Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Another creep at the Cleveland school district

Posted By on Wed, May 14, 2008 at 5:16 AM

Is it time to call an Amber alert or something?
The coveted title of Creepiest Guy at the Cleveland Schools has long rested with Nick Jackson, the mayor’s brother and longtime patronage appointee. Two female employees -- one at City Hall and one at the school district — have accused him of sexual harassment. It got so bad that one woman, Helen Piffard, quit after the district’s investigation of him turned into a smear job about her. But lately, Ron Kisner has been giving Jackson a run for his money… Kisner served briefly as communications chief for the schools. Last summer he was “reassigned” to the oh-so-appealing job of ombudsman. In other words, he’s the guy parents are supposed to call if they have a beef that no on else wants to handle. Sounds like a fun job. Especially for a guy who has a special talent for making women uncomfortable. Recently, he’s been directing his questionable talents toward female employees at Scene. It began downtown at a wine bar, where he encountered an employee he was allegedly supposed to be discussing business with. He had other things in mind. “Please tell me you’re one of those women that can take compliments,” he said, leering at her body. Then he leaned closer and murmured, “Wow, are you some kind of a dancer or something? Your dancing has done you well.” Uncomfortable, the woman tried to turn the conversation back to work. Kisner was undeterred. “Can’t you just take a compliment? Women don’t appreciate being appreciated.” Then he asked her out … repeatedly. The woman got the feeling he wasn’t going to take no for an answer. He was looking at her like he wanted to tie her to his bedpost. “I drove home hoping he hadn’t found some shortcut,” the woman says. She was worried he “was going to jump out of the bushes at me.” The next day, the woman arrived at the office to find a suggestive email from Kisner. When she didn’t jump at the chance to accompany him on a sort of date, he proceeded to send two more fake-angry e-mails over the course of a week. Later, at a Fashion Week event, he turned his attention to a reporter. “Lady in red," he cooed, “You’re too pretty to be standing all alone in the corner.” Then he creepily trailed his fingers down the woman’s bare arms. She bolted. Kisner rebounded quickly, pouncing on a sales rep who had just arrived. “Most American women try to hide their sexuality,” he told her. “What I admire about you is how you’re not afraid to flaunt yours.” She smiled politely while self-consciously crossing her arms over her chest, feeling like she was being mentally undressed by a stranger. “What a creep,” she said later. Indeed. While there are no laws against flagrant flirting, it does make you wonder: Is this the guy we want fielding phone calls from angry moms about their young children? – Rebecca Meiser and Lisa Rab


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