A witness was brought to tears Thursday during the third day of testimony in the trial of Hempstead Town Clerk Mark Bonilla, who’s accused of trying to cover-up workplace sexual harassment allegations.
The witness, Katherine Greco, worked in Bonilla’s office for a week after being transferred from the town licensing department to replace his accuser, Ariel Davis. Greco recalled the clerk telling her during an interview that he wanted her to accompany him at political events.
“He told me he would be running for congress and that he wanted me to attend events with him, and that he would take me to political dinners and ceremonies,” Greco told the court. “He told me he wanted me to smile and be flirty…he said he saw a fire inside of me, and that Ariel didn’t understand what he needed.”
She also testified that her close friend and Davis’ ex-boyfriend, Alex Desidoro, came to her one day upset because Bonilla allegedly gave him an ultimatum upon asking him for photos of Davis that he could use against her after Davis filed a complaint against the clerk.
“Mark told Alex to take some time for himself, and if he doesn’t give over the photos, then don’t return to the office,” Greco testified.
Bonilla pleaded not guilty last fall to misconduct and coercion charges stemming from those allegations.
During cross examination by Adrian DiLuzio, Bonilla’s Mineola-based attorney, Greco testified that Desidoro told Bonilla “jokingly” that he has photos of Davis.
Greco said she helped Desidoro come up with a plan to find compromising photos of women on the Internet, edit their faces out, give the images to Bonilla and tell the clerk the photos were of Davis.
DiLuzio asked Greco, who quickly transferred out of the clerk’s office, why she continued working for the town before getting a private-sector job if she was so concerned about Bonilla. She replied that she heard a rumor that Bonilla would resign—although he has since bucked calls to step down.The lawyer grew impatient when she couldn’t immediately recall where she heard the rumor.
DiLuzio asked: “I’m Sorry! But is this a part of the texting generation? Where people don’t have conversations anymore?”
Greco did not answer and the questioning was stopped for a brief sidebar. When she returned to the witness stand, she was visibly crying.
The trial resumes Monday before Judge Sharon Gianelli at First District Court Hempstead with testimony from Desidoro, the ex-boyfriend.