(WBEN/AP) A few days after he stepped down and avoided a state Assembly Ethics committee probe, Depew Democrat Dennis Gabryszak is apparently facing another state probe, that is not focused on the sexual harassment charges that triggered his resignation Sunday.
The Albany Times Union says the state' Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) has indirectly contacted some of the 7 women who accuse Gabryszak of sexual harassment.
The commission has the power to look at things like improper use of state funds or resources, and in the past is has conducted those kind of probes on other assemblymen charged with sexual harassment.
On Tuesday, the paper that first reported on the sexual harassment charges against Gabryszak wrote:
A lawyer for one of seven women who filed complaints against the Depew Democrat said she was contacted on Monday by an investigator with the Joint Commission on Public Ethics.
The investigator, Peter Smith of JCOPE's Buffalo office, did not return a message left on his voicemail system. JCOPE spokesman John Milgrim said he had no comment.
..... If, for instance, Gabryszak used his state computer, cellphone or other equipment for personal activities, he could be found in violation of the Public Officers Law.
The 62-year-old Democrat announced his retirement Sunday. He said his decision was based on the impact the scandal has had on his family and the Assembly's work.
In recent notices of claim against Gabryszak, he is accused of grabbing one woman and trying to kiss her and of telling another during a 2012 incident that, "You're so hot, you know what I want to do with you." The notices are the first step toward a lawsuit.
The earlier claims also suggested that Gabryszak had shown some female staffers inappropriate pictures or videos on his computer.
In his statement Sunday, Gabryszak acknowledged engaging in "mutual banter and exchanges" that were "inappropriate in the workplace." But he said it never rose to the level of sexual harassment.
Gabryszak's announcement came a day before the Assembly was set to begin its first full day of the 2014 legislative session Monday afternoon.