Two suspended board members of the Philadelphia NAACP have filed legal papers demanding to review the financial records of a defunct nonprofit run by Jerome W. Mondesire, the former longtime president of Philadelphia and Pennsylvania branches of the NAACP, reports the news website AxisPhilly.
Sid Booker and Rev. Elisha Morris have claimed that Mondesire mismanaged the NAACP chapter's finances, inappropriately mixing funds intended for the chapter with Mondesire's defunct nonprofit Next Generation Community Development Corp.
Mondesire, who also is publisher of the Philadelphia Sunday Sun, has called the accusations "scurrilous" and justified his actions in an April 7 editorial. He was replaced as president by the NAACP's national leadership April 17.
Lawyers for Booker and Morris filed a petition in Court of Common Pleas on Monday for the Next Generation CDC's finances.
According to AxisPhilly's investigative reporter Isaiah Thompson:
The feud between Mondesire and his board members became public after AxisPhilly posted an article about the nonprofit, raising questions about its finances and its relationship with the NAACP.
In March, AxisPhilly reported that two personal checks made out to the Philadelphia NAACP — one of them a $500 donation by Booker for the group's annual gala, and another a $10,000 check from a casino venture which Mondesire personally endorsed shortly afterward — were found to have been deposited in the defunct Next Generation CDC's bank account instead.
That article and others, the petition states, "raised numerous questions concerning the legitimacy of the Next Generation CDC as a tax-exempt Non-Profit entity, as well as the financial propriety of its receipts and expenditures."
Mondesire reportedly had strong words for the board members when their lawyers directly asked him for the records last month.
"I would appreciate it," Mondesire said, according to AxisPhilly, "if you would advise your clients that they can go to that very hot place which is the opposite of heaven."
The feud between Mondesire and the three suspended board members has reportedly been simmering for months. On April 11, the national NAACP announced they were conducting an inquiry and confirmed to Inquirer reporter Jennifer Lin that it had suspended Mondesire, along with Booker, Morris and Donald Birts.