Alphonso David has been terminated as president of the Human Rights Campaign following an investigation that discovered he counseled former Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on how to handle sexual harassment allegations, reports NPR.
In a review conducted by executive committee members of the H.R.C., the group said that David had a conflict of interest in advising Cuomo’s office and that his actions caused significant damage to the organization.
Morgan Cox and Jodie Patterson, co-chairs of the human rights organization’s board, said in a statement that they had decided to end Mr. David’s role “effective immediately, for violations of his contract with the Human Rights Campaign.”
“This is a painful moment in our movement,” they wrote. “While the board’s decision is not the outcome we had ever envisioned or hoped for in terms of Mr. David’s tenure with H.R.C., his actions have put us in an untenable position by violating H.R.C.’s core values, policies and mission.”
David’s ouster comes in the wake of Attorney General Letitia James’ inquiry into sexual misconduct allegations that were levied at Cuomo last month.
According to the report by James, David, who had worked as an attorney in Mr. Cuomo’s office, was said to have been a part of a larger effort to diminish the credibility of Lindsey Boylan, Cuomo’s first accuser. Although he was no longer employed by Cuomo, David forwarded a memo containing confidential information about Boylan’s employment history to one of Cuomo’s communications advisers. As a lawyer, David claimed that he had an obligation to share the information.
After the release of the attorney general's findings, David called for Cuomo to resign.
Someone familiar with the deliberations among the board of the Human Rights Campaign said that David never disclosed that he was advising Mr. Cuomo when the accusations became known to the public, the New York Times reports. Also, David did not inform the group that was being interviewed by James’s office.
David has maintained his innocence and on Twitter vowed to fight his termination.
“As a Black, gay man who has spent his whole life fighting for civil and human rights, they cannot shut me up,” he said in a Twitter post late Monday. “Expect a legal challenge.”
Chief Operating Officer Joni Madison will lead H.R.C. until a new leader is named.