One more woman claims Sen. Shooter ha­rassed her

Yuma Sun - - FRONT PAGE - BY HOWARD FIS­CHER

PHOENIX – An­other woman has come for­ward to the Ari­zona Capi­tol Times with de­tails of be­ing ha­rassed by Rep. Don Shooter.

Tara Zika, di­rec­tor of busi­ness de­vel­op­ment at Ash­ton Tif­fany LLC, a Phoenix-based in­sur­ance risk man­age­ment firm, told the news­pa­per that the 65-year-old Yuma Repub­li­can made sex­ual com­ments and ob­scene ges­tures at her dur­ing the Au­gust meet­ing of the League of Ari­zona

Ci­ties and Towns. That brings the tally now to nine who have come for­ward with sto­ries about Shooter.

Ac­cord­ing to the news­pa­per, Zika said she was stand­ing with some other men when they waved her over to their ta­ble. She said she left af­ter Shooter blew her a kiss and made a sex­u­ally sug­ges­tive com­ment about her legs.

Later at the con­fer­ence, she al­leges Shooter made a com­ment about want­ing to have sex with her.

Zika told the pa­per she rolled her eyes and kept walk­ing. But then, turn­ing around to en­sure Shooter was not fol­low­ing her to her ho­tel room, Zika said she saw him make a ges­ture to mimic oral sex on a woman.

At that point, she told the Capi­tol Times, she con­fronted him. Zika said he apol­o­gized but mocked her when he saw her dur­ing the rest of the con­fer­ence.

The news­pa­per quotes her say­ing the whole thing was “un­der­min­ing and hu­mil­i­at­ing.’’

Ac­cord­ing to the Capi­tol Times, Zika’s boyfriend and an­other friend, nei­ther of whom were iden­ti­fied, con­firmed she told them about the in­ci­dent shortly after­wards.

Shooter de­clined late Mon­day to com­ment about the lat­est al­le­ga­tions.

Matt Specht, spokesman for House Speaker J.D. Mes­nard, said the in­ves­tiga­tive team his boss named last week to look into prior al­le­ga­tions against Shooter was un­aware of the lat­est com­plaint un­til the news­pa­per pub­li­ca­tion.

“Given her pub­lic al­le­ga­tions, in­ves­ti­ga­tors will be reach­ing out to her soon,’’ he said.

On Fri­day, Mes­nard sus­pended Shooter from his po­si­tion as chair­man of the House Ap­pro­pri­a­tions Com­mit­tee as well as from any in­volve­ment in prepa­ra­tion of the es­ti­mated $10 bil­lion spend­ing plan for the com­ing bud­get year.

Since the first al­le­ga­tions, Shooter has since hired new le­gal help. He told Capi­tol Me­dia Ser­vices that Daniel Paster­nak has a “more spe­cial­ized’’ prac­tice than prior at­tor­ney Melissa Ho.

Paster­nak said his sole role is to rep­re­sent Shooter in the House pro­ceed­ings.

“We’ve had some com­mu­ni­ca­tions with peo­ple at the Leg­is­la­ture about how that in­ves­ti­ga­tion is go­ing to be con­ducted and mak­ing sure that it’s fair for all par­tic­i­pants, both ac­cusers and ac­cused,’’ he said.

“But be­yond that, we’re not re­ally go­ing to com­ment,’’ Paster­nak said. “We’re go­ing to let the process play it­self out.’’

The Ari­zona Cham­ber of Com­merce and In­dus­try, which has sup­ported Shooter in prior cam­paigns, called last week for him to re­sign, call­ing the al­le­ga­tions “deeply dis­turb­ing.’’

At last count, the list of women who had made com­plaints about Shooter, ei­ther to the House or to re­porters, in­cluded three cur­rent law­mak­ers, three lob­by­ists, an in­tern at the Capi­tol Times and the pub­lisher of the Ari­zona Repub­lic.

DON SHOOTER

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