CSW Board Replaces Board President Chris Classen with Estevan Montemayor

Chris Classen, the controversial president of the board of Christopher Street West, has been replaced by board member Estevan Montemayor.

Estevan Montemayor

CSW, which produces the annual LA Pride festival and parade, scheduled for June 9 and 10 this year, made the announcement today. It comes on the heels of a recent story in WEHOville that revealed that CSW had granted an exclusive contract to secure sponsorships to Classen’s business partner, Craig Bowers, a former CSW board member. The contract appears to violate state law and its compensation method is a violation of ethical standards of the national Council of Nonprofits and Association of Fundraising Professionals. The organization has struggled for years with financial problems and allegations of mismanagement and unethical behavior.

Replacing Classen with Montemayor is the latest of several major steps the CSW board has taken to improve the reputation and management of the organization. Earlier this month, CSW announced that it had named Madonna Cacciatore as its first full-time executive director. She will assume that role on July 1.

“Thanks to Chris Classen’s leadership over the past three years and the incredible work done by the all-volunteer CSW Board of Directors, this LA Pride Week 2018 – including the annual LA Pride Festival and Parade – is on track to be one of the most successful in decades,” Montemayor said in an announcement of the change. “I look forward to working with Madonna and the entire Board to continue evolving our organization, create new and engaging programming, and grow our fundraising efforts while still being inclusive, transparent, and representative of our community in everything we do. That is at the heart of our mission.”

Chris Classen

In its announcement of the change, CSW said that Classen will remain on the CSW board “to transition his duties and share institutional knowledge with both Montemayor and Cacciatore.”

Montemayor joined the CSW board in October 2017 as part of a new group of eight board members. Five members of the board had resigned earlier, complaining about the management of the organization and, in particular, a non-disclosure agreement Classen had asked them to sign.

Montemayor currently is the director of communications and external affairs for Los Angeles City Councilmember David Ryu, representing Council District 4. He has served in senior management positions for numerous political and advocacy campaigns. From 2015-2017, he served as a member of the Public Safety Commission in West Hollywood, where he’s also lived for the past six years.

In addition, Montemayor has worked on the communications and research team for the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER), the sole sponsor of the federal constitutional challenge to California’s Proposition 8. He currently serves as a delegate to the California Democratic Party. A native of San Diego, Estevan graduated with a B.A. in Theater from UCLA.


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Michael G.
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Michael G.

Where is the FBI? This city is so corrupt it’s pathetic. Mayor Grindr Duran takes office soon. He represent two bit lower class political shannigans. A pathetic Boss Tweed wrapped in a gay flag that is an insult to all of us who’re are gay. It is time to get the FBI into this, ask for an investigation and make a complaint. Because otherwise all these protesting complaints mean nothing. Action is the only answer. Take a look at the WEHO City Council and it’s “step n fetch it” City Manager who is making more than the POTUS. Every Developer… Read more »

RobbyDobby
Guest
RobbyDobby

Let’s all hope this finally puts an end to the corruption, self-dealing and conspiracy to defraud the LGBT community by CSW. I am hopeful and cautiously optimistic. Transparency will be the key and vigilance on our part as a community will be necessary in order to ensure that CSW returns to a trusted status…

CSW Observer
Guest
CSW Observer

Classen should have resigned from the Board and offered his services gratis during this transition period. He should go. His elitist attitudes certainly damaged CSW. Delighted there is new leadership.

jimmy palmieri
Guest
jimmy palmieri

I don’t know that I could be any happier upon hearing this today. Integrity, is important to me, and I am not sure there has been much of that with certain leaders of CSW, going back a dozen years, with the exception of Ganzell. Congrats Esteban and I look forward to your future.

Mike
Guest
Mike

Yes, Estevan is a very wise choice. Hopefully he can get CSW on the right track.

Ruth Williams
Guest
Ruth Williams

Congratulations to Estevan, having served with him on the Public Safety Commission for a few years, I have found him to be a dedicated, fair, a man with high integrity, trustworthy with a sincere commitment. He was always able to look at both sides of an issue with an open mind.

Larry Block
Guest
Larry Block

Congrats- maybe they will open up their books and give us an honest accounting.

CG
Guest
CG

Chris Claussens hand finally out of the CSW cookie jar. Replaced with somebody who can be trusted to promote himself at every turn.

Michael King
Guest
Michael King

Good. Clean house. Esteban is a man of integrity; it’s time for this organization to be run like any other of similar size, visibility, and influence.

Manny
Guest
Manny

Good choice!