By Noah Haglund Herald Writer
BOTHELL — A woman is suing Bothell Mayor Mark Lamb, saying she was fired unjustly from a paralegal job at his law firm earlier this year after they ended a nearly two-year affair.
Lamb, who is married, disputes the woman’s claims and called the suit “frivolous.” He said he’s being targeted because he’s a public figure.
Micaela Mae, 23, filed her lawsuit Oct. 29 in Snohomish County Superior Court. In it, she describes working as an intern for five months at Lamb’s North Creek Law Firm in Bothell.
While employed there, Mae said she received less than half the pay she was promised and felt pressured to maintain an intimate relationship with her boss. She accuses Lamb of gender discrimination and creating an abusive working environment.
“Plaintiff was subjected to conduct by Lamb of a sexual nature that was unwelcomed by Plaintiff,” the suit says.
The suit names Lamb, his wife, and his North Creek Law Firm as defendants, but levels its accusations directly at Lamb. It seeks unspecified damages for lost wages, unlawful firing, emotional distress and invasion of privacy.
Lamb has hired Seattle attorneys Christine Slattery and Joel Wright.
“My lawyers will be vigorously defending me in this matter,” Lamb said in an emailed statement. “We dispute the claims, and believe the suit to be frivolous. Unfortunately, public figures are often the target of frivolous lawsuits.”
Lamb said his attorneys advised him not to comment further.
Mae’s attorney, Terry Hall of Seattle, said he’s prepared to prove everything in court.
“We are confident we can prove all the allegations in the complaint and this lawsuit is not frivolous by any stretch of the imagination,” Hall said.
In her suit, Mae describes meeting Lamb in May 2010 when he went to dine at the Masala Bar &Grill on the Bothell-Everett Highway, where she worked at the time. Before leaving, Lamb got her personal telephone number and ended up speaking to her numerous times.
Eventually, Mae alleges, they struck up an intimate relationship. They continued to see each other when she moved to Whatcom County, where she grew up, and later when she moved back to Bothell. During that time, she said Lamb provided her intermittent financial support.
Mae said she joined Lamb’s staff at North Creek Law Firm in November 2011 as an intern. She said she only agreed to work for Lamb if they kept their relationship “strictly professional” and that she intended to start dating other men.
The suit says they resumed their relationship early this year and had sexual encounters at work. During that time, Mae said she felt pressured to comply with her boss’ alleged advances because she was financially dependent on him and didn’t want to jeopardize a future paralegal career.
Mae also said Lamb promised to support her paralegal studies and to pay her $3,000 a month, but she never received more than $1,500.
Lamb fired Mae in March, the suit says. She maintains her termination followed her printing out Internet pages about another man she wanted to date.
Following her departure, Mae’s suit says her social media profiles were accessed without her permission and that texts and voice mails disappeared from her personal cell phone. She blames Lamb or somebody working on his behalf.
Lamb, 39, is an elected Bothell City Council member chosen by his peers to serve as mayor. Though his council seat is nonpartisan, Lamb is active in Republican circles. He’s widely viewed as someone with a promising political future.
Last year, he won re- election to a third council term with more than 60 percent of the vote. He’s been mayor since 2006.
Lamb said he expected to file a formal response to Mae’s complaint this week.
Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465; firstname.lastname@example.org.