BAYONNE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Explicit texts from a sexting scandal that involves a sitting New Jersey mayor, are now part of a federal case.
Stacie Percella sat at her kitchen table feeling uncomfortable all over again, but wanted to show CBS2’s Meg Baker lewd text messages sent to her by James Davis, the mayor of Bayonne.
“Three-thirty in the morning, asked me if I wanted to come out. He’s out having a drink,” she said.
Percella was employed by the city of Bayonne for 16 years until she was fired in December.
Now, after the issue was ignored by the city council, Percella has taken her case to the next level. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is investigating the charge of discrimination against Davis for creating a hostile work environment and sexual harassment.
The 52-year-old said the sexting started when she was working on Davis’ campaign.
“Mayor Davis made it clear throughout texts he wanted a physical hookup,” she said.
The two had been friends since they were teenagers.
“I was in shock. He’d never spoken to me before that way, so why would he be saying that now. So that’s why I didn’t answer him,” she said.
She ignored the innuendos and rapid fire texts from Mayor Davis pleading with her to meet him a hotel room in Atlantic City, and tried to change the subject, fearing for her job.
“People would say, oh you deleted your messages, I said, ‘I didn’t delete my messages, I’m not going to answer to that because I think it’s disgusting,’ and there are others in there that are worse than that,” she said.
When Percella didn’t respond, Davis repeatedly called her a chicken.
At first, the mayor — who is married with children — denied the sexting, then said someone else sent it from his phone, then finally admitted through a spokesman that he sent the texts, calling them ‘playful banter.’
Davis said Percella has carefully planned to both hurt his re-election, and soak the city for a large cash settlement.
“The City will vigorously defend any legal action that is brought and will use every resource to protect taxpayers from this blatant get rich quick scheme,” Davis’ spokesman said.
It’s expected that Davis will run for re-election, announcing a campaign kickoff party in October.