Former Rep. Eric Massa (D-N.Y.), who left the House in scandal after revealing he’d engaged in tickle fights with his young male aides, is now claiming he was the victim of a plot to remove him from office, an upstate New York newspaper reports.
According to the Elmira Star-Bulletin, Massa blames for his demise his former chief of staff, Joseph Racalto. Racalto, Massa claims in documents submitted to the House Standards committee, forged Massa’s signature on a document authorizing a $28,000 raise for himself and improperly withdrew $40,000 from Massa’s campaign account after the Massa scandal erupted but the day before resigned.
Massa has said he didn’t authorize the $40,000 payment, but an attorney for Racalto, who first accused Massa of sexually harassing his staff, dismissed that claim.
The House Ethics Committee still has an open investigation into the Massa case.
Massa sued Racalto in March. The two sides are scheduled to appear in court today.
Racalto’s attorneys declined to comment to the Star-Bulletin.
Massa was the first in a string of New York members of Congress forced out of office due to sex scandals in recent years. Since his resignation, Rep. Christopher Lee quit after e-mailing a shirtless photo of himself to a woman he met on Craigslist and Rep. Anthony Weiner resigned after it was revealed he engaged in graphic sexual cyberchats with a series of women.