Gibson resignation urged by NAACP Md. conference

November 26, 1994|By Harold Jackson | Harold Jackson,Sun Staff Writer

An umbrella organization representing Maryland's 23 NAACP chapters announced yesterday that it has taken a vote of no confidence in William F. Gibson, national board chairman of the financially struggling civil rights group, who has been accused of extravagance and fraud.

"It would be best for the NAACP that both Dr. Gibson and T. H. Poole Sr., his No. 1 backer on the board, resign immediately," said Gregory Wims, president of the Maryland State Conference of the NAACP.

Mr. Wims said the conference met Nov. 19 at Asbury United Methodist Church in Frederick and that the 18 chapter presidents at the meeting took a unanimous vote of no confidence in Dr. Gibson.

Mr. Wims said he has since contacted three other chapter presidents and that they agreed with the no-confidence vote.

Dr. Gibson has been accused of charging more than $100,000 to his NAACP credit card last year and then accepting more than $30,000 in reimbursement from the NAACP for the same expenses.

Dr. Gibson, who did not return phone calls yesterday to his home in South Carolina, has denied the allegation.

The state conference gave four reasons for asking Dr. Gibson to resign, including lack of vision, no agenda to deal with the new Republican majority in Congress, presiding over the NAACP's worst financial crisis in 50 years and the public's lack of confidence in him.

The 85-year-old National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is $4 million in debt. Its financial problems, which became public six months ago, were aggravated in August when Benjamin F. Chavis was fired as executive director amid a former aide's charges of sexual harassment and discrimination.

A monthlong unpaid furlough of the 88 staff members at the NAACP's national headquarters in Baltimore was scheduled to end this weekend. But, although financial contributions to the organization have improved, Earl Shinhoster, NAACP interim senior administrator, said yesterday that no decision had been made about bringing the workers back.

"The executive committee is working very hard to decide what to do," Mr. Shinhoster said. "We want to notify the employees before Monday what their status will be. We're going to have to move into some different modes."

The NAACP was taking in $13,000 a day in contributions earlier this month, but by Wednesday had improved that figure to $30,000 a day. However, the organization said its expenses were $45,000 a day and that it needs an additional $48,000 a day to begin paying off the $4 million debt.

Mr. Shinhoster said he was unaware of any other such vote of no confidence in Dr. Gibson by other NAACP chapters. But Mr. Wims said he believed that the New Jersey and West Virginia chapters had also voted to ask Dr. Gibson to resign.

"If he doesn't listen, we plan to attend the February board meeting in New York to make sure the board responds and picks a chairman who can carry the NAACP into the 21st century," Mr. Wims said.

"I think with this grass-roots effort that is coming from throughout the country, we will get a new chairman."

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