Alleged NCDP sexual harassment victim threatens lawsuit against party, chairman

Matthew Boyle Investigative Reporter
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Just when North Carolina and national Democrats thought a gruesome sex scandal was going to go away for good, former state Democratic Party communications staffer Adriadn Ortega is now threatening to sue the party and its chairman.

In a Tuesday letter to North Carolina Democratic Party (NCDP) chairman David Parker, Ortega’s attorney Kieran Shanahan said an investigation her firm has conducted shows Ortega “is a victim of defamation, breach of contract and other potential violations caused by” Parker and the NCDP. Shanahan said the investigation is “ongoing.”

Shanahan also demanded Parker and the NCDP keep all its documents possibly related to the scandal, a sign he may be gearing up for a lawsuit against the already-embattled party chairman.

In mid-April, now-former North Carolina Democratic Party executive director Jay Parmley resigned amid allegations, first reported by The Daily Caller, that he had sexually harassed Ortega. Parmley and Parker reached a financial settlement with Ortega, including non-disclosure agreements.

After Parmley resigned, North Carolina’s highest-ranking Democratic Party officials began calling for Parker’s resignation over his handling of the scandal, with some complaining that he kept them in the dark. Outgoing North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue and Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton — now the Democratic gubernatorial candidate — demanded he step aside, as did the Democratic National Committee.

Parker initially announced his intent to resign but used complicated party election rules to find a loophole to keep his job.

The looming threat of a lawsuit — one that Ortega may well advance soon — keeps the sexual harassment scandal in the news in North Carolina, a state President Barack Obama is banking on winning in his bid for re-election. The politically unsavory story may even still be in the news when Democratic Party bigwigs from around the country roll into Charlotte, N.C., for the upcoming Democratic National Convention.

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