Accuser extends deadline to resolve harassment, discrimination claim

A woman who filed a tort claim against the state alleging sexual harassment and discrimination will grant the state additional time to respond.

On Monday, former Idaho State Controller’s Office deputy legal counsel Lourdes Matsumoto filed a seven-page claim with the state alleging that Dan Goicoechea harassed her and discriminated against her while he was working for the controller’s office.

Goicoechea was serving as chief deputy state controller at the time the alleged harassment and discrimination took place. He left that position in August and days later accepted a high-profile job with the State Department of Education. He resigned from the SDE on Monday, the same day the tort claim was filed.

Matsumoto offered to resolve the claim if the state removed Goicoechea from all supervisory positions at state agencies, conducted harassment and discrimination training and gave her a lump sum payment of nearly $200,000 by today. The money would cover 18 months worth of lost wages and benefits, emotional distress and attorneys’ fees.

Matsumoto’s attorney, Lauren Scholonick, said an attorney for the state requested an extension, which she granted.

“So at this point I don’t expect a response until end of next week at the earliest,” Scholonick wrote in a message to Idaho Education News.

Matsumoto’s claim alleged that Idaho State Controller Brandon Woolf either condoned Goicoechea’s actions or did nothing to stop them — a claim the controller’s office denied Wednesday.

Goicoechea left the controller’s office Aug. 11, and was hired on Aug. 14 by Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra. He served as Ybarra’s chief spokesman and deputy of government affairs for about a month.

Ybarra’s office declined multiple requests for comment seeking clarification about when Ybarra learned about the tort claim, what she knew about Goicoechea’s work history and what Goicoechea disclosed to the SDE during the hiring process.

Goicoechea did not respond to multiple requests for comment this week. Goicoechea has not been charged with a crime or convicted of any wrongdoing associated with the claim.

An official from the Idaho State Controller’s Office declined to comment Friday, calling it a legal matter for the office.

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