Breach of contract suits are ordinarily dry, boilerplate affairs, which is why Hair Balls tips our hat to the colorful complaint filed last Friday by Donald Large against City Council At-Large Candidate Carlos Obando.
Large, who is also chairs Harris County Republican Precinct 411, tells Obando in his suit that he "would have rather been tortured by the Nazis at Auschwitz for days, repeatedly raped, and then be left for dead than work for your campaign another second."
And in case that hypothetical didn't convey the adequate amount of acrimony, Large also stated, "I would have rather watched my mother slowly die from her cancer in a hospice than work for your campaign another second."
Oh, and just in case...."I would rather be evicted from my new home in Nob Hill West and be destitute and begging on the street than work for your campaign another second."
(Personally, Hair Balls would've opened with the eviction and built up to Nazi-rape -- we think it not only would've made for a more powerful legal argument, but just works better as a dramatic narrative arc).
Here's the deal: Large resigned from Obando's campaign September 21 and is demanding $50,000-$100,000; figures that appear to be plucked from the sky.
The contract, included in the court filings, states that Large would be paid $1,000 a month, a $550 partial retainer, a 20 percent fundraising commission, and a bonus-to-be-named-later in the event of Obando's victory. But Large told Hair Balls that part of the money he's seeking is based on the victory bonus. We'll give you a minute to let that one sink in, seeing as the election hasn't been held yet.
Large says he resigned because Obando mistreated him -- going so far, Large claims, as to blame Large for being the victim of an assault outside a Friendswood bar in August.
"First off, he blamed the victim -- me -- for the assault, and I didn't like that," Large tells Hair Balls. "He asked me to work heavily on the campaign in the middle of Rosh Hashana, [and I] definitely didn't like that. And as a fellow openly-gay Republican, he was trying to tell me how I should live my life as an openly-gay man, and I didn't like that either."
But Obando says that Large was trashing Obando's opponents, misrepresenting himself as Obando's campaign leader, and generally sabotaging the campaign. He says he was already considering asking Large to resign before the assault; however, he didn't want to ask Large to quit while he lay recuperating in a hospital bed.
Obando also said that Large "is probably mentally ill and has written this [lawsuit] completely out of spite because I no longer wanted him working on my campaign." He added later, "I'm looking at ways of solving the mental illness problem in our city, as well as the homelessness issue, because that is truly it -- everyone knows somebody who is mentally ill. And they need help and support, and we as a city need to be there to support them as well."
So why did Obando ask Large to join the campaign in the first place?
"He's been around for quite some time -- he's been a precinct chair, he's a Republican -- so am I," Obando said. "He's a homosexual, so am I. So I saw common grounds in which I believe that he could have brough some assets to the table."
Large listed some of those assets in his lawsuit, stating "With the exception of Michael Wolfe, I am the senior 'Gen X' Republican politician/elected official in Harris County, Texas. I have been an elected official since you were a junior in high school. I have seen lots of things go down in the past thirteen years, but your behavior to me recently -- in the middle of Rosh Hashanah especially -- goes far beyond the pale of what I have ever seen. I pray that you make the right decisions for yourself and your campaign. I still believe you have potential to be a fine public servant, if you could only keep your temper in check. That is why I formally dis-endorsed your campaign on Facebook before I announced my resignation."
Since Large felt the need to bring his religion into a breach-of-contract suit, Hair Balls had to ask about what appear to be inconsistencies in Large's description of himself as "Orthodox." When Large told us he was assaulted outside that Friendswood bar -- where he had gone to see a friend's band after attending Sabbath services -- on a Friday night, we had to ask him what an Orthodox Jew was doing driving to a bar on Shabbas. We also wondered why such a pious Jew would liken the alleged emotional distress of a municipal political campaign to the atrocities of the Holocaust. We dig hyperbole and all, but to read something like that coming from a supposedly Orthodox Jew struck us as somewhat meshuggah.
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"I've gotten more Orthodox over time -- or certainly more observant....," Large says. "The way I describe it is, I prefer my liturgy in Hebrew, even if I can't read it. I prefer services that more closely resemble the services of my ancestors in Russia and Romania." [Emphasis ours].
(In his defense, there is an abundance of historical evidence suggesting that 19th-Century Ashkenazi Jews often observed the Sabbath by driving to suburban shtetls to watch bands with names like Primal Funk.)
Large, who filed an affidavit of indigence, is representing himself in the suit. He resigned from the Texas State Bar in 2006, in lieu of disciplinary action. Large says he had taken a client's payment without doing any actual work, and before he could make amends, he had to file for bankruptcty. The Bar, he says, then ordered him to resign. (There is nothing in the disciplinary rules the Bar says Large was reprimanded for suggesting that filing for bankruptcy prompted his resignation; only failure to properly represent a client).
We'll be eagerly awaiting the outcome on this one.