UPDATE: 5:30pm Eastern - Herman Cain’s claim that he did not know whether any money was paid out in at least one of the sexual harassment cases is starting to show some cracks. And he’s actually making some of them himself. Details are leaking out over what will be in tonight’s interview with Fox News’ Greta van Susteren. It doesn’t quite gibe with his earlier story. Click here for details.
Herman Cain confirmed on Monday that he was, in fact, accused of sexual harassment while CEO of the National Restaurant Association. But somehow, word never reached him that the cases were resolved with a cash settlement. Nor is he too interested in finding out what happened after the fact.
“If the restaurant association did a settlement I am not — I wasn’t even aware of it and I hope it wasn’t for much, because nothing happened,” he said on FOX News. “So if there was a settlement, it was handled by some of the other officers that worked for me at the association.”
He elaborated on his explanation in an appearance at the National Press Club later that day, saying that he was out of the loop regarding any final compensation deal after handing the matter over to others at the company.
“I was falsely accused of sexual harassment and when the charges were brought, as leader of the organization, I recused myself and allowed my general counsel and my human resources officer to deal with the situation,” he said. “It was concluded after a thorough investigation that it had no basis. As far as a settlement, I am not aware of any sort of settlement. I hope it was not for much because I did not do anything. The fact of the matter is, I am not aware of a settlement that came out of that accusation.”
Cain added that the Politico report on his harassment cases noted that NRA board members from the period said they were unaware of the settlement as well. And as for getting more information from the trade group on his case? Cain told the audience at the NPC that it’s simply out of his control.
“The policy of the [National Restaurant Association] is not to divulge that information,” he said. “Unless they have changed the policies, I was chairman of the board, as far as we are concerned, enough said about the issue. There is nothing else there to dig up.”
An NRA spokeswoman told TPM earlier that they would not comment on the alleged accusations of sexual harassment as a matter of policy.
“The incidents in question relate to personnel matters that allegedly took place nearly fifteen years ago,” Senior Vice President of Public Affairs, Sue Hensley, said in an e-mail. “Consistent with our longstanding policy, we don’t comment on personnel issues relating to current or former employees.”
Benjy Sarlin is a reporter for Talking Points Memo and co-writes the campaign blog, TPM2012. He previously reported for The Daily Beast/Newsweek as their Washington Correspondent and covered local politics for the New York Sun.