Chair of King County Dems accused of harassment, misspending
More than 85 people have signed a letter urging the chair of King County Democrats to resign.
The letter comes a month after a group of staff members filed a harassment complaint against chair Bailey Stober. He says the allegations are not true and that he plans to present evidence to support that.
A number of current and former staff accuse Stober of ongoing harassment, unprofessional conduct and lack of fiscal responsibility.
The party's vice chairs have been investigating the complaints. They say they've found evidence that Stober used misogynistic language, spent money on unnecessary things and chastised the group's executive director for not drinking alcohol with him.
Stober fired that executive director, Natalia Koss Vallejo, soon after her colleagues filed a harassment complaint about Stober. She’s speaking out now, saying Stober is damaging the party's reputation and ability to function professionally.
"I've heard dozens of stories from witnesses and survivors giving accounts of my former boss's behavior... that are deeply unprofessional and disturbing stories," Koss Vallejo says. "He needs to do the right thing and step aside for the good of the organization and seek some help for himself so that he can correct this behavior in the future."
She says Stober’s harassment was directed primarily at women, whether intentional or not, but also impacted men — and that some people have quit to avoid Stober.
Former party volunteer Brent Williams-Ruth resigned as chair of the 30th District Democrats. He says one factor was that he didn’t “have the stomach to work with people like Bailey.”
The list of local Democratic leaders calling for Stober to resign is growing.
Stober says he has not seen formal copies of harassment allegations against him, but that any claims are the first in his decade of political work.
"If there were a pattern of bad behavior, eleven years later would not be the first time you're hearing about it," he said. "So I'm very confident. I stand by my record as a party leader for getting women and people of color and LGBTQ people elected to office. I stand by everything I've done as a party leader, and I'm really looking forward to clearing my name."
Stober says he is calling for due process and an opportunity to share evidence in his defense.
The King County Democrats leaders plan to address the complaints in a meeting Tuesday night.