By OLGA R. RODRIGUEZ | Related Press
SAN FRANCISCO — A civil lawsuit introduced in opposition to California Treasurer Fiona Ma by a high-ranking former worker who alleges Ma made sexual advances towards her earlier than firing her can go to trial, a decide dominated Thursday.
Judith Blackwell, the previous head of the California Tax Credit score Allocation Committee, alleged sexual harassment, racial discrimination and wrongful termination within the lawsuit, which was filed in July 2021, six months after she was fired. Ma has mentioned the allegations are with out benefit and filed a movement to dismiss the case.
The lawsuit alleged that Ma usually rented lodge rooms and a house in Sacramento for workers to remain in after working late. Blackwell mentioned that whereas sharing rooms, Ma referred to as her into her bed room a number of occasions, uncovered her nude bottom and climbed into Blackwell’s mattress together with her at the least as soon as.
Ma’s movement for dismissal mentioned the incidents weren’t sexual in nature and as a substitute typical of what occurs when folks share a dwelling area.
In his ruling, first reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, Sacramento County Superior Court docket Choose Christopher Krueger dismissed Blackwell’s allegations of racial discrimination and wrongful termination. Krueger mentioned the state treasurer’s workplace offered proof that Blackwell, who’s African American, was fired based mostly on job efficiency.
However the decide mentioned that Blackwell’s allegations, if believed by a jury, might set up that Ma sexually harassed her.
Ma spokesman Steve Maviglio mentioned Friday that her workplace is “happy that plenty of the allegations had been thrown out and that the treasurer can have her day in courtroom.”
“The allegations are meritless by a disgruntled worker, and we sit up for having them confirmed false,” he added.
Blackwell suffered a stroke in September 2020 that put her out of labor for 2 months. When she returned, she was given further duties that usually saved her at work late, Blackwell’s lawsuit mentioned.
Ma, a Democrat, served on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and was elected state treasurer in 2018. The treasurer manages state investments, serves on the board of its pension funds and oversees packages that present tax credit for reasonably priced housing and financing for public works initiatives.
Ma was additionally beforehand elected to the Board of Equalization and the state Meeting. She has mentioned she plans to run for lieutenant governor in 2026.