Host of Political Talk Show Joins Other Women In Claims of Sexual Harassment Against Gabryszak
By Tony Farina
We have learned that another former communications director for Assemblyman Dennis Gabryszak is expected, as early as today (Jan. 7), to join the growing list of female aides who have filed complaints of sexual harassment against him.
Kristy Mazurek, the cohost of the political talk show 2 Sides (Sundays, Ch. 2), says the assemblyman's bad conduct began in the first days of her employment in the fall of 2008 when Gabryszak took her to his apartment in Albany where she said "there were pictures on the walls of women in various stages of undress and he showed me a flat roof area which he said I could use to sunbathe topless."
With the filing expected today by her attorney, John Bartolomei of Niagara Falls, Mazurek will become the seventh and most high profile woman to make sexual harassment claims against Gabryszak related to their employment in his office. Bartolomei, along with Niagara Falls attorney Johnny Destino, represents all but one of the women who have come forward accusing Gabryszak of inappropriate sexual conduct, including one case where Mazurek's replacement as communications director, Trina Tardone, claimed the assemblyman "grabbed her and tried to kiss her," according to her notice of claim.
We have also learned that future claims against the assemblyman could include using his government office for political campaign work, and being reimbursed many thousands of dollars for hotel stays by members of his staff who never stayed at the hotels.
Bartolomei could not be reached for comment about the Mazurek claim, but prominent Buffalo attorney Terry Connors, who represents Gabryszak, suggested Mazurek is two years late with her claims against her former boss.
Mazurek is a member of a prominent Cheektowaga political family that has known the Gabryszak family for years. Mazurek is the daughter of respected former Erie County Legislator Henry Mazurek and had a successful run as a television reporter on the East Coast before returning home a few years ago while battling cancer. She admits to a DWI arrest while working as a reporter in Albany and regarded it as a wake-up call that she has used in her fight against cancer.
So far, Gabryszak has stayed mum on the claims against him and plans on being in Albany for the first day of the upcoming legislative session on Monday, Jan. 13, according to his attorney.
"The present plan is he won't be in Albany for the State of the State (Wed., Jan. 8) but he plans to return to session on Jan. 13, at the start of the session," said Connors. While a number of public officials, including Gov. Cuomo, have called on Gabryszak to resign if the charges against him are true, it appears that he will stay in office, at least for now, as he prepares to deal with the upcoming Assembly Ethics Committee investigation.
Connors said the probe is expected to take place through February and will be conducted behind closed doors. Connors said his client expects to be called on by the committee, and that he would be available to be interviewed at the proper time. In other words, he's not resigning any time soon.
At various times during her employment with Gabryszak, Mazurek said she was invited to join the assemblyman for massages, shown pictures of women that he had taken on trips, and asked along with another female staffer to dress up in a sexy elf costume and sit on the assemblyman's lap as he played Santa Claus. Mazurek said because of Gabryszak's conduct, she was forced to have a third party with her when she attended events with him.
Mazurek said she left Gabryszak's office in the summer of 2009 after enduring "nine months of hell" dealing with his persistent and severe behavior towards her. She says that because she resisted his advances, her salary had been cut from $52,000 at the start of her employment to less than half that amount nine months later when she couldn't take his conduct any longer and walked out.
Mazurek's claims against Gabryszak, the Assembly, and New York State seek damages for loss of current and future wages and other benefits due to her "constructive discharge" from Gabryszak's office, and also for the emotional distress that she suffered due to Gabryszak's never-ending pattern of sexual harassment.
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Jan 07, 2014