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Former Clerk Charges Harassment in Suit Against Stone Harbor

Former Clerk Charges Harassment in Suit Against Stone Harbor

By Vince Conti

File Photo

STONE HARBOR – Last August, former Stone Harbor Clerk Kimberley Stevenson filed an $800,000 tort claim notice on the borough and Administrator Manny Parada. The claim alleged that Stevenson had been subjected to sexual harassment and a hostile work environment, causing her “severe anxiety, insomnia and heart palpitations.”

Last week, on June 5, Stevenson filed suit in Superior Court against the borough, Parada, and a new defendant, Councilwoman Jennifer Gensemer. In the complaint she says that the defendants in the tort claim filing never responded to the notice over the 10-month period since August.

Stevenson’s complaint claims negligent hiring/supervision, sexual harassment, perceived disability, retaliation, whistleblower retaliation and invasion of privacy.

She is asking for back pay, pension benefits, compensatory damages, punitive damages, pre- and post-judgment interest, attorney fees and other relief.

Parada last year denied Stevenson’s claims against him in her tort notice. He has since not responded to requests for comment.

Gensemer replied to a request for comment by saying she will make no statement under advice of counsel.

Mayor Judith Davies-Dunhour said the borough does not comment on pending litigation.

Stevenson is the second former Stone Harbor employee to initiate litigation in Superior Court after first filing a tort claim notice. The other was former Administrator Robert Smith, who was fired by the Borough Council at a special meeting on Feb. 9, 2023.

Smith claims that he was fired in retaliation for his attempts to get two members of the Zoning Board of Adjustment to file required financial disclosures.

Smith’s $1.2 million tort claim turned into a lawsuit filed on Monday, Oct. 2, in which he called himself a whistleblower who was terminated by the council at the urging of Gensemer in retaliation for his efforts to get her husband, Harry “Jack” Gensemer, a member of the Zoning Board of Adjustment, to file his tardy annual financial disclosure form.

Stevenson, in her suit, also claims retaliation, for reporting that Harry Gensemer had not filed his forms as required by state law.

There is a third lawsuit pending against the borough and Parada. Then-Deputy Clerk Megan Brown, who is still a borough employee in regulatory compliance, filed suit in Superior Court in April, claiming sexual harassment and retaliation for reporting the harassment.

Brown’s complaint lists unwelcome comments and actions by Parada dating from April 2023, including an unsolicited gift, flowers, offers of assistance day or night, and comments about the administrator’s relationship with his wife.

Contact the reporter, Vince Conti, at vconti@cmcherald.com.

Reporter

Vince Conti is a reporter for the Cape May County Herald.

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