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32BJ Labor Union Pulls Endorsement of Micah Kellner After Sex Allegations

By  Eliza Fawcett and Seth Maxon | August 15, 2013 8:43am 

 Assemblyman Micah Kellner lost the endorsement of the 32BJ SEIU labor union.
Assemblyman Micah Kellner lost the endorsement of the 32BJ SEIU labor union.
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DNAinfo/Aidan Gardiner

UPPER EAST SIDE — Assemblyman Micah Kellner took another hit to his City Council campaign Wednesday when one of the city's largest largest labor unions dropped its support due to accusations of sexual misconduct.

The 32BJ SEIU labor union, which represents the city's building workers, joined the growing chorus of Kellner’s ex-supporters when it announced its unanimous vote to rescind its endorsement. 

Kellner, who is running for the District 5 City Council seat on the Upper East Side, has been losing endorsements left and right after allegations of sexual harassment surfaced against him.

“Given the allegations against Kellner, we cannot in good conscience continue to support his candidacy, and call on him to withdraw from the race," said Kyle Bragg, secretary-treasurer of 32BJ SEIU, in a statement. “We are deeply disappointed, and do this with a measure of sadness, but it is the right thing to do.”

In 2009, a complaint was lodged against Kellner by a young female staff member who accused the assemblyman of sexual misconduct. Kellner told the New York Observer’s Politicker blog that he regretted sending the staffer sexually suggestive messages via online chat while playing Facebook Scrabble with her. Kellner, who is now married, said he was single when he sent the messages.

According to a report by The New York Times, a Democratic lawyer in the Assembly withheld the documents accusing Kellner of this behavior from the state’s Joint Commission on Public Ethics. The second complaint, allegedly from a male staffer, accused Kellner of making inappropriate comments in the office.

The 75,000-member-strong labor union has instead chosen to support Ben Kallos, whom Bragg called a “hard-working progressive who has always fought for the rights of working men and women.”

Kellner's campaign office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.