A staff member of the California Democratic Party (CDP) filed a lawsuit Wednesday, April 24, in Los Angeles Superior Court against former CDP Chair Eric Bauman, alleging sexual misconduct.
Bauman, the first out LGBTQ CDP chair, resigned his post last November after 10 staff members and political activists alleged sexual harassment and misconduct in a story by the Times. Those interviewed by the paper claimed Bauman “made crude sexual comments and engaged in unwanted touching or physical intimidation in professional settings.”
In the suit filed this week, William Floyd, 28, who had served as Bauman’s assistant from March 2016 until November 2018, claimed Bauman performed oral sex on him without his consent on at least three occasions the Los Angeles Times reported.
The court filing named Bauman, 60, then additionally the state party organization, and the Los Angeles County Democratic Party as defendants, alleging both failed to prevent Bauman’s harassing behavior and retained him in “conscious disregard of the rights and well-being of others.”
Floyd also alleges in the court filing that Bauman threatened him saying, “If you cross me, I will break you.”
Scott Ames, the attorney representing Floyd, told the Times that CDP officials “looked the other way, and failed to confront Bauman” because of his success helping Democratic candidates across the state. Ames also claimed that CDP officials “stonewalled” his client and haven’t “done anything to rectify the situation.”
“We have not yet been formally served with this lawsuit and have only learned about the filing of it through media inquiries this evening,” Bauman’s lawyer Neal Zaslavsky said in a statement to the Sacramento Bee. “Mr. Bauman denies the allegations in the complaint and looks forward to complete vindication once the facts come out.”
The CDP investigator who was looking into the allegations against Bauman did meet with Floyd. However, the suit stated that less than a week later state party officials told Floyd that they were closing the organization’s Los Angeles office and that he would be terminated unless he agreed to work at Sacramento headquarters. Floyd agreed to move to Sacramento in January 2019 to keep his job and still employed by the party but plans to move back to Los Angeles County later this year for graduate school.
Alexandra Gallardo Rooker, who took over as acting chair after Bauman resigned, told the Sacramento Bee in an email she first learned about the allegations though the lawsuit.
“The allegations that are made in this lawsuit are very serious and deserve a hearing,” Rooker said in the statement. “The most appropriate venue for us all to learn the truth, whatever it may be, is ultimately in the courtroom.”
A spokesperson for the CDO declined to comment to the Los Angeles Blade, but Mark Gonzalez, chairman of the L.A. County Democratic Party, told the Times that the group was “reviewing the allegations of the complaint” and had no further comment.
The lawsuit is seeking damages for lost income, emotional distress and pain and suffering, as well as punitive damages and attorneys’ fees.
Reporting by The Los Angeles Times, the Sacramento Bee, and the staff of the Los Angeles Blade.