Near the eve of our nation's holiday in honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., prosecutors chose to indict a former chairman of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference on 51 felony charges of grand theft, fraud, forgery and evidence tampering.
On Wednesday an arrest warrant was issued against 74-year-old former SCLC National Chairman Raleigh Trammell. Authorities in Ohio's Montgomery County allege that Trammell, who also headed the local chapter of the SCLC, defrauded the district of money meant to be spent to feed the Dayton area's elderly between 2005 and 2010.
The Atlanta-based SCLC — which Dr. King co-founded in 1957 — served as a locus for his civil rights activism. But in recent years, the SCLC's national reputation has waned and its leadership has been bogged down with internal leadership disputes so grievous that courts have had to intervene.
Dr. King's youngest daughter, Bernice, an assistant pastor at Bishop Eddie's Long's New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in suburban Atlanta, was declared the legitimate SCLC leader by a Superior Court just last fall after a power struggle that ousted Trammell. So far, though, Ms. King has not publicly accepted the presidency, and activity at the Atlanta chapter has ground to a halt.
Meanwhile, Trammell's troubles are piling up. He is also under federal investigation for charges similar to the ones in Dayton. The SCLC faction that bitterly fought for Bernice King's election to the SCLC presidency has alleged in court that Trammell was part of the misappropriation of a half million dollars in organizational funds. Additionally, he is the subject of a civil lawsuit filed by a former female member of his Dayton SCLC staff, accusing him of serial sexual harassment.
Read more about this story at the Washington Post.