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Kameny estate drops lawsuit against two activists

Witeck and Francis agree to return items to the estate, two other activists have yet to return items allegedly taken from the Kameny house

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Timothy Clark, gay news, gay politics dc

Timothy Clark. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Timothy Lamont Clark, who was named by the late gay rights leader Frank Kameny as the main beneficiary of Kameny’s estate, has withdrawn a lawsuit he filed last month against two of four friends and fellow activists of Kameny’s.

Through his attorneys, Clark on March 29 asked a D.C. Superior Court judge to dismiss the lawsuit against Charles Francis and Bob Witeck. One of the attorneys, Glen Ackerman, said the suit was dropped after Francis and Witeck agreed to return to the estate property that the suit claimed the two men “wrongfully” removed from Kameny’s house shortly after he died last October.

Ackerman said Francis returned 17 boxes containing a wide array of Kameny’s belongings, including a World War II-era military uniform and military metals, which Ackerman said belong to Kameny’s estate. He said Witeck returned a collection photographs.

Francis and Witeck said before the suit was filed that they had taken the items for safekeeping and planned to return them. Kameny’s will named Clark as his personal representative as well as the beneficiary of his house and all other possessions except his papers, which he bequeathed to the Library of Congress.

The two others named in Clark’s lawsuit — Richard Rosendall and Marvin Carter —have yet to return items they allegedly took from Kameny’s house shortly after Kameny died, Ackerman said.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Rick Rosendall

    April 12, 2012 at 10:53 pm

    Once again, the Blade in this article has failed to disclose that Mr. Ackerman is the Blade’s own attorney. A one-time disclosure is not enough; it should be included in every relevant news article. As to the claims made against me, my attorney has responded on my behalf to the court.

  2. Paul R.

    April 14, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    “Kameny Estate Lawyer Also Reps Gay Museum that Wants Icon’s Papers. Legal minds will eventually have to weigh in on the evidence I am presenting here and decide if ethical lines have been crossed. … Another client of Ackerman’s is the Velvet Foundation, a nonprofit pushing for a National LGBT Museum in DC and he’s not only listed on their site as providing community support to the project, he also is the attorney of record for the trademark application for the word mark HERE I AM. The owner history shows it’s the Velvet Foundation, and all correspondence is directed to Ackerman at the physical address for his law firm. The 2010 IRS 990 tax filing for the foundation … reveals $14,000 and $10,000 in assets for the Kameny Project Collection. First I’m hearing about this collection and certainly wonder what it contains. Curious to know if Ackerman hopes to recover the possessions for the plaintiff and then sell or donate them to the foundation. … Here’s one ethical question to consider. Can Ackerman represent plaintiff Clark and the Velvet Foundation simultaneously without any conflict of interest? Googling turned up a 2009 press release from the nonprofit, stating a number of things I was not aware of regarding the gay pioneer’s archive: [quote] Velvet Foundation is pleased to announce its purchase of the Kameny Papers Project’s remaining artifacts. The collection is now part of the Foundation’s permanent collection . . .”We could not be more happy with the acquisition of the Kameny Papers. While many believe that the entire collection went to the Smithsonian Institution and the Library of Congress, a substantial portion of the collection did not,” said Timothy Scofield, Executive Director of the Velvet Foundation. “The items in this collection are key to telling the full breadth of American experience. We are honored to have gained the trust of Frank Kameny [and] the Kameny Papers Project . . .” [end quote] … The lawsuit clearly illustrates how that trust the project has deteriorated and the motives of Ackerman, the plaintiff Clark and the National LGBT Museum need to be made more transparent. Even way out here on the Left Coast, something just doesn’t smell right about Ackerman’s lawsuit and how he can serve two clients without stumbling over ethical quandaries.” – Michael Petrelis, “The Petrelis Files,” March 9, 2012.

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Comings & Goings

Umana named associate with Gustafson Guthrie Nichol

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Wolfgang Umana (Photo courtesy of Umana)

The Comings & Goings column is about sharing the professional successes of our community. We want to recognize those landing new jobs, new clients for their business, joining boards of organizations and other achievements. Please share your successes with us at: [email protected]

Congratulations to Wolfgang Umana on being named an associate with Gustafson Guthrie Nichol (GGN). He has been with them for more than five years and is currently its D.C. studio’s office manager. 

“I am honored to become GGN’s newest Associate,” Umana said.I have the glorious privilege of supporting GGN’s continuing dedication to progress, inclusion, social justice, sustainability, and beautification of the world we live in.”

