The worst boss ever represents part of Queens in the State Assembly:
Posted: April 6th, 2006 | Filed under: Jerk Move
You think your boss is a nightmare? Try working for state Sen. Ada Smith, aka the Wild Woman of Albany.
The Queens legislator has a history of bizarre, allegedly abusive behavior that dates back nearly 20 years.
Just ask any of the 200-plus staffers whom Smith — who is due in Albany City Court today to face charges that she allegedly threw a cup of hot coffee in an aide’s face — has hired and fired during her 17 years in the Senate.
“I have dealt with difficult people,” said Philip Mahlke, who was Smith’s chief of staff for eight months in 2003. “But never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined what it was like to work for Sen. Smith.”
Mahlke, who is openly gay, said he was fired after complaining about Smith’s abusive, homophobic remarks.
“She called me ‘white trash,’ she called me ‘a fag,'” Mahlke recounted last week. “When I called her on it, her response was, ‘I’m a senator, I can do what I want!'”
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The latest charge — that she threw coffee into the eyes of aide Jennifer Jackson after the assistant made a comment about Smith’s weight — has been brushed off as election-year politics.
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But interviews with former staffers paint a portrait of a boss who could becharming one moment — and an enraged, abusive fountain of expletives the next.
Coffee is just one of her favorite projectiles, staffers said. Over the years, Smith has been accused of throwing a trash can, a desk organizer, stacks of paper, a melted ice cream bar — whatever’s handy.
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For LaSone Garland-Bryan, 45, the blowup took an even more frightening turn.
She was in Smith’s office alone in 1996 when the senator, who happened to be cutting a bagel, allegedly decided that Garland-Bryan had told members of Garland-Bryan’s family that Smith sometimes forgot to take her medication.
“The senator pointed the knife at my neck and said, ‘You do understand, don’t you?'” Garland-Bryan wrote in a letter to then-Senate Minority Leader Martin Connor (D-Brooklyn), who claimed he had no authority to punish Smith.