Los Angeles NAACP President Resigns Amid Sterling Scandal

Critics slammed Leon Jenkins’ decision to give an accused racist a lifetime achievement award, while a report posted on The Root chronicled other questionable behavior by Jenkins.

Posted:
 
screen_shot_20140502_at_7.51.22_am

Leon Jenkins    

Youtube

The president of the Los Angeles chapter of the NAACP, Leon Jenkins, resigned Thursday, amid continued fallout from a decision to award embattled LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling and a report posted on The Root chronicling a history of Jenkins’ misdeeds since his days of being a judge in Detroit during the 1980s.

In a letter to the national leader of the NAACP, Jenkins wrote, "In order to separate the Los Angeles NAACP and the NAACP from the negative exposure I have caused the NAACP, I respectfully resign my position as president of the Los Angeles NAACP."

Jenkins came under intense scrutiny after it was announced that the LA chapter of the NAACP planned to present Sterling with a second "lifetime achievement award" later this month.

TMZ had released recordings of Sterling in which the NBA owner is heard making racist remarks. The idea that Sterling had received not only one, but was in line for a second, award from the LA chapter upset many civil rights activists who noted Sterling's history of discrimination including two lawsuits and eventual monetary agreements to settle allegations that he refused to rent apartments to Hispanics and blacks and to families with children.

Amid the fallout from the Sterling recordings, Jenkins rescinded the award that Sterling was to have received May 15 during the Los Angeles chapter's 100th anniversary celebration.

Jenkins also said he would return money that Sterling had donated to the LA chapter. The New York Times reported that under Jenkins' tenure, the LA branch had received at least $45,000 since 2007.

Later, however, Jenkins indicated that he would continue a working relationship with Sterling, saying that he would be willing to forgive Sterling and was negotiating to get more money from the league owner.

"After a sustained period of proof to the African-American community that those words don't reflect his heart, I think there's room for forgiveness. I wouldn't be a Christian if I said there wasn't," Jenkins told the Associated Press. "We are negotiating with him about giving more monies to African-American students at UCLA, and so we are in preliminary discussions."

On Thursday, The Root published a report that initially ran in The Michigan Citizen stating that between 1984 and 1987 Jenkins routinely "sold the public trust" while he was a 36th District Court judge in Detroit.

During that time, he was caught lying about his residency to get lower auto insurance rates, fixed tickets and accepted other bribes, according to the California Bar Journal. He was also observed on FBI surveillance taking money. He was disbarred in Michigan and, eventually, in California.

In a statement released by the national NAACP, the civil rights organization accepted Jenkins' resignation and said it will work to develop "guidelines for its branches to help them in their award selection process."

Comments
The Root encourages respectful debate and dialogue in our commenting community. To improve the commenting experience for all our readers we will be experimenting with some new formats over the next few weeks. During this transition period the comments section will be unavailable to users.

We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your continued support of The Root.

While we are experimenting, please feel free to leave feedback below about your past experiences commenting at The Root.