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For the complaints made by the other two women, the source said the burden of proof had not been met. Possible punishment for the controversial councilman elected in 2001 could range from censure to expulsion, and the source said the full Council will vote on the matter in two weeks with a simple yes or no vote. A vote on such a matter has never been taken before, a Council spokesman said.While the committee has already decided what penalty it will recommend, the source said he did not know what decision members had reached and did not know which specific charges Jennings had been found guilty of. Committee members are not allowed to speak about the case, which will remain behind closed doors until it goes to the full Council.Neither Jennings nor his lawyer, Manhattan attorney Robert Ellis, could be reached for comment. In earlier statements both the councilman and his lawyer have said the five female accusers were not attractive enough to have been romantically approached by the Jennings, proving his innocence. The Standards and Ethics Committee hearing began Sept. 23 after complaints were lodged by two of Jennings' former staffers and two Council employees as well as from a female councilwoman. In addition to allegedly creating a hostile work environment and misconduct, the councilman was also charged with improper use of resources and two counts of improper termination. Jennings is up for re-election this year. During his first term, he was removed from the Finance Committee because he opposed a compromise on a property tax hike and came under attack for releasing the names of undercover officers. He also placed ads in two Chinese-language newspapers detailing his relationships with his former wife and another Asian woman.In his second term, he lost his seat on the Council's Civil Service and Labor Committee and faced a Campaign Finance Board lawsuit. Jennings also threw a piece of metal at a Fox 5 news reporter in January.Reach reporter Michael Morton by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 154.
©2005 Community Newspaper Group
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