State Representative Jolanda Jones is speaking out after staffers who resigned last week leveled accusations against her.
It was last week when three of Jones’ former staffers submitted a resignation letter. The former employees accused Jones of showing physically threatening behavior, which they said had them concerned for their safety. They also said Jones threatened to fire them if they didn’t comply with her demands. The sharply-worded missive, signed by three senior members of the District 147 representative’s staff, accused her of fostering an “abusive and hostile” work environment and refusing to intervene in an “inappropriate relationship” between one of her interns and her son Jiovanni Jones.
Those allegations are under investigation, according to House Speaker Dade Phelan’s office.
Jones initially responded to the letter with a statement wishing her departing employees well, but on Wednesday took issue with aspects of their letter she labeled “untrue”—namely the inclusion of her intern named in the former staff resignation letter.
“I cannot remain quiet about my outrage around the thoughtless and inappropriate action of not only including her name in this public letter on my letterhead, which makes it seem like it is somehow office, but in making allegations that she herself have said are untrue,” Jones wrote.
Jones said that she welcomes an investigation. And she added that she spoke with the intern, who denies any wrongdoing.
“My ‘intern’ is a 26-year-old woman with two degrees, one of which is a graduate degree, and who is currently working on her doctorate degree,” her response said. “While the letter says that the ‘intern’ ‘is significantly younger than him,’ my ‘intern is 26 and my son is 31.’”
Jones went on to say that she has permission to share that the person referred to as an intern in the resignation letter is a victim of sexual assault and that including her in the allegations “have caused a revictimization and retraumatization of her.”
As for the allegations against her son, she said he also denied anything inappropriate and that allegations against him were made by people making assumptions without evidence.