Ex-NY pol Jeff Klein slammed as ‘tone deaf’ for Capitol visit despite sex harassment probe

Former state Senate powerbroker Jeff Klein was back in Albany Wednesday advocating on behalf of the “disabled” despite a years-long cloud of scandal hanging over his head, stoking outrage from a former staffer who accused him of sexual misconduct.

“Jeff Klein, who sexually harassed me while I worked for him, is at the Capitol today –– his old stomping grounds. Still under an ethics investigation, he’s allowed to stroll around the institution where he abused his power,” Erica Vladimer, who accused Klein in 2018 of forcibly kissing her outside an Albany bar when she worked for him in 2015, tweeted in dismay Wednesday.

“I’m getting used to seeing folks ‘from back then’: The former colleague who helped cover it up, the ex-best friend who stopped speaking to me after I spoke publicly. But this is … different. This elicits the anger I know many others carry while trying to move on,” she added.

Klein, who has denied Vladimer’s accusation, told The Post as he left the Capitol that he had meetings in the building on Wednesday to discuss issues affecting “the disabled” –before hurrying off when asked about Vladimer’s comments.

The seven-term legislator was once among the most powerful people in New York politics while he led a breakaway group of Democratic senators – called the Independent Democratic Conference – that allied with Republicans to hold control of the state Senate.


Jeff Klein in a suit and tie looking at the camera with a green background
Ex-state Sen. Jeff Klein abruptly cut off a Wednesday interview with The Post when asked about allegations of sexual harassment from a former staffer.
AP

But the accusation by Vladimer – first reported by HuffPost in January 2018 – likely contributed to his defeat later that year after progressives targeted him and other Democrats who were part of the group, which officially dissolved in April 2018.

An ethics investigation was launched soon after Vladimer, who co-founded the Sexual Harassment Working Group that helped push Albany lawmakers to update state sexual harassment laws, came forward with no end in sight five years later.

A spokesperson for the New York State Commission on Ethics and Lobbying in Government did not respond to a request for comment about the progress of the five-year-old probe that remains officially ongoing.

Klein in the past five years has established himself in the political consulting business, with state filings showing him repping a range of clients at his current gig at Allied Government Affairs, including Grubhub, medical facilities and the Community Housing Improvement Program backed by landlords.

“Hiring Jeff Klein to lobby state government would be a great idea if it’s ever 2013 again. Back then his Republican friends controlled the Senate and his buddy [ex-Gov. Andrew Cuomo] was at the top of his game,” an Albany insider said. “Nowadays? Not so much.


Erica Vladimer headshot next to someone else who is cropped out of frame
Former state Senate staffer Erica Vladimer has said that Klein forcibly kissed her outside an Albany bar in 2015.

It remains unclear what specific clients Klein, who was barred from lobbying former colleagues for two years after his 2018 loss, might have been working for while he lobbied at the Capitol on Wednesday.

“Gov staffers are now subjected to his vitriol and potential harassment. I will forever hold my breath when I walk the same halls (which will be a lot). Meanwhile, Klein is dragging out the ethics investigation (5 f—ing years), evading any level of accountability. I’m tired,” Vladimer tweeted.

The Albany insider said that whoever Klein might have been representing, his clients might better spend their money with someone who is still under investigation for alleged breaches of legislative ethics.

“The only thing more tone deaf than Jeff Klein lobbying in the Capitol would be if he went into business with Andrew Cuomo and Donald Trump to lobby the Legislature,” the insider said.

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