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Eugene Delgaudio Sued for Stolen Photo; Allegations Surface of Taxpayers Footing the Bill for Delgaudio’s Activities

Jim Burroway

September 26th, 2012

Brian Edwards and Tom Privitere in their engagement photo, kissing in front of the Brooklyn Bridge and the New York skyine. (Photo by Kristina Hill Photography)

Before Brian Edwards and Tom Privitere married in Connecticut in 2010, they posed for an engagement photo of them kissing in a park, with the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan Skyline in the background. The photo,posted on the Internet for friends and family to enjoy, ended up being swiped almost two years later by Eugene Delgaudio without  Edwards and Privitere’s permission. Delgaudio then altered it, and used it in two primary campaigns in Colorado against two Republican legislators, one of whom voted for a proposed Civil Unions. The two legislators targeted in the mailers lost their primary campaigns. But Edwards and Priviterer didn’t know that they had been unwillingly drafted in the campaign until a friend read a story about it in the New York Daily News, which included one of the altered photos in the story that had run earlier in the Denver Post. Brian Edwards wrote about his reaction on his blog:

Altered States: Delgaudio’s attack ad mailers featuring Edwards and Privitere’s stolen image.

First off – I want to share what this picture means to me. It represents my first home away from home, my beloved NYC, which at the time this image was taken (2 years ago) did not allow same sex couples to marry. It represents my longterm relationship with my best friend, my partner, and now husband – the love we share and obstacles we have overcome. It is a reminder of the happiness I felt the day he proposed to me and of the excitement I had all throughout our engagement. It represents hope and it represents love. Or at least it did…

Now I see it faded and brown with a big red, blood-emulating slash across our bodies.  It cuts us in half just below our hearts. How do I feel? I’m in shock and I’m angry and I’m hurt and I’m flabbergasted and I’m livid.

And, I can’t help but feel the need to warn other LGBT couples that hey, even after you overcome your fears of coming out to your families and friends and coworkers; even after you graduate and leave that hell-hole of a high school, where every single day you feared for your life; even after all the letters to your senators and the countless marches that eventually won you and your state the mariage equality you deserve; even after you find your soul mate, get engaged and then married… someone, a stranger, will seek out your image on the internet, perhaps on a site like this one which was created to document our journey down the aisle with the hopes that our experiences would benefit other LGBT couples… steal it and use it in an attempt to destroy others who support you.

Yesterday, the Southern Poverty Law Center announced that they will file a lawsuit today on behalf of Edwards, Privitere and the photographer in U.S. District Court in Denver. The SPLC earlier this year placed Delgaudio’s Public Advocate on its very selective list of anti-gay hate groups.

Meanwhile, The Washington Post reports that Delgaudio, a Loudoun County, Virginia Supervisor, used county employees to perform work for his non-county related anti-gay political activities:

She worked from a spreadsheet that listed more than a thousand names and the political campaigns to which they had contributed. For weeks earlier this year, she said, she sat in a county office, while on county time, and spent hours calling them, one by one. The goal was to arrange meetings with the donors and her boss, four-term Loudoun County Supervisor Eugene A. Delgaudio (R-Sterling), one of the region’s most controversial politicians, who is known for his animated diatribes from the dais. If she was successful, Donna Mateer, a part-time aide, was to list the appointment in a Google calendar titled “Eugene 2012 Campaign Schedule,” she said.

Since then, Mateer came to believe that what she was doing was unethical. She filed a complaint with the county’s Human Resources Department that also alleged a hostile work environment.

I can’t wait to see his email today.

Several business leaders in Loudoun County, a Washington, D.C. suburb, have confirmed to The Post that they have been contacted by Delgaudio’s county employees to set up meetings to discuss Delgaudio’s non-county related political activities. Two other office workers have resigned over pressure to perform illegal work for Delgaudio on county time. Delgaudio then fired Mateer because she was “not political,” just after she filed a complaint concerning the improprieties and alleging that Delgaudio launched into abusive racist and homophobic rants in the county office. (Delgaudio told the Post, “You have to have some sense of humor.”) But before she was let go, Mateer collected incriminating documents, spreadsheets and emails and turned them over to the FBI.

Earlier this year, BTB’s Rob Tisinai reviewed Delgaudio’s IRS990 forms and found that out of a total of $1,276,232 raised in donations, Delgaudio pays himself $171,606 in “management fees” and other expenses. He also spends $849,691 for postage, printing, and computer and list maintenance to support his fundraising activities. Not one dime was spent for lobbying in 2009.

Comments

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jpeckjr
September 26th, 2012 | LINK

Why do the voters of Loudon County keep re-electing this man?

Are there no provisions in Virginia to remove a county elected official on ethics grounds?

Is there ever a county grand jury that might investigate and bring an indictment?

Is the District Attorney (or whatever they are called in Virginia) powerless to bring charges against him?

His private activities are disgusting and questionable enough, but his misuse of his public office should be grounds for removal.

Andrew
September 26th, 2012 | LINK

RT – great job on investigative reporting. It’s time to see people like this stop making money by being professional bigots, and by shaking down local business leaders and fleecing the public. Let’s hope that the full weight of the IRS, the FBI, and the courts put this douchebag into the private sector right quick.

Blake
September 26th, 2012 | LINK

Kudos to the whistle-blower. It takes a brave soul to stand up to a boss like that; especially during a poor economy.

Jay
September 26th, 2012 | LINK

Andrew, I think we should encourage more douchebags like this. He scams more than a million bucks a year from stupid people. It would be much worse if they gave their money to someone who would actually use it to deprive us of our rights. This scam artist is just in it for his own private profit. I rather the dimwits give their money to him than to NOM or the RC Church or the Mormon Church or the FRC etc.

Richard W. Potts
September 26th, 2012 | LINK

I was in the marine infantry in Vietnam on operations in which unit cohesion was so essential that I can’t imagine just getting through some of the long marches that we had to endure without that. If there were any sexual tension — whether heterosexual or homosexual — that would have been very seriously weakened.

DN
September 27th, 2012 | LINK

Hey Richard, stay on topic. This has nothing to do with Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

Robert
September 27th, 2012 | LINK

Richard, odds are, o matter when you served, there was a member or two of you unit that were dealing with sexual tension. You just were not aware of it. There have been gay people in the military ever since the military idea was invented. Gays have been a part of every single action our military has ever held, you just didn’t know them.

AND, DN is correct, this is a thread about an entirely different subject. What does DADT have to do with a hater stealing and using someone’s wedding photo, or forcing employees to do political election work on the tax payer dime??

Jarred
September 30th, 2012 | LINK

Got a new fundraising email from Delgaudio yesterday. I love how he’s trying to spin this lawsuit into an attempt to “shut him up.” I guess it wouldn’t do for him to admit that the lawsuit is about using other people’s picture of their special event without permission. I mean, some of his would-be supporters might have some sense of decency and see why that would be problematic behavior on his part.

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