The longstanding feud between the old and new guard of the National Association for the Advancement’s Albany chapter is as nasty as ever. The two sides are fighting over money, property and rental space.
Indeed, in spite of the national NAACP president’s intervention, the organization’s new local leaders are locked out of the chapter’s rental office and its Capitol City Bank accounts in Albany.
Capitol City largely serves blacks, who are feuding with one another over who should be leading blacks’ advancement efforts locally. James Brown, Capitol City’s branch manager in Albany, says the issue of who should be able to access the chapter’s funds should be decided by a judge.
“Capitol City Bank places great value in the more than 100 years of work the NAAPC, including the Albany-Dougherty NAACP chapter, has done to ensure political, educational, social and economic equality for all people,” Brown said in a letter to Roger C. Vann, the national NAACP’s chief operating officer. “It is in that spirit of fairness and equality that now we petition the court to remove Capitol City Bank from the middle of this dispute and render the right judgment.”
The quarrel dates back at least to last year, when the local chapter board members – including then-president William Wright – were suspended and later removed from their offices by the state and national organization in a disagreement largely over finances. Despite what Brown said in his May 13 letter, however, neither the federal, state, superior nor magistrate court in Albany has been petitioned to resolve the bank account dispute.
Brown was responding to a May 5 letter from Vann notifying the bank that the NAACP had new officers – David Williams, president; Marvin Jones, vice president; and Princella Stegall, treasurer — who would be the signatories on the local NAACP account.
“The National Board of Directors suspended the past officers and their names should be removed from all NAACP accounts as soon as possible,” Vann wrote to Brown on May 5.
But Brown said “we have had numerous inquiries … from various parties claiming ownership of this account.”
“As a banking institution, we have a fiduciary duty to protect each and every depositor,” Brown wrote. “In the performance of that duty, we must exercise appropriate due diligence to ensure that we are providing access only to those depositors who, based upon internal policies, procedures, data contained in our records, and our best judgment, have legitimate claim to a specific amount.
“In a few rare instances, the facts can become obscured by circumstances that preclude our ability to make a fair and reasonable determination as to who the legal owner is. Such is the case in this matter and as a result, on the advice of counsel, we have determined the best course of action is to place the account into the hands of the court to decide who the rightful claimant is.”
Brown noted that the NAACP has done business with the Albany bank since 2005 and said “it is our desire to continue to provide banking and financial services to the NAACP for years to come.”
Brown’s letter was copied to Williams; Edward Dubose, the Georgia State Conference NAACP president; Maurice King, Wright’s attorney; Kim M. Keenan, Capitol City general counsel; John Turner, Capital City chief operating officer; and John Hayes, Capitol City south region manager and member of the Dougherty County Commission.
The old and new guard also are fighting over control of the NAACP’s office at 436 Mercer Ave., the organization’s intellectual property, and equipment such as computers. Indeed, a rent payment made by the Georgia Conference was returned and the new officers are not allowed to occupy the office or access NAACP records or equipment.