NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - The New Orleans NAACP's vice president says the organization is in financial crisis. Leaders claim the New Orleans branch doesn't even have $100 in the bank and accuse the new president of mismanagement and breaking the organizations rules.
"We called this press conference for many reasons," said Bobby Pierce of the executive board.
With only $60 in the treasury, they say they're frustrated.
"We don't have a post office box, a telephone, no form of communication," said Vice-President Ronald Coleman
Pierce said as of Dec. 31 before Gloria Johnson took over as president, the branch was in good standing.
Johnson has been president since January, and served as vice-president last year. The leaders claim she's been soliciting money in the NAACP's name, and not reporting it. They say she has also been working for a political campaign.
"She said she wrote 132 letters. We don't know how many people responded," Pierce said.
They claim a state representative donated $2,500 to the NAACP in January, but they have not seen the money since.
"I asked in the general meeting if she would give the receipts we could probably rectify our bills," Coleman said.
"We had three accounts with the NAACP that were open and active. We don't know if Ms. Johnson has another account or not," Pierce said.
And there are more grievances.
"It's against our rules and regulations to make any endorsement for any political candidate and our president is now making political endorsements for a fee," Pierce said.
A campaign finance report the NAACP provided from the Michael Bagneris campaign for mayor shows money going to Gloria Johnson for things like stamps for envelopes and work as a church and senior center consultant.
"In her position as president of the New Orleans branch, she should not receive any money directly or give support," said Pierce.
We called Johnson but got no answer. We went to her home in New Orleans East that is listed on NAACP letterhead. We knocked but there was no answer at the door. A friend of hers later told us by phone that a statement is coming.
"We have done what we need to do. Two petitions to national offices. One fell on deaf ears, the other is now pending. They only hear it once a quarter," Pierce said.
In a statement, Johnson refuted what she called "unsupported" and "unsubstantiated" accusations, saying they were made by a "small faction of disgruntled members." Below is the statement in its entirety:
"The mission of the New Orleans Branch of the NAACP is to ensure the political, educational, social and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination in our city; which is consistent with the mission of the National NAACP. The accusations made by a small faction of disgruntled members are false and their actions are inimical to the mission, objectives and goals of the NAACP. Their unsupported and unsubstantiated accusations were addressed by the National NAACP two months ago and were deemed baseless. These disgruntled individuals do not support the direction of this new administration and have only served as obstructionists to our efforts to move forward. Our current administration assumed office in January, 2017, we were not afforded a smooth transition and discovered that there were no funds to operate the Branch. As a result, temporary measures were made to keep the Branch functioning. Rest assured, the New Orleans Branch of the NAACP is in full compliance with the state and national NAACP guidelines and regulations. Moreover, the NAACP does not support or endorse candidates for public office.
"To this end, the conduct of these members may be in violation of the bylaws and constitution of the NAACP and shall be fully investigated."