Umana also works with NBR Computer Consulting as an LLC Computer Technician consultant. He has experience in social media, communications, outreach, and technical services, and provides a dynamic approach to the fast-changing world of technology. NBR Computer Consulting, LLC is a gay-owned business. 

Umana has also served as D.C. Army National Guard Director of Environmental Affairs and with EMS Consultation Services. 

He has his bachelor’s in Environmental Science & Public Policy, Human and Ecosystem Response to Climate Change, from George Mason University. 

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Capital Pride bids for D.C. to host World Pride 2025

International event draws thousands of visitors

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Confetti rained down in New York’s Times Square at Stonewall 50 WorldPride New York’s closing ceremony two years ago. D.C. organizers hope to host the event in 2025. (Blade photo by Lou Chibbaro, Jr.)

The Capital Pride Alliance, the group that organizes D.C.’s annual LGBTQ Pride events, announced on Sept. 21 that it has submitted a bid to host 2025 World Pride, the international Pride event that draws thousands of participants from throughout the world to the host city.

The announcement by Capital Pride says its bid to host the event in D.C. notes that the event, among other things, would commemorate the 50th anniversary of D.C.’s first LGBTQ Pride event in 1975, which began as a block party near Dupont Circle.

World Pride is licensed and administered by the international LGBTQ organization InterPride. The World Pride events themselves, which usually take place every other year, are organized by InterPride’s member organizations such as Capital Pride Alliance.

The Capital Pride announcement notes that World Pride “promotes visibility and awareness of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ+) issues on a global level.” The announcement adds, “World Pride events include parades, marches, festivals and other cultural activities often enjoyed at Pride celebrations, along with other components such as a human rights conference and large-scale opening and closing ceremonies.”

The InterPride website says the deadline for submitting a bid for the 2025 World Pride has passed. It says D.C.’s Capital Pride and Kaohsiung Pride, located in the large Taiwan port city of Kaohsiung, are the only two remaining cities in competition for hosting the 2025 World Pride.

Ryan Bos, Capital Pride’s executive director, said InterPride was expected to make its decision on which of the two cities to select sometime in November of this year.

“A recent study conducted by Booz Allen Hamilton revealed that the annual Capital Pride Celebrations, during normal years, result in approximately $371 million in positive economic impacts to the region, a number that may be doubled if the organization is awarded the prestigious event,” the Capital Pride statement says.

The 2021 World Pride took place earlier this year in Copenhagen, Denmark. The 2019 World Pride was held in New York City to commemorate the 50th anniversary of New York’s Stonewall riots, which many activists consider the start of the modern LGBTQ rights movement.

InterPride says the 2023 World Pride will take place in Sydney, Australia.

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Va. county supervisors back resolution against ‘required’ pronoun questions

Unanimous vote in Stafford County allows school defunding

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What's Your Pronoun? review, gay news, Washington Blade
(Image courtesy of Liveright Publishing)

The Stafford County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved a resolution that gives it the authority to deny funds to schools that require students to give their pronouns and teach the 1619 Project and critical race theory.

The resolution denounces “the teaching of the 1619 Project and critical race theory (CRT) and related principles in Stafford County Public Schools,” and states the board does not support Stafford County Public School students “being required to identify their chosen pronouns.”

The approved document had been updated to change “requested” to give pronouns to “required.”

Republican Supervisor Gary Snellings told the board he brought the resolution forward, which passed by a 6-0 vote margin, in response to communication from parents. One supervisor was not present.

Snellings called critical race theory “racism.” He also called the New York Times’ 1619 Project published on the 400th anniversary of the arrival of enslaved Africans to the Virginia colony a “theory.”

Critical race theory is not taught in Virginia public schools, but a state law passed in 2020 requires local school boards to adopt policies that are more inclusive for transgender and non-binary students that follow, or exceed, guidelines from the state’s Department of Education.

Snellings said the problem with preferred pronouns was in requiring students to give them. He said that was not in the governing Virginia law.

“This (resolution) does not eliminate anything. It just follows state law,” Snellings said.

A Virginia court in July dismissed a lawsuit that challenged the Department of Education’s guidelines for trans and non-binary students. Equality Virginia and the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia were parties to the amicus brief in support of the protections.

“We are deeply disappointed that these adults made such a hateful decision for kids in the community,” tweeted the ACLU of Virginia in response to the board’s vote.

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