Complaints that former Wyandotte County District Attorney Jerome Gorman made sexually inappropriate and racially insensitive comments in his new job as a Kansas Department of Revenue attorney are being investigated, according to state officials.
John Milburn, a spokesman for the Kansas Department of Administration, said the investigation is being conducted by the department’s Office of Personnel Services.
According to emails obtained by The Star, the investigation was touched off when a special agent in the revenue department, who was fired after complaining about Gorman, sent a letter detailing Gorman’s alleged behavior to administration officials.
The complaints, described in detail by the Topeka Capital-Journal Tuesday, include allegations that Gorman commented on a job applicant’s breasts, asserted that women in law enforcement are lesbians, and claimed that Hispanic people were ruining the Catholic Church.
Some of the behavior attributed to Gorman allegedly dated back to his time as Wyandotte County district attorney. According to the Capital-Journal, Gorman told colleagues at his new job that while in the district attorney’s office, he had enjoyed relationships with women he called “work-wives” and had, for fun, conducted job interviews with unqualified women, including a Playboy model.
Among the allegations, it was reported that Gorman told people that the current Wyandotte County district attorney, Mark Dupree, pandered to black voters when he defeated Gorman in the Democratic primary race for the office in 2016.
Attempts to reach Gorman for comment Thursday were unsuccessful. Jonathan Carter, a current spokesman for the Wyandotte County District Attorney’s Office under Dupree, declined to comment on the story.
Gorman had been the Wyandotte County district attorney for 11 years. After losing his re-election bid, he was hired by the revenue department as director of special investigations in the administration of Gov. Sam Brownback
The allegations against Gorman reportedly were presented to Brownback administration attorneys and human resources personnel in September and December by Marc McCune, a special agent in charge at the Department of Revenue.
Before working at the revenue department, McCune had been with the Kansas Highway Patrol for more than 25 years, reaching the rank of troop commander, followed by stints with the Kansas Attorney General’s office and as a police official with the Kansas National Guard.
McCune reportedly told the Capital-Journal that he had documented Gorman’s behavior firsthand and collected complaints from others before bringing them to superiors in the revenue department.
Two months later, on Dec. 1, McCune was fired.
Rachel Whitten, a spokeswoman for the Department of Revenue, said McCune was not fired for complaining about Gorman, who remains employed at the Department of Revenue while the investigation continues.
Three days after his firing, McCune reportedly sent a five-page letter detailing Gorman’s alleged behavior to the Department of Administration.
Later that month, according to emails obtained by The Star, an official with the Department of Administration wrote to Revenue Secretary Sam Williams saying he had received that letter and thought an investigation into the complaints was necessary.
To avoid a perception of a conflict of interest, he wrote, the investigation should be done not by revenue department staff, but instead by the Department of Administration’s Office of Personnel Services.
Milburn, the Department of Administration spokesman, said it will be determined later whether the results of the investigation will be made public.