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Miller denies acting slowly on Jennings conduct probe

Jennings has denied the allegations, and he and his chief of staff declined to comment on the latest developments.

A memo written by the female lawyer and dated Sept. 26, 2002 was leaked to City Hall reporters last week. According to published reports, the woman wrote that she told Miller during a May meeting that Jennings had called her a "f------ woman" several times during an angry phone call, grabbed her wrists while relating his sexual preferences and inviting her on dates.

During the meeting Miller assigned the woman to be the attorney for the Civil Service and Labor Committee, which Jennings headed at the time, reports said.

"She did not tell me of any inappropriate behavior on the part of Council member Jennings," Miller told a news conference last week.

Miller says he first heard of the complaints in August 2002, and he immediately reassigned the woman, a Council spokesman said. He said that he did not pursue an investigation then because the woman asked that the matter be dropped and kept confidential, the spokesman said.

Miller did launch a Council investigation as well as an independent probe of Jennings' behavior in late 2003, after two of the Jamaica lawmaker's former female aides filed a federal harassment and discrimination complaint against him. According to the allegations, which first surfaced at a December meeting of the Council's Standards and Ethics Committee, Jennings forced the staffers to clean his house on mornings that they picked him up.

The women, who no longer work for Jennings, also said they were made to sit in the front of the office and watch a continuous videotape of his television appearances, while male staffers were given desks away from the display, the committee member said.

The complaint also said Jennings made sexual jokes and gave one woman a Caribbean doll with a giant phallus after returning from a trip there, a committee member said. One woman said she was fired after she rejected romantic overtures from Jennings.

A city Department of Investigation probe into the claims was still pending, a spokeswoman said.

The independent report, compiled by Washington-based ADR Associates, was believed to be sent to the Ethics Committee members' homes and the panel was to review the report. Possible disciplinary actions could include censure or fines and would have to be voted on by the entire Council.

Reach reporter Courtney Dentch by e-mail at news@timesledger.com, or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.

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