Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson and the Sacramento City Attorney say a complaint of sexual harassment filed against the mayor is without merit.
At a hastily-called news conference, the Mayor read from a written statement Thursday.
He responded to a complaint of improper conduct filed in April of this year by a staffer who worked in the city manager's office.
Mayor Johnson held a 1:39 news conference to publicly address the complaint
"As an elected official, I understand that I am the target of attacks. And I understand that even though this in allegation –one that has absolutely no merit- it will generate headlines that will wound me, my family, and the city. That is sad and disappointing on so many levels."
Johnson said he would not answer questions on the matter on the advice of Sacramento City Attorney James Sanchez.
Sanchez issued a statement that says allegations of sexual harassment filed by Estrellita Ilee Muller against the mayor are "unsubstantiated and the claim has been denied."
Muller claimed the mayor pursued a sexual relationship with her in December of 2013, but she declined. She says the mayor asked her to think about it and to give a thumbs up or thumbs down to his request the next time he swung by her desk.
The complaint says he took her hands in August of 2014 and "manipulated her hands so her thumbs would go up and then down and said that he wanted to see if her thumbs worked saying, 'some people's thumbs are funny.'"
The amount of the claim was $200,000.
Muller transferred from the City Manager's office to the Human Resources Department in October of last year and filed a discrimination complaint with the City Clerk's office three days later.
Complaints filed with the clerk's office are logged and handed off to the Risk Division of the city's Human Resources Department.
In an addendum to the sexual harassment complaint, Muller says Human Resources Manager Kenneth Fleming "treated claimant like the aggressor not the victim."
Muller's discrimination complaint was denied in January of 2015.
A review by and independent employment law counsel, Carolee Kilduff found all allegations to be unsubstantiated.
Johnson says three investigations went "above and beyond the City's normal procedures."
"The City concluded not once, but twice that the allegations were unsubstantiated. That's because the incident described in the complaint simply never happened, ever."
A request to speak with Muller through her attorneys has gone unanswered.
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