A judge Wednesday denied Benjamin Chavis Jr.'s request for immediate reinstatement as executive director of the NAACP.
Superior Court Judge Herbert Dixon said Chavis would have to wait for a judge to resolve his lawsuit seeking damages from his firing last weekend.Dixon said that Chavis had been employed by the NAACP and that the court could not force the NAACP to take him back any more than it could force Chavis to continue to work if he did not wish to.
Meanwhile, officials of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, struggling with growing debt and courting reluctant corporate donors, say the civil rights group wouldn't be able to survive more of Chavis' leadership.
"The organization would be virtually destroyed," NAACP staff attorney Willie Abrams said after a court hearing Tuesday. "Are there people who would give Dr. Chavis money? I don't believe so."
Chavis' attorney, Abbey Hairston, said some members of the NAACP board of directors have unfairly painted Chavis as "essentially a crook."
"The NAACP has a long history of survival," she said. "But what will Dr. Chavis do?"
Board members voted 53-5 at a meeting Saturday to fire Chavis from the $200,000-a-year job he has held since 1993.
Board members complained Chavis ran up a $2.7 million deficit, didn't tell them he used NAACP money to settle a $332,400 sex discrimination claim by former employee Mary E. Stansel and tried to move the NAACP away from its long-standing integrationist ideology.
NAACP attorney Lawrence Greenwald said Chavis failed to get written board permission before committing the group to a debt, as required by its constitution.