Seventh woman makes legal complaint against Gabryszak - The Buffalo News
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Seventh woman makes legal complaint against Gabryszak

Another of Assemblyman Dennis H. Gabryszak’s former communications directors says he has a problem communicating.

Kristy Mazurek is now the seventh woman to draft legal papers accusing the Depew Democrat of harassment.

Mazurek says that on one of her first trips to Albany in 2008, she was taken to the assemblyman’s apartment. Gabryszak pointed to a flat rooftop and told Mazurek she could use it to sunbathe topless, she says in a statement that backs up her notice of claim against her former boss and the Assembly.

The statement details other episodes of questionable behavior:

• When she walked into the office each morning, Gabryszak would tell her that “her outfit was hot.’’

• As the staff posed for a Christmas photo in the fall of 2008, Gabryszak said Mazurek and another woman should “dress in sexy elf costumes and that he should be Santa’’ with them sitting on his lap.

• “Have you seen how she looks?’’ Gabryszak said of Mazurek to a state official. The official – not identified in the legal papers – reportedly relayed the comment to Mazurek.

• The assemblyman often invited Mazurek to join him for a massage. She would decline.

• After returning from New York City, Gabryszak would show her photos of women he had taken on the trips.

Mazurek’s statement said she eventually decided to always have a third person with them when she attended events with Gabryszak. She says she also complained about him to his chief of staff, Adam Locher.

“As a result,” the papers state, “she received immediate retaliation from the assemblyman.” Her salary, which was $52,000 a year when she began in October 2008, was half that near the end of her employment in May 2009.

Mazurek, 43, has been a central figure among the group of women who now publicly complain they were subjected to lewd and suggestive comments from Gabryszak, who is 62 and married with children. Mazurek’s own complaint had been expected for weeks.

Trina Tardone followed Mazurek into the job of communications director. She alleged last week that Gabryszak forced himself on her by trying to kiss her soon after she started work in July 2009. She told the assemblyman she would never be alone with him again.

Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz said on Twitter that he knows Tardone and finds her highly credible: “Ms. Tardone is well respected by all and if she said it happened I believe her,’’ Poloncarz tweeted as he called on Gabryszak to resign.

On the advice of his lawyer, Gabryszak has remained quiet about the accusations since they broke into public view in the days leading up to the Christmas holiday. The lawyer, Terrence M. Connors, says Gabryszak has a right to challenge the accusations before the Assembly Ethics and Guidance Committee.

Gabryszak will be among the most watched state legislators should he show up in Albany today for Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s annual State of the State address. While many Albany Democrats say Gabryszak should resign if the allegations are true, Cuomo goes further and says Gabryszak should be expelled if he does not deny the women’s reports.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, the Manhattan Democrat who leads the Assembly and its Democratic majority, said he has no opinion on whether Gabryszak should come to Albany today for the start of this year’s session.

Further, Silver said he does not know if he will bar Gabryszak from the Democrats’ private meetings should he show up.

“As I’ve said before,’’ Silver said, “there seems to be a mounting number of people who talk about his actions. If the allegations are true he should resign. There’s no question about it. He has to make that determination quickly.’’

Silver last year lavished a $12,500 stipend atop Gabryszak’s $79,500 base salary. Asked if Gabryszak will be stripped of the stipend if he does not resign, Silver said, “subject to the ethics committee’s advice, that will probably be the first thing that’s gone.’’

News Albany Bureau Chief Tom Precious contributed to this report. email:

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