Meloche Accused of Sexual Harassment (& A Bunch of Other Nasty Shit) Again

Former Louisville Metro Animal Services Director Gilles “Zheels” Meloche and interim Director Wayne Zelinsky have been slapped with a second sexual harassment lawsuit, according to legal documents filed just days ago with the U.S. District Court of Western Kentucky in Louisville.

The plaintiff, former LMAS veterinarian Kendall Clay, alleges (among other things) that Meloche sent her lewd text messages, lured her to Proof on Main under the auspices of a “work meeting” (which Meloche later referred to as “their date) and used his close-knit, “almost … gay” working relationship with Mayor Jerry Abramson to keep Clay quiet out of fear of being replaced by another veterinarian. Furthermore, it also claims that Zelinsky and Metro government employees did nothing to aid Clay during or after the period of alleged harassment.

In addition, the suit accuses Meloche and Zelinsky of promising Clay a formal contract worth $10,000 that never materialized. According to the documents, LMAS reneged on their original offer of paying Clay $400 per day and lowered it to just $35 an hour. “Instead of a signed written contract,” the brief states, “Defendant Meloche through his agents and/or employees explained she would be paid in increments out of a $10,000 allotment.”

Within a year, Clay was replaced by two lower-ranking veterinarians, contradicting claims made by Meloche during his October 2009 testimony before the Metro Government Accountability & Oversight Committee, wherein he asserted LMAS had no other applicants submitting “a bid for veterinary services.” Clay claims Meloche rigged the bidding process behind her back, thereby undercutting her services with cheaper vets, and that Zelinsky cited the damage caused by the August 2009 flash flood as rationale for a supposed lack of hiring funds.

The graphic nature of the lawsuit almost parallels a similar one filed by former LMAS Animal Care Manager Dawn Simpson in September 2009. In Clay’s case, Meloche met with her at the swanky Proof on Main at or around 7 p.m. on June 14, 2008.

The suit alleges Meloche announced he was drunk upon Clay’s arrival at Proof. During the dinner, Clay attempted to chat with her boss about business, but instead he “asked personal questions about (her) family and continued to drink multiple alcoholic drinks and wine. At the close of the dinner, (he) ordered after dinner drinks for (Clay) and himself and proceeded to drink (her) drink, as well as his own.”

The next day, after learning from Simpson (whom Meloche claimed would be joining them the previous evening) had received no word of the rendevous, Clay was called into Meloche’s office, wherein he (again, allegedly) put his hand over hers while winking at her.

A few days later, on July 19, 2008, Meloche brought Clay a coffee while she was on duty at the S.P.O.T. surgery trailer. The director asked Clay if she liked the coffee, she responded she usually drinks cappuccino, whereupon Meloche “began to run his tongue around the rim of the cup in a sexually suggestive manner.”

Lastly, here’s a sample of texts Meloche sent to Clay’s cell phone on or about June 20, 2008, according to court documents:

I want to lick your toes and work my way up.

You look so darned cute on the bus today, I wanted to grab you and hold you and kiss you.

If this shit isn’t troubling enough, the suit appears to shed plenty of light on the fucked-up bureaucratic nightmare that is our fair city’s government. The most damning evidence brought by Clay suggests that Meloche and Zelinsky broke the law by providing prescription animal medications to the AAA Adoption Agency, whose director is not a licensed veterinarian.

In March 2009, AAA Director Michelle Hensel, who was rumored to have had a more-than-professional relationship with Meloche, reportedly asked Clay to provide her with antibiotics for her adoption service. Clay declined, informing Hensel that she could not legally dispense the meds because a) Clay herself hadn’t examined the animals in question, and b) Hensel isn’t a veterinarian.

The documents say that within five minutes of Hensel being turned down, Meloche “came into the veterinary tech area at MAS and gathered up sulfa drugs, needles, syringes, de-wormers and injectable Baytril, an antibiotic.”

Court documents claim Clay and MAS veterinarian Dr. Carolyn Congleton pointed out to Meloche that Hensel isn’t a vet, and that they were breaking the law. Shortly thereafter, Zelinsky allegedly made an identical request, which Clay also refused.

“As a result, Plantiff Clay was prohibited from taking care of any of the animals which were ultimately sent to AAA Adoption Agency …”

Oh, and one more thing: The suit also alleges that Meloche personally engaged in illegal euthanasia of non-anesthetized kittens by stabbing them in their hearts with a hypodermic needle; that conditions at MAS are inhumane and overcrowded; and that Meloche would hide the most fucked-up and sickly animals whenever Metro Councilman Kelly Downard, R-16, would send inspection teams to their Manslick Road facility.

We’ll be fielding calls to the necessary government organs, and will update as soon as we can.

6 Comments

  1. Eden Springs
    Posted May 25, 2010 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    Johnathan: First, the Puppy Palace, now this–amazing! A great job (as always) on dishing the stories the current administration would rather you never knew about. LEO rocks!

  2. Gus
    Posted May 25, 2010 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    Is Abramson still claiming Gilles was a “change agent”?

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  1. [...] director from 2005-2010 and allegedly killed kittens without administering anesthesia and sexually harassed multiple female employees, among other transgressions. During Meloche’s tenure, Zelinsky was [...]