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Former Baltimore Pride coordinator charged with theft

Liller faces 10 years in prison; trial set for January

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Paul Liller, GLCCB, gay news, Washington Blade

Paul Liller faces theft charges in Baltimore. (Washington Blade photo by Steve Charing)

Paul Liller, the former Baltimore Pride coordinator and deputy director and acting executive director of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center of Baltimore and Central Maryland, has been charged with theft and theft-scheme. Court records indicate that Liller has been accused of stealing property or services valued from $1,000 to under $10,000 in violation of Md. Code Ann. [Crim.] §7-104. A summons was issued on Nov. 16.

These actions allegedly occurred between Aug. 15-Sept. 15 based on a complaint filed by Jabari Lyles, the president of the GLCCB board of directors and the center’s acting executive director.

The Baltimore State’s Attorney’s office would not release charging documents in advance of the trial, but information obtained by the Blade indicates that the amount allegedly stolen was valued at $8,156.76. This includes various art supplies, crafting supplies, office supplies, transactions related to the ill-fated Halloween fundraiser OutRageous and unauthorized payment of wages to Liller.

The complaint filed by Lyles was on behalf of the GLCCB. “We need to send a clear message that we will no longer as an organization tolerate these types of actions,” Lyles told the Blade. “We have a duty to protect community assets and report to the proper authorities any suspicions of impropriety. We have faith that the state will lead a fair and accurate investigation with our support and cooperation.”

Liller appeared before District Court Judge Diana A. E. Smith without representation on Dec. 17. He explained to the court that he had not received the official documentation prior to his appearance as there had been an error in both his name and address on the court document.  Liller told the Blade he found out about the summons because of information in the online Maryland Judiciary Case Search.   

At the Dec. 17 proceeding, the state was granted a trial postponement to allow for the receipt of bank records the prosecution had sought. Judge Smith explained to Liller the options for legal representation, which he is pursuing.

“I cannot speak on specifics regarding the case, but I do look forward to my name being cleared, and the truth coming out,” Liller told the Blade. “When you have nothing to hide, you have no need to fear the judicial system.”

If convicted of these crimes, which are felonies, Liller, 33, faces a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment and a maximum $10,000 fine for each of the charges. Additionally, if convicted, Liller could be ordered to make restitution.

As coordinator of the 40th anniversary of Baltimore Pride held July 25-26, it was Liller’s second stint (2009) in that capacity on behalf of the GLCCB. With considerable support from community members and local businesses, Liller brought the block party back to its traditional location in the Mount Vernon neighborhood following the controversial shift in 2014 to the Mount Royal area several blocks to the north. He also returned the Sunday festival to Druid Hill Park.

Since becoming the GLCCB’s Pride coordinator in late 2014, Liller was appointed the GLCCB’s development coordinator and then deputy director and acting executive director following the resignation of Joel Tinsley-Hall effective July 6.

Soon after the Pride celebrations concluded, rumors began surfacing throughout Baltimore’s LGBT community of missing money from Pride’s coffers. There were also concerns about the perceived absence of accounting for outlays.

Those questions, coupled with Liller’s sudden resignation on Oct. 13, motivated GLCCB’s leadership to hold a public town hall on Nov. 10 to address those matters as well as to provide community members an opportunity to discuss broader GLCCB issues.

At that meeting, Lyles and others charged that Liller used bad judgment in procuring the amount of T-shirts for Pride as well as creating the OutRageous event without authorization. He said that other financial questions were being investigated and that tighter financial controls were being put in place.

“Regarding allegations of mismanagement for both OutRageous and Pride T-Shirts, I will say that during my time at the GLCCB, all my decisions were either run through the former executive director Joel Tinsley-Hall or the board of directors,” he told the Blade the next day, although he was not present at the meeting. “Accurate financials were provided monthly during board meetings. The GLCCB board was involved in decisions made as they chose to be at the time.” He noted it was strange that there are no minutes for those meetings.

The trial is set for Jan. 29, 2016, at Baltimore District Court, 700 E. Patapsco Ave. in Baltimore.

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Comings & Goings

Lane named senior counsel at Brady United

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Thomas Patrick Lane

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 Thomas Patrick Lane the new Senior Litigation Counsel and Director of Affirmative Litigation with Brady United. According to its website, Brady’s mission is, “To unite all Americans against gun violence. We work across Congress, the courts, and our communities with over 90 grassroots chapters, bringing together young and old, red and blue, and every shade of color to find common ground in common sense. In the spirit of our namesakes Jim and Sarah Brady, we have fought for over 45 years to take action, not sides, and we will not stop until this epidemic ends. It’s in our hands.”

Jonathan Lowy, chief counsel and vice president of legal at Brady said, “The whole Brady team is thrilled to welcome Tom’s skills as a trial lawyer and his leadership as a champion for justice and a voice for inclusivity and equal rights. Tom is one of the top litigators in the country, and has been a fighter his whole life who has proven himself undaunted by any challenge, including taking on the gun industry for its role in causing gun violence in America. Tom’s expertise and insights into complex litigation involving emerging technologies, such as 3-D printed guns, “smart” technology, and online commerce, will bolster our fight for industry-wide change by holding companies accountable and forcing reforms that will make all Americans safer.”

