According to the Complaint, Nothstein had been employed as Executive Director at The Velodrome since 2008. That's a charitable nonprofit. It promotes cycling. Nothstein, a Silver and Gold Medal Olympic athlete, was at one time the fastest person on a bicycle. Ralston is an attorney.
A little background here about Ralston, before I move on with the Complaint. His LinkedIn page shows that he was employed by the Gross McGinley law firm between 2003 and 2016. That just happens to be the very law firm where Wild was employed It also happens to be the very same law firm that defended The Morning Call in several defamation lawsuits. In 2016, Ralston left Gross McGinley for another law firm, White and Williams
Getting back to the Complaint, Nothstein claims he noticed that Ralston was engaged in "self-dealing," i.e. personally benefiting from his position of trust, by steering legal work to his law firm. He allegedly "funneled tens of thousands of legal work" to his law firm even though The Velodrome in previous years had little or no legal expenses.
In 2016, Nothstein began to complain about this self-dealing, and confronted Ralston. Then, on October 29, 2017, Nothstein announced his candidacy for the seat being vacated by then Congressman Charlie Dent. A scant 11 days later, an "anonymous tipster" contacted USA Cycling, and accused him of unspecified sexual misconduct that supposedly had occurred 18 years ago, when he was in training for the Sydney Olympics.
USA Cycling passed this anonymous tip to Safesport, a federal entity established by Congress to investigate accusations of sexual misconduct by Olympic athletes.
Safesport notified Ralston of its investigation on Feb 9, 2018, and just three days later, Ralston handed Nothstein a "confidential" letter placing him on indefinite unpaid suspension. He was instructed to turn in his ID card, keys and credit card that day and was even warned, "There is no reason for you to be at the velodrome." He was also muzzled from discussing his suspension with other board members or Velodrome employees.
At the same time he was muzzling Nothstein, Ralston is alleged to have told Velodrome staff, "Marty no longer works here." He also declared he had a "plan" to replace Nothstein.
Nothstein avers that Ralston acted unilaterally, in violation of by-laws that would require him to consult with other directors. He is alleged to have done this so he could continue to milk the Velodrome with legal bills. He then ransacked Nothstein's office and took various items, including high end bicycles and mementos from Nothstein's cycling career.
Nothstein did eventually get one bicycle returned to him.
According to the Complaint, Ralston and other Velodrome board members then began leaking the existence of this investigation, in direct violation of Safesport rules requiring strict confidentiality. These rules exist to protect both victim and accused. Ralston is alleged to have leaked the investigation to The Morning Call.
The Morning Call began contacting this woman. It also obtained emails or minutes from Ralston in which he discussed this supposedly "confidential" matter with board members Before it published its first story, Nothstein representatives offered an affidavit from this supposed victim, strongly denying the anonymous accusation of unspecified sexual misconduct. They were spurned, and The Morning Call published a story without bothering to inform its readers of these denials. In doing so, the newspaper cast Nothstein in a false light.
As explained in the lawsuit, the story intentionally omitted information that cleared Nothstein. (I personally think fundamental fairness would demand that the newspaper inform its readers that the very victim of these anonymous accusations had denied them.)
After a Nothstein news conference on the day this story was published, the paper did admit it had been offered affidavits, but Nothstein placed too many restrictions on them. This is contradicted in the Complaint. The only restriction Nothstein wanted was one that would require the newspaper to honor this woman's request for confidentiality.
The decent thing.
According to the Complaint, "There is no more compelling evidence than an unequivocal denial from the woman involved in the anonymous accusations, and it was a gross violation of journalistic standards,ethics and integrity for the Morning Call to refuse to review the aforesaid AFFIDAVIT."
On August 23, Safesport cleared Nothstein of any sexual misconduct. By that time, the damage had been done. As Nothstein said yesterday at his debate, "It was devastating to me, devastating to my family and devastating to my campaign."
Nothstein has also sued the Velodrome for continuing to use his name and likeness to draw revenue and for suspending and then firing him in violation of their own by-laws.
Ralston's Denials - Ralston is defending himself in Facebook court. After claiming all the allegations are false, he issues a threat: "please please repeat these allegations outside of the pleadings so I can sue you for defamation.” After saying, "I want to, but can’t, say more right now," he does.
1. I haven’t and don’t make a goddamned nickel off of legal work that was or is done for the Velodrome. Zero. $0.00. I’m a salaried employee of my firm, and voluntarily did the exact right thing by refusing any remuneration related to this client. The decision to hire my firm was and is the Board’s, with me recused, and based upon merit. The claim that I am unethical is outrageously false. If these allegations are not withdrawn immediately, I will seek sanctions under Rule 1023 against Nothstein and his attorney.He really seems to like Rule 1023. Ralston should stop defending himself. He is demonstrating the principle that a lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client.
2. I didn’t leak anything to The Morning Call, or anyone else, about Marty Nothstein. As soon as I can, I will be asking The Call to confirm that I am not the source that they cite in their article about Marty Nothstein. I have no idea who their source is. If these allegations are not withdrawn immediately, I will seek sanctions under Rule 1023 against Nothstein and his attorney.
3. All actions taken by the Velodrome related to Marty Nothstein were taken by the Board of the Velodrome, not me. I never acted unilaterally, ever. All decisions were that of the Board. If these allegations are not withdrawn immediately, I will seek sanctions under Rule 1023 against Nothstein and his attorney.
4. I have not ever, am not now, and will not in the future support any candidate for Congress in this election. I have never “conspired” with anyone, including but not limited to The Morning Call, to support Marty’s opponent, or to hurt Marty. If these allegations are not withdrawn immediately, I will seek sanctions under Rule 1023 against Nothstein and his attorney.
5. Nothstein’s attorney is his close friend, and did legal work for the Velodrome when Nothstein gave it to him. Nothstein wanted him to take over the defense of a lawsuit brought against the Velodrome related to the conduct of Nothstein — which request was obviously refused by the board. Hall also has personal animosity, clearly exhibited in the Complaint, against my firm — where he used to work. Hall also has personal involvement with aspects of certain relevant facts underlying decisions about Nothstein that were made by the Board.
(I'll give you my take on the debate itself on Thursday).