Under the Dome

Former staffer considers lawsuit against N.C. Democratic Party

An attorney for a former state Democratic Party staffer is considering a lawsuit against the party and its controversial chairman as the fallout continues from an alleged sexual harassment scandal.

Kieran Shanahan, a high-profile Raleigh attorney, sent a letter to Chairman David Parker on Tuesday asking him to preserve all records related to Adriadn Ortega's employment and complaints of sexual harassment from former Executive Director Jay Parmley. The notice is often a precursor to a lawsuit. 

"Sometimes someone thinks certain information hurts them and they begin to destroy it," said Shanahan in an interview Wednesday, explaining the letter.

Shanahan said he anticipates filing a legal action contending that Parker made defamatory comments about Ortega and the party violated a confidentiality and nondisparagement agreement as part of a financial settlement in which the party paid Ortega roughly $10,000 to end a federal discrimination complaint about sexual harassment. 

"Based on the results of our investigation to date, Adriadn Ortega is a victim of defamation, breach of contract and other potential actions ... " Shanahan wrote in the letter, first reported by WRAL-TV.

Parmley fired Ortega in November weeks after he complained to him about his inappropriate sexual advances. Parmley resigned but said he didn't do anything wrong. Parker defended Parmley in a now-infamous press conference. He announced he would step aside, as requested by the governor and prominent Democrats, but later retook the party's helm at a dramatic and heated state party meeting.

Shanahan is a former state Republican Party finance chairman and Raleigh city councilman who served as a top supporter for Newt Gingrich's presidential campaign in North Carolina. He is currently in Greensboro attending the John Edwards campaign finance trial and serving as a legal commentator. His firm, the Shanahan Law Group, is currently the attorney for the N.C. Republican Party.

Shanahan told Dome that Ortega, a former low-level staffer, came to him for representation. He called Ortega a good worker and his firing "is not how we do things in American business."

Parker has said there was cause for Ortega's firing but declined to give a rationale. The state party declined to comment on the letter.


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Shame on the Democratic "leaders" who allowed this to happen, who allowed it to fester, and who covered it up.  ALL of them should step aside and allow other Democrats to step forward .  Do they not recall that "the cover-up is worse than........."?  They are acting as if THEY are the Democratic party.  We who knock on doors, donate, and drive people to the polls will not follow their self-centered and foolish direction.  CLEAN IT UP!  DEMAND FULL TRANSPARENCY, and STEP ASIDE. it now!  NC deserves better. 

A test case

I think this will become a test case to set the limits of same-sex close talking. 

Seems like a publicity stunt for Shanahan...

...or some in-kind promotional work for the NC GOP - the group that clearly benefits from dragging this out as long as possible. 

I'd love to know who is putting up the retainer for Shanahan's representation of Ortega?

For that matter - who's paying Shanahan to sit in Federal Court in Greensboro to be an "observer" for the Edward's trial?

I guess that Shanahan thinks that putting up "Aunt Jemima and Oprah" on a projection screen at the April 2012 SEC meeting is something a good worker would do.  But then again the GOP has really loved Ortega over the last couple of years.  It even popped up in late 2010 in the N&0!

Might be good representation

Might be good representation if you can get Shanahan from infront of a camera in Greensboro.

Excellent representation for Ortega!

Smart move!   This is going to get even more fun as time progresses!

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