Upon accepting the position Lane said, “From my time as a prosecutor to private practice, I have seen the effects of gun violence and the importance of defending victims and survivors and upholding common-sense laws that keep our families and communities safe. I am excited to bring that background to Brady and to continue this important work nationwide.”

Prior to joining Brady, Lane was a partner in the New York office of Winston & Strawn, LLP. Before that he was a partner in Thelen Reid Brown Raysman & Steiner LLP. He is recognized as one of the country’s top intellectual property and new media lawyers. He tried the first Internet music case and the first Digital Millennium Copyright Act safe harbor case before juries. He has also served as a senior trial attorney in the office of the New York Kings County District Attorney.

Lane represented the City of New York in litigation against major gun manufacturers in the early 2000s. LawDragon named him as one of the 500 Leading Lawyers in America.

Lane earned his undergraduate degree from Hamilton College, Clinton, N.Y.; and his J.D. from Tulane University School of Law in New Orleans. He has created an endowed scholarship there for LGBTQ students to help law firms realize the importance of hiring diverse rosters of attorneys, and to honor the courage of his uncles Bernard Lane (an Army Ranger decorated with two Bronze Stars) and Richard Morrison (a recovered alcoholic who devoted his life to counseling others).

Both men were known for their toughness tendered by humor and both lived openly in loving relationships with same-sex partners in the 1970s. Lane is a former board member of the National LGBT Bar Association. He directs all external legal matters for the Tyler Clementi Foundation, whose mission is to end bullying in schools, workplaces, and faith communities.

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100th anniversary celebration of Dupont Circle fountain set for May 17

GWU student creates tribute video

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The iconic Dupont Circle fountain turns 100 this month. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

LGBTQ residents and longtime visitors to D.C.’s Dupont Circle neighborhood are expected to be among the participants in the 100th anniversary celebration of the installation of the Dupont Circle fountain scheduled to be held at the circle on Monday, May 17.

Aaron DeNu, president of Dupont Festival, a nonprofit arts and cultural programming group that’s organizing the celebration, says it will take place from noon to at least sunset inside Dupont Circle.

The celebration will take place one week after the May 10 release of a YouTube video, “How Dupont Circle Evolved as a Hub for LGBTQ+ Life in the District,” produced by George Washington University student Dante Schulz. Schulz is the video editor for the G.W. student newspaper The Hatchet.

Among those appearing in the documentary video are veteran LGBTQ rights activists Deacon Maccubbin and his husband Jim Bennett, who owned and operated the Dupont Circle LGBTQ bookstore Lambda Rising beginning in the 1970s, which is credited with contributing to Dupont Circle’s reputation as the epicenter of D.C.’s LGBTQ community for many years.

Also appearing in the video is longtime D.C. gay activist and Dupont Circle area resident Craig Howell, a former president of the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance.

“At this point in time due to COVID restrictions we’re not going to be doing any particular formal gathering of folks,” DeNu told the Washington Blade in describing the May 17 celebration. “But we’ll have a soundtrack that’s playing throughout the day from that original ceremony – the same songs they used in the original dedication a hundred years ago,” he said.

DeNu said the event will also feature “historic imagery” related to Dupont Circle and the people who have gathered there over the years.

“So, we’re really just inviting people to come and have lunch, stop by the park after work, and just stop and reflect on 100 years of Dupont Circle fountain, take a look at the imagery and see some old friends and hopefully stop by and see the Dupont businesses that are around the area,” DeNu said.

The LGBTQ video produced by Dante Schultz can be accessed here.

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Va. GOP governor nominee opposes transgender-inclusive youth sports

Glenn Youngkin made comment to Arlington voters in March

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Glenn Youngkin (Photo via Twitter)

 

The Republican gubernatorial candidate to succeed Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has said he does not support allowing transgender children to play on sports teams that are consistent with their gender identity.

“Biological males should not be allowed to play sports in girls sports,” Glenn Youngkin said during a meeting with a group of voters in Arlington on March 25, according to the Washington Examiner. “It’s just not fair.”

The Washington Blade has reached out to Youngkin’s campaign for comment.

Youngkin, the former co-CEO of the Carlyle Group, on Saturday defeated Pete Snyder, former House of Delegates Speaker Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights), state Sen. Amanda Chase (R-Chesterfield County), Peter Doran, Sergio de la Peña and Octavia Johnson in the Republican Party of Virginia’s nominating convention. Virginia Republicans nominated Winsome Sears and Jason Miyares as their candidates for lieutenant governor and attorney general respectively.

The Democratic Party of Virginia will hold its primary on June 8. Former Gov. Terry McAuliffe is widely expected to win the vote, and run against Youngkin in the general election.

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