MEN Say MAYOR Made Advances

(Associated Press--Utica, NY- Buffalo Evening News)

Four men have accused Utica Mayor Ed Hanna of sexual Harassment.The men, two former and two current city employees, claim the 78 year old mayor made unwelcome sexual advances as a term of their employment.

"The basis of the claims are allegations of sexual harassment at the workplace that was a condition of employment," Frank Policelli, the attorney representing the four men saif Thursday. "(Hanna) made unwelcome advances toward all of the men and had contact with at least one of them."

Policelli filed a notice of claim Wednesday as a prelude to a federal lawsuit. When the lawsuit is filed in 30days, a dollar amount will be stated, he said.

The plaintiffs are Joseph Pouliot, 23, of Holland Patent; Joseph DiPierro, 22 of Utica; Nathan Newman 24, of Utica; and Patrick Van Etten, 35, also of Utica. Pouliot and Newman are still employed by the city. Three of the four at one time held the title of assistant to the mayor, Policelli said.

"They were all there (working in the mayor's office) at different times, " Policelli said. "But their testimony will be substantially the same as far as a pattern of conduct. The office was used merely as a way of satisfying his sexual desires."

Policelli said one incident allegedly happened May 16, after one of the plaintiffs had been on the job for only a week. "He was able to record a conversation with the mayor(after the incident), which helped substantiate his claim," Policelli said, adding that he also had a second tape to use for evidence. "I think we've got a pretty strong case."

Hanna denied the allegations. "Its a scam, loaded with outrageous lies," the mayor said in a statement.