Payback for Whyman

Sparks continue to fly between State Rep. Deborah Whyman (R-Canton) and the Triangle Foundation, now over the terms of the legal settlement they reached last week.

The gay and lesbian advocacy group successfully sued Whyman last year for defaming it when she disseminated 1996 campaign literature accusing the organization of supporting "sex acts between grown men and boys." According to Triangle Foundation executive director Jeffrey Montgomery, Whyman told local media that the settlement amount will go to a charity in the group's name, rather than her giving the money to the organization.

Whyman was quoted last week by the Associated Press as saying, "I will make a small donation to a real charity, keeping Triangle from getting one thin dime from me."

Montgomery says this is not true; the money will go to the charity of her choice and will then be passed on to the Triangle Foundation.

"When it goes to the third party, the check will be specifically made out to the Triangle Foundation," he says. "Ms. Whyman has been trying to say that it goes to the charity and that is that. If she says that, she is obfuscating."

Whyman did not return Metro Times' phone calls. Part of the settlement agreement is that the amount Whyman will pay the Triangle Foundation will not be disclosed.

Whyman also was quoted by the Associated Press as saying that the "the homosexual extremists at the Triangle Foundation knew they had a horrible case to present to the jury, so they agreed to settle this nuisance suit for a nominal contribution to a worthy charity."

According to Montgomery, the two parties have been negotiating a settlement since last year when Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Susan Borman ruled that Whyman had defamed the group. The ruling came after a three-panel board awarded the Triangle Foundation $15,000 in damages when it concluded that her accusation was false and malicious.

Whyman, who was defeated in the August primary and will step down in December, refused to pay the group that amount and the case went before Borman.

"We are satisfied that this is behind us," says Montgomery, who does not know why Whyman insisted that the settlement amount go through a third party. "I have a suspicion that she did not want it known that she was giving us the money directly," he says.

Whyman has until April 1 to decide which charity will pass the settlement on to the Triangle Foundation.

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