California Democrats pay $800G in sexual misconduct cases against ex-state party chairman

The California Democratic Party has spent more than $800,000 in legal costs associated with lawsuits alleging discrimination and sexual misconduct by former party chairman Eric Bauman.

The Los Angeles Times reported Saturday that sum includes $430,000 in legal fees, including payments to law firms representing Bauman, and $378,348 in legal settlements for three cases.

Alton Wang, Will Rodriguez-Kennedy and Kate Earley jointly filed a lawsuit in January that alleged Bauman fostered a culture of harassment and sexual misconduct which was “well-known and apparently tolerated” by top party officials.

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Eric Bauman addresses the California Democratic Party's annual convention in May 2017. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

Eric Bauman addresses the California Democratic Party’s annual convention in May 2017. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

Rodriguez-Kennedy, the chairman of the San Diego Democratic Party, alleged that Bauman speculated about Rodriguez-Kennedy’s sex life during discussions about a job opening within the party, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. He and Wang also alleged unwanted touching by Bauman, including instances when Bauman massaged Rodriguez- Kennedy’s back and neck in front of others and placed his arm around Wang’s waste.

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The Times, citing campaign finance reports, reported that Rodriguez-Kennedy and Wang each received a “legal settlement” of $150,000. Earley, who serves as the Digital Director for California Democrats, later dropped her claims and alleged in a Medium post she was being intimidated by a top party official, She received a settlement of $78,348, while her attorney, Gloria Allred received an additional $60,000. In the post, Earley called out Vice Chair Daraka Larimore-Hall as the senior witness accused in the suit of having engaged in retaliation and witness tampering.

Bauman resigned last November amid claims of misconduct and said at the time that he planned to seek treatment for alcohol use. Two other cases against Bauman remain active. In one of those cases, Bauman’s former assistant alleged that Bauman repeatedly groped and sexually assaulted him. In the other, two former employees and a party activist alleged that they endured sexual assault, harassment and racial discrimination by Bauman. Bauman’s attorneys denied all claims and said their client “looks forward to complete vindication once the facts come out.”

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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