A resignation letter by a former employee of Assemblyman Devon Mathis appears to corroborate claims of sexism made by another former staffer, and recount inappropriate comments made about multiple women.
The letter, sent to the California Assembly Rules Committee by former Assemblyman Devon Mathis staffer Joel Rosales, outlines why he resigned in June of 2015 as Mathis’ District Coordinator.
Many of his accusations mirror the complaints written in the Visalia Times-Delta of former District Director, Janie Sustaita, who resigned in July of 2017.
In his letter, Rosales recounts inappropriate comments Mathis made about Assemblywoman Ling Ling Chang from San Bernadino County and about a businesswoman in Visalia.
Rosales requested the Visalia woman not be identified. In both comments, Mathis described different ways and durations in which he would want to have sex with the women.
Cole Azare, Mathis’ Chief of Staff at the time, pulled Mathis into the other office after he made the comments.
Azare confirmed Rosales’ account saying, “I told Devon that he can’t be saying stuff like that.”
At the time Mathis’ office was what is known at the capitol as “the dog house’ which is the smallest office in the building.
There is little privacy in the office, and Mathis’ one female employee, scheduler Amanda Morello, likely would have heard the conversations.
Azare, who had known Mathis for years, added that Mathis did not make harassing comments often and never heard him say them directly to women. Rosales agreed with Azare.
But Mathis’ former District Director Janie Sustaita, recently reported to the Visalia Times-Delta that “she was routinely bullied, degraded and subjected to overt sexism by Mathis himself.”
“We are seeing a man that basically became a completely different person after he got elected,” said Azare.
Roales also reported to the rules committee that Mathis never paid him for the job he was doing. According to his letter, Rosales was the acting District Coordinator but was being paid the lower salary of a field representative.
“As much work as I did I should have been receiving about $50,000 a year instead of the $30,000 I was getting,” said Rosales.
Rosales also points out in his letter misuse of campaign funds and using state employees to do campaign work while on state time. When Rosales told Mathis it was against campaign finance rules to use state employees to campaign on state time he was told to do it anyway.
“My job was always being threatened,” said Rosales. “Mathis would always tell me you need to do your job or we will find someone else that will, get it done.”
Sustaita experienced the same job insecurity while working for Mathis. According to the Times-Delta she said, “the same day he promoted her, Mathis threatened to fire her three times. He told her he should have hired a man instead.”
Mathis also allegedly paid Sustaita at a lower pay scale than the position she held.
Rosales reported Mathis campaign violations to the Fair Political Practices Commission and said that Mathis was eventually fined by the committee.