Another zipper problem in the race industry


Kweisi Mfume (formerly Frizzell Gray, and formerly head of the NAACP) is the subject of an NAACP confidential report, just leaked to the Washington Post. According to the Post's account, Kweisi is accused of favoring female employees of the nonprofit who favored him. Sort of like Jesse Jackson's scam, except that nobody has identified an illegitimate child so far.

The 22—page memorandum, prepared last summer by an outside lawyer, did not accept as true the claims lodged against Mfume by a female employee but determined that they could be "very difficult to defend persuasively" if she filed a lawsuit.

Mfume denies the report. Sort of.

"I don't engage in inappropriate behavior," he said in the interview. "And if I did, I'm sure after nine years there, 10 years in the Congress and seven years on the [Baltimore] City Council, it would have been an issue long before your telephone call to me."

Disclosure of the report could prove sensitive for Mfume, who has ascended the political ranks in part on the basis of his compelling personal narrative. He overcame teenage years spent running in street gangs to become a five—term congressman and head the prominent civil rights organization.

The matter also could be delicate for the NAACP. Mfume took over the group from interim head Earl T. Shinhoster in 1996 when it was still reeling from the turbulent 16—month tenure of Benjamin F. Chavis Jr. Chavis was removed in 1994 after he agreed to secretly pay $332,400 in NAACP funds to settle claims of sexual discrimination by a female aide.

Hat tip: Ed Lasky

Thomas Lifson   4 28 05