Complaint says Phi Delt initiation consisted of alcohol, prostitutes
Tuesday September 11, 2001
'Dry' house allegedly involved in long nights of drinking, trips to Mexico
A complaint filed against the Phi Delta Theta fraternity for its alleged role in the death of one of its pledges depicted a Labor Day weekend initiation filled with drinking rituals and one night of prostitution.
The complaint stated that the weekend of drinking commenced on Bid Night, Sept. 1, 2000 at the Phi Delta Theta house, 1745 E. Second St. At the party, all pledges, including James T. Haley - who died in a motorcycle accident after the weekend - were required to drink alcohol continuously from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. Haley had a 0.102 blood alcohol level at the time of his death.
A national Phi Delta Theta fraternity regulation mandates that all chapters be dry, meaning their facilities must be entirely alcohol-free.
On the night after Bid Night, the lawsuit alleges incoming members of Phi Delta Theta were taken to Nogales, Sonora for "extensive consumption of alcoholic beverages and other ritual activities, including, for some individuals, the use of prostitutes."
The night of the fatal crash started with a barbecue at the fraternity house, which the lawsuit alleges included drinking as well.
Tim Otten, a current member of the fraternity and Haley's ex-roommate, has been named as a defendant in the complaint.
The lawsuit alleges Otten traveled to Haley's mother's home in Phoenix after the crash to persuade her to say that neither Haley nor any other house members were drinking alcohol at the house before the accident.
The complaint also alleges that Otten forgot he had admitted to Haley's mother on the night after the incident that fraternity members had been drinking and playing pool during the barbecue.
Otten refused comment on the matter and directed any questions to chapter president Justice Surina.
Surina did not return any phone calls regarding the complaint.
Michael Poli, a Phoenix attorney representing the plaintiffs - Haley's mother, Kathleen Gillis and his sister, Gillian Haley - said the complaint will likely be distributed to the defendants by the end of this week.
Gillis and Haley filed the complaint in Pima County Superior Court against 30 individuals and corporations.
Among the defendants are the international fraternity, house members present at the time of Haley's death, the University of Arizona, the Arizona Board of Regents and the fraternity adviser assigned to the house.