Assembly Aides Lied About Sex Harassment, Ex-Colleagues Say


Six former staff members of ex-Assemblyman Tom Connolly (D-Lemon Grove) have sent a letter to the Assembly Rules Committee expressing their anger that the state settled a sex harassment and wrongful termination case against their former boss for $200,000.

“Lies regarding sexual harassment should not be rewarded,” said the letter signed by three men and three women. “We are shocked, angered and disappointed.”

The six want the Assembly to withdraw the offer of $100,000 each to Lori Arbogast, 25, a former field representative, and Meredith Ann Anderson, 26, a former receptionist and scheduler.


The two alleged that Connolly sexually harassed them and that then-Assembly Speaker Willie Brown fired them in 1994 to spare his fellow Democrat any further political embarrassment. In a closed-door session in November, the Rules Committee authorized the out-of-court settlement, one of the largest ever awarded in an harassment case involving state employees.

Arbogast is living out of state and working on a book about her experiences working for Connolly. She and Anderson were recent San Diego State University graduates when they joined his staff after his upset victory in 1992. Both now say they will never again work in politics.

During his recent mayoral campaign in San Francisco, Brown ran a newspaper advertisement criticizing the two women’s assertion that he was behind their firing. But court documents indicate Brown attended strategy sessions on how to keep the allegations from hurting Connolly’s reelection chances.

The letter--signed by Howard Owens, Armando Salazar, Helen Ofield, Mark Pettis, Annette Siler and Leon Patterson--said the two women were lying and “do not deserve one cent of taxpayer money.”