A legal battle is brewing over the leadership of Pride Houston, Inc., the organization that puts on Houston's annual LGBT Pride Celebration, with the newly elected president and former president suing each other over who has true control over the nonprofit's assets.
Pride Houston and its newly elected president, Lorin Roberts, sued outgoing president Francisco Quijano and his husband — a board member — October 23, claiming that Quijano has been withholding access to the organization's bank accounts.
Although Quijano agreed at a court hearing October 31 to turn over some financial records to the board, he also countersued, claiming that Roberts, whose term began October 1, doesn't meet the organization's requirements to be president.
Just to make things more confusing, Quijano is actually the person who nominated Roberts for the office, according to her suit, which would sort of undermine Quijano's claim.
According to Pride Houston's suit, Quijano "refused to relinquish the organization's assets...and has withheld the information from current board members to prevent them from accessing the business assets in the form of accounts."
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Quijano's husband, co-defendant Abijah Kratochvil, also "acted in concert with Quijano, in harassing and threatening the other board members," according to the suit.
According to the couple's countersuit, it was only after Roberts was elected that board members discovered she had not served the minimum amount of time with the nonprofit to hold the office of president. In such a case, the organization's bylaws dictate that Quijano remain in office. (The couple also allege that Quijano met resistance when he tried to reach a compromise with the other board members.)
U.A. Lewis, Pride Houston's attorney, told the Houston Press in an email that Quijano on October 31 agreed to release passwords to one of the nonprofit's credit card accounts, as well as his personal accounts "which his attorneys represented were tied to the Pride account."
Quijano's attorney, Angela Olalde, declined comment, saying an agreed order "prohibits both parties from comment at this time." However, the Harris County District Clerk's website does not show an agreed order on file.