Once again, The N&O gets scooped by Civitas and The Daily Caller in their own backyard. The North Carolina Democrat Party leadership is being rocked by reports of a male-on-male sex harassment scandal and payments of hush money within its state party headquarters:
North Carolina Democratic Party executive director Jay Parmley was accused of sexual harassment by former male staff member Adriadn Ortega. Ortega left the party after the incident. Ortega has not returned calls and has blocked access to his Linkedin Network site. The Daily Caller published quotes from a chain of emails discussing the situation but didn’t name the victim. Ortega was well known and well liked within Republican circles because he attended several GOP events for the Democratic Party. Republican officials saw him as a respectful and good person.
As mentioned in the Daily Caller Ortega and the Party reached a financial settlement so Ortega would not pursue an official complaint. The amount has not been disclosed nor has the source of funds for the settlement. Democratic Party Communications Director Walton Robinson also didn’t return email or phone contacts with us.
But the sexual harassment is apparently just part of the problem within the Democratic Party. The same chain of email shows the anger a member of the Democratic Party Executive Committee had toward the leadership at party headquarters in the Goodwin House on Hillsborough Street. Watt Jones expressed his frustration to Party Chairman David Parker. Jones complained about an atmosphere that led to some staffers leaving for various reasons.
Parker replied “campaigns frequently poach the most qualified Party staff during primaries. This year is no exception. I am delighted that several have moved to greener pastures. I am also delighted that the Staff that remains are resisting better paying offers and entreaties to go elsewhere.
Our earned media is the best I have seen in the 21 years that I have been on the Executive Council. I credit Walton and his dedication to the NCDP for that. We interviewed for that position from both inside NC and out. I stand by him. Our ability to win legislative seats in the Fall may depend on his assertiveness and responses. I value his advice highly.
Let’s get on with the business of whipping Republicans and setting our beloved State right again!!!”
Jones expressed special frustration with Robinson and how he has handled his job as spokesman and filed an official complaint against him. Jones also was concerned about “outsiders” coming to work with the North Carolina Democratic Party including Robinson.
Robinson shot back.
Next time you want to call for someone’s job, please at least have the guts to do it to their face. I find it personally disgusting that you would attempt to put me in the unemployment line and then turn around and talk about fairness.
> You do not know me personally so it is impossible for you to know what I personally care about or hold dear. North Carolina is now my home and I fully intend to be here and help improve North Carolina and get Democrats elected across the state.
> Perhaps you should not assume that you know me or how I feel about things—it makes your calls for “fairness” look less than genuine.
> Walton Robinson
This is clearly going to become a big distraction for the Democratic Party in the middle of important campaigns.
The DC-based Daily Caller had more:
“In regards to the personnel issues, certain staff leaving for ‘greener grass’ is not the issue,” Jones wrote to Parker. “In fact, some of those staffers who have recently left have also privately spoke of frustration at things occurring within Goodwin House [the North Carolina Democratic Party headquarters].”
Jones said that those “personnel issues coming from Goodwin House are now related to allegations of ‘harassment,’ sexual or otherwise, involving staff.”
He went on to explain how the alleged sexual harassment going on within the Democratic Party’s North Carolina headquarters could be detrimental to the party and may even directly contradict the Democrats’ own immediate agenda.
“Even with an agreed non-disclosure statement and financial settlement, that appears to be short-lived,” Jones wrote. “It’s making its rounds all over the state and beyond. Is the person responsible still employed? Many questions are unanswered. With a Democratic Party which is suppose [sic] to be fighting to defeat Amendment One [which describes marriage as between one man and one woman] on the May 8 ballot, yet we have this in Goodwin House? How does that look?”
The question of appearances by Jones may imply that the harassment was same-sex in nature, which might complicate Democratic messaging in the party’s efforts to defeat the anti-gay-marriage amendment.
“Rest assured there is a statewide gathering (I am told) that are upset over this and want people held accountable,” Jones continued. “In all honesty, I am being told by several reliable sources that the Associated Press is itching to get this out. Thankfully, some are trying to stop it. Do we want the Republicans to get this information? They are also asking questions.”
Jones added that he expects that the “Democratic Party, our Candidates, and our credibility are doomed in this election,” if the alleged sexual harassment story is made public.
It is interesting that the AP knew of this, and sat on it. That puts their credibility right down there with The N&O’s.