AP: Massa Says He Didn’t Approve Pay Raise or Check

Posted April 17, 2010 at 12:49pm

Updated: April 19, 6:01 p.m.

Ex-Rep. Eric Massa (D-N.Y.) on Saturday fired back at former Chief of Staff Joe Racalto, claiming that someone forged the lawmaker’s signature on a form increasing the staffer’s salary by $40,000, the Associated Press reported.

Racalto’s attorney confirmed Friday evening that the former staffer has filed a sexual harassment complaint against Massa with the Congressional Office of Compliance.

Massa also denied authorizing a $40,000 check to Racalto from his campaign account, according to a statement released to the Associated Press by Massa’s attorney.

“The amount of $40,000 was determined solely by Mr. Racalto,” the statement said. “Mr. Racalto never communicated the $40,000 amount of the payment to Mr. Massa.”

According to the statement, “someone forged then-Congressman Massa’s signature on forms raising Mr. Racalto’s own salary as a member of the congressman’s personal staff from $120,000 per year to the maximum permissible level of $160,000.” The statement did not say when that happened.

“These matters continue to be under review and the appropriate authorities will be provided with all the relevant information,” according to the statement.

Massa’s attorney, Milo Silberstein, declined further comment, according to the AP.

Racalto’s lawyer, Camilla McKinney, said Friday that the check was a “deferred payment” for Racalto’s work on Massa’s 2010 re-election campaign and 2008 transition, according to the AP.

Racalto is still working in Massa’s former Congressional office, but he plans to leave May 1 to work for a nonprofit organization in New York, McKinney said.