Former Carson Councilman Hit With 3rd Claim of Harassment
A third sexual harassment accusation by a Carson city employee has been brought against former Carson City Councilman John Anderson, who denied the latest allegations as well as the earlier ones.
Less than a week before Anderson lost his seat in the April 10 municipal election, two female city employees accused him of sexual harassment and filed claims against him and the city. The Anderson campaign responded immediately, calling the accusations political sabotage.
The most recent allegations are contained in a letter to City Atty. Glenn Watson. The letter was discussed by the council in closed session Wednesday. No claim has yet been filed.
All three sets of charges concern activities that allegedly occurred during the two years Anderson was a councilman. All the women are represented by attorney George W. Schaeffer of Newport Beach.
According to the letter, Cynthia L. Turner, a counter clerk for the business licenses division, is seeking $7,500 in damages from Anderson and the city. She has alleged that Anderson frequently asked her visit with him or join him for wine; that he kissed her on one occasion in 1988, causing her to drop her lunch, and that he fondled the palm of her hand suggestively on another occasion about a year later.
Anderson denied the allegations Friday.
“None of it is true. I helped this woman in many ways. . . . It’s too bad that she didn’t tell you that I helped to get her permanent status when she was a temporary employee.”
Reached at work, Turner, who became a permanent employee on Nov. 17, 1988, refused to elaborate on her complaint or comment further.
The city is investigating the claims filed against Anderson in April by Grace S. Fauchald, longtime secretary to the council, and Mamie Carter, a clerk at the Carson Community Center.
Before the election, officials of the employees union, which opposed Anderson, acknowledged coordinating those complaints. On Friday, Anderson accused the union of orchestrating the latest complaint as well, a contention denied by the union.
Details of the latest allegation are contained in a statement by Turner, which is attached to a letter from her attorney.
“Mr. Anderson would come by my desk whenever he was in City Hall to ask me how I was feeling and to invite me for a glass of wine or to tell me the only reason I would not accept his invitation was because I was afraid of him and the way he might make me feel,” she wrote.
“There have been many occasions when Mr. Anderson would come by my desk and motion for me to shake his hand. He would give me a smile and gently squeeze my hand.”
On Nov. 22, 1988, she said that she got on the City Hall elevator with Anderson and “after the doors closed, Mr. Anderson leaned over and kissed me on the neck. This caught me off guard. When I moved away, I lost control of my lunch and it fell to the floor. We had to stop the elevator on the first floor in order to clean up the mess.”
Anderson replied Friday that he remembered “when she dropped her lunch, but it wasn’t because I was bothering her.”
Turner and Anderson agreed that he bought her another lunch.
In August, 1989, Turner also claimed, Anderson came by her desk one day and motioned for her to shake his hand.
“When I did, he gripped my hand and rubbed the palm of my hand with one of his fingers,” she wrote in her statement, which adds that “when a man rubs the palm of a woman’s hand in that manner, it means he wants to have sex with her.”
She also wrote that she had reported several of the incidents to her supervisor.
Assistant City Administrator Scott Yotsuya said Turner’s superior was Ferrell Sneed, who has died. Yotsuya said that Sneed never referred any complaints from Turner to the city administrator or the Personnel Department.
Nathan Williams, president of Local 809 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, denied that the union was involved in Turner’s complaint, adding that she is not a union member.
City Atty. Watson said the city’s effort to settle the complaints have been rebuffed.
“We felt the pulse on that issue and said, ‘Now that he has gone, there is no need to change anything in the workplace because the voters took care of that.’ . . . In all cases, the attorney says they want money,” Watson said.
Schaeffer, the lawyer, was not available for comment.
Anderson reiterated statements made since April that the entire matter has been fabricated.
“All this is totally untrue, believe me. It is easy for me say, but when the time comes (that) these people have to face me, you will hear the other side of the story,” he said.