A Fulton County judge has signed an order cutting off the access the Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s national treasurer has to SCLC funds.
In his place, two of three people – board members Curtis Harris, Rita Samuel or Jewel Devereaux – are now required to sign any checks drawn on the organization’s bank accounts, according to the order Fulton Superior Court Judge Alford Dempsey signed Monday.
The “consent” order, agreed to by warring factions of the national SCLC, is the latest chapter in an ongoing struggle for control of the Atlanta-based civil rights organization.
In recent weeks, one faction tried to remove treasurer Spiver Gordon of Eutaw, Ala., and chairman Raleigh Trammell of Dayton, Ohio, for allegedly writing checks to themselves or moving SCLC funds into accounts only they could access. The money involved totaled about $569,000, according to documents obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constituti0n.
Another group backs Gordon and Trammell. Those supporters successfully asked the judge to restore Trammell and Gordon to their positions because the two were removed during a December board meeting that violated SCLC rules; the meeting was conducted over the telephone.
According to the order, SCLC president Byron Clay and vice chairwoman Sylvia Tucker must turn over “books, records, bank accounts, keys, seals and other materials of SCLC” to Harris, who will oversee day-to-day operations, or to the Rev. Wilburt Shanklin, a longtime SCLC board member who was among those bringing the court action to restore Trammell and Gordon.
“The SCLC treasurer will voluntarily disinvolve himself with any financial matters … until further action by the Board of Directors of SCLC,” the order said.
The order also said SCLC general counsel Dexter Wimbish and staff member Ron Woods can have no contact with the organization’s staff or board, though they will continue to be paid, “strictly subject to the SCLC’s ability to pay,” until the board meets later this year. It is not known why the two men were placed on administrative leave.
The national SCLC board was to meet Wednesday to resolve the differences over the organization’s leadership, but the meeting has been postponed until April.
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