This is why we said John Bel Edwards ought to shut his fat mouth about Tom Schedler’s sexual harassment problem. Whatever Schedler may have done to get himself mixed up in a lawsuit with an employee over some sort of romantic entanglement gone wrong, the governor is in no position to play holier-than-thou given that he knew or should have known perfectly well who Johnny Anderson was and what risks he brought with him when he hired Anderson; and he did it anyway.
And when Anderson did as Edwards’ deputy chief of staff exactly what he’d done as the chairman of the board at Southern University, nobody could possibly have been surprised.
So we can chalk up the $85,000 settlement the state just paid to Anderson’s harassee as – what? Incompetence? Or a lack of seriousness about sexual harassment?
Louisiana will pay $85,000 to a former employee of the governor’s office and her attorney who allege Gov. John Bel Edwards‘ former deputy chief of staff Johnny Anderson sexually harassed her while the two were working for Edwards.
The contract laying out the settlement was signed by the woman and Anderson Tuesday (March 27), according to a copy of the settlement NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune obtained. The agreement calls for the alleged victim to receive $51,000 and her lawyer, Jill Craft, to receive $34,000 to cover legal expenses.
The accuser, the state, the Office of the Governor and Anderson are all parties to thesettlement. The $85,000 legal settlement does not include money the state paid to a private attorney, Baton Rouge lawyer Vickie Crochet, to work on the case.
In signing the settlement, Anderson and the governor’s office are not admitting any wrongdoing. The settlement contract reiterates several times that the payment has been made in order to avoid expensive and disruptive litigation, but not because anyone is admitting they sexually harassed the accuser or overlooked inappropriate behavior. The settlement cannot be used as an admission of guilt in any future legal proceedings, according to its language.
Anderson only generated six different complaints of sexual harassment when he was the board chair at Southern, and two of those made it into federal court documents anyone doing a proper job of vetting a high-level gubernatorial staffer would have found. And he was hired anyway.
But hey – it’s only 85K. Small potatoes, right? Edwards went around crowing about the need for a billion dollars in tax increases to meet a fiscal cliff, so 85K is nothing.
And pay no mind to the cumulative effect of management errors like this on the state’s fiscal picture, like for example the $100 million Louisiana is wasting by warehousing elderly Medicaid patients in nursing homes rather than allowing them to receive care at home.
It’s only money. It’s only your money. And Edwards needs more of it, you see.