One day after word broke that he was no longer the Peconic Baykeeper, Kevin McAllister says he was broadsided with allegations that he had an inappropriate relationship with a staff member a year-and-a-half ago, and he plans to fight to get his job back.
In an interview Thursday morning, Mr. McAllister said he hadn’t had a romantic relationship with Alexandra Millar, who is now serving as the development and communications director for the Peconic Baykeeper, but he had briefly been flirtatious with her.
“We hung out,” he said when asked to describe their relationship, adding that he and Ms. Millar were still on good terms until the Baykeeper’s board of directors ousted him last week. “They say I had an improper relationship with a staff member. That depends on what constitutes improper. These were just verbal allegations. I haven’t seen anything in writing.”
“Quite frankly, any alleged interactions are stale and old. Why bring it out now if it’s anything offensive?” he asked.
Mr. McAllister’s attorney, Barbara Matthews of St. James, said her client has received nothing in writing regarding the allegations, but that it would be a violation of her client’s civil rights if he is wrongfully accused of sexual misconduct. She is seeking to have him reinstated as Baykeeper while a proper investigation is conducted.
She added that Mr. McAllister received a round of applause at an East Moriches Homeowners Association meeting he attended on his own time last night.
“A lot of civic organizations are standing behind him,” she said. “After 16 years of unblemished work, he was literally broadsided.”
Mr. McAllister said he had just returned from vacation, was suffering from an intestinal virus and had just watched his dog die when Board Chairman Brendan McCurdy verbally accused him of misconduct and asked him to resign on March 7. He refused, and said he then received a text message from Mr. McCurdy on March 12 saying “Kevin, you are forcing my hand. Call me now or face the consequences.”
Mr. McAllister said Mr. McCurdy and Ms. Millar are close friends, in part due to their ties as alumni of Hamilton College, and asked whether Ms. Millar is the de facto Baykeeper now that he’s gone. He added that he believes the board may be reacting to his recent criticism of their fundraising efforts.
Mr. McCurdy could not be reached at his West Sayville home.
Mr. McAllister acknowledged that he has made many enemies over the years due to Peconic Baykeeper’s often litigious stance on issues, which could have played a role in his ouster. But with a vast case history of litigation, he’s not sure which of his enemies could be involved.
“I don’t know their motives, but there’s more to this than just these allegations,” he said.
Ms. Millar did not respond to an inquiry yesterday on whether the organization is looking for a new Baykeeper, and did not immediately respond when questioned this morning about Mr. McAllister’s allegations. She is currently the first person listed on the Baykeeper’s online staff list. There are only two staff members in the Peconic Baykeeper office, in addition to a ten-member board of directors.
Mr. McAllister said he is asking the national Waterkeeper Alliance to intervene in his case.
“The key point is I wasn’t given due process. After 16 years of commitment, I was jettisoned and sandbagged,” he said. “I’m not going away. I’m still going to show up on the issues. Good luck replacing me. I will speak truth to power. People know Kevin’s going to tell it like it is. This organization is not going to spin this.”
The Beacon’s original story is online here.