He Said, He Said

Massa Attacks Aide

Former Rep. Eric Massa went on the attack against his former chief of staff, who had filed a sexual-harassment claim against his ex-boss. The suit, filed by Joe Racalto, was revealed Friday. Massa says his signature on a $40,000 check to Racalto from the former congressman's campaign was forged. Racalto's lawyer fired back that Massa merely wanted to discredit his accuser, saying the check “was signed by someone authorized to do so by the campaign,” and “it would be ridiculous for anyone in the campaign to cut a check for $40,000 without the specific approval of Congressman Massa.” The check was deferred payment for work Racalto did to help Massa transition into office, though The Washington Post reported that campaign sources said they weren't aware Racalto did campaign work for the time in question. Racalto is one of two aides who have filed sexual-harassment claims against Massa with the congressional Office of Compliance. A lawyer for a Massa aide who hopes to remain anonymous said he had filed a claim against the congressman, saying “my client and other young gay men” were subjected to “unwelcome touching, sexual propositions, groping, sexualized comments.” The House ethics committee is looking into whether staffers' complaints were addressed in a timely manner.