A local LGBT activist was arrested and charged with simple battery June 25 following an altercation at his South Side office. Marc Loveless, the executive director of the Coalition for Justice and Respect ( CJR ) , is alleged to have shoved and grabbed the president of the organization's board of directors, John Hickman, after Loveless was served with a termination letter. CJR is an LGBT- rights and HIV-advocacy group.
The arrest comes as Loveless and the organization he founded three years ago have become embroiled in controversy surrounding a host of issues, including the use of government and private grants, unpaid bills, opaque fundraising methods and charges of embezzlement. Sources close to Loveless with knowledge of the issues have forwarded documents supporting their claims to local authorities. Loveless denies all wrongdoing.
On the afternoon of June 25, Hickman stated he served Loveless with a document removing him as executive director of CJR. The document was signed by Hickman and fellow CJR board member Billy Davis. Shortly thereafter, Hickman alleged, Loveless proceeded to grab and push him in order to remove him from the organization's office. At the time, Hickman said, more than 30 people who were in the office witnessed the altercation.
Loveless told Windy City Times no such event occurred. "The only mistake I made was when I confronted John and came up close behind him," he said. "John came into the office and was yelling and screaming and I told him that he had to leave. After he refused to go, I said, 'Alright, John, you have to go.' That's when he made a stance like he was going to hit me. So, I came up close behind him and escorted him out of the office."
Witnesses who asked not to be named, however, claim that Loveless attacked Hickman following his receipt of the termination letter. "Yes, I saw it happen," said one witness. But Loveless denied ever being served a termination letter and moreover asserted that Hickman and Davis lack the authority to remove him as executive director because both have been removed from CJR's board of directors.
Loveless promised to resolve the battery matter in court.