In the midst of former NAACP leader Kweisi Mfume vying to regain a congressional seat, records have resurfaced revealing that his departure from the civil rights organization came on the heels of a potential sexual harassment lawsuit against Mfume and the organization, as well as questionable business practices. The NAACP’s executive committee took a secret vote in 2004 to terminate his contract as CEO ending a nine-year run as leader of the organization, a report from The Baltimore Sun claims.
“The Executive Committee’s overwhelming vote was not lightly taken,” said then-NAACP Chairman Julian Bond while preparing to disclose the decision of the vote with the full board. “It came after a long period of growing dissatisfaction with high and constant staff turnovers, falling revenues, falling memberships, three consecutive negative performance appraisals, highly questionable hiring and promotion decisions, creation of new staff positions with no job descriptions, and personal behavior which placed each of us at legal and financial risk.”
Mfume and a number of other NAACP leaders have insisted that the Congress candidate parted ways with the organization amicably, the AP reports.
Nonetheless, the document detailing the decision from the secret vote is among Bond’s personal and professional paperwork at the University of Virginia, where he also taught.
The Baltimore Sun reports that there are “hundreds of pages” that pertain to Mfume’s NAACP leadership. This information includes “employment contracts and a separation agreement; performance evaluations; emails between board members and NAACP counsel.”
Bond was a longtime civil rights leader who died in 2015, and served as chairman for the organization from 1998 2010.
Mfume, who declined to speak with The Baltimore Sun regarding the recently resurfaced records, released a statement simply saying that he and Bond had a “difference of opinions.”
“Sometimes strong-willed leaders have differences of opinion. Julian and I were no different,” he said.
Mfume seemingly challenged the accusations made against him saying that he transitioned the NAACP from “debt to surplus,” according to the AP. He also claimed he received a raise during the last three years that he held the position.
Mfume added, “The people in the community know me, and I know them. They know what I am fighting for in this campaign and what I will fight for in Congress.”
The Democratic congressional seat Mfume is running for is within Maryland’s 7th Congressional District, which became vacant following the passing of Rep. Elijah Cummings in October. He held a Democratic seat in Congress from 1987 to 1996.
“I am, of course, devastated at the loss of my spouse, but his spirit is with me,” Rockeymoore Cummings told The Baltimore Sun. “I’m going to run this race and I’m going to run it hard, as if he’s still right here by my side.”
The race includes Republican activist Kimberly Klacik, Maryland State Sen. Jill Carter, Maryland State Del. Talmadge Branch, Ray Bly, Reba A. Hawkins and Liz Matory. Other Democrats who have registered to run include T. Dan Baker, Brian E. Britcher, Anthony Carter, Sr., Darryl Gonzalez, Mark Steven Gosnell, F. Michael Higginbotham, Charles U. Smith, Harry Spikes and Charles Stokes.
The special primary election is scheduled for Feb. 4, 2020, with the actual special election set to be held on April 28 — the same day the state’s presidential primary is set to be held.