Former chair of Black Tie sued, resigns from board
Pamela Lynn Clayton, a former co-chair for Dallas’ Black Tie Dinner, reportedly resigned from the LGBT fundraiser’s advisory board this week amid allegations in a civil lawsuit that she conspired to defraud her partner’s employer.
Clayton’s partner, 55-year-old Patricia Jean Vining, was convicted in July of first-degree felony theft and sentenced to five years in prison for stealing more than $2 million from the Dallas Ophthalmology Center, where Vining worked from 1989 until 2005, according to court records.
No criminal charges have been filed against Clayton, and a Dallas County prosecutor said this week that there is not sufficient evidence to do so. However, the Dallas Ophthalmology Center filed a civil lawsuit against Clayton in August alleging that she conspired with Vining to defraud the company.
"All the money that was stolen went into their joint accounts and was used to pay for a large mansion in Highland Park that they co-owned," said Charles W. McGarry, the attorney representing Dallas Ophthalmology Center. "She [Clayton] was not just a passive beneficiary."
The lawsuit against Clayton includes an affidavit signed by the president of the Dallas Ophthalmology Center, James A. Bentley Jr. In the affidavit, Bentley alleges that Vining was depositing stolen money into at least six bank accounts held jointly by Vining and Clayton. One of the accounts bore the name of another company Bentley founded, Physician’s Transportation Service.
"During the [Vining’s] criminal trial, I saw a loan application signed by Pamela Clayton in 2004, in which she claimed to be the president of PTS [Physician’s Transportation Service], and that she was paid approximately $30,000 per month by PTS," Bentley’s affidavit states. "I saw no other source of income for Ms. Clayton on the application. I never elected Ms. Clayton to be an officer of PTS, and never authorized her to act on behalf of PTS. The criminal trial in July 2008 was the first time that I had seen evidence that Pamela Lynn Clayton had directly received money stolen from DOC [Dallas Ophthalmology Center] and had participated in the theft."
Clayton didn’t respond to a phone message left with her attorney, Howard Marc Spector. Spector declined to discuss the lawsuit in detail but suggested that the plaintiff has a "vendetta."
An official from Black Tie, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Clayton resigned from the event’s Advisory Board on Wednesday, Oct. 15 - a day after Dallas Voice began its investigation. The Black Tie official said Clayton’s resignation had not been requested.