Gowanda hires outside attorney for harassment investigation

GOWANDA – To handle a harassment complaint involving a police officer and the mayor, the village of Gowanda has hired a separate attorney.

Krista Gottleib, a lawyer from Buffalo, has been hired to represent the village.

The Gowanda Village Board previously approved an outside agency to do the investigation in March following the complaint between Officer Jen Alessi and Mayor Heather McKeever. After the complaint was filed, Alessi’s husband, Joe Alessi, was demoted from his position as officer in charge.

Village attorney Deborah Chadsey, who is not involved with the matter, said village officials are not taking the matter lightly.

“Because the village takes this so seriously, they have hired an independent outside lawyer to do a full investigation,” she said.

Chadsey said Gottleib is in the process of conducting interviews with all parties involved in the matter. Chadsey also said the village is cooperating in the matter and to say the village is being uncooperative is “not true.”

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