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Chavis Agrees to Discussions With NAACP

August 25, 1994| From Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Only days after the NAACP fired Benjamin F. Chavis Jr. as executive director and minutes after a judge refused to reinstate him, Chavis and organization leaders agreed Wednesday to discuss an amicable settlement of their bitter dispute.

Superior Court Judge Herbert Dixon declined Chavis' request Wednesday for a temporary restraining order, saying he could no more order the NAACP to take Chavis back than he could force Chavis to continue to work against his wishes.

"The judge's ruling stands for itself," said the NAACP's interim administrator, Earl T. Shinhoster. "The past is prologue. We're moving forward."

Chavis said that he hoped to avoid a full-blown court fight with the NAACP, but that "we'll be back here, ready to go" if the settlement offers don't satisfy him.

Chavis sued the National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People on Monday, arguing that the group's board of directors failed to follow its own procedures when it fired him Saturday.

The firing terminated a three-year employment contract that gave Chavis a $200,000 annual salary plus a housing allowance, a pension of up to $75,000 a year, medical and health insurance and $1 million in life insurance.

Chavis said the firing besmirched his reputation and left him unemployed when his wife, Martha, is pregnant with twins. NAACP general counsel Dennis Hayes said Wednesday that Chavis' health benefits had not been terminated, nor had his paycheck.

In firing Chavis, board members cited his failure to disclose that he used NAACP money to settle a $332,400 sex discrimination claim by former employee Mary E. Stansel.

According to an affidavit by board Vice President Larry Carter, other aspects of Chavis' leadership were also a factor in his firing, including the group's nearly $3-million budget deficit.

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