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Staffers' accounts paint more detailed, troubling picture of Massa's office

In December and January, staff reported, Massa sought to take an intern with him along on two West Coast trips. But Hikel, staffers said, balked at the idea and insisted Racalto stop him. Racalto said he agreed to block the trips.

The incident that eventually lead to Massa's resignation occurred at a funeral reception on Feb. 2 in Hornel, N.Y., for Lance Cpl. Zack Smith. The 19-year-old Marine had died in an explosion in Afghanistan. Massa struck up a conversation with a young bartender serving at the informal wake.

Four days later, a local blogger alerted the congressman's office that someone had posted an anonymous comment on his site accusing Massa of soliciting sex from the bartender, according to an e-mail obtained by The Post.

Racalto said he also received a voicemail message from the bartender asking why Massa wanted to meet him in Buffalo, 85 miles away, for dinner. Racalto said he confronted Massa, and the congressman said he was trying to give the man a law school reference.

"Mr. Racalto told the Congressman he did not believe him, and informed the Congressman that he was going to report his conduct," Racalto's lawyer wrote. Racalto, snowbound in New York, said he called Hikel in Washington, and the two discussed the need to alert House leaders.

Hikel called Hoyer's office about the blog and other allegations of harassment. Three weeks later, Hoyer confirmed to reporters that his office had given Massa's office an ultimatum: Report Massa to the ethics committee within 48 hours or Hoyer would.

Research editor Alice Crites contributed to this report.


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