Stephen Davey was forced out of state Sen. Ted Gaines’ office in February 2016 amid allegations of sexual harassment. But the political campaigns of Gaines and his wife, former Assembly member Beth Gaines, have continued to pay his former chief of staff.
Since Davey was put on paid administrative leave December 2015, they have compensated him and his company with more than $259,000.
According to the Secretary of State's website, Ted Gaines’ 2016 state Senate campaign has paid Davey and his firm, Capitol Tech Solutions, a total of $132,563.
Ted Gaines is currently campaigning for a Board of Equalization seat. That campaign fund has paid out $57,488 to the former chief and his firm.
When asked for comment, Gaines’ office released a statement that Davey was undergoing "personal challenges" at the time, and the senator “decided to counsel him and allow him to earn money by providing some services."
Sen. Gaines says Davey “adamantly denied” the allegations, but the senator terminated his employment, anyway. “I made the decision to ask Mr. Davey to separate from my Senate office,” he wrote in a statement.
Genie Harrison is an attorney who testified at the Assembly's hearing on sexual harassment in December. She criticized the Gaines’ decision to keep Davey on payroll. "My argument as a plaintiff's sexual harassment attorney is that Gaines thinks that Mr. Davey's services are more important than protecting additional potential victims," she said.
Ted Gaines’ campaign funds paid Davey an additional $15,566 while the chief of staff was on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of a Senate human resources investigation. There was at least one complaint from someone outside the office, and staff members substantiated the claim.
Beth Gaines’ 2016 campaign for El Dorado County supervisor paid Davey and his company $53,646.94.
Harrison says the Gaineses could be taken to court if Davey has harassed anyone else while in their employ.
"You are inviting the liability that occurs if that person continues to sexually harass and victimize others. You can't say you weren't warned," she said.
Ted Gaines believes his "decision was best for everyone involved," he wrote.
Davey worked for Ted Gaines for 10 years prior to his departure.