WASHINGTON (The Blaze/AP) — A third former employee says she considered filing a workplace complaint over what she considered aggressive and unwanted behavior by Herman Cain when she worked for the presidential candidate in the 1990s. She says the behavior included a private invitation to his corporate apartment.
The woman said he made sexually suggestive remarks or gestures about the same time that two co-workers had settled separate harassment complaints against Cain, who was then the head of the National Restaurant Association.
She worked for the National Restaurant Association when he was its head. She told The Associated Press that Cain made sexually suggestive remarks or gestures about the same time that two co-workers had settled separate harassment complaints against him.
She did not file a formal complaint because she began having fewer interactions with Cain, she said. Afterward, she learned that a co-worker – one of the two women whose accusations have rocked Cain’s campaign this week – had already done so. She said she would have had to file if they hadn’t.
The woman spoke only on condition of anonymity, saying she feared retaliation. She was located and approached by the AP as part of its investigation into harassment complaints against Cain that were disclosed in recent days and have thrown his presidential campaign into turmoil. She said she was reluctant to describe the encounters she had with Cain when they worked together at the Washington-based restaurant trade group.
The employee described in conversations with the AP over several days situations in which she said Cain told her that he had confided to colleagues how attractive she was and invited her to his corporate apartment outside work.
His actions “were inappropriate, and it made me feel uncomfortable,” she said.
Asked for comment about the accusations, including the most recent, Cain spokesman J.D. Gordon said, “Mr. Cain has said over the past two days at public events that we could see other baseless allegations made against him as this appalling smear campaign continues.” Gordon added, “He has never acted in the way alleged by inside-the-Beltway media, and his distinguished record over 40 years spent climbing the corporate ladder speaks for itself.”
During an interview on Fox News earlier this week when the first reports surfaced, Cain said no future incidents would come to light.
“If more allegations come, I assure you people will simply make them up,” he said.
The AP confirmed that the employee worked at the restaurant association with Cain during the period in question, that she has no party affiliation in her voter registration in the past decade and is not identified as a donor in federal campaigns or local political campaigns. Records show she was registered as a Democrat at one point previously.
Meanwhile, an Oklahoma Republican political consultant came forward Wednesday claiming to have witnessed one of the reported sexual harassment incidents in the late 1990s. Chris Wilson told Oklahoma City’s KTOK radio station that if the woman behind the complaint comes forward to talk about what happened, it will be the end of Cain’s presidential campaign.
“I was the pollster at the National Restaurant Association when Herman Cain was head of it and I was around a couple of times when this happened and anyone who was involved with the NRA at the time, knew that this was gonna come up.”
Wilson described the woman as a low level staffer who was maybe two years out of college.
“This occurred at a restaurant in Crystal City (Virginia) and everybody was aware of it,” he continued. “It was only a matter of time because so many people were aware of what took place, so many people were aware of her situation, the fact she left — everybody knew with the campaign that this would eventually come up.”
Wilson would not discuss details of the incident, including what Cain said or did, citing legal reasons. But in an interview with Politico, he said Cain’s actions made others at the table uneasy.
“It was very uncomfortable,” Wilson said.
According to Politico, Wilson is a Rick Perry supporter and does polling for a political action committee that supports Perry’s presidential bid.
In an interview with Forbes posted Wednesday afternoon, Cain said he believes the Texas governor’s campaign is behind the slew of sexual harassment leaks — but not related to Wilson. He said he believes it’s Perry consultant Curt Anderson — who worked on Cain’s failed 2004 Senate campaign — who gave the story to Politico, which published the first reports.
Cain said he told Anderson about one case from his time at the National Restaurant Association that could potentially come up during his Senate bid — which contrasts initial statements made at the beginning of the week that he was not aware of any settlements.
“Those charges were baseless, but I thought he needed to know about them. I don’t recall anyone else being in the room when I told him,” Cain told Forbes.
Both Anderson and the Perry campaign categorically denied having anything to do with the leaks.
“I never heard about this story until I read about it in Politico. I have nothing but good things to say about Herman Cain. I’m not going to bad-mouth Herman Cain to anyone, on or off the record. I think he is a guy of great leadership and integrity,” Anderson told Forbes.
Perry spokesman Ray Sullivan said it was “patently untrue” that the Perry campaign was in any way responsible for Politico obtaining the story.
“No one at this campaign had anything to do with this story. We strongly reject the accusation, and learned of the allegations when we read Politico,” Sullivan told the Associated Press.
Instead, Sullivan suggested the Mitt Romney campaign could be behind it.
“I wouldn’t put it past them,” he told CBS, saying blogs have noted Cain’s Restaurant Association successor “is a big Romney donor.”
“There are much closer connections between the Restaurant Association, Cain and the Romney camp than there are with us,” he said.
This story has been updated since it was first posted.