South Florida LGBTQ group SAVE terminates executive director

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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MIAMI | South Florida LGBTQ advocacy organization SAVE has fired former executive director Tony Lima after four men charged with hate crimes in an anti-LGBTQ attack attended the group’s gala June 14.

The decision follows the publication of “SAVE Gala Stunner: Accused Gay Bashers Celebrated,” an article by South Florida Gay News (SFGN). “On a night when SAVE celebrated their annual Champions of Equality,” they wrote, “the organization’s executive director also recognized four individuals who aren’t known for LGBT rights or justice.”

The feature details the gala, noting that then-executive director Lima announced that Juan Carlos Lopez, Luis M. Alonso Piovet, Adonis Diaz and Pablo Reinaldo Romo-Figueroa were “wrongly accused” of attacking Rene Chalarca and Dmitry Logunov on April 8, 2018. The alleged attack occurred outside of the 6th Street public bathroom in Lummus Park in Miami Beach.

SFGN noted that the Office of the State Attorney pushed back on Lima’s assertion, advising that they are aggressively pursuing prosecution.

“We believe we have sufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the charges against them: Aggravated Battery with Prejudice/Weapon or Bodily Harm, Aggravated Battery, Assault with Prejudice/or on Religious Institution Grounds, and Assault,” the office advised. “If that were not the case, the charges would have been dropped in the past.”

“Our number one mission will always be to promote, protect and defend equality for people in South Florida who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender,” SAVE released in a statement June 28. They subsequently noted that the SFGN article “raised a lot of concerns in the South Florida LGBTQ+ community,” announcing their Board of Directors were investigating the matter.

Our number one mission will always be to promote, protect and defend equality for people in South Florida who are…

Posted by SAVE on Friday, June 28, 2019

In a statement July 1, the organization announced Lima had been terminated.

“The SAVE Board of Directors has made the unanimous decision to terminate Tony Lima’s employment as executive director of the organization following the events that transpired around this year’s Champions of Equality Gala and thereafter,” the release reads. “We deeply regret the damage this has caused the LGBTQ+ community in South Florida, particularly during a time when the country was reflecting on the riots at Stonewall, as well as the many other hardships and abuses that our community continues to endure.

“These actions have been incredibly upsetting to the community and most of all, hurtful to the victims of this terrible crime,” it continues. “We deeply apologize for the pain that has been reignited. The community can rest assured that this incident is not reflective of the mission of SAVE. As we move forward, we will work hard to regain the trust of our supporters, our allies, and the public at large.”

STATEMENT FROM THE SAVE BOARD OF DIRECTORS“The SAVE Board of Directors has made the unanimous decision to terminate…

Posted by SAVE on Monday, July 1, 2019

For more information about SAVE, visit their website.

Photo of SAVE’s Champions of Equality gala via SAVE’s Facebook page.

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