Former staffer threatens to sue state Democratic Party

Posted May 29, 2012

N.C. Democratic Party headquarters

— Adriadn Ortega, the young man who claimed that former state Democratic Party Executive Director Jay Parmley sexually harassed him, is threatening to sue the party and Chairman David Parker for defamation and breach of contract.

In a letter sent to Parker Tuesday, Ortega's lawyer, Kieran Shanahan, demands that the party save all documents that might be related to the episode. 

"Based on the results of our investigation to date, Adriadn Ortega is a victim of defamation, breach of contract and other potential actions caused by the North Carolina Democratic Party and you," the letter says.

Ortega brought claims of harassment against Parmley late last year and was later fired. The party and Ortega reached a monetary settlement over the claims in January. 

The episode became public in April, and Parmley was forced to resign, although he denied any wrongdoing. 

Parker soon came under pressure from Gov. Bev Perdue, other state Democrats and national party leaders to resign. He steadfastly refused to do so, but during a rambling April 19 news conference, he offered to step down after the May 8 primary while defending his handling of the scandal. 

During that news conference, Parker named Ortega as the accuser and suggested that his claims may not have been truthful. He characterized a December letter in which Ortega detailed his claims as "extortion." 

In another twist to the story, Parker ended up keeping his job. The party's State Executive Committee refused to accept his resignation during a recent meeting.