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GOP Lawmaker's Former Assistant Sues State For Wrongful Termination

A former assistant for GOP Sen. Wendy Rogers plans to sue the state of Arizona for wrongful termination.

Michael Polloni, who briefly worked as a legislative assistant to the Flagstaff Republican, filed a notice of claim alleging that he was “bullied, harassed and humiliated” by Rogers before he was fired on Jan. 14.

The claim cites a Senate attorney’s own investigation of the incident, in which witnesses corroborate some of Polloni’s claims about Rogers’ behavior. The committee’s  Republican majority dismissed an ethics complaint related to those allegations, claiming the evidence did meet the “clear and convincing” standards required under Senate rules to merit further investigation or punishment for Rogers.

“The Ethics Committee report plainly revealed more than sufficient evidence demonstrating tortious and wrongful behavior by the State of Arizona and Sen. Rogers,” attorney Adam Kwasman said in a statement. “Mr. Polloni deserves justice for all he has endured these past months.”

Rogers has denied any wrongdoing.

As for Polloni’s allegation that he was fired from his legislative position, the claim acknowledges that he technically resigned but only after “he had already been told he was being fired.”

“For him, the resignation vs. termination distinction was nonexistent,” Polloni’s attorneys wrote. 

The claim demands $500,000 to settle the matter. The state has 60 days to respond to the claim before Polloni can formally file a lawsuit.

Kwasman said Polloni also plans to sue Rogers in a separate lawsuit.

Ben Giles is a senior editor at KJZZ.