King County Democrats Chair Stober Claims Investigation Exonerates Him

Bailey Stober, the embattled chairman of the King County Democrats, has responded to the findings of an investigation into allegations that he sexually harassed and bullied an employee and committed multiple acts of financial misconduct with an email asserting that the investigation effectively exonerated him on “77% of the allegations against me.” The email went out to every precinct committee officer in the county—the very same PCOs who will be voting next week on whether to remove Stober from office—and appears to be an attempt to influence that vote.

That is correct – my opponents have made up, exaggerated or have nothing corroborating over ¾ of the allegations they have thrown at me,” Stober wrote (emphasis in original.)The report, importantly, did not say anything about Stober’s “opponents” (his accuser and her supporters), nor did it conclude that any of the allegations against Stober were false, much less “made up,” “exaggerated,” or uncorroborated.

As I reported earlier this week, the investigation only “substantiated” those allegations for which there was irrefutable written or video proof, meaning that—for example—the alleged victim’s claim that she feared retaliation for speaking out against Stober was deemed impossible to verify, despite testimony from four other witnesses that she expressed a specific fear of losing her job when she told them about his behavior. (The woman, Natalia Koss Vallejo, was in fact fired by Stober shortly after someone filed a complaint against Stober on her behalf.)

Saturday update: Sharon Mast, who has been filling in as interim chair of the King County Democrats while Stober is investigated, sent out an email late Friday night to the group’s official email list cautioning members that “the investigation report to which [Stober] refers did not exonerate him” and imploring them “to hold off forming any opinions on this matter until you have received the Trial Committee’s report, which will be distributed through official channels.”

As I wrote when I published the full report on the investigation:

Either Stober is lying, or all the people who have given statements against him, including the organization’s longtime treasurer and a former vice-chairwoman who is no longer associated with the group, are. Given that Stober is the one who is on record mocking Koss Vallejo’s appearance, joking about crowning the man who allegedly sexually assaulted an underage volunteer at a Democratic Party function “party rapist of the year,” and pressuring Koss Vallejo to come out for drinks even after she demurred again and  again, I’d say the former scenario is more plausible.  

Leaders of the King County Democrats’ executive board, which has been fixated on finding “leakers” among its members, put “security tags” on the report that were supposed to track who made copies and who shared the information with people outside the organization such as myself. Looks like Stober himself had no trouble getting a copy of the report from someone on the board, and using it to promote the idea that he is an innocent victim of a smear campaign.

The KCDCC will hold a “trial” of Stober under Robert’s Rules of Order this weekend, and the precinct committee officers (some of whom will be unable to vote because Stober has not approved their appointments) will take a formal vote on whether to remove him on April 15.

Stober’s entire response is below the jump.

The Truth…

Dear Democrats,

As you may be aware, in recent weeks I have come under attack from members of our progressive community. It has been alleged that I sexually harassed, harassed and created a hostile work environment for one of my employees. In more recent days, my opponents have added the charge of financial misconduct to the series of accusations lobbed at me. These accusations are troubling and I take them VERY seriously.

I want you to know, I understand the concerns from my Board, my former staff, and from members of the community, and I took steps to address those and deal with them in an appropriate manner. You can see these all documented in my response. But those issues, serious as they were, were filed in a complaint without the alleged victims consent or participation. And in that process, the underlying issues have been distorted and mangled by the people who are pushing this complaint, to a point of being unrecognizable. (If you’ve ever played the old classroom game of “telephone,” you know how this goes.) And not only that: as a result, those complaints were later disproven by the evidence, including testimony from the alleged victim in multiple cases. And folks I simply cannot stand for a broken and manipulated process. We have too much at stake.

The King County Democrats Executive Board appointed an independent investigator, an investigator the other side handpicked. This investigator met with witnesses, reviewed evidence and talked with me about the accusations. They released their report and the result were shocking. It found that 77% of the accusations against me were “inconclusive, conflicting or inconsistent.” That is correct – my opponents have made up, exaggerated or have nothing corroborating over ¾ of the allegations they have thrown at me. The horrible allegations that made the press? The investigator couldn’t find cause or support for those claims.

You know what they forgot to accuse me of? They forgot to accuse me of this:

·       We increased fundraising 223% over every year in the past decade.
·       We outraised 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 combined.
·       We partnered with a Native Tribe for the first time in our modern history.
·       We won 92% of our Primary Election races.
·       We won 75% of our General Election races.
·       We won back the Washington State Senate right here in King County.
·       We opened a permanent office space for the first time in over a decade.
·       We were nominated for a labor Oscar award for our new support of labor unions.

They forgot all of those details. Instead, they launched a series of allegations against me that have now been investigated and found to be inconclusive, conflicting or inconsistent. I know it is long, but I encourage you to read my full response by clicking here.

The PCO’s of King County will assemble on April 15th and vote my fate. I know I have some things to address, issues to work on, and as a leader I must do better. We have a lot of trust to rebuild as an organization and I must earn back respect as your elected Party leader. I also need to reiterate that I am sorry for my behavior which has now caused a distraction within the Party.

We are in one of the most critical election years in our history and sadly, this is how we are spending our time. The infamous Democratic circular firing squad is alive and well. I won’t stand for it and I hope you won’t either. It is time to rebuild, refocus and win races in 2018!

I have nothing to hide. I have setup a series of town hall meetings to meet with PCO’s and answer your questions relating to these issues:

  • April 9th from 5:30pm – 7:30pm I will be at the Skyway Library Meeting Room. It is located at 12601 76th Avenue South.
  • April 10th from 5:30pm – 7:30pm I will be at the Federal Way Library Conference Room. It is located at 34200 1st Way South.
  • April 11th from 5:30pm – 7:30pm I will be at the Lake Forest Park Library Meeting Room. It is located at 17171 Bothell Way NE.
  • April 12th from 5:00pm – 7:00pm I will be at the Kirkland Library Conference Room. It is located at 308 Kirkland Avenue.

Can’t make one of the above dates? No worries. I will be hosting a video conference town hall on Saturday April 14th from 1:00pm until 2:30pm. If you want to participate in that, simply reply to this email and let me know and I will send you an invite.

I am looking forward to answering your questions, putting this issue to bed and getting back to work on behalf of the hard working Democrats of King County.

Thank you for your service, your patience and your understanding.

In Service,