Archie Comics employees filed a lawsuit against Nancy Silberkleit, their co-CEO who is also a Rye mayoral candidate, for allegedly acting like "a dictator,” and a “bully,” and displaying “deranged behavior,” according to an article by Ned P. Rauch of The Journal News.
Silberkleit told Patch she cannot discuss the case, but that none of the allegations about her are true.
The lawsuit seeks to ban Silberkleit from the company offices in Mamaroneck, $25 million in damages and $7.5 million for an anti-bullying fund, Rauch reports. It was filed in State Supreme Court in White Plains on Sept. 30.
"What is being reported and described is so far from the truth. This is not me." Silberkleit told Patch Tuesday. "I understand fully what is motivating this slanderous campaign, but I have been patient and tolerant of this outrageous behavior."
Silberkleit said she could not elaborate on the group's motivations to initiate the lawsuit. "I have shown strength over the years I have handled this."
This is the third time in the last two years that Silberkleit has been involved in a lawsuit with Archie Comics employees. Silberkleit’s late husband Michael Silberkleit left her half the Archie Comics business when he died in 2008. Michael’s father Louis and a partner founded Archie Comics in 1942.
According to employee’s filings, Silberkleit has been a disruption in the office, slinging gender-based slurs, acting erratically and in ways that would destroy Archie Comics since she became co-CEO.
Co-CEO Jon Goldwater and Archie Comics Productions first sued her in 2011 to bar her from the offices, accusing her of being irrational, claiming she would ruin the business. The lawsuit quotes employees who say Silberkleit yelled “penis, penis, penis” at men, once asked a male employee to “pull down your pants, I want to see your tan lines,” and harassed employees in other ways.
“It is something that is being handled by lawyers now. It is very sad this has gone on and sad it’s gone on this long. What I can say is I have been under tremendous adversity and challenges and I have not folded,” Silberkleit said of the past lawsuits on a Sept. 5 in an interview with Patch, before the most recent case was filed.
The 2011 case was settled out of court. As part of the settlement, Silberkleit’s once friend Sam Levitin was assigned to act as a liaison between her and the company.
In December, 2012 Levitin filed court papers to have Silberkleit removed as a Trustee of the company, saying that she is unstable, destructive and a poor business executive.
After he filed that, Silberkleit sought to have Levitan removed from Archie and then filed a sexual harassment claim against him and the company in April 2013.
Silberkleit says she knew the past lawsuits would surface
when she ran for mayor, and that they were very unexpected and “over the top.”
The accusations and court cases have proven that she can face adversity and
“not fold” under pressure, she told Patch.
"This has nothing to do with my campaign to run for mayor," the candidate said.
Silberkleit's City Hall Aspirations
Silberkleit decided to run for mayor of Rye after Hurricane Sandy, which forced her to spend a lot of time in Starbucks while she waited for her power to come back on, she said.
“I met a lot of people, listened to people,” Silberkleit said. “I don’t get disgruntled and I don’t complain. I was listening and thinking ‘gosh, if I was mayor this is what I would do.’”
She named her party “15,720 People,” after the estimated population in Rye, “because it is all about the people,” she said.
The top issues the candidate feels are most important in Rye are achieving a sense of collaboration and transparency with the issues, complete communication and instilling confidence in the public “that the city council is working in harmony and not fighting amongst themselves.” She also said she would address flooding issues and wants to generate money for the city and said one idea to do that would be to install parking meters that accept credit cards in the downtown parking lots.
“One thing is that I know nothing about politics and I say that is a good thing,” Silberkleit said. “I am coming to the table without being politically minded, non-partisan. I am just like one of the people, I am just a person that lives here in Rye who comes with confidence, optimistic and a lot of ideas. I am a teacher, I am inventive, I show a lot of strength.”
Silberkleit grew up in Bergen County, N.J. and worked as a public school teacher before she became co-CEO of Archie. She is currently a resident of Greenhaven.
Silberkleit emphasized that her work as a teacher and at Archie will help her lead the city. She mentioned “enwrapping conversation in speech bubbles,” because she believes in the power of visual image and comic books as a means of communication in today’s world.
“I’m sure as mayor people will be seeing speech bubbles and a little bit of graphics to show what happened at city council meetings and what we want you to know,” Silberkleit said.
Last month, the candidate said she would be venturing out during her lunch hour to meet more people in town and talk about the issues and to hold events so potential voters could get to know her. She sees her candidacy as an opportunity to make a real difference in the community and the world.
“We are one little planet out there,” Silberkleit said. “So minute in the hemisphere. There is no reason to think small. We should think globally. Things like the initiative to ban plastic bags and leaf blowers has made impact on globe as a whole. Imagine if every community would do what Rye is doing. If we can all act as one it would be an amazing gift to our environment.”