Maloy’s hearing delayed

Leon County Commissioner Rudy Maloy was expected to take the stand during the fourth day of his sexual harassment hearing before the Florida Commission on Ethics Wednesday.

Maloy had not yet decided whether he wanted to testify in his own defense of the sexual harassment allegations, which could lead to his suspension or removal from the commission.

Instead, Maloy’s lawyer Bruce Minnick spent the better part of the morning questioning inspector Michael O’Connell about the findings of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s investigation.

One of the questions he asked was: “Do you have any first hand knowledge of Mr. Maloy sexually harassing anybody, after investigating and talking to all these witnesses?”

O’Connell simply answered no. He also answered no to the question of whether he had ever heard a witness say anything about sexual battery.

O’Connell then went on to testify that Maloy’s sexual encounters with two of the women that the allegations involve were found to be consensual. These two women were County Commission Cliff Thaell’s former aide Denise Williams and Maloy’s former aide Ophelia Morris.

In the case of his former aide Tina Williams, who was employed by Maloy in the latter part of 1999, they did not have sex, but there was some intense pressure to, which made her stay there unpleasant.

“She said she felt uncomfortable almost immediately on the job,” said O’Connell about what Williams expressed to him during a previous interrogation. “I recall her saying several occasions Mr. Maloy would come into her office and kind of look her up and down and make her feel uncomfortable.”

The complaint filed in January 2001 by Eugene Danaher with the Florida Commission on Ethics, which is the reason for the hearing itself, involves a total of four women.

In February, the commission voted in favor of requesting an FDLE investigation into the complaint.

Minnick therefore tried to argue in the afternoon that County Commissioners Cliff Thaell, Tony Grippa and Bob Rackleff voted for the investigation because of their personal or political hostility towards Maloy.

All three of there testimonies proved otherwise.

“There are so many votes that we take on any given night (and) if I decided that somebody who opposed me in one vote was my adversary and then I was going to go do something to them, then you just cannot be successful,” Thaell said.

The hearing will continue today at 9 a.m. with possibility again of Maloy testifying on his own behalf.