Former Democrat staffer sues party

June 14, 2012 3:24:17 PM PDT
A former staffer at the center of an alleged sex scandal within the North Carolina Democratic Party headquarters filed a civil lawsuit Thursday against the party and its chairman alleging defamation and breach of contract.

Adriadn Ortega was fired by the party in November. He alleged sexual harassment by former North Carolina Democratic Party Executive Director Jay Parmley and both sides reached a confidential settlement.

Parmley denied the harassment allegations, but resigned when news of the settlement became public in April, saying he did not want to become a distraction in an important election year.

After Parmley resigned, top North Carolina Democratic officials - including Governor Bev Perdue and Lieutenant Governor Walter Dalton also called for Party Chairman David Parker to step aside.

Parker initially said he would, but then won reelection at a state party meeting.

In Ortega's lawsuit filed Thursday, he alleges that in a news conference Parker violated the terms of the confidential settlement by talking about the allegations. It also claims Parker called Ortega a liar and an extortionist who made up the allegations to make money off the party.

Click here to read the lawsuit (.pdf)

"When somebody as powerful as the chairman of the state Democratic Party takes to the airwaves and says that you have engaged in extortion, that you are a liar, and that you can't be trusted. What would that be worth to you and your reputation? So we are going to leave it to a jury to decide. But I certainly think this conduct by Mr. Parker and the Democratic Party is egregious and I think my client is entitled to damages," offered Ortega's attorney Kieran Shanahan.

Officials with the Democratic Party have not yet responded to the lawsuit.

However, RNC Spokesman Matt Connelly released this statement: "Today's developments confirm that North Carolina will continue to be a mess for the Democratic Party and President Obama through the Democratic National Convention and up until election day."

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