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Warren County Democratic Chairman Tom Palmieri.

Palmieri marshals Democratic women in defense against harassment accusation

Politico: Rotondi accuses Warren chair of harassment, inappropriate comments

By Nikita Biryukov, May 21 2020 6:00 pm

Warren County Democratic Chairman Tom Palmieri marshalled a group of Democratic women to defend against a sexual assault allegation leveled against him by Sussex County Democratic Chairwoman Katie Rotondi Thursday.

“We have known Tom Palmieri as a friend and colleague for decades and his character, integrity and reputation is unimpeachable,” 21 Democratic women tapped by Palmieri said in a joint statement. “We know we share our outrage at these baseless and irresponsible allegations with anyone who has ever known Chairman Palmieri.”

On Thursday, Politico New Jersey reported Rotondi’s accusations against Palmieri, which include claims of sexual harassment and a charge that the Warren chairman joked about drugging her drink during a fundraiser at Gov. Phil Murphy’s home.

Palmieri has denied the allegations.

“After a lifetime of public service and progressive activism in New Jersey, this baseless and unfounded attack on my reputation and character is extremely disturbing and distressing,” he said in a statement. “These false allegations have been manufactured from whole cloth.”

The chairman did not respond to a 3:23 p.m. call seeking comment.

Most prominent among the chairman’s defender is Clinton Mayor Janice Kovach, who is also secretary of the New Jersey Democratic State Committee.

While Kovach did not sign onto the joint statement, she put out her own in support of Palmieri.

“I have known Tom Palmieri for 15 years, and over those years he has always shown a professionalism to all that he worked with,” Kovach said. “He has never treated any woman differently and is one of the men who has done all he can to support women in the political and government sphere. His commitment to empowering women began with his daughters and continues throughout his tenure as county chair.”

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