Eugene Delgaudio Sued for Stolen Photo; Allegations Surface of Taxpayers Footing the Bill for Delgaudio’s Activities
September 26th, 2012
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:
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.
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.