Tue, June 18

Another woman accuses Rep. Shooter of sexual harassment

Rep. Don Shooter (Capitol Media Services 2013 file photo by Howard Fischer)

Rep. Don Shooter (Capitol Media Services 2013 file photo 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 accuser 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.