STUDIO CITY (CBSLA) — It’s been a quick fall from grace for a state lawmaker who was once a legislative leader in the #MeToo movement since a former staffer accused her of sexual impropriety. Now, she faces a second allegation.
Democratic Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia of Bell Gardens has been on voluntary, unpaid leave since Feb. 9, after former Capitol staffer Daniel Fierro accused her of groping him at a legislative softball game in 2014.
Now, a former field representative for Garcia has filed a complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, alleging the assemblywoman for District 58 urged staffers to play spin the bottle at an alcohol-fueled hotel party in 2014.
According to court documents, when claimant David Kernick complained to Garcia about the incident, she retaliated against him.
“That’s when he felt as though his days were numbered and that he was being targeted,” Kernick’s attorney Dan Gilleon told CBS2 News.
Garcia ultimately fired Kernick.
“Prior to working for Ms. Garcia, he loved working in politics. After…, [he] felt as though he had lost [his] dream job working in his chosen field,” court documents read.
Kernick is also one of four ex-staffers who last week sent an open letter to the state assembly saying Garcia drank in the office and bragged about her sex life.
“Ms. Garcia has been acting for so long like she’s a, you know, hero of the ‘Me Too’ movement, and they just knew that wasn’t anywhere near the truth,” Gilleon told reporters.
As for Garcia, she said in a Facebook post, “I am confident I have consistently treated my staff fairly and respectfully.”
In Tuesday’s upcoming broadcast of “CBS This Morning,” Garcia said she has done less and less socializing over the years.
When asked about allegations of having a beer keg in her office, Garcia responded, “I think there’s a lot of different offices up there that have alcohol in their offices, and we all partake in different ways and at different times. I always try to have a professional setting in my office.”
“CBS This Morning” airs at 7 a.m. on CBS2.