I CANNOT believe what I am reading in The N&O.
(John Frank — who subscribes to us via email, by the way — is so going to get fired. First, he reports Bev’s lunacy about canceling elections. And now, this. Relax, John. If they toss you, we’ll make room for you over here.)
Such bawdiness, brought to us from the same crowd who crucified Herman Cain and Clarence Thomas in the media:
A former staffer accused the Democratic Party’s executive director of showing him a pictures of his penis, caressing his leg and discussing his sexual exploits, according to a new document obtained by The News & Observer.
Bill Clinton and John Edwards are NOT impressed. Read on:
The sexual harassment claims are detailed in a Dec. 8 letter from Adriadn Ortega, a former party staffer, to then-Executive Director Jay Parmley. Ortega claims he was “fired in retaliation for my complaints of sexual harassment” and asks for a severance agreement equal to one year’s pay and health care coverage. Ortega, 26, made roughly $20,000 a year, according to campaign finance reports.
Ortega did not respond to questions. Parmley, 31, could not be reached for comment. He resigned Sunday but denied harassing any employee. He blamed political reasons for his departure.
The letter’s release came minutes after Party Chairman David Parker refused to resign under pressure from party leaders, including Gov. Bev Perdue who asked him to step aside “for the good of the party.” In a statement, Parker said he had the “strong support” of the party’s executive council.
“They have consulted with our party attorney and are clearly as satisfied as am I that there was no cover up and that the personnel matter was professionally and appropriately handled by the party’s attorney using the highest ethical standards,” Parker wrote in the message.
He called for a June 17 referendum on his chairmanship after the state party convention.
Good. Let’s drag this out another two months. I swear, Robin Hayes is the luckiest man alive. Read on:
As chairman, Parker authorized the settlement agreement with Ortega. It’s unclear if the terms of the severance put forward by Ortega in the letter were met, but party officials confirmed the agreement’s existence. Parker could not be reached for comment.
In the letter Ortega says Parmley:
• Frequently gave him unwanted shoulder rubs despite verbal objections
• Pointed to his crotch area and asked how his crotch looked in his pants
• On July 28, detailed his past sexual activities
• On July 29, showed Ortega a picture of his penis
• On Sept. 6, caressed Ortega’s leg as they drove back from a Democratic convention kick-off in Charlotte.
In the letter, Ortega writes that he confronted Parmley on Oct. 1, and met two days later with former party executive director Scott Falmlen to discuss the situation. Falmlen could not be reached for comment.
According to the letter, Ortega was fired on Nov. 21. In the letter, he defended his work as a tracker, a party operative that follows around candidates from the other party and takes video of their speeches.
“I believe that the sexual harassment towards me created an offensive, hostile work environment,” Ortega wrote.
He gave the party a week to respond or threatened to make a complaint to the party’s executive council.
The allegations of sexual harassment and a settlement did not become public until Friday when internal party emails were obtained by The News & Observer. The emails did not detail the allegations nor name the individuals involved.
Parmley, who served less than a year at the helm of the party, denied harassing any employee and blamed right-wing political enemies for “spreading a false and misleading story.”
“Even though I have not done anything wrong, it is clear to me that I need to move on,” Parmley wrote in his resignation letter. “I refuse to be a distraction.”
Parker’s departure appeared all-but-certain Tuesday when the Democratic establishment, including Gov. Bev Perdue, Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton and eight other top Democrats, called for him to resign, saying he had lost the confidence of the party.
The 57-year-old Statesville attorney and veteran activist, took the chairmanship of the party a year ago January, promising to lead it to victory in the all-important 2012 election cycle after Democrats took a blow in the previous election and lost control of the state legislature for the first time in more than a century.
Now, many top Democrats and political observers doubt he can survive the controversy, which is throwing the party into disarray and garnering national attention.
North Carolina serves as a key state in President Barack Obama’s re-election strategy and host of the Democratic convention this summer. It also is distracting from the party’s final push before the May 8 primary. Early voting starts Thursday.
“Given the importance of this election to our state and our country, a change needs to be made as we prepare for the general election in November,” read a joint statement from the five Democratic Council of State members.
The point was driven home Wednesday when the White House announced President Barack would travel to the Raleigh area on Tuesday.