EXCLUSIVE: Movement for a People's Party National Chair Nick Brana Was Under Investigation for Alleged Sexual Harassment, Board Members Purged
“We were removed because we were concerned about Nick remaining in his position,” Regina Clarke, one of five MPP board members abruptly removed on Sunday and Monday, told Status Coup News
Multiple sources familiar with Movement for a People’s Party [MPP], which over the years has attempted to build a third party that can run local and federal candidates, told Status Coup News that Nick Brana, MPP’s national chair, has been under internal investigation since December 2021 after a female subordinate that Brana had, at one point, had a romantic relationship with made accusations of sexual harassment against him.
Multiple sources told Status Coup the female who made the accusation will be going public herself.
Status Coup has reviewed documents that confirm the investigation was launched in the middle of December 2021. A special investigation committee [SIC] consisting of three MPP board members was formed to investigate and conduct interviews with Brana, the accuser, and anyone else relevant to the investigation. On December 13th, 2021, the three board members who were appointed to serve on the SICreached out to Brana informing him of the allegations and trying set up a time to conduct an interview with him.
“I can confirm that I was one of four MPP board members serving on a special investigative committee investigating accusations of sexual harassment against MPP chair Nick Brana,” Regina Clarke, one of five MPP board members who was abruptly removed from the board on Sunday February 20th and Monday February 21st, told Status Coup.
“We were removed [from the board] because we were concerned about Nick remaining in his position,” Clarke said. “As the investigation went on, it was clear there was sexual harassment going on; for other alleged acts, there was debate on whether it was harassment or extended further.”
Nick Brana did not respond to Status Coup’s request for comment or a number of questions about the allegations against him.
Clarke told Status Coup that the SIC originally consisted of three MPP board members. But, weeks later, concerns mounted that one of the SIC’s members was leaking information to Brana. As a result, a fourth board member was added to the SIC.
Clarke detailed a stark evolution of findings and recommendations by the SIC after the group found the accuser’s accusation against Brana credible.
Originally, Clarke said, the SIC members planned on making several recommendations: a six-month probationary period where Brana would have to be free of any type of sexual harassment accusations, take training classes for sexual harassment, participate in workplace supervisory training, and also that he not serve as a one-on-one supervisor to the accuser or anyone else during that six-month probation period.
But, as the investigation continued—and Brana allegedly retaliated against other MPP staffers—two out of the four members of the SIC escalated their recommendations to calling for Brana to be removed as MPP national chair and board member. The other two members of the SIC, who multiple sources described as “pro-Brana,” called for sticking to the original six-month probationary period with the requisite trainings Brana would have to take.
But Clarke and the other members of the SIC never got the chance to make their recommendations.
Through multiple sources, including Clarke, Status Coup learned of an abrupt two-to- three day period between Saturday February 19th and Monday February 21st where five board members were abruptly removed from MPP’s board after they had called for an emergency meeting to go over the findings of the investigation into Brana.
Before the five board members’ removal, MPP’s board had consisted of 10 people including national chair Nick Brana and his father Rodrigo Brana, who is co-coordinator of MPP’s finance committee.
Multiple sources told Status Coup that on Saturday February 19th, Clarke and four other board members, Thomas Royko, Todd Jelen, David Fishel, and David Schmelzer sent a petition to other members of the partial MPP board.
The partial board consisted of eight out of 10 board members—minus Nick Brana and Rodrigo Brana.
The petition sent to the rest of the partial board requested an emergency meeting of the partial board to take place the next day, Sunday February 20th, to discuss the findings of a two-month investigation into accusations of alleged sexual harassment by Brana against the female subordinate who, at one point, he was romantically involved with.
“For at least one week leading up to our removal, we’ve been trying to meet with other board members to settle the findings of this investigation but those board members either didn’t confirm that they couldn’t make proposed meeting times or didn’t propose alternative times,” Clarke told Status Coup (another MPP source confirmed this). “There was a stalling going on by pro-Brana board members. We kept reaching out and reaching out to meet since Super Bowl Sunday on February 13th.”
On Sunday February 20th, the five board members who had called for the meeting the day before showed up to the Zoom meeting. But the three other members of the partial board as well as MPP’s general counsel did not join the meeting.
“We contacted the lawyer but he didn’t provide a firm answer,” Clarke said. “Within an hour, we received an email from the general counsel informing four of us that we were no longer board members after the rest of the board voted to remove us. The reason provided for three of us being removed was missing more than four board meetings in 12 months. The fourth, David Schmelzer, was listed as having resigned himself.”
A day later, on Monday February 21st, David Fishel—who was part of the five board members who called for the emergency Sunday meeting—was removed from the board.
Clarke added that the “crazy thing” was that one of the board members who voted to remove her and three others, Phil Ateto, had previously resigned from the board before the investigation into Brana began in December 2021 (Status Coup asked Brana why Ateto was allowed to vote if he was no longer a board member). Clarke and another source also noted that several of the board members who had voted to remove the four other board members for missed board meetings had also missed more than four board meetings in a year.
Soon after the email from MPP’s general counsel came informing the four board members of their removal, they lost access to MPP’s Slack channel, Google Drive, and their MPP email addresses.
Clarke and two other MPP sources detailed that as the investigation into Brana went on, Brana did several things that MPP board members viewed as retaliation meant to undermine the female accuser. Some of Brana’s alleged retaliation revolved around him trying to create oversight structures so that he would be directly overseeing certain MPP staffer’s day-to-day functions and performance—which would weaken the accuser’s role at MPP.
“1,000 percent,” Clarke said about Brana allegedly trying to obstruct the investigation. “There was growing concern about Brana’s actions that felt like ways to obstruct the investigation.”
Brana did not respond to questions about alleged retaliation or other questions. Without a response from him, we can cite the most recent public message from MPP’s Florida chapter that provides insight—a tweet claiming: “VICTORY DECLARED!” and insinuating that the board members who had been removed over the weekend and Monday had been discovered to be “liberal contractors.”
“The infiltration tactic is classic MPP,” Renee Johnston, a former New York-based MPP member who was removed in 2021, told Status Coup.
“When they want to be rid of the people who ask too many questions or push for too much change they suddenly become bad actors and Democratic Party infiltrators and find themselves removed. The reality is most of the purged people still very much believe in the need for a third party to contest the two-party duopoly.”
Status Coup will update this story if and when Nick Brana responds to our request for comment.
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Why write 30 paragraphs about a rumor without saying what exactly is rumored? Why exactly is Brana being accused of harassment? Something he said? An attempt at humor? A mean tweet?
There were a bunch of issues with communications not mentioned in statuscoup you tube. My thought is this should have stayed a movement and become a party when there were millions working together for issues. Organization building is different than organizing. General strike may be our only hope for real change, elections have way too many roadblocks