A woman who claimed that Herman Cain harassed her sexually during an alcohol-soaked lunch received a payout of $45,000 when she quit her job at the National Restaurant Association, it was reported on Thursday.
The amount for the woman, who has been described as just a couple of years out of college, seems to fly in the face of Cain’s claim that she received only two or three months’ salary.
The figure, given by the website Politico, is $10,000 more than a second, more senior, woman is reported to have received. Politico is the site that originally broke the harassment story that has threatened to derail Cain’s bid for the Republican nomination for the White House.
That woman, who claimed that Cain invited her to his hotel room during a conference in Chicago, is said to have received $35,000, which The New York Times said was the equivalent of a full year’s pay.
If the $45,000 figure is proved accurate, it would open Cain up to more allegations that he has been hiding the truth on his past. He initially said he knew nothing about any payoffs, then said his accuser got the equivalent of a regular termination agreement “Maybe three months' salary. I don't remember. It might have been two months’,” he told Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren on Monday.
Chris Wilson, a pollster who worked for the association in the late 1990s when the incidents are alleged to have occurred, told an Oklahoma radio station that Cain’s actions in the restaurant were so bad that if the woman came forward with details it would probably end the former pizza mogul’s campaign. Wilson now works for Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s presidential campaign.
Neither of the women has been identified publicly, nor have they issued any statements about the allegations and subsequent payoffs, as they are bound by confidentiality agreements they signed in return for the money at the time the left the association.
Joel Bennett, the lawyer for the Chicago hotel woman, has written to the association asking that his client be released from the agreement as, he says, Cain has breached its terms by talking about it.
Association spokeswoman Sue Hensley said on Thursday, “Our outside counsel was contacted by Mr. Bennett today and was asked to provide a response to a proposed statement by tomorrow afternoon. We are currently reviewing the document, and we plan to respond tomorrow."
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