Former congressman Eric Massa (D-NY) said on Saturday that someone must have forged his signature on a check for a $40,000 salary increase for his chief of staff, whose accusations of sexual harassment were revealed only Friday, The Washington Post reported.
According to a statement released by Massa’s attorney, the ex-congressman never authorized a check from a campaign account to give Joe Racalto a pay raise, suggesting that Racalto must have done it himself.
“Someone forged then-Congressman Massa’s signature on forms raising Mr. Racalto’s own salary as a member of the congressman’s personal staff from $120,000 per year to the maximum permissible level of $160,000,” the statement from Massa’s campaign read.
Several aides have accused Massa of sexual harassment, charges that ultimately led to his resignation last month.
“These matters continue to be under review and the appropriate authorities will be provided with all the relevant information,” according to Massa’s campaign’s statement.
Racalto’s attorney denied the allegations of forging his own pay raises, and said Massa was well aware of the checks. The attorney, Camilla McKinney, denied questioned the timing of the charges in light of Racalto’s sexual harassment complaint.
“The timing of the allegations is highly questionable and suspicious,” McKinney said in a telephone interview Saturday with AP. “The congressman is trying to discredit someone who is making a sexual harassment complaint against him.”
Racalto knew a great deal about several male staffers’ repeated complaints concerning Massa’s lewd talk and sexual touching, as was also reported by The Washington Post.
The New York Democrat resigned last month in the wake of a House ethics inquiry into charges that he behaved inappropriately with male staffers. The House ethics committee ended its investigation after Massa resigned.