LB Lesbian and Gay Pride President & Partner Being Sued for Election Fraud

By: 
Leslie R. Smith

Alexa Castanon (“Castanon”), who was surprisingly voted out of Long Beach Lesbian and Gay Pride, Inc. (“Long Beach Pride”) at its recent annual election, has filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court against the President Doretha Denise Newman and her partner, LaRhonda Slaughter, to have them removed from the organization’s board of directors for a host of alleged fraudulent activities, including election fraud. 

The attorney general has been notified of the lawsuit.

The lawsuit claims that prior to the August 8, 2018 annual election, Castanon was the sole transgender board member at Long Beach Pride who had an exemplary record of attendance at meetings, she had no code of ethic violations, no violations of any policy, procedure or rule of law, and she was the sole advocate at Long Beach Pride to advocate for and promote transgender issues, programs and events.  Castanon alleges that, in fact, she was the sole board member pushing to have Pride be inclusive of the transgender community. 

Castanon was the only member voted out of the organization at the annual election but other members who engaged in gross misconduct, including assault and battery and vandalism of property at Long Beach Pride were voted back or retained their membership. 

Castanon alleges that Newman and Slaughter planned and conspired among and between themselves, and others, to fix the outcome of the election by having her voted out.  Toward that end, Castanon alleges that the defendants disbanded the election committee, brought in several of their friends and other undisclosed individuals to tally the ballots, that they gave instructions to the vote counters to ensure that Castanon did not receive more than 50% of the votes cast, they gave instructions to the vote counters to throw the ballots into the trash so as to destroy any evidence of the true outcome of the votes, and that Newman and Slaughter then removed the ballots from the trash and thereafter had them destroyed, in violation of the corporation’s policies and procedures. 

The lawsuit also alleges that following the election, Newman and Slaughter engaged in fraudulent or dishonest acts by repeatedly lying to the membership and to the board of directors in their attempts to cover-up their elaborate and fraudulent scheme to fix the outcome of the election.

The complaint further alleges that prior to the annual election Newman and/or Slaughter continuously and repeatedly engaged in fraudulent or dishonest acts, gross abuses of authority or discretion regarding the organization, or breaches of duties arising under the Corporations Code, by, among other things:

(a) Failing and refusing to follow the organization’s practices and procedures in general, but also with regard to holding elections, including the requirement to have the board Secretary tally the ballots and present the results;

(b) Misappropriating or otherwise diverting the organization’s funds and assets;

(c) Creating false minutes of the organization;

(d) Menacing, threatening and/or intimidating members of the organization who express any disagreement with their agenda;

(e) Forcing the former office administrator to violate the organization’s policies against his will;

(f) Forcing the former office administrator to work overtime without pay;

(g) Forcing he former office administrator to sign a non-disclosure agreement in exchange for receiving his overtime pay;

(h) Unilaterally refusing to withhold foreign artist taxes as required by the IRS;

(i) Making unilateral decisions which required board approval and which involved spending substantial sums of the organization’s money that primarily benefitted friends of theirs who were the recipients of those funds; and

(j) Disbanding the election committee so they can manipulate the election process and outcomes.

For more information, please contact Leslie R. Smith at (323) 944-0400 or Leslie@LeslieSlaw.com.

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