The Orange County Labor Federation confirms that Julio Perez was #MeToo’d out as executive director.
The following statement was posted Thursday night:
Delegates had just voted unanimously to fire him, according to a source at a meeting held at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 441 in Orange.
They had first heard a presentation from Jennifer Muir Beuthin, general manager of the Orange County Employees Association, who had been appointed the point person in the Perez investigation last October by Orange County Labor Federation (OCLF) President Gilbert Davila.
Andrew McKercher, lead organizer with IBEW Local 569 in San Diego, soon after the delegate vote confirmed Perez’s firing in a Facebook post. “Bye Bye Julio Perez of UFCW 324 / OC Labor Federation!” McKercher wrote. “After months of administrative leave and a thorough investigation, OC Labor Federation terminated Julio amongst sexual harassment allegations. #cleaninghouse.”
Perez could not be reached for comment.
The allegations against him surfaced publicly in October after OC Young Democrats chairwoman Danielle Serbin shared a statement with the Weekly and other outlets claiming that two powerful men in her political party from Orange County had been outed as sexual harassers via Facebook as part of the #MeToo campaign. Serbin later confirmed for the Weekly that the accused were Perez and Erik Taylor, the former executive director of the Democratic Party of Orange County. Following the Weekly‘s report on Serbin’s disclosure, Taylor stepped down as campaign manager for Phil Janowicz, a Democrat seeking the 39th Congressional District seat currently held by Rep. Ed Royce (R-Brea), who recently announced his retirement.
The source, who shared what happened at Thursday’s meeting only if the Weekly did not name the witness, gave the following account of what Beuthin told labor delegates.
Attorney Monica Guizar, who was retained to conduct an investigation into the allegations of females who had formerly worked under Perez, including an intern who’d made a #MeToo post, presented her findings earlier this month to the OCLF Executive Board. Guizar reported that some allegations could be corroborated and others could not.
Two women alleged that Perez showed them pornography at OCLF, while the executive director and two others who witnessed the incident denied it occurred, according to Guizar, who added that she found the female accusers to be credible.
As part of the investigation, Perez turned in his work laptop and a tablet but wiped them clean by resetting them to factory settings, according to Guizar, who told the board she considered that interfering with her probe.
Meanwhile, a third woman alleged inappropriate sexual misconduct and retaliation by Perez, who had shared a consensual relationship with her at one time, according to the investigation. That apparently changed when she alleged that Perez told her she’d lose special privileges at OCLF for her work if a sexual relationship didn’t continue. She alleged that on one occasion, she went to the OCLF for a work meeting when he closed the door and initiated an unspecified sex act. Retaliation came after Perez blocked her from future employment opportunities, according to Guizar, who found her to be credible. Perez is said to have refused to participate when asked to address the allegations.
During the investigation, the Executive Board also became aware that Perez was previously accused of sexual misconduct by two women at AFL-CIO events. The allegations were that he groped them and made inappropriate comments on separate occasions. The AFL-CIO investigated the allegations and asked him to step down from his position on the AFL-CIO’s youth worker advisory council. At that time, they also warned him future allegations of such a nature could result in his termination.
Also during the investigation, Perez made Facebook posts that appeared to be directed at an accuser or accusers.
Beuthin noted that OCLF’s relationship with other organizations suffered because of the public allegations and social media posts.
Based on the investigation’s findings, Guizar recommended to the OCLF Executive Board that Perez be fired. The board agreed and recommended that the delegates vote to terminate his employment.
Beuthin framed it as a values vote of the labor movement, not whether or not the allegations would result in criminal convictions. Someone other than her noted that Richard Trumka, president of the 12.5-million-member AFL-CIO, sent a letter to the OCLF acknowledging that he had been briefed about the investigation’s findings and that he recommended firing Perez.
After Beuthin ended her presentation, the matter was put before delegates, two-thirds of whom would have to vote in favor of termination to make it stick. They voted unanimously to oust Perez.
Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the paper’s first calendar editor. He went on to be managing editor, executive editor and is now senior staff writer.