Moderator: Mod Squad
Exclusive: 2 women accused Herman Cain of inappropriate behavior
By JONATHAN MARTIN & MAGGIE HABERMAN & ANNA PALMER & KENNETH P. VOGEL | 10/31/11 12:48 AM EDT
[I moved the last part of the article to the front of the article. – Donna Garner]
Ron Magruder, Denise Marie Fugo and Joseph Fassler, the chair, vice chair and immediate past chairman of the National Restaurant Association board of directors at the time of Cain’s departure, said they hadn’t heard about any complaints regarding Cain making unwanted advances.
“I have never heard that. It would be news to me,” said Fugo, who runs a Cleveland, Ohio, catering company, adding such behavior would be totally out of character for the Cain she knew. “He’s very gracious.”
Fassler, who helped bring Cain on board as CEO of the restaurant association, said that any inappropriate behavior was not brought to his attention and that he would be upset to learn it had gone on and he was not made aware of it.
“That’s a shock to me,” Fassler said. “As an officer during all of Herman’s years there as a paid executive… none of that stuff ever surfaced to me. Nobody ever called me, complained about this, nor did I ever hear that from Peter Kilgore, nor did I ever hear that from Herman Cain.”
Fassler – who ran a Phoenix food-service company and finished his term as chairman the month before Cain’s June 1999 departure but remained on the board’s executive committee – described Cain as treating men and women identically and asserted it was “not within his character” to make unwanted advances. “It’s not what I know of him,” Fassler said.
Much like Fassler, almost all board members remember Cain fondly and say he left on good terms.
Cain was “extremely professional” and “fair” to female staffers at the restaurant association, recalled Lee Ellen Hayes, who said she “worked fairly closely with” Cain in the late 1990s, when she was an executive at the National Restaurant Association Education Fund, a Chicago-based offshoot of the group.
Cain’s treatment of women was “the same as his treatment of men. Herman treated everyone great,” said Mary Ann Cricchio, who was elected to the board of the restaurant group in 1998. She said Cain left such a good impression on the organization that when he spoke at a group event in January of this year, as he was considering a presidential bid, “he had unanimous support in the room.”
Revelations about the settlements come as members of the association’s board planned to meet this month to talk about ways to use the organization’s clout to boost Cain’s campaign.
Ideas to be discussed included making a donation to Cain from the organization’s political action committee, which typically doesn’t contribute to presidential campaigns, and, more significantly, organizing a fundraiser for his campaign.
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