Business & Lobbying

Human Rights Campaign ousts president after he advised Cuomo’s office

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The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) ousted its president on Monday for advising the officer of former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) during his sexual harassment scandal. 

The LGBTQ advocacy organization’s board voted on Monday night to remove Alphonso David from his position after David said he would refuse to step down.

The group’s first Black president’s termination is “effective immediately, for violations of his contract with the Human Rights Campaign,” Morgan Cox and Jodie Patterson, co-chairs of the board, said in a statement Monday.

The statement said that David had been in conflict with HRC’s mission and its conflict of interest policy through his counsel to Cuomo’s team over allegations of sexual harassment 

“This is a painful moment in our movement. While the Board’s decision is not the outcome we had ever envisioned or hoped for in terms of Mr. David’s tenure with HRC, his actions have put us in an untenable position by violating HRC’s core values, policies and mission,” the two said. 

The decision came after the group launched an investigation into their president. The investigation was launched after the release of a report by New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) that concluded Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women.

David had accused the organization on Sunday of only calling for him to step down because of optics and not due to them finding any wrongdoing against him.

“Despite the lack of any findings, the board co-chairs have now asked me to consider resigning, not because of any wrongdoing, but because they feel the incident has been a ‘distraction’ for the organization,” David said in a statement.

The statement by the co-chairs disputes that claim and accused David of speaking “untruths” with his statement.

“David engaged in a number of activities in December 2020, while HRC President, to assist Governor Cuomo’s team in responding to allegations by Ms. Boylan of sexual harassment,” the statement from Cox and Patterson said. Lindsey Boylan is a former aide to Cuomo who accused him of sexual harassment. 

“This conduct in assisting Governor Cuomo’s team, while president of HRC, was in violation of HRC’s Conflict of Interest policy and the mission of HRC,” the statement reads.

“As a result of this conduct, material damage to HRC/HRCF’s interests, reputation and prospects has resulted or may be expected to result. Additionally, this conduct has created damage to Mr. David’s reputation significant enough to impair his ability to effectively serve as the public face and voice of HRC/HRCF,” the group added.

Joni Madison, chief operating officer and chief staff, will immediately fill the role of interim president for the organization until a new president is chosen.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story was updated on Sept. 9 to reflect that David had conversations with Cuomo’s team and not the former governor himself.

Tags Alphonso David Andrew Cuomo Andrew Cuomo Human Rights Campaign Sexual harassment

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