Fund raiser sues Gary Johnson, top campaign staff

Former New Mexico Governor and 2012 Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson is being sued, in a civil lawsuit that claims the campaign and several contractors owe $104,945.65 in unpaid commissions and fees to their former money man.

Bydlak v. Gary Johnson (2/7/2012) [scribd]

Professional fund raiser Jonathan M. Bydlak (Bydlak & Associates) filed papers in Alexandria, Virginia Federal Court on February 7th. The suit names Johnson personally, Gary Johnson 2012 Inc., Our America Initiative, NSON Inc., Daines Goodwin & Company PC, Chet Goodwin (personally), Ronald T. Nielsen (personally), and Kim Blanton (personally). In the brief, Bydlak (who is represented by Charles Burham, a real lawyer) seeks damages for fraud, unjust enrichment, breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty.

Bydlak previously raised money for Ron Paul during his 2008 campaign (without incident) as Director of Fundraising, claiming to have raised more than $35 million. Now, he’s come out guns blazing over allegedly not getting paid in full for his commission on more than a half million dollars he says he raised for Johnson between July 2010 and December 2011, “OAI and GJ2012 are insolvent or in danger of becoming insolvent.” He says the campaign started to have payment problems “from the beginning.”

Accusing Nielsen, Blanton and Goodwin of fraud, Bydlak claims the trio promised they “would set aside GJ2012’s campaign funds in order to pay him first.” Without that guarantee, he “would not have continued working for the campaign without an assurance that he would be paid for his work”.

Instead he states that while he was out raising money from donors, the defendants spent the money on Johnson’s travel and “prioritized the use of those funds to ensure that their own companies would be paid first and paid in full, all at the expense of Bydlak and other contractors.”

George Phillies, a Libertarian Party candidate for president in 2008, warned his followers of Johnson’s looming debt issue last month, stating “The third-quarter FEC report of the Johnson 2012 Campaign showed that the Johnson campaign owed large sums of money, far larger than have historically been owed by real Libertarian Presidential campaigns at the same stage of the cycle.”

“Debts include $83,958 to NS0N, $94,666 to EH2 consulting, $8,666 to Hackstaff Law Group, and $52,776 to Jonathan Bydlak, for a total of $240,066.” Ominously, he added “expect an update next month.”

Request for comment from the Libertarian Party and the Johnson campaign were not returned.

UPDATE: Independent Political Report is also reporting on this lawsuit, adding “A Google search indicates the plaintiff was Republican presidential aspirant Ron Paul‘s fundraising director in 2008, and later director of development at Citizens in Charge, an advocacy organization which counts two former Libertarian Party national directors (Paul Jacob and Eric O’Keefe) and one former Libertarian National Committee chair / current LNC member (Bill Redpath) as members of its board. He also appears to have been affiliated with Paul’s Campaign For Liberty at least as recently as 2010.”

The comments over there are also pretty lively with accusations of fiscal impropriety within the Johnson campaign. And then some stuff about Israel… LOLIDUNNO!

UPDATE Apr-26: The case was dismissed from a federal court on jurisdiction technicalities.

posted by vforvandyke
  • JohnnyX

    He raised $35M for Ron Paul? No, that was the grassroots.

  • Informed Observer

    Shoddy bookkeeping has a funny way of screwing candidates who preach fiscal responsibility. I hope the irony is not lost on Johnson. He should move quickly and kick these charlatans out, this scandal threatens to tank his campaign to secure the LP nomination.

    • Anonymous

      Here’s the FEC filing info: http://www.fec.gov/disclosurehs/HSCandDetail.do?detailComeFrom=candlist&candId=P20002671

      The LP won’t bail out Johnson of his $200K in debt, especially not with a lawsuit.

      • beverlywest

        Accoding to the filing Bydlak was highest paid member of the Johnson team in 2011. On the flip side, he’s saying he’s worth it AND he had a contract that Johnson’s people were apparently dumb enough to sign on the dotted line.

        LOL.

  • Henry

    This lawsuit sounds very fishy to me…… I heard that the guy suing left the campaign because Johnson wanted to run in the Libertarian party. Now is he just trying to damage the Gov. because he is no longer a Republican?

    • http://vforvandyke.com vforvandyke

      Got anything to back up this claim?

    • http://www.facebook.com/morrisonjimmy Jimmy Morrison

      Wouldn’t you be mad if someone didn’t pay you $52,776?

      • Freethinker

        Exactly.

    • sadchester

      As a former staff member I can say that there were constant problems with being paid even close to on time, if at all.

  • George Phillies

    Historically the LNC has declined to bail out campaigns that were in debt.  Barr ended his campaign a similar amount in debt, which he is gradually paying off.

    Starting 200 k$ in debt, not to yourself, is close to unprecedented.

  • Mike

    The lawsuit was dismissed today (April 24th) on all counts and against all parties. 

    • http://vforvandyke.com/ Stephen VanDyke

       Note to readers: we are in the process of confirming this.