Friday, October 23, 2015

Former LGBT Lobbyist Had Sued Gay Rights Organization

Mark St. John
A long-time State House lobbyist, Mark St. John, 62, who died suddenly at his home this past Sunday from natural causes, was embroiled in a lawsuit against the former gay rights organization whose issues he had championed before state lawmakers for more than two decades at the time of his death. St. John's lobbying firm, St. John & Associates, which was formerly known as Lambda Consulting, filed a civil lawsuit in the Marion Superior Court on February 21, 2014 against Indiana Equality Action in which he claimed the civil rights advocacy group still owed his firm nearly $40,000 for governmental affairs and lobbying services.

St. John last lobbied on behalf of Indiana Equality Action in the 2012 legislative session. The Bilerico blog had reported in 2012 that the LGBT rights organization had planned to file bankruptcy as a result of financial mismanagement, including the theft of funds by a former treasurer for the organization. A representative of the organization, who did not want to publicly comment on the lawsuit, said the organization never filed for bankruptcy, although its board had originally approved taking that action in 2012. A renewed effort to advance LGBT rights in Indiana with large corporate backing came under a new organization, Freedom Indiana, which replaced Indiana Equality Action's role in lobbying for LGBT issues before the Indiana General Assembly. Relations with St. John and his lobbying firm were severed by the organization's new leadership, which envisioned a different direction for the organization.

St. John's lawsuit against Indiana Equality Action, which was filed on his behalf by attorney Aaron Haith, was still pending at the time of his death. Indiana Equality's attorney had filed a motion against St. John to compel discovery responses in the case on July 3, 2014. The Court had ordered St. John to respond to the discovery requests by August 29, 2014. Karen Celestino-Horseman, one of the attorneys who handled the successful challenge to Indiana's Defense of Marriage Act last year, had filed an appearance to represent Indiana Equality last November after its prior attorney, Mark King, had withdrawn from the case. No recent activity had taken place in the case according to court records.


Anonymous said...

I thought there was more the Indianapolis Star didn't mention in their free obituary for St. John's passing that it denies to even the poorest of souls:

"Mark St. John, AIDServe's last executive director . . . acknowledged 'robbing Peter to pay Paul' as the agency's cash flow problems mounted." St. John said that "programs were kept going . . . in the belief that the state would eventually forward the money." St. John told the Star, "There is an argument that we're all responsible here . . . we all contributed to it in lots of different ways here, not with maliciousness or anything else . . . it just kind of happened." St. John attempted to shift the blame to his predecessor when the problems first arose, but the Star reported that "things did not improve under St. John's watch." St. John admitting using funds meant to pay doctors, pharmacies and landlords for the organization's operating expenses. "What I ended up doing was shifting bucks around to make payroll, " St John told the Star. He told the Star then that "the situation is improving." He said that he was "optimistic that by January, things will be back to normal at AIDServe." The agency filed for bankruptcy in June, 2001.

Anonymous said...

Denial of reality is more common among the objectively disordered. What do people think motivates a small number of amoral corporations to fund these projects?

Anonymous said...

The $40,000 St. John didn't get paid probably about equaled the liquor tab he stuck the organization with paying over the years. He couldn't justify the billings he claimed in that lawsuit. Enough said.

Anonymous said... Old news to readers of this blog?