California Treasurer Fiona Ma is facing a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by a former employee. According to a Sacramento Bee investigation, expense reports show that Ma would often share hotel rooms with staff in order to "save money" when traveling. Judith Blackwell, who no longer works in the treasurer's office, is accusing Ma of sexual harassment when the two women shared rooms.
"A Sacramento Bee review of travel documents found that sharing lodging with staff was a common practice for Ma, who is facing a lawsuit filed by a different employee, who no longer works in the office. The worker accused her of sexual harassment when the two women shared hotel rooms."
Blackwell, the former director of the California Tax Credit Allocation Committee, says in the filing that Ma exposed herself and crawled into the same bed as her at a hotel and rental property they shared. The Bee article included a part of a statement from the lawsuit:
“During the time Ms. Ma shared a room with Plaintiff (Blackwell), she exposed her bare rear end directly to Plaintiff on multiple occasions. Ms. Ma’s actions were intentional and not accidental, and it was done to get Plaintiff’s attention. Plaintiff was uncomfortable and was fearful to comment on Ms. Ma’s lewd behavior.”
Ma faced another sexual harassment complaint back in July from the same former employee, saying Ma would gift her jewelry, paintings, and edible marijuana and often invited her to dinners that went late into the night. Ma would then invite Blackwell to stay in the hotel paid for by Ma instead of driving back to the Bay Area. Blackwell was first hired in September of 2019 and has since been fired and she has filed a wrongful termination complaint.
In the Bee articles, Ma claims the lawsuit is baseless and the complaints against her are not true. Ma says she looks forward to "bringing the truth to light in court" and that she refuses to settle the lawsuit.