Embattled N.C. Democratic Party Chairman David Parker has called a news conference for 1 p.m. today at the party headquarters in Raleigh.
Pressure has been mounting on Parker to resign in the wake of revelations that he authorized a financial settlement with a former employee over a sex harassment claim. Executive Director Jay Parmley resigned Sunday, denying he had done anything wrong.
A former staffer named Adriadn Ortega accused Parmley of showing him a picture of male genitals, caressing his leg and discussing his sexual exploits, according to a copy of a letter The News & Observer obtained. Oretga also filed a complaint with the state Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Update: Parker announced that he would not resign, but that he would not seek re-election and ask that a vote for his replacement be held in May rather than the scheduled executive committee vote in June.
Parker defended his actions, and said he could not, for legal reasons, disclose details of the settlement earlier, even to his own executive committee. He said he didn't want to settle, because he didn't believe Parmley had done anything wrong, but the party's lawyer advised him to.
He expressed skepticism about Oretga's accusations, and said Ortega's letter "smacked of extortion." Oretga's letter said he would settle and sign a confidentiality agreement in exchange for one year's pay and health benefits. Parker said he couldn't disclose the amount of the final settlement, but called on Ortega to make it public.