No one can take any satisfaction in what appears to be the final act of the messy drama that culminated earlier this year with the ouster of Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis as NAACP executive director. Last week Mr. Chavis dropped all claims against the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People for more than $300,000 in salary and benefits due on the balance of his three-year contract and agreed to pay back the $76,000 it lent him to make a down payment on his house.
The out-of-court settlement appears to end what threatened to be a protracted embarrassment for the nation's oldest civil rights organization. It leaves Mr. Chavis and the NAACP to deal independently with a lawsuit by former employee Mary E. Stansel. It was Mr. Chavis' use of NAACP money to settle a sex discrimination claim by Ms. Stansel that precipitated his Aug. 20 firing. The NAACP has moved to be dropped as a defendant in that case. At a press conference Monday, Mr. Chavis expressed bitterness over what he claimed was shabby treatment by the NAACP. He seemed oblivious to the fact that he brought his troubles upon himself largely through his own poor judgment.