In a response to Milling’s complaint dated Jan. 18, 2012, YouthPride Executive Director Terence McPhaul states Milling breached the contract and denies the allegations. He also states in court documents that Milling’s request for a cash payment for services rather than a check was “not practical.”
McPhaul responded to Milling’s lawsuit but told GA Voice he is not acting as an attorney for the LGBT youth organization.
“I signed a document on behalf of YouthPride and never represented myself as an attorney,” he said.
“I hired Dana Milling as a contractor, and the terms of her contract were not fulfilled. While [GA Voice has] reported difficulties with the board of directors, it is the best interest of YouthPride to ensure that everyone who owes YouthPride something actually delivers. And I intend to see that they do. The days of sweetheart deals on the back of YouthPride are officially over. For the rest, like any other dispute, the court will decide,” he added.
According to court documents, McPhaul states, “[G]iven all of the work that Defendant’s [YouthPride] executive director had to accomplish on Defendant’s most important fundraiser of the year, because of the lack of quality contracted work Plaintiff was supposed to supply but did not, it simply was not practical that Plaintiff require a change in payment type to cash from the check that was agreed upon.”
The annual YouthPride Evolve fundraiser, focused on LGBT suicide prevention, was held June 23, 2011, although the specific fundraiser McPhaul speaks of is not named in court documents.
According to court documents, Milling requested a cash payment from McPhaul in June 2011 for her work. McPhaul denied her request and presented her a company check, which Milling refused to accept.
“Plaintiff breached the contract, and refused to do any work until she received cash instead of a check. Because her performance to increasingly worse, and Plaintiff stated that she would not continue working, Defendant’s executive director accepted that she would not continue and everyone could be happy,” McPhaul states in his response to Milling’s suit.
While the lawsuit was filed in December and was to be served to registered agent and Board President Jordan Myers, it was in December when it became clear that there was no legal board for YouthPride.
Myers could not be reached for comment. He has repeatedly ignored or refused interview requests since YouthPride’s financial crisis began.
YouthPride is also being sued by Inman Park United Methodist Church for not paying its rent since June 2011, totaling more than $40,000, according to court documents filed Feb. 17 with Fulton County Magistrate Court. The suit mandates YouthPride vacate the premises or face official eviction from the Fulton County Sheriff’s office. As of today, no eviction papers have been served on YouthPride.
YouthPride’s financial troubles became public in December, when Myers posted on Facebook that the agency needed to raise $25,000 in one week, and McPhaul said YouthPride had to raise $40,000 by Dec. 31 or face closure in 60 days. Despite that deadline passing, YouthPride currently remains open.
In the wake of the financial crisis, questioning by GA Voice revealed confusion within YouthPride about such basic issues as who serves on the board of directors and when the last board meeting was held.
Led by gay teacher Charlie Stadtlander, volunteers formed two ad-hoc committees to try to assess the current financial and legal status of YouthPride and insure that at least some services for youth continue should Atlanta’s troubled LGBT youth agency close.
The task forces are scheduled to present and discuss their findings at a community town hall meeting tonight at 7 p.m. at Saint Mark United Methodist Church.