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Tampa’s MaintainX faces seventh sex-related lawsuit

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

A former employee of an embattled maintenance company is suing it for sexual harassment and negligence. Michelle Bogan alleges the company MaintainX failed to adequately investigate sexual harassment allegations against her boss, James Perano.

In her suit, Bogan complains Perano, who served as an HVAC area manager for the company, repeatedly propositioned her for various sexual acts including attending swingers clubs and touching her inappropriately on the breasts and buttocks.

When she mentioned the behavior, Bogan was reportedly told she should just find a job somewhere else. At that point the woman who worked as Perano’s administrative assistant resigned because she felt she had no other option.

Bogan is suing the company, which provides various maintenance services and is based in Tampa, for damages deemed appropriate through jury trial. The court documents list it as a lawsuit seeking damages in excess of $15,000.

This isn’t the first time the company has found itself in trouble over sex-related allegations.

About a year ago, James Stanton, the company’s then chief financial officer, was arrested and charged with 123 counts of video voyeurism – a third-degree felony. The more than 200 videos go back as far as 2010.

Stanton placed video cameras in bathrooms and captured footage of women using the restroom and taking showers.

Police were only able to verify 123 of the videos, thus accounting for the number of counts of video voyeurism. Of those, there were five victims. Only three could be identified.

The felony charges were subsequently reduced to misdemeanor and Stanton was fired from the company.

In addition to the criminal charges filed against Stanton, Jeremy Lenkowski filed a suit against the company last March seeking damages for invasion of privacy, negligence, and intentional infliction of emotional distress related to the videos.

Lenkowski was not in any of the videos; however, he was the one who discovered them and ultimately reported them to the police. Prior to tipping off officials, Lenkowski notified executives at MaintainX and reportedly was told the matter would be handled in a manner that protected the victims and the company.

In his 2014 lawsuit, Lenkowski said years went by and nothing was done. But that same year, MaintainX Vice President Bill Schaphorst said, “No one on our executive team had any knowledge of this activity.”

The five victims in the video voyeurism have reportedly filed separate “Jane Doe” lawsuits against the company as well.

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for Patch.com and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email janelle@floridapolitics.com.

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