John Dunleavy, former chairman of the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Celebration Committee, has pursued a civil lawsuit against parade chairman Dr. John Lahey for several months now – but that didn’t stop Dunleavy from both praising and voting for Lahey to continue in his role for another year at a recent board meeting of the parade.
A decision on Dunleavy’s lawsuit against Lahey, filed in Bronx Supreme Court, is due by the end of this week. The suit claims that a board meeting in June of 2015 that elected Lahey as chairman and removed Dunleavy from many of his parade duties was illegally called, and that all decisions taken by the board since should be rendered null and void. The suit includes several temporary restraining orders Dunleavy’s attorney Francis X. Young filed against the board, but that didn’t stop Dunleavy – who remains a member of the board -- from attending and actively participating in a board meeting at the Metropolitan Club on June 8.
At the meeting, sources told the Irish Voice, Lahey, president of Quinnipiac University, offered to stand down as chairman, or serve for another one or two year period maximum before leaving the post for good. A vote was taken that included only the board members eligible to vote at the June 2015 meeting that elected Lahey, and the result was 8-2 in favor of him serving as chair for another year. Dunleavy cast his vote in favor, and said he approved of Lahey’s chairmanship – a move that would seem at odds with his ongoing lawsuit, and the stance of the Dunleavy-backing Concerned Members of the Affiliated Organizations group which has stridently opposed Lahey and the board.
Another source told the Irish Voice that there’s hope Lahey and Dunleavy, long-time friends who worked on the parade for decades together before a rift over LGBT participation on the march split them apart – Dunleavy has been adamantly opposed to gay groups in the parade, while Lahey worked to include them – could settle their differences and work together in the future.
Dunleavy told board members at the meeting he remains upset over accusations that he took money from the parade, findings which were revealed by a forensic audit of the parade’s accounts after Lahey assumed the chairmanship last year. Dunleavy said he never took any money from the parade in his decades of leadership, and any funds spent were in relation to parade business only.
The June 8 board meeting attended to several other parade matters, including the re-election to the board of Charles McGuire, Jean Husted and Ryan Hanlon, who were elected at the meeting in June of 2015. Two other members were also elected to the board: Reilly Dundon, a long-time parade volunteer, and Tommy Smyth, the broadcaster who helms the live parade coverage on WNBC each year.