Take the lawsuit Dunleavy filed this week which made the front page of the New Haven Register. It alleges that new parade leader Dr. John Lahey, president of Quinnipiac University in Connecticut, deliberately steered the parade’s TV broadcast to WNBC even though there was a much better deal negotiated by Dunleavy on the table with WPIX.
Except there wasn’t.
The lawsuit is based on a fiction that WPIX Channel 11 in New York wanted to take the parade off NBC and would accept no gay groups marching. Dunleavy even produced a letter signed by “Rich and Bob” no last names, on WPIX letterhead, confirming the deal.
Except the letter is a hoax. WPIX completely denied having made any such offer.
A network source told our sister paper the Irish Voice in September that “preliminary” talks between WPIX and Dunleavy loyalists on the parade committee took place earlier this year.
The outreach was initiated by Dunleavy, but it became apparent to WPIX representatives that they were being used as a “pawn” in the larger issue of who makes decisions about the direction and management of the parade.
WPIX decided to opt out of further discussion, the Voice reported. WPIX will not broadcast next year’s parade and never made a formal offer to do so, a highly placed source within the network told the Irish Voice.
Undaunted, Dunleavy just filed a lawsuit, about which the New Haven Register reported the following: “A lawsuit filed Monday claims Quinnipiac University President John Lahey manipulated New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade LLC and the St. Patrick’s Day Committee in order to assure a $175,000 television contract continued, despite the discovery by the committee’s now former chairman that a station was willing to broadcast it for free.
“The lawsuit, filed in the Supreme Court of the State of New York by attorney Francis Young on behalf of ousted parade chairman John T. Dunleavy, alleges that Lahey, in his role as vice chairman and director of the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade, illegally unseated him and was fiscally negligent concerning a dispute over which television station will broadcast the 2016 parade. It also claims Lahey used university resources to do it.”
Here is what Dunleavy alleges: “It is believed that Mr. Lahey and Francis Comerford thought in order to keep the parade broadcast with NBC, that he would have to remove Mr. Dunleavy as chairman and director, as Mr. Dunleavy already had indicated his belief that the broadcast should be moved to WPIX, who would not charge the fees that NBC was charging,” the suit claims.
“Mr. Lahey’s actions have cost and damaged the corporation/committee in the amount of at least $175,000 in unnecessary expenses and this is a breach of Mr. Lahey’s fiduciary responsibilities,” the suit says.
“It is believed that the actions of Mr. Lahey and Mr. Comerford were done more to benefit NBC, Mr. Comerford, Mr. Lahey and Quinnipiac University rather to benefit the parade and its supporters.”
But Dunleavy is telling a porky when he says WPIX had agreed to air the parade. The entire premise of the lawsuit is based on a fiction.
Dunleavy is still furious he was legally replaced as parade head by Lahey in June, but inventing a fake offer by TV stations and then using that as the basis of a lawsuit is hardly the way to win your case.
A letter from Lahey to Dunleavy, dated July 8, 2015, confirmed the new parade leadership and the change of signatories on parade bank accounts from Dunleavy to Lahey, Fitzsimons and executive secretary Hilary Beirne.
“Finally, it has come to our attention that you may have removed parade-related documents from the parade office – please be advised that any such documents are the property of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Inc., and should be returned immediately,” Lahey concluded.
In a later exchange the question of Dunleavy’s use of expenses charged to the parade also arose and has yet to be fully played out. Watch this space.
Dunleavy seems to be losing contact with reality here. I'll say it one more time -- there was no offer from WPIX, according to WPIX.
There's an Alice in Wonderland tinge to all this. Words mean what he wants them to mean in Dunleavy’s case.
It could be that he really believes WPIX made him a formal offer. Alas, the truth is far different.
It's time he realized his days as parade chairman are over, and no amount of lawsuits and bogus charges will change that.