Hillsborough County Pays Alyssa Ogden $75,000 in Sexual Harassment Lawsuit
A jury took less than three hours today to decide that Hillsborough County Commissioner Kevin White made unwanted sexual advances toward his former 24-year-old aide Alyssa Ogden, then fired her because she rejected those advances. Ogden was awarded $15,000 for past and future medical bills and $60,000 for pain and anguish. The county spent more than $100,000 to defend the sexual harassment lawsuit.
The verdict wound up a five-day trial which centered largely on a 2007 trip to Atlanta. During that trip Ogden alleges that White came to her hotel room at 2 a.m. and tried to have sex with her. Ogden alleged that White planned the trip to try and have sex with her. When Ogden refused to have sex she was subjected to retaliation by being terminated. White's former friend and political supporter, C. Blythe Andrews Jr., denied the commissioner's story that he arranged Ogden's trip to Atlanta at Andrews' request. Ogden says White asked her on the Atlanta trip, then tried to have sex with her there. The commissioner's uncle, Andre Moses White, first supported White's claim that he stayed at his uncle's house the night Ogden said the commissioner tried to sleep with her in an Atlanta hotel room. But the uncle later recanted the statement, saying his mind had been muddled by medications.
County Commissioner Rose Ferlita called the verdict "embarrassing" for taxpayers struggling with their own economic problems who must now shoulder legal fees.