Latino business advocate stung by misconduct allegations resurfaces without label

Latino business advocate stung by misconduct allegations resurfaces without label

No Labels, the centrist organization seeking access to the ballot for the 2024 presidential election, has partnered with Javier Palomarez, a Hispanic business advocate with a history of allegations of financial misconduct in the workplace and of sexual harassment.

In 2018, Mr. Palomarez resigned as chief executive of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce amid accusations of raising his salary and making an unwanted pass at his chief executive. cabinet. I denied these allegations and subsequently sued the chamber. He also filed a complaint against one of the group’s former leaders, accusing him of having been the victim of sexual harassment. Both cases were ultimately settled out of court in 2019.

In an interview Tuesday evening, Mr. Palomarez said his departure from the Hispanic House was the result of a witch hunt against him, because he was elected to work rather than against the Trump administration. He said he had “won the cases” against his accusers, although he said the terms of the deals remained confidential. I refused to reveal them. “All I can do is tell you that I maintained my innocence then and I maintain it now,” he said.

Mr. Palomarez is a self-proclaimed democrat who resigned from a diverse coalition agreed to by the Trump administration as part of its effort to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. He occasionally appears on cable news to criticize President Biden on issues like immigration and domestic energy production. He is also the founder and CEO of an advocacy organization whose mission is similar to that of the American Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, his former employer, and is now a volunteer leader at No Labels.

In a video meeting with No Labels supporters Tuesday evening, Mr. Palomarez spoke about the importance of engaging Hispanic voters in any presidential bid.

“Our nation is at a transit point. Never before have we been so disappointed in our elected officials and our leaders,” he told the nearly 300 participants on the call. “One thing is certain: the Hispanic electorate will play a decisive role in the 2024 elections.”

Mr. Palomarez, who voted for Mr. Biden in 2020, said his role at No Labels would be that of a conduit to the Hispanic community, which he said had been harmed by the Biden administration’s energy policies .

According to him, No Labels supporters believe it would be better to replace Mr. Biden with a Republican.

“There is a feeling that the White House has lost touch,” he said. “From an economic standpoint, a Republican would be better suited to lead the country.”

But before the meeting with Mr. Palomarez, some guests were privately furious about his involvement.

“It was alarming to see his role in a large organization like No Labels, even though, clearly, No Labels lacks a lot of credibility when it comes to national policy,” said Maria Cardona, a Democratic strategist who was on the board. Administration of the American Hispanic Association. Chamber of Commerce when Mr. Palomarez came under fire. “I hope he’s changed.”

Nancy Jacobson, chief executive of No Labels, said Tuesday that she was unaware of the 2018 allegations against Mr. Palomarez.

No Labels, which is exploring the possibility of running a presidential unity slate that could include both a Republican and a Democrat, has qualified for the presidential ballot in 12 states. But its efforts have stalled in others — due to rules in some states that require new third-party organizations to have a nominee to guarantee ballot access.

Mr. Biden’s allies view No Labels as an existential threat because of the competition it could create for both votes and dollars. Democrats have generally avoided No Labels, the result of a campaign by the group Third Way to keep key party members and donors from participating in the organization.

They may have reason to worry. On Tuesday’s call, Neil Newhouse, a Republican pollster, said a survey he recently conducted for the Spanish-language news network Univision showed that independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Cornel West, had more support from Mr. Biden than they did from former President Donald J. Trump. Mr. Newhouse showed a slide showing that Mr. Biden and Mr. Trump were tied in a two-way race, but that Mr. Trump was ahead in a race with several other candidates on the ballot.

Ms. Jacobson has told potential donors in recent weeks that the group would nominate a Republican to lead its presidential ticket at a convention scheduled for April.

In 2021, three years after leaving the business organization, Mr. Palomarez founded the United States Hispanic Business Council, whose stated mission is to “empower Hispanic businesses in the United States by advocating for the people and policies that support their advancement “.

Ms. Jacobson said Mr. Palomarez came highly recommended to No Labels.

“Several people introduced him to our organization as an extremely capable leader who could add value and perspective as a volunteer,” she said. Ms. Jacobson said Mr. Palomarez would not be paid. She added that he would work with the co-chairs of No Labels, but did not specify what his responsibilities would be.

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David B.Otero

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