Fired DNC Host Committee president considers lawsuit

NOW: Fired DNC Host Committee president considers lawsuit

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- The attorney for former DNC Host Committee President Liz Gilbert said Wednesday, Feb 5., not only is her client denying all allegations against her, but she is considering suing over the way she was fired.

New Jersey attorney Peg Schaffer said Gilbert was fired in an email Tuesday night at 9:40 p.m. -- one day after an investigation was launched over creating an alleged "toxic" work environment.

On Feb. 1, the DNC Host Committee Board of Directors received a letter from a group of anonymous "senior women," claiming Gilbert enabled chief of staff Adam Alonso was bullying and intimidating female DNC staffers.

Schaffer says the board ruined Gilbert's reputation by making anonymous allegations public, and they aren't ruling legal action out.

"It was a hectic workplace," Schaffer said. "But not, in her opinion, anything other than a productive workplace that was performing their task." 

Schaffer added "firing someone based on unsubstantiated allegations is something that's very difficult to digest."

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said of the board's decision to fire Gilbert, that it is important to move forward.

"You can see how quickly the board acted," Barrett said. "It understands that the convention is essentially 150, 160 days away, and so there's really a need to act quickly, and that's what the board did."

The board released a statement Tuesday night, one minute before Gilbert's attorney was notified of her firing, that said, "Based on the information we have learned to date, we believe the work environment did not meet the ideals and expectations of the Milwaukee 2020 Host Committee Board of Directors.”

"I think this is going to be more common than not," State Sen Chris Larson, D-Milwaukee, said of the concern over bullying. "Especially given the political environment, if there are accusations, they're going to be taken seriously.

Barrett said the committee was getting its job done, and is actually ahead of schedule on raising $70 million dollars.

"We've got a very, very important convention that's coming, and we're very proud of that," Barrett said. "And we're very excited about that, so we roll up our sleeves and keep working."

Teresa Vilmain has been put in charge of the committee for now. Barrett says the search for a permanent replacement should move quickly.

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