Rumors of allegations of harassment at NC Democratic Party

April 12, 2012 9:00:00 PM PDT
The ABC11 I-Team has obtained emails between top North Carolina Democratic Party officials that reference rumors of allegations of sexual harassment within the headquarters of the North Carolina Democratic Party.

The story was first reported Friday on conservative blog websites, including dailycaller.com.

The emails don't show who was allegedly harassed, but they mention rumors of a financial settlement that allegedly was reached between a former staffer and a top party official which allegedly included a non-disclosure agreement.

The email chain obtained by ABC11 includes an exchange between candidate for the North Carolina Legislature Watt Jones who is asking North Carolina Democratic Party chairman David Parker to look into the rumors.

"If this hits the media, the Democratic Party, our candidates, and our credibility are doomed in this election," wrote Jones.

Contacted by ABC11 Friday, other state Democrats said - if true - the allegations are troubling.

"The idea a state political party, my party, could raise money in secret and potentially use those funds to settle a sexual harassment or wrongful termination lawsuit makes no sense. It's not in the party's best interest to operate in secret like this," offered Democratic strategist Joe Sinsheimer.

"These are serious allegations and there needs to be a full report back to the Democratic leadership, and Executive Committee, Governor, and Council of State," Democratic consultant Brad Crone told ABC11.

We also spoke to a long time party employee who resigned in February. When asked why, former Director of Administration Sallie Leslie told us: "I resigned because of unethical actions of party leadership, which I'll not be a part of or have my name and reputation associated with."

She wouldn't say what those alleged actions were, only saying they happened last year and that the person she said is responsible is still at the party headquarters..

ABC11 reached out to top Democratic Party officials Friday for comment.

David Parker told us: "Over the last several months, several employees left their employment with the NCDP for business or professional reasons unrelated to their job performance, by mutual agreement of the parties involved. These are personnel matters about which we cannot and will not comment further."

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