Ms. Vaca declined to remark. Her allegations of monetary impropriety led basis administrators to cut back Mr. Palomarez’s obligations, in line with basis board minutes, and the chamber’s administrators to think about forcing his resignation final fall, in line with chamber board minutes and to folks near the board.
Gissel Gazek Nicholas, Mr. Palomarez’s former chief of workers, has accused him of sexual harassment. Ms. Nicholas, who was fired final fall, made the accusations in a letter that her lawyer wrote to the chamber’s board and in an interview with The Instances. The letter mentioned that Mr. Palomarez sexually assaulted her, created a hostile work setting and wrongfully terminated her from her chief of workers function.
The Hispanic Chamber of Commerce calls itself the voice of four.four million Hispanic-owned companies.
Mr. Palomarez, who was named chief government eight years in the past, has raised the group’s profile. He has advocated for Latino enterprise pursuits on tv and in op-ed articles, secured entry to influential figures within the White Home and on Capitol Hill and strengthened the chamber’s relationships with corporations like Coca-Cola and Goldman Sachs. In September, he resigned from President Trump’s Nationwide Variety Coalition to publicly protest Mr. Trump’s resolution to finish the Barack Obama-era program that shields younger undocumented immigrants from deportation, identified formally because the Deferred Motion for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program.
Final 12 months, shortly earlier than Mr. Palomarez’s employment contract was resulting from expire, Ms. Vaca reviewed his pay and efficiency from prior years, in line with folks near the board and to the Texas courtroom filings. She found what she described to fellow administrators as a sample of inappropriate annual raises and different payouts, in line with folks near the board, together with Maria Cardona, who was a director on the time. Ms. Vaca estimated that Mr. Palomarez was paid a whole lot of 1000’s of dollars greater than he was entitled to beneath his contract, in line with board minutes.
Six members of the board’s government committee voted on Oct. 31 to provide Mr. Palomarez an opportunity to resign inside per week and repay the chamber a negotiated sum of money. At that time, the group estimated the overpayment at $500,000 to $600,000, in line with the board minutes.
“What he did was financially inappropriate at greatest, and if he had carried out this at every other group, he would have been fired on the spot,” mentioned Ms. Cardona, who voted to oust Mr. Palomarez.
A couple of month later, in early December, Ms. Cardona and two different feminine administrators who wished Mr. Palomarez to resign had been compelled off the board as a result of they hadn’t paid their annual board dues on time, in line with Ms. Cardona.
On Dec. 6, the board once more thought-about the allegations of overpayment, however rejected them, in line with the Texas submitting. A spokeswoman retained by the group’s board had no instant touch upon the matter.
Ms. Nicholas’s harassment allegation stemmed from an incident that she says occurred in Chicago in 2013. Mr. Palomarez was there for an occasion with the town’s mayor, and he requested Ms. Nicholas and different workers to affix him in his resort suite for last-minute preparations, in line with Ms. Nicholas and two different individuals who had been there. Late that evening, because the group was leaving his suite, Mr. Palomarez requested Ms. Nicholas to remain behind, they mentioned.
Ms. Nicholas mentioned he requested her to sit down down with him and focus on the following day’s occasion.
“He grabbed my hand gently, and is rubbing the again of my hand, and says that he’s extremely drawn to me, and puzzled what it could be prefer to be with me,” Ms. Nicholas mentioned in an interview. “He requested if I had ever considered being with him.”
She mentioned she rebuffed Mr. Palomarez, whereas attempting to keep away from an ungainly scenario.
“I mentioned, ‘Oh, Jav, we shouldn’t go there,’” Ms. Nicholas mentioned. On her approach out the door, she mentioned he pulled her towards him and tried to kiss her earlier than she broke away.
Her account was corroborated by an e mail she despatched to a pal hours after the incident, in addition to a second pal whom she advised concerning the incident on the time.
Mr. Palomarez denies that the incident came about. He mentioned within the Texas courtroom submitting that Ms. Vaca, a chamber board member on the time that Ms. Nicholas’s allegations surfaced, put Ms. Nicholas as much as fabricating a sexual harassment declare in change for a promise that Ms. Nicholas may substitute Mr. Palomarez because the chamber’s chief government.
Ms. Nicholas mentioned that’s false and that she was by no means concerned about changing into the chamber’s chief government.
Mr. Palomarez has confronted harassment allegations earlier than. In 1996, when he labored at Allstate Insurance coverage, he was sued by a subordinate, Yolanda Hernandez, who accused him of constructing suggestive feedback, kissing her and putting his hand on her thigh at an out-of-town enterprise gathering. Ms. Hernandez ultimately grew to become petrified of stalking and “different provocative acts” and left the corporate shortly afterward, in line with the lawsuit.
The case was later settled, in line with a lawyer for Ms. Hernandez. She is now a marketer within the Chicago space. Her lawyer mentioned the settlement included a confidentiality settlement.
Requested concerning the Allstate go well with, Mr. Palomarez’s lawyer, Tony Buzbee, mentioned, “Javier didn’t harass anybody.”