February 24, 2024

A battle over an workplace lease is on the heart of two lawsuits involving present and former members of the Marin County Republican Central Committee.

The group works to register Republican voters and promote get together candidates. In September, suspended committee members Francis Drouillard and William McLaughlin filed a small claims go well with in Marin County Superior Court docket naming their former group as a defendant.

Each accuse committee chair John Wilkinson of spending greater than $8,700 in committee funds for the primary 12 months of a San Rafael workplace lease with out the group’s authorization in 2017, when he was treasurer, in response to the go well with. The go well with additionally names former committee chair Kernan Jang as a defendant.

The plaintiffs allege that Wilkinson defrauded the committee and are demanding that he pay it restitution.

“We’re not in it for the cash, we wish the cash returned,” Drouillard mentioned.

Becoming a member of them within the go well with are former committee member John Turnacliff and former alternate member Ronald Elijah.

McLaughlin mentioned the workplace lease was delivered to their consideration after Wilkinson instructed them at a subcommittee assembly that the central committee was having monetary points in renewing the lease.

Drouillard mentioned that the plaintiffs filed the go well with after spending greater than a 12 months making an attempt to get paperwork from committee executives on the lease in query. They didn’t obtain info on the lease till November 2022, he mentioned.

After reviewing the paperwork, they decided that Wilkinson signed the workplace lease “with out the required authority” from the central committee and was due to this fact answerable for the lease expense underneath committee bylaws, in response to the go well with.

McLaughlin, in an interview, alleged that the workplace house was used as a enterprise tackle for the central committee’s present vice chair, Tom Montgomery, who now works in political marketing campaign finance providers. The lawsuit alleges that Montgomery and the opposite defendants “hid the lease” from different committee members.

“We tried over a 12 months to get details about this lease,” Drouillard mentioned. “We have been insulted, we have been obstructed, we have been thrown off the committee.”

McLaughlin, Drouillard and Elijah have been suspended from the central committee as stress mounted over the disputed workplace lease.

Montgomery declined to remark. Jonathan Pickett, a lawyer for Wilkinson and Jang, mentioned his shoppers declined to remark.

In a courtroom listening to Wednesday , Wilkinson mentioned the committee voted to take away the three males due to their habits on the group’s conferences.

In an interview, Drouillard and McLaughlin accused committee executives of hostility throughout conferences. They mentioned there was an incident wherein executives known as the police after they raised factors of order.

Drouillard mentioned the committee executives didn’t need to be held accountable.

“We don’t trigger hassle,” Drouillard mentioned.

San Rafael police Sgt. Justin Graham mentioned officers have been known as to the central committee’s Nov. 30 assembly on the Terra Linda Neighborhood Middle, the place there was a report of “undesirable topics” disturbing the peace. He mentioned one suspect left earlier than police arrived and one other refused to depart. The assembly’s organizers ended the gathering, Graham mentioned.

Police made no arrests, he mentioned.

In response to the go well with, Wilkinson and Jang filed their very own lawsuit towards their accusers. The go well with says accusers are usually not members of the central committee and so they had no proper to file the small claims go well with on behalf of the group. Wilkinson and Jang need the courtroom to dam the defendants from performing on behalf of the central committee.