FRANKFORT (LEX 18) — A Kentucky House Republican employee has filed a whistleblower suit claiming that she was retaliated against for reporting an "inappropriate sexual relationship" between then-House Speaker Jeff Hoover and a woman in his office.
The suit filed by Communications Director Daisy Olivo also alleges that Hoover and GOP leaders used money from "prominent campaign donors" to secretly settle the harassment claim.
Hoover, in a statement released by his lawyer, called the allegations lies and took aim at Olivo.
"I have never engaged in sexual contact of any kind with any staff member during my 21 years in Frankfort," Hoover declares in the statement. "Never."
Olivo says in her whistleblower lawsuit filed Monday in Franklin Circuit Court that she had her duties taken away after disclosing the details of the relationship.
Olivo's lawsuit contradicts Hoover and investigators retained by House leadership about the nature of the relationship and how the settlement was paid.
Hoover, a Jamestown Republican, admitted making mistakes but denied any sexual relations or harassment when he resigned as speaker.
The Legislative Research Committee would not make comment to LEX 18.
Later Monday, Kentucky House Speaker Pro Tempore David Osborne — in a statement somewhat ironically issued by Olivo — said: "With the Ethics Commission involved and now a lawsuit that will make even more text messages and e-mail communications discoverable, I am more confident than ever we will ultimately get the full truth about what happened."
In the statement, Osborne says he will not comment on pending legislation, but notes: "I’m disgusted by this entire mess and want to reassure Kentucky taxpayers that we remain committed to our actual work."
Hoover's statement made a point of calling out Olivo, though not by name, saying: "The only staff person who refused to cooperate (with an outside investigation) has now filed suit making untrue, false statements."
"I welcome the investigation by the Legislative Ethics Commission," Hoover said. "I look forward to certain persons having to answer questions under oath."