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By John Wright
Pride Houston Inc. is suing former President and CEO Francisco “Frankie” Quijano, alleging that he’s refused to relinquish control of the nonprofit organization’s business assets since being replaced Oct. 1, according to Harris County district court records.
Pride Houston and its new president, Lorin Roberts, further allege in their lawsuit that Quijano has harassed and threatened current board members, and undermined their work by contacting volunteers and vendors. Filed Oct. 23 in Harris County’s 127th Civil District Court, the lawsuit also names as a defendant Quijano’s husband, Abijah Kratochvil, who’s accused of acting in concert with him.
Quijano had served as president and CEO of Pride Houston—which puts on the annual LGBTQ parade and festival in June—since 2011. According to the plaintiffs’ original complaint, Pride Houston’s board of directors elected Roberts to replace Quijano, and her term began Oct. 1.
“As president of Pride Houston, Quijano had control over all the organization’s assets in the form of accounts associated with Pride Houston Inc., including bank accounts, credit card accounts, social media accounts, email accounts and the organization’s website,” the complaint states. “Since the new president’s term began, Quijano has refused to relinquish the assets to the incoming president, Lorin Roberts, and has withheld information from the current board members to prevent them from accessing the business assets in the form of accounts.”
Angie Olalde, the attorney representing Quijano and Kratochvil, declined to discuss the case.
“At this time I can only refer you to the pleadings on file, as both parties have been temporarily directed to maintain confidentiality,” Olalde said in an email.
Judge Kyle Carter has granted the plaintiffs’ request for a temporary restraining order. The order requires Quijano to provide Pride Houston board members with passwords and other information needed to access the organization’s accounts. It also prohibits Quijano from accessing the accounts himself; contacting board members, volunteers, sponsors or vendors; entering into or cancelling contracts; or acting in any way on behalf of Pride Houston.
The next hearing in the case—on the plaintiffs’ request for a temporary injunction—is set for Tuesday, Oct. 31, court records indicate.
According to the restraining order, the plaintiffs and defendants will enter into a confidentiality agreement related to to the transition in leadership from Quijano to Roberts. The agreement will bar them from discussing the transition or publishing disparaging, derogatory, or adverse comments.
Read the restraining order against Quijano below.
CLARIFICATION: A previous version of this story inaccurately stated that the lawsuit also involves a home in Fort Bend County. OutSmart has since learned that an attorney for the plaintiffs was using a template and mistakenly included references to the home in court filings, which will soon be amended.