In some of our commentary on this issue a few days ago, we talked about how a number of organizations have found themselves mired in controversy and allegations of conflicts of interest by taking money from people and organizations that have a history of violating the principles of the organization to which they are giving. As numerous reports have indicated, Donald Sterling has been no stranger to allegations of racism and discrimination. Yet, in the midst of those allegations—and even a lawsuit which Sterling lost for allegedly practicing discriminatory renting practices—the LA NAACP chose to give him awards.
If the story to which we are referring you below has any merit regarding then-LA NAACP President (who now has resigned) Leon Jenkins has been suspected and even accused of making decisions based on received financial favors. If those allegations are true, they shed a lot of light on what happened between the LA NAACP leadership and Sterling and give a glaring example of how community-based, so-called grass root organizations can be compromised by money. It would not be the first time someone engaged in less than savory activities has bought cover through “buying off” a watchdog organization.
L.A. head of NAACP resigns in wake of Sterling scandal
Leon Jenkins resigned Thursday as president of the Los Angeles chapter of the NAACP in the wake of the Donald Sterling scandal. (Nick Ut / AP)
Los Angeles NAACP President Leon Jenkins has resigned amid scrutiny surrounding the organization’s decision to give awards to disgraced Clippers owner Donald Sterling.
In his letter of resignation Thursday evening, Jenkins said 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 … I respectfully resign my position as president of the Los Angeles NAACP.”
The group granted Sterling an award in 2009, the same year the real estate magnate and L.A. Clippers owner paid $2.73 million to settle U.S. government claims that he refused to rent his apartments in Koreatown to Latinos and blacks.
The chapter was set to give Sterling a second award when a recording emerged in which a man said to be Sterling asked a female friend not to publicly associate with African Americans.
While Jenkins was a Detroit judge, he was indicted in 1988 on federal bribery, conspiracy, mail fraud and racketeering charges, according to 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, according to the records.
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.