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Mike Brown - Democratic candidate for Lake County Recorder

Mike Brown

CROWN POINT — An East Chicago woman is accusing the Lake County recorder of demanding sex in return for a job promotion.

Estela "Estelle" Montalvo is suing County Recorder Mike B. Brown and Lake County government over allegations he forced her into a sexual relationship while she was working for him as a part-time clerk.

She alleges Brown used his position as an elected official and her employer to exact sexual favors from her "as a condition of employment and advancement."

Brown declined comment.

Roy Dominguez, a Merrillville attorney, said Monday night he and Valparaiso attorney Ivan Bodensteiner filed suit in U.S. District Court in Hammond on behalf of Montalvo and on behalf of other women working in Brown's office.

Dominguez said they also are filing a discrimination complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in Indianapolis.

"Women should be free of sexual harassment. We want to make sure an office is a harassment-free work environment," Dominguez said.

Dominguez said Montalvo is the wife of Manuel "Manny" Montalvo, a former East Chicago public library director.

Brown has been the county recorder since 2013. His office has an annual budget of more than $1 million and 22 employees who archive legal records.

The suit states Estela Montalvo went to work for the recorder's office in August 2014 as a part-time clerk, but told Brown she wanted a full-time job with insurance and pension benefits.

It alleges Brown began making sexual advances to her almost immediately and she agreed to have a sexual relationship with Brown "only because she believed it was a condition of a promotion to full-time employment."

It alleges they had sexual relations in Brown's office at the Lake County Government Center and at his residence. It alleges she was forced to resign her recorder's job last February because of the continued sexual harassment.

It alleges Brown created a hostile work environment by harassing other women in the office and promoting one who had a prior sexual relationship with him.


Lake County reporter

Bill has reported in Lake County since 1972 after graduating from Indiana University. He has worked for The Times since 1997, covering the courts and local government during much of his tenure. Born and raised in New Albany, Ind., he is a native Hoosier.