April 27 2011 12:00 AM

23-year-old William Rodriguez-Kennedy's departure follows debit-card mistake


The 23-year-old head of the San Diego County branch of the Log Cabin Republicans resigned on Saturday following an admitted purchasing mistake involving the conservative LGBT club's debit card.

William Rodriguez-Kennedy told CityBeat he accidentally made personal purchases using the LCR San Diego debit card. The organization's account was in his name and with the same bank as his personal account, he said, and even shared the same pin. He said he quickly reconciled the bank accounts when he became aware of the issue.

"There was no problem, but some on the board thought that was an egregious mistake," he said. "I was away on a retreat and couldn't make the board meeting and so I resigned." 

He says the bigger issue is that because of some personal problems he missed several meetings. Rodriguez-Kennedy says that the resignation made sense for him personally, anyway, because of his workload; he's a full-time student, a director on the San Diego Pride board and a member of the San Diego County Veterans Advisory Council. Vicky Kerley, formerly the group's vice president, has replaced him.

Ralph Denney, a 2010 candidate for the state Assembly and a LCR San Diego director, confirmed the change of leadership, but would not comment on the reasons.

"Will did a good job for us for a long time," Denney told CityBeat. "Certain things came up and we felt it was best that he relinquish the presidency. And that's really all we're going to say. I personally am very grateful for his service and I know he will be active with the Log Cabin Republicans and he's going to go places."

Kerley said that Rodriguez-Kennedy's version of events, including the card purchase, was accurate and he has "absolutely" remedied the situation. She says it was his decision to resign, not the board's.

Rodriguez-Kennedy is perhaps best known for attempting to re-enlist in the Marines after being discharged when another solider outed him as gay. The young conservative also became an early defender of City Council candidate Lorie Zapf during last year's campaign when she came under fire for anti-gay remarks she made in emails to Christian activist James Hartline in 2006. 

"He is going to be sorely missed by our chapter," Kerley said. 

Writer's note: Rodriguez-Kennedy called back a second time after this story published to clarify that the debit-card incident occurred a few months prior to the board meeting on Saturday and only amounted to about $100. The quote he gave us was accurate, he says, but he further explained that there were personal reasons he was unable to attend several meetings and that it made sense to resign because of his prolonged absence. I have updated the post to reflect this clarification, but I have chosen to respect his privacy in regards to the details of his personal life.

If I may make a personal editorial comment: Rodriguez-Kennedy was forthright and transparent in disclosing to us both the banking mistake and his personal issues, even as Denney and Kerley sought to shield him. That earns my respect and applause as a reporter.


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