Texas Democrats Caught With Their Pants Down
May 9, 2014 • 1:50PM

By Harley Schlanger

A story in the May 9 Houston Chronicle by Kevin Diaz, from their Washington, D.C. bureau, about allegations that David Alameel covered up sexual harassment of his employees, at his Jefferson Dental Clinics, raises an important question: Why is the Obama-controlled leadership of the Texas Democratic Party backing a candidate, with this baggage, in a year when it claims it is trying to win statewide elections in Texas, for the first time in 16 years, by mobilizing women and minorities?

With this latest revelation, it is fair to ask, further, What kind of losers nominate a loser, with this history, who is virtually incapable of putting together a coherent sentence, much less a program, to defend those continuing to suffer from the Wall Street crash of September 2008, as the nominee for the U.S. Senate, to run against Republican incumbent, John Cornyn? And why is the Democratic Party throwing its support to a candidate who made millions through sale of his company to a hedge fund tied to convicted junk bond swindler Michael Milken, when it is supposedly fighting to address the problem of "income inequality"?

The Chronicle story details how Alameel, the founder of Jefferson Dental Clinics (JDC), was confronted by four women employees, in 2003, who alleged they were sexually harassed by the CFO of the company. In response to their charges, they were fired. The women filed charges against Alameel and JDC with the EEOC and shortly thereafter sought damages in Texas state court under Texas tort law against JDC and the offending CFO. The Texas court ruled against the women on the two limited claims tried in state court. Alameel's lawyers then turned around and stated that that state court judgment barred any action by the EEOC on the sexual discrimination and retaliatory firing claims against Alameel pending with the EEOC but which were not even before the Texas Court. The EEOC won against this argument in the Federal District Court but lost on appeal to the Fifth Circuit.

The conduct at issue is summarized in both the Chronicle article and the EEOC's filings in the case and includes repeated overt physical sexual harassment incidents in the workplace by the CFO, Kadri Cumer, of the four female employees. According to the EEOC's filings based on discovery in the case, "Alameel acknowledged that his wife and son previously had expressed concerns to him about the Cumer's behavior." Alameel initially fired Cumer but almost immediately changed his mind and rehired him. A few days later, Alameel announced new workplace rules: female employees had to conform with a new dress code that prohibited sleeveless shirts and dresses, and female employees were not permitted "to talk out of turn." Three days later Alameel fired three of the complaining employees and the fourth employee resigned after Alameel told her that JDC was an "at will" company and she was welcome to leave if she did not like his decision to rehire Cumer.

Following the Fifth Circuit's decision, the case was closed with a consent decree in May 2008 requiring that JDC establish a new, non-harassment policy.

The settling of the case was convenient for Alameel, who was in the process of selling JDC to the Black Canyon Capital hedge fund, for tens of millions, in 2009.

Alameel's opponent in the May 27 runoff, Kesha Rogers, said that this history of Alameel speaks for itself. What ought to be of concern for Texas Democrats, she added, is why is the Party fighting so hard against me, in defense of this guy? Rogers has said that Alameel is nothing but a placeholder, who would lose in November to Cornyn, but who who will spend his own millions - to defeat her! Alameel has already spent over $4 million of his own money, while refusing demands of many constituent groups, to debate her.

While it has been clear that Alameel will not debate Rogers, for fear that he would be exposed as just another Wall Street-controlled Democrat with a Bush League profile, the reporting of his role in covering up sexual harassment shows that there is more that he is hiding.

"As usual," Rogers said, "The good ol' boy leadership of the Texas Democratic Party is rallying behind a Bush Democrat, who would lose to Cornyn, despite his willingness to spend the millions he made from a deal with Wall Street swindlers. I am running to represent the interests of those who have been hurt by Wall Street, those Franklin Roosevelt called the 'forgotten man', who face unemployment and low wage jobs, foreclosures, killer Obamacare, and a devastating drought, those whose future has been stolen by the Bush and Obama presidencies, which bailout Wall Street, while turning their backs on those who have been victims of rapacious, predatory greed.

"It's time to break the hold of Wall Street on both parties," she concluded.