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Community leaders react to Pride scandal

On January 6 Empowering Spirits Foundation President & CEO A. Latham Staples penned a letter to San Diego Pride board members Philip Princetta, Mike Karim and Carl Worrell, expressing a need for full transparency of the actions of the board and its executives.

“At this time the facts are still unclear, but what is clear is that trust needs to be restored in Pride, an organization that for decades has helped to bridge the divide between the LGBT community and our non-LGBT neighbors,” wrote Staples.

“As the leader of a LGBT non-profit I can attest that your general base of support must have full confidence in the leadership and direction of the organization.”

San Diego City Councilmember Carl DeMaio agrees.

“San Diego Pride cannot carry out its important mission unless the community has faith and confidence in the Board,” DeMaio told SDGLN. “It is my hope that a solution can be found to restore that faith and confidence soon, so the organization can get back to its mission.”

Staples has called for a series of actions to be taken by San Diego Pride as a means of regaining community trust: the return of all monies given by the organization to its Board members by month’s end; an immediate, thorough and independent audit of the organization’s meetings, minutes and finances as it relates to staff and board, with the results being made public; the resignation of the entire Board, with a new interim Board put in place until longer-term, replacement Board members can be found; and the reinstatement of all staff who have resigned or been fired as a result of this issue (pending a review of their actions by Pride’s retained counsel), in an effort to preserve organizational continuity.

“Full confidence in Pride will only be restored when any so-called gifts are returned, an audit has been conducted, and those responsible for any misuse of funds are held accountable,” continued Staples.

“Pride is our number one event every year,” said Senator Christine Kehoe. “My goal is to continue this successful and important event for our community with a responsible and ethical board.”

San Diego City Councilmember Todd Gloria also looks forward to the organization’s movement towards a final resolution, citing the need for oversight of the organization as a whole.

“San Diego Pride is of incredible importance to our community,” said Gloria. “I look forward to working positively and productively with the community and the Board to ensure appropriate oversight and governance measures are in place, so its critical contributions to our City continue.”