California Democratic Party settles three harassment, discrimination suits for $2.9 million

Officials with the California Democratic Party paid out nearly $3 million to settle three lawsuits involving allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination by its chairman.

According to The Wall Street Journal, one of the cases involves three plaintiffs — Tina McKinnor, the party’s former operations director; John Vigna, its former communications director; and Spencer Dayton, an activist.

The three alternately alleged sexual assault, harassment and racial discrimination. In that case, the state Democratic Party is paying more than $1 million to settle, according to a person with knowledge of the matter, the WSJ reported.

Also, the party said it had reached an agreement on a settlement with William Floyd, who said he was sexually assaulted by former party chair Eric Bauman, who left his post in 2018. Floyd alleged that Bauman assaulted him multiple times while he served as the party leader’s personal assistant.

The state party agreed to pay Floyd $1.75 million but admitted no wrongdoing, according to a settlement agreement reviewed by the paper.

In the third case involving Bernard Stepp, a video editor who was working for the party, he claimed that Bauman repeatedly made unwanted sexual advances as well as harassed him.

In that case, the party reached a settlement agreement of $150,000.

Bauman previously had denied all the claims.

The party announced Friday it had reached the three settlements.

“Some of the California Democratic Party’s most sacred values are fairness, respect and dignity for all,” Chairman Rusty Hicks, who took over in June, said. “Moving forward together, we collectively reaffirm a steadfast commitment to our party’s values to win in 2020 and build a community that empowers every Californian.”

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