New details have come out about the sexual harassment complaint one former National Restaurant Association employee filed against then-CEO Herman Cain in the late 1990s.
The New York Times is reporting that the woman complained after she and several other staff members went out drinking with Cain one night, and Cain allegedly flirted with her and suggested that she leave with him. Afterward, her bosses' attitude toward her changed, prompting her to take a settlement to leave the organization. The new information comes from several anonymous sources who spoke to the Times in separate interviews.
She was uncomfortable, and it was inappropriate from the start. He was persistent, one source, whom The Times described as having direct knowledge of her [the accuser's] account at the time, said.
The woman, who received $35,000, or a year's pay, to leave her job at the National Restaurant Association and not speak about the allegations, is about 20 years younger than Cain, The Times reported.
Politico reported on Thursday that a second woman received a $45,000 settlement. Cain has acknowledged that settlement but maintains that the allegations were baseless. He has not, however, acknowledged that there was more than one settlement.
According to Politico, after the two women complained, the restaurant association's general counsel, Peter Kilgore, investigated them. Kilgore has not commented on the story.
A third former employee came forward on Wednesday to say that Cain had sexually harassed her as well, at one point inviting her back to his corporate apartment, and that she had considered filing a complaint but decided against it.
Cain Vehemently Denies Wrongdoing
Cain has vehemently denied any wrongdoing, saying that he never invited any employees back to his apartment and would never have commented on a woman's appearance unless I know them well enough to know they won't take it the wrong way.
Thomas Kershaw, who was chairman of the restaurant association's board for part of Cain's tenure as CEO, told The New York Times that the Cain he knew would not have sexually harassed anyone, although some of his jokes might have been misinterpreted.
Herman is kind of a kidder, kind of a jokester, particularly when he's in a relaxed situation, Kershaw said. I think some people misunderstood what he was saying or what his intent was.
Five days after Politico broke the story on Sunday, almost all of the information about the alleged sexual harassment incidents continues to come from anonymous sources, but there are indications that at least one of the accusers may come forward as early as Friday.
Ultimately, the presence or lack of named sources could determine whether Cain's campaign can move past the allegations.