss she sued still work at Tetra Tech. Not to mention the fact that it hardly exonerates Holden that an attractive (we’re told Sloan is quite the looker) woman working in governmental relations might make the allegation of similar treatment by other grabby politicians.
And saying that “my wife and I know the truth on this one” doesn’t exactly assert what that truth is.
Either this is the worst-written denial of all time or there’s some meat on this bone.