MILTON, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A former town supervisor accused by his secretary of sexual harassment is telling his side of the story.
A secretary to former Milton Town Supervisor Dan Lewza accused him of sending explicit texts and making unwanted advances. Lewza is responding to the lawsuit filed against him.
“People don’t even know me,” he said. “I don’t even know who these people are saying the most awful rotten things about me.”
Lewza now has a marred reputation after spending 21 years in politics. He was the former chief of staff for then-assemblyman Steve McLaughlin. Most recently, he was the Milton town supervisor. That’s where he’s accused of harassing his longtime secretary Theresa Wilson.
Wilson filed a lawsuit against Lewza on Tuesday in New York State Supreme Court. The lawsuit outlines Lewza’s alleged behavior that she claims began in 2012 with an explicit text: “I want to show you my —.”
“I text something that I shouldn’t have texted, but so did she,” Lewza said. “It was a two-way street, and when I text, it was completely taken out of context.”
Lewza said it was in jest, but Wilson’s attorney, Mark McCarthy, said there’s no excuse.
“The obvious, which is, he was her boss,” McCarthy said. “It was not a two-way street.”
The suit said the abuse went further than texts with comments on Wilson’s appearance and kissing. Lewza denies it all. He said their friendly relationship continued long after the alleged harassment.
“Would you continue to text me?” Lewza said. “Would you continue to correspond with me? Would you continue to have lunch with me?”
McCarthy said that was part of Wilson’s healing process after years of harassment that took a toll on her well-being.
“She put on 100 pounds; she had other health issues that her doctor said were stress related,” McCarthy said.
The lawsuit came as a surprise to Lewza after Wilson had agreed to a settlement in 2016 that included $10,000 and a job with the county – a job she never got.
“She signed off with it, and now she wants to come back and get another bite of the apple,” Lewza said.
McCarthy said Wilson didn’t get the job she was promised as part of the settlement, so she had to take action.
The defendant is suing for money damages as determined by a trial. Lewza and the town have a month to respond or try to get the case thrown out.