The Joint Commission on Ethical Standards decided Tuesday to dismiss a complaint against State Sen. Nick Sacco due to timeliness.
Lydia Coleman, a former North Bergen employee from 1995 to 2005, alleged harassment by Sacco, who also is mayor, including profane voice messages as well as physical conduct.
The commission accepted jurisdiction but dismissed the matter, deciding too much time had passed. She had filed her complaint in 2011 regarding incidents allegedly occurring during her employment.
Coleman’s lawyer said she did not file earlier because she felt threatened as a result of having an audio tape that she presented to Sacco.
Coleman told the commission the messages were left for her on Valentine’s Day 2003 when she was recreation supervisor.
She said she received from Sacco’s legislative assistant a call questioning how she filled out a driver’s application, and she feared they were trying to have her license revoked.
“I feared for my safety and my family,’’ she said. “He feels he is untouchable.”
She told the panel that for years she felt she had no recourse but “to keep my mouth shut.’’
Sacco’s attorney, however, told the panel that there is no substance to Coleman’s claims of fear of harm.
The voice mail occurred 10 years ago, he said.
He said that her complaint is a fabrication dressed up as an employment complaint but is in reality a political stunt.
He also said that her attorney Mario Blanch is “politicking’’ around town and may run against Sacco.
Commission member Peter Inverso said the time frame is beyond what the panel would consider. And John Harper said such complaints are to be brought within a two-year period.
“You have to think about the fundamentally fair opportunity’’ for someone to defend oneself, he said.