Donald Hitchcock’s wrongful termination and discrimination lawsuit against the Democratic National Committee takes another turn today. Treasurer and openly gay Andrew Tobias sent out an open letter last week hoping that Hitchcock and the DNC can come to an understanding.
“We should agree to a very brief press release that basically skirts any points of contention and says, ‘Both parties regret the misunderstandings that led to this lawsuit, and the rising level of hostility it has caused, and – wishing each other well – both recommit ourselves to the cause of equality,” the letter says.
Also in his letter, Tobias chides Hitchcock for leaking, “out of context,” only “the most damaging things” from “all the tens of thousands of pages of documents and deposition transcripts this lawsuit has produced so far.”
He says the DNC has not been fairly represented in media coverage of the lawsuit because “we haven’t been leaking our side of the story.”
Hithcock lost his job last year less than a week after his boyfriend, Paul Yandura, wrote an open letter criticizing the DNC’s gay activism. The DNC maintains they ousted Hitchcock because of his substandard performance. Tobias even refers to some of Hitchcock’s spelling mistakes as evidence of the ill occupational fit.
Hitchcock’s lawyers called Tobias’ letter poppycock and insist that Tobias downplayed the political organization’s offenses. They also say it will take more than a press release to iron out their differences, specifically reparations, according to Lynsen.
Hitchcock’s lawyers also sent us a more detailed – and quite lengthy – press release:
TO: Interested Parties
FROM: Lynne Bernabei, Esquire (Representing Mr. Donald Hitchcock)
RE: Tobias eQualityGiving Blog Post Claims
DATE: February 14, 2008
We realize that the DNC and its representatives, including their National Treasurer Andy Tobias, are not used to being held accountable and that they want nothing more desperately than to change the subject about Mr. Hitchcock’s employment and termination while wasting resources to avoid facing the truth.
But, creating documents and excuses almost two years after Mr. Hitchcock’s discrimination, wrongful termination and defamation still does not change the fact that Mr. Hitchcock was a great employee for the DNC, and his direct supervisors never warned, reprimanded or gave a poor performance review to Mr. Hitchcock prior to Paul Yandura writing his letter and Mr. Hitchcock’s firing shortly thereafter.
The reasons for Mr. Hitchcock’s firing seem to keep evolving and changing over time, and such inconsistencies and inaccuracies on behalf of the DNC and its agents will undoubtedly be addressed in court.
GENERAL FACTS ABOUT MR. HITCHCOCK’S EMPLOYMENT
FACT: Mr. Tobias stated under oath that he had no official role in the hiring, supervising or firing of Mr. Hitchcock. [Tobias Dep. (Feb. 5, 2008), pp. 79:3-22, 80:2-8; 165:11-15; 166:1-4, 167:7-9]. Mr. Hitchcock had two supervisors while he was employed at the DNC, and Mr. Tobias was neither of them.
FACT: Mr. Tobias stated in an anonymous statement to The Washington Blade that “Dean and other DNC officials decided several months before Yandura’s public criticism of the party that Hitchcock “was not the best fit” for his job”, (Washington Blade, May 3, 2006). However, Mr. Tobias testified in his deposition that he had no facts to support that statement, and that he could not remember speaking to anyone at the DNC who told him that. [Tobias Dep., pp. 280-281].
FACT: Tom McMahon testified that he talked to Leah Daughtry before Mr. Hitchcock’s termination about how Mr. Yandura’s letter and the bad publicity caused by the letter demonstrated that Mr. Hitchcock was not doing outreach in the LGBT community. In his words, if Mr. Hitchcock could not convince his partner, Mr. Yandura, about all the good things the DNC was doing for the LGBT community, he was not doing his job right. [McMahon Dep. (Jan. 23, 2008), pp. 196-197, 199-200].
FACT: Ms. Daughtry testified that in her opinion Mr. Hitchcock was to blame for not getting the word out about all the good things the DNC was doing for the LGBT community, and that Mr. Yandura’s letter was evidence that Mr. Yandura was not informed about all the good work of the DNC. [Daughtry Deposition, pp. 299-306].
FACT: Mr. McMahon’s testimony and Ms. Daughtry’s testimony is consistent with Chris Owens’ (Mr. Hitchcock’s direct supervisor), who testified that Mr. McMahon wanted to terminate Mr. Hitchcock after a spate of bad publicity in the LGBT press, even though she argued against the termination. She could not testify about the time frame any better than stating that it was in April, after a “spate of bad publicity”. [Owens Dep. (Jan. 25, 2008), pp. 63-64, 136-138, 152].
FACT: Ms. Owens clearly acknowledged that much of the bad press Mr. McMahon was referencing was generated by DNC decisions that Mr. Hitchcock had no control over and/or were made prior to his hire. (Negative press referenced included abolishing LGBT political desks, resignation of LGBT Caucus Chair Jeff Soref, omission of LGBT community in DNC Annual Grassroots Report, and Delegate Selection Rules) [Owens Dep., pp. 63:8 – 65:4, 136:6, 152:1].
MR. TOBIAS CLAIMS THAT MR. HITCHCOCK WAS FIRED BECAUSE HE DID NOT FUNDRAISE
FACT: Mr. Tobias has not produced one email or document from the eleven-month period [Tobias Dep., pp. 171:15-22, 173:19-22, 175: 11-17] of which Mr. Hitchcock was employed that even hinted that he was displeased that Mr. Hitchcock was not fundraising. [Tobias Dep., pp 177:20-22 – 178:1-5].
FACT: Mr. Tobias also stated under oath that Brian Bond has not raised any money for the DNC and does not fundraise, contradicting his often public statements that he does fundraising. [Tobias Dep., p. 75:15-17].
FACT: Mr. Tobias claimed that Mr. Bond’s job description was different from Mr. Hitchcock, but his statements conflict directly with sworn testimony from the DNC Chief of Staff and with Ms. Owens, Director of the American Majority Partnership who directly supervised both Mr. Hitchcock and Mr. Bond. Ms. Owens has stated unequivocally that they have identical job descriptions and responsibilities. [Owens Dep., p 41:3-7; Tobias Dep., pp 35: 19-22, 36:1-7].
FACT: Prior to Mr. Dean’s tenure there were two positions dedicated to the fundraising half of Mr. Hitchcock’s job and two positions dedicated to the political outreach half.
MR. TOBIAS CLAIMS THAT MR. HITCHCOCK MADE SPELLING ERRORS
FACT: There is no evidence that the alleged document that Mr. Tobias referenced as having spelling errors was produced by Mr. Hitchcock, and not just forwarded from DNC files.
FACT: All DNC employees and Mr. Tobias himself have testified that Mr. Tobias had no input with the termination of Mr. Hitchcock, [Tobias Dep., p. 276]. None has testified that alleged misspellings of Mr. Hitchcock had anything to do with his termination.
FACT: Mr. Tobias, a Harvard educated professional writer, journalist and author of at least 10 books, has dozens upon dozens of typos, misspellings and grammatical errors in his subpoenaed documents, as does Mr. Bond, Mr. Hitchcock’s replacement.
FACT: Mr. Bond, Director of the Gay and Lesbian Leadership Council, has posted responses in his official DNC capacity (including his last three posts) on the influential eQualityGiving listserve that contained typos, misspellings and/or grammatical errors.