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DNC officials agree to be deposed in discrimination lawsuit

by Nick Langewis

According to documents obtained by PageOneQ, a series of senior Democratic National Committee officials have agreed to be deposed in an ongoing discrimination lawsuit by former LGBT outreach director Donald Hitchcock. Those to provide sworn testimony include chairman Howard Dean, openly gay treasurer Andy Tobias, and Gay and Lesbian Leadership Council executive Director Brian Bond.

The suit charges that a campaign of infighting, discrimination and retaliation led to the illegal firing of Hitchcock after his partner, former Clinton appointee Paul Yandura, criticized the Party for what he claimed was a lack of support for LGBT causes, especially on the issue of defeating anti-gay ballot measures.

Hitchcock was fired less than a week after Yandura's criticisms became public. According to Hitchcock, the Gay and Lesbian Leadership Council, of which he became the director in June of 2005, was created specifically to raise funds from LGBT supporters. The Party, he says, had no interest in being politically involved in LGBT issues otherwise.

The lawsuit charges that Hitchcock was paid less than his counterparts in comparable positions, while never receiving staff support or a budget. According to FEC records, his bi-weekly pay was $2,156, while the other directors were paid $2,508. The suit also says that Hitchcock, before his firing, was held personally responsible by Ms. Tagen for, and threatened over, Mr. Yandura's statements about the Democratic Party. Dean, Tobias and Tagen, Hitchcock charges, began spreading rumors within the Party in an attempt to discredit him, he claimed.

"The DNC does not comment on pending litigation," DNC General Counsel Joe Sandler said this morning.

Hitchcock's suit called for monetary damages, leaving the amount to be determined by a jury, along with the retraction of public statements made by Dean and Tobias directly related to his firing over supposedly poor job performance. Brian Bond, the executive director of the Gay and Lesbian Leadership Council of the DNC, along with and the Council's board chair, Claire Lucas, were issued subpoenas at the DNC Winter Meeting last month, and are on the of those who have agreed to voluntarily be deposed.

"I look forward shining light on the facts and discussing under oath the circumstances of my employment and unfair termination from the DNC," Hitchcock told PageOneQ. "The community has already seen and felt the prioritizing of raising money from our community by the DNC, and now they will be exposed to the hard undeniable facts about the party's disservice to the LGBT community via the discovery process."

Testimony will be given between January 7 and February 28.

The case's Discovery Plan and a complete list of those to testify to give statements follows.

PageOneQ will be obtaining additional documents related to this suit...


Click to enlarge.

Brian Bond, Executive Director, Gay and Lesbian Leadership Council
Leah Daughtry, Chief of Staff, DNC and Executive Director, Democratic National Convention (Denver)
Governor Howard Dean, Chairman, DNC
Jewel Hazel, Director, Human Resources, DNC
Donald Hitchcock, plaintiff, Former Director, Gay and Lesbian Leadership Council, DNC
Latoia Jones, Executive Director, College Democrats, DNC
Damien Lavera, Communications Department, DNC
Claire Lucas, Board Chair, Gay and Lesbian Leadership Council
Tom McMahon, Executive Director, DNC
Parag Mehta, Director of Training, DNC
Chris Owens, Former American Majority Partnership Director, DNC
Julie Tagen, Deputy Finance Director, DNC
Andrew Tobias, Treasurer, DNC
Simon Ward, Former African American Outreach Director, DNC
Pam Womack, Former Political Director, DNC
Paul Yandura, Former Director, Gay and Lesbian Leadership Council and Partner to Donald Hitchcock


Originally published on Wednesday January 2, 2008.

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