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Atlanta youth leaders describe ideas for new LGBT community center

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Dreams for a new space, a new executive director and a heavy presence in Atlanta's LGBT communities are at the forefront of what the youth behind JustUsATL are hoping for as they move forward in establishing a new organization serving young people.

At a March 31 town hall forum some 40 people showed up, more than half young people, to discuss the future of a new organization to serve metro Atlanta's lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and gender nonconforming young people who are no longer satisfied with resources offered at the troubled YouthPride.

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LGBT youth form ‘JustUsATL’ as option to crumbling YouthPride

YouthPride executive director Terence McPhaul

As YouthPride continues to face obstacles including a funding crisis, a group of young people who have used its services before are now breaking off to begin forming their own organization.

The group, named JustUsATL, hosts a town hall forum on March 31 at Greater Smith Church at 7 p.m.

“LGBTQ young people including teens and young adults have come together in a consensus-based process to form a new organization,” the group stated in a press release on March 22, the day after a Fulton Magistrate judge ordered YouthPride vacate its premises as part of a settlement agreement with its landlord, Inman Park United Methodist Church.

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Inman Park UMC allows YouthPride to stay in space ‘for now’

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At a Fulton Magistrate Court hearing today, Inman Park United Methodist Church agreed to allow YouthPride stay in its space for now as a way to settle the disagreements between the two parties "peacefully," according to the church's attorney.

The consent order was reached before today's hearing but the specifics of the agreement won't be available until tomorrow after it is signed by a judge, said Peter Morgan, attorney representing Inman Park UMC.

"We came to an agreement … to settle things peacefully and to the benefit of both parties," Morgan said following the hearing.

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YouthPride Executive Director Terence McPhaul seeks millions in string of lawsuits

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YouthPride Executive Director Terence McPhaul is no stranger to lawsuits. Since becoming executive director of YouthPride in June 2009, he has personally filed three lawsuits handled in federal court — including one showing that he began searching for other jobs within months of taking the helm of the youth group.

Like McPhaul’s recent lawsuit in Fulton County against a car dealership, the federal lawsuits are all filed “pro se,” or with McPhaul representing himself instead of having an attorney. The lawsuits are filed on behalf of McPhaul as an individual, not as a representative of YouthPride. One remains pending.

Court records show McPhaul has filed six lawsuits handled by the federal court system since 1994, all representing himself without an attorney. Defendants include at least four of his previous employers, including three prominent Atlanta nonprofits: AID Atlanta, National AIDS Education & Services for Minorities, and St. Joseph’s Mercy Care.

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YouthPride ED sues Mercedes-Benz for nearly $1 million over an oil leak

YouthPride Executive Director Terence McPhaul filed a lawsuit for nearly $1 million against an Atlanta Mercedes-Benz dealership on Feb. 28 saying its technicians never fixed a continuous oil leak in his vehicle.

McPhaul is suing the car dealership as an individual, not on behalf of the LGBT youth group.

McPhaul and YouthPride also recently countersued Inman Park UMC after the church, the agency's landlord, alleges YouthPride, an organization serving gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer youth agest 13-24 in metro Atlanta, has not paid more than $40,000 in rent.

McPhaul filed his lawsuit on Feb. 28 against Mercedes-Benz dealership RBM North of Atlanta “pro se” — meaning he is representing himself — for nearly $1 million because he claims  employees at the Atlanta dealership called him “paranoid” for his ongoing complaints of an oil leak.

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[UPDATE] YouthPride files counterclaim against landlord Inman Park United Methodist Church

YouthPride is digging in to fight the lawsuit filed against the LGBT youth group by its landlord Inman Park United Methodist Church, which says the LGBT youth group nonprofit owes more than $40,000 in back rent.

A court date is set for March 20 in Fulton Magistrate Court to try to settle the dispute, according to online documents filed with Fulton Magistrate Court. The notice was mailed out to the church on Tuesday, March 13.

Inman Park UMC filed its lawsuit against YouthPride in Fulton Magistrate Court on Feb. 17 including an eviction notice to be served on the organization mandating it leave the premises.

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Independent task force releases YouthPride findings ahead of tonight’s community forum

The independent task force investigating the ongoing viability of YouthPride released its findings today ahead of a planned community forum set for 7 p.m. tonight at Saint Mark United Methodist Church.

The report was originally intended to be completed last month, but was “delayed due to a failure of YouthPride leadership to adhere to their previously agreed cooperation with the Task Force,” according to task force member Charlie Stadtlander.

Among the report's findings are that the organization is violating its own bylaws by not having a fully staffed board of directors, YouthPride has no evidence its filed 941 payroll tax filings for Sept. 2011 or Dec. 2011, personal medical records of clients are unaccounted – possibly violating HIPPA regulations –  and the organization's last annual budget was ended in September 2011.

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Task force: No more cooperation from YouthPride officials to determine organization’s viability

A planned Feb. 24 report assessing YouthPride's viability as it moves into the future was not finished because documents were not made available from the organization's leadership to volunteer task force members as promised, according to a statement released today.

A community forum on the viability of YouthPride is set for Tuesday, March 6, at 7 p.m. at St. Mark United Methodist Church. YouthPride, founded in 1995, serves lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer youth ages 13-24 in metro Atlanta.

In December, the agency's executive director, Terence McPhaul, made a public plea to raise $40,000 or it would be forced to close in 60 days. That money has not been raised, but the agency continues to operate despite questions about whether it is a legal entity because it has no formal board of directors and only an executive director who is operating the agency.