Auto magnate and Ohio Republican congressional candidate Tom Ganley is facing a civil suit from a woman accusing him of attempted rape and sexual assault, according to The Cleveland Plain Dealer.
“I came to you as a customer and you treated me like a hooker,” she wrote to Ganley in a letter on October 9, 2009. “You are no different than the Democrats.”
“These are baseless allegations, the only motive being to extort money and to cause political harm to a good and decent man,” Ganley’s lawyer, Steve Dever, told the Plain Dealer. “Tom Ganley is not the type of person who’s going to back down from threats and be extorted for financial gain.”
TPM’s call to Ganley’s campaign office was not immediately returned.
The woman, a married mother of four described in the suit as “a conservative Republican and a fervent believer in Christian Family Values, an ardent supporter of Right to Life, and a dedicated opponent of abortion,” says in the suit that she met Ganley on July 3, 2009, when he was still running for Senate (he switched races in February), at a Tea Party rally in Cleveland. There, she says she introduced herself to Ganley, and he told her that one of his goals if elected was to end legal abortion. She said she was interested in volunteering for his campaign.
According to the suit, Ganley and the woman met twice more in July to discuss her working for his campaign, possibly also working at his dealerships, and about the interest rate on a van she had purchased from one of his dealerships. At their second meeting, Ganley allegedly told her she needed to have more “fun” in her life, and that he and his wife live on different sides of their house. (Ganley’s campaign website says he and his wife met in elementary school, and have been married for 45 years.) The suit says Ganley then told the woman he wanted her to work for his campaign in a paid capacity.
According to the suit, the pair met for the last time on August 1, after Ganley called the woman and offered to take care of some repairs on the van she owned. The suit says that after the woman dropped off the van at the service department, the two went to Ganley’s office, where he told her he wanted to have “fun” with her, and take her to a condo he owned and parade her around on a leash in front of his friends. He allegedly gave her a $100 bill to buy high heels, a thong and lingerie. The suit states the woman could not leave because the repairs on her van were not finished. Ganley then allegedly approached her, kissed her, groped her and stuck his hand down her pants. He allegedly tried to pull her into the bathroom, and then stopped after she told him she was menstruating. After the service department called to say the work on the van was done, she left.
The “free” billing statement for August 1 was attached to the suit. The suit claims that she did not file a police report at the time because she was afraid no one would believe her, and feared for her safety. On October 9, she delivered a letter to Ganley, along with the $100 bill he allegedly gave her on August 1. In the letter, she referenced Ganley’s language and behavior, but not the alleged assault, because she believed if she did, he would take it as a threat.
According to the Plain Dealer, the letter states:
“I came to you as a customer and you treated me like a hooker,” she wrote. “On one hand here’s this man I respect, who’s helping me and then I felt at the same time that I was being completely taken advantage of.”
“You are no different than the Democrats,” she wrote.
The suit seeks damages in excess of $25,000. According to the suit, the woman obtained a lawyer for the matter in October 2009, and a five-hour private mediation session on Sept. 13 did not reach a resolution.
Read the rest from the Plain Dealer here.
Eric Lach is a reporter for TPM. From 2010 to 2011, he was a news writer in charge of the website’s front page. He has previously written for The Daily, NewYorker.com, GlobalPost and other publications. He can be reached at ericl(at)talkingpointsmemo.com