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Former City Clerk Denies Harassing Female Workers : Government: Elias (Lee) Martinez says he didn't make sexual remarks or leer at women in the office. His ouster was politically motivated, the longtime city official tells a panel considering his request for reinstatement.

September 15, 1993|MARC LACEY | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Former Los Angeles City Clerk Elias (Lee) Martinez testified Tuesday that he never sexually harassed any of his female subordinates and again charged that his dismissal was a political pay-back by former Mayor Tom Bradley.

Appealing his termination through the city's Civil Service Commission, Martinez responded to allegations of misconduct by saying he never touched his main accuser and never made sexually harassing remarks. Ogling is so out of character for him, Martinez testified, that he tried doing it in the mirror and broke into laughter.

"I wouldn't know what an ogle is," Martinez said. "How I would do an ogle I don't know."

Martinez, a 32-year city employee, was fired in June from his $116,000-a-year post after allegations that he touched a clerk typist on three occasions and leered at and made suggestive comments to other women in the office.

As the allegations were repeated by his attorney, Martinez forcefully denied each of them. He acknowledged that he may have complimented some women on their apparel, but he said he does the same for men and does not consider the comments sexual.

"I don't think I'm seductive or gross in my conversations," he said.

Martinez said he did take a clerk typist into a bar after a staff lunch, but he said his intentions were honorable. The woman alleged that Martinez bought her drinks and touched her thigh. Martinez said he took her there to sober up because she had had too much to drink during lunch.

"I had made the decision that she was embarrassingly intoxicated," Martinez said. "My intention was to . . . sober her up."

Martinez argued that his dismissal was part of a political dispute between Bradley and Martinez. The clerk, ignoring Bradley's objections, placed a measure on the ballot that Bradley mistakenly signed. The measure, to Bradley's displeasure, reduced the mayor's power over city commissions.

The months-long appeal process is scheduled to wind up this week. Hearing officer Nancy Roberts Londsdale will make a recommendation to the Civil Service Commission, which will decide whether to overturn Martinez's dismissal.

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