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NAACP Settles Suit Filed by Director That It Fired

October 22, 1994|From Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The NAACP has settled a lawsuit by fired Executive Director Benjamin F. Chavis Jr., a court-appointed mediator said Friday. The announcement came three days before a judge was to determine whether to order the civil rights group to reinstate him.

"It's been resolved," said the mediator, Robert Barnett. Terms of the settlement, which was filed in Superior Court, were not disclosed.

Judge Richard Salzman had scheduled a Monday hearing on Chavis' lawsuit, which contended the NAACP violated its own procedures in firing him Aug. 20. Chavis had asked for a court order temporarily reinstating him.

Barring reinstatement, Chavis wanted the NAACP to pay the remainder of his three-year contract, which included a $200,000 annual salary plus a housing allowance, insurance and pension benefits. Both sides were under court order not to disclose details of the settlement before Monday.

Monday's hearing will be canceled, Barnett said.

NAACP attorney Lawrence Greenwald declined to comment on the settlement, referring all inquiries to Barnett.

"I'm grateful that this matter has been finally resolved," Chavis said, deferring further comment until Monday.

The National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People's board fired Chavis for failing to disclose that he used NAACP money to strike a $332,400 out-of-court settlement with Mary Stansel, his former assistant. That settlement, the board said, was part of carefree spending habits that fed a $3-million budget deficit for the organization.

William F. Gibson, chairman of the NAACP board of directors, was attending the organization's South Carolina state conference Friday and was not available to comment on the settlement.

Last week, the board ordered an independent audit of NAACP finances, after reports that Gibson had been "double dipping" on his expenses. Gibson denied it.

Board member Joseph Madison of Washington says the audit may have delayed until February any final decision on Gibson's status. Board members are scheduled to meet in New York in February.

It was not clear whether the Chavis settlement would affect a separate lawsuit by Stansel, whose sex-discrimination claim was a factor in Chavis' firing.

Chavis contended that the Stansel case was a ploy and that he was fired because he tried to move the group away from its moderate philosophy and closer to the grass roots.

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