It’s a shame that the National Conference of Black Mayors is going broke – or at the very least falling on hard financial times.
Two weeks ago, the board of directors of the National Conference of Black Mayors voted to fire its executive director, Vanessa Williams, who was accused of spending $623,000 for her personal use without board approval.
In short, Williams allegedly stole the organization’s money and bought expensive items for herself at Tiffany’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, Juicy Couture, Louis Vuitton, ticket broker StubHub, Toys ‘R’ Us, private Christian school tuition and cash payments to Vanessa Williams and her husband.
Williams appears to be one bold woman. The board tried to fire Williams months ago, but she refused to quit. I suppose she felt there was no need to jump off the gravy train. Williams, however, blamed the debt on embezzlement by a former board member but the board fired Williams, in part, because she refused to hand over the financial documents they requested.
To make matters worse, the National Conference of Black Mayors is $1 million in debt to the IRS and numerous other creditors.
A friend called and posed this question: If the black mayors can’t run their own organization, how can they effectively run their cities?
It’s a fair question from a concerned constituent.
Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson is trying desperately to restore integrity to the organization by paying off creditors and returning the National Conference of Black Mayors to solid financial standing.
But this will certainly take some time.
“We want the National Conference of Black Mayors to represent excellence,” Johnson, who is also president of the National Conference of Black Mayors, said on “The Tom Joyner Morning Show” Wednesday.
That may be a tall order for the former NBA star who admitted that the organization has lost its 501(c) 3 tax-exempt status because the necessary IRS forms were not filled out.
“It was poor record keeping,” Johnson said.
It’s unfortunate that an organization of 500 black mayors is tangled in so much mess that it jeopardizes the future of the 40-year-old group.
“At the end of the day we found mismanagement and misappropriation of funds that I’m not proud of,” Johnson said. “We’re not sweeping this under the rug; we’re taking it head on.”
On the National Conference of Black Mayors website, the banner reads: “Forty years of leadership and progress.”
But the website is empty.
“By now most of you have probably realized or have been notified that we are in the process making some changes to our web infrastructure. We humbly ask that you please bear with us during this time and that you stay tuned to witness these exciting new changes as they happen.”
Let’s hope change happens soon. Johnson said his organization represents 48 million Americans who are looking for leadership.