JACKSON, Miss. — A former executive assistant is suing the mayor of Jackson, Mississippi, saying she had an affair with him and then was fired after she ended the relationship. The city called the lawsuit “vicious” and a “political ploy.”
Kimberly V. Bracey alleges sexual harassment in the federal lawsuit filed Thursday. She says she had a consensual sexual relationship with Mayor Tony Yarber and was fired from her city job when she ended it.
The suit also says Yarber, who is married, made inappropriate sexual comments about other women.
The city issued a statement saying officials are aware of the “vicious and scandalous lawsuit filed by a former disgruntled employee.”
“When appropriate, the City of Jackson, Mayor Tony T. Yarber and city personnel will seek all available remedies against Mrs. Bracey and possibly others, for this egregious character assassination and political ploy,” the statement said.
Yarber, a 38-year-old Democrat, is a pastor and motivational speaker. He was elected in April 2014 to fill the unexpired term of Mayor Chokwe Lumumba, who died a few months after taking office in Mississippi’s capital city. Yarber is expected to seek re-election in 2017.
The mayor said on social media in 2015 that the power of prayer could solve infrastructure problems in a city with aging water pipes and roads pitted with potholes because of poor soil conditions and a tight city budget.
“I believe we can pray potholes away,” Yarber said on Twitter in August 2015. “Moses prayed and a sea opened up. #iseeya #itrustHim #prayerworks.”
The lawsuit says Bracey was hired as Yarber’s executive assistant on April 24, 2014. She separated from her husband the next month and moved in with a woman who was the city attorney. It says Bracey reconciled with husband in July 2014, moved back into the family home and ended her affair with Yarber.
The lawsuit says, however, that Bracey was transferred to be supervised by other city employees and that Yarber pressured her to continue their relationship “by making it clear she could be terminated if she did not have sex with him.” Bracey was the sole source of income from her family and could not find another comparable job, the lawsuit says.
Bracey was forced to attend political fundraisers for Yarber in 2014 in New Orleans and Atlanta, and strippers were present at the events, the lawsuit says. It says that Bracey was fired from her city job in April 2015 after she decided to stop the mayor’s advances on her, and that the mayor falsely accused her of improperly using city computers to work on a campaign flyer for her husband. It does not mention her husband’s name or what office he sought.
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