Rep. Massa: $40K check to former chief of staff was 'forged'

A lawyer for Rep. Eric Massa (D-N.Y.) on Saturday alleged someone had forged a $40,000 check to former Chief of Staff Joe Recalto a day after the congressman said he would resign.



While Racalto, who is pursuing sexual harassment charges against his former boss, told reporters earlier this week the check was a "deferred payment" for his work on the congressman's campaign, Massa's lawyer said Saturday the check was neither authorized to Recalto nor for that amount.

ADVERTISEMENT
The amount of $40,000 was determined solely by Mr. Racalto," the lawyer noted in a statement provided to the Associated Press. "Mr. Racalto never communicated the $40,000 amount of the payment to Mr. Massa."

The lawyer added, "[S]omeone forged then-Congressman Massa's signature on forms raising Mr. Racalto's own salary as a member of the congressman's personal staff from $120,000 per year to the maximum permissible level of $160,000."

Both incidents remain "under review," Massa's attorney concluded, noting the campaign would provide "all the relevant information" to the authorities.

The congressman's statement Saturday conflicts clearly with earlier reports that Massa had authorized the check to Recalto a day after Massa announced his resignation.

Recalto's attorney on Friday said that check was compensation for the former chief of staff's 2010 re-election campaign and 2008 transition team work.

The attorney was not available on Saturday to comment on the congressman's allegation, but she did tell The Washington Post this week the amount was part of a predating agreement between the two.