Leon Jenkins, president of the Los Angeles Chapter of the NAACP, has resigned in the midst of backlash over his relationship with L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling.
Read the NAACP statement below:
NAACP Interim President and CEO Lorraine C. Miller has accepted the resignation of Los Angeles NAACP President Leon Jenkins.In his letter of resignation, Mr Jenkins stated, “Please be advised that the legacy, history and reputation of the NAACP is more important to me than the presidency. In order to separate the Los Angeles NAACP and the NAACP from the negative exposure I have caused the NAACP, I respectfully resign my position as President of the Los Angeles NAACP.”The national office of the NAACP is developing guidelines for its branches to help them in their award selection process.
Sterling had been set to receive his second Lifetime Achievement Award from the NAACP, until the group reversed that decision on Sunday.
Sterling received his first Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009 while battling an employment discrimination suit filed by former player Elgin Baylor.
From the L.A. Times:
Clippers owner Donald Sterling, accused of racism and embracing a “vision of a Southern plantation-type structure” in a lawsuit filed in February by Elgin Baylor, will be given a lifetime achievement award next week by the NAACP.
Leon Jenkins, president of the Los Angeles branch of the civil rights organization, says of the much-maligned Sterling, “He has a unique history of giving to the children of L.A.,” revealing that the owner donates anywhere from 2,000 to 3,000 tickets a game to youth groups for nearly every Clippers home game.
Noting that the NAACP had made plans to honor Sterling before Baylor filed suit, Jenkins says, “We can’t speak to the allegations, but what we do know is that for the most part [Sterling] has been very, very kind to the minority youth community.”
Sterling also received the NAACP President’s Award in 2008.
Jenkins’ past has been under scrutiny since his questionable admiration of Sterling was exposed.
The L.A. Times Reports:
While a Detroit judge, Jenkins in 1988 was indicted on federal bribery, conspiracy, mail fraud and racketeering charges, according records from the State Bar of California.
Authorities at the time alleged that Jenkins received gifts from those who appeared in his court and committed perjury, the records show. He was acquitted of criminal charges. But in 1994 the Michigan Supreme Court disbarred him, finding “overwhelming evidence” that Jenkins “sold his office and his public trust,” according to the bar records.
Jenkins was practicing law in California in 1991, serving as an attorney to the family of Latasha Harlins, an African American girl who was fatally shot by a Korean grocery store owner in South L.A., according to Times reports at the time.
In 1995, the state bar began looking into the misconduct allegations from Michigan. He was disbarred in 2001, according to the state bar. He tried to be reinstated in 2006 but was rejected, records show. He made another attempt in 2012.
Earlier this month, the bar turned him down, questioning whether he had the “moral fitness to resume the practice of law,” according to records.
This story is developing…