Delaware NAACP wants insurance commissioner to resign over lawsuits

DOVER — The Delaware NAACP on Thursday called for the resignation of Delaware Insurance Commissioner Trinidad Navarro, citing ongoing lawsuits regarding employee claims against him.

Also, the NAACP asked the commissioner to refrain from seeking any public office during the upcoming election year.

The NAACP said the plaintiffs in both lawsuits are women, one African American, the other white. The combined claims include sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation, according to the NAACP.

“Discrimination in state government has been a hot topic in Delaware for many years,” said NAACP Central Branch President Anne Smith in a statement.

“The alleged actions of Mr. Navarro have undermined the public’s faith and more than likely depreciated the morale of the public service employees that he oversees. Public officials are called to a higher standard and must be intentional in leading with dignity and in a matter that is effective, equitable and just.

“We simply don’t believe that this is the case based on what has unfolded during the tenure of current Department of Insurance leadership.

“Delawareans deserve better.”

On Thursday, through spokeswoman Christina Haas, Commissioner Navarro released a statement that read:

“I am proud to serve this great state as Insurance Commissioner, and I will continue to do so,” he said. “The allegations raised by a couple of employees are just that — allegations.

“As I have said in the past, truth matters. The litigation of these claims will demonstrate that these lawsuits lack merit, and the insistence on litigating meritless claims only causes an unnecessary burden to the taxpayers. I neither engage in nor tolerate discrimination, harassment, or retaliation of any kind.

“Despite the efforts of individuals driven by personal agendas, I remain steadfast in my commitment to safeguarding the public and speaking fact to falsehood to protect the department and its hard-working employees.”

Also, the NAACP questioned Mr. Navarro’s representation by private law firm Potter Anderson & Corroon when “Delaware employs several dozen attorneys who are typically assigned to state litigation.”