Former Henderson City Councilwoman Kathleen Vermillion has filed a defamation lawsuit against the leader of the homeless youth charity she founded, saying he lied about her and damaged her reputation.
The lawsuit filed Tuesday in District Court names the Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth, executive director Arash Ghafoori and the charity’s board of directors as defendants. It seeks damages for defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress and other claims.
The bulk of the lawsuit’s allegations center on a memo Ghafoori wrote to the partnership board in December. In the eight-page memo, Ghafoori questioned Vermillion’s role with the charity, accused her of lying to and misleading the board and identified "frivolous expenditures" by the Homeless Youth Foundation, the partnership’s fundraising arm, which was run by Vermillion.
The allegations were "false, taken out of context, and designed to paint Kathleen falsely in a negative light for the express purpose of enriching Ghafoori," according to the lawsuit.
Ghafoori made many of the same allegations in a complaint he filed with the Nevada secretary of state. The agency does not confirm or deny its involvement in investigations.
The lawsuit also accuses Ghafoori of leaking the results of a drug test she took at the board’s request. The test was positive for the painkiller methadone.
Ghafoori joined the partnership in April 2011 and became the interim executive director in September.
The lawsuit alleged Ghafoori "began using his new position to build any kind of ‘case’ he could against Kathleen to ensure that he could oust Kathleen" from the charity and take over her position. She was the chief operating officer of both the Homeless Youth Foundation and the partnership, according to the lawsuit.
Ghafoori declined to comment on the lawsuit.
In a released statement, the board of directors also had no comment on the lawsuit but did state the facts and forensic audits of the charities would "enhance our position even more."
"Sadly, this may be nothing more than a desperate attempt to vilify an entire board of volunteers and leadership team that have given tirelessly and lovingly to a worthwhile endeavor that has helped thousands of young men and women find assistance in their desperate times of need," the statement read.
Vermillion’s life has unraveled in the past six months. She broke up with Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak in October after a rocky five-year relationship and resigned from the Henderson City Council in early January before finishing her first term.
Ghafoori’s complaint with the secretary of state went public, and Vermillion sued Sisolak and the county over her drug test results going public. She dropped the lawsuit three weeks later.
Shortly after the allegations against her went public, she suffered what she called an accidental overdose of alcohol and anti-anxiety medication. She has said she sought treatment for her addiction.
Contact reporter Brian Haynes at email@example.com or 702-383-0281.