Tribune Staff Writer
New questions have emerged about donations that suspended local NAACP president Jerome Mondesire sent to the Philadelphia chapter of the organization — including why $319,480 in checks earmarked for the organization were deposited into the bank account of a non-profit headed by Mondesire.
In an Aug. 15 letter sent to The Tribune from the offices of attorney Gerard P. Egan to Mondesire’s attorney Thomas McGill, Egan posed questions about substantial amounts of money that were supposed to be donated to the local NAACP chapter. That money, the letter said, was deposited instead into the accounts of Next Generation Community Development Corp. (CDC).
Egan represents Philadelphia businessman Sid Booker, the Rev. Elisha Morris and community figure Donald “Ducky” Birts, three former members of the local chapter’s board of directors.
In June, the Honorable Judge Gary Glazer ordered Mondesire to turn over the non-profit’s financial records. Records held by PNC were turned over to Egan but according to the letter, after analyzing those documents, a number of new questions emerged.
Aside from the $319,000 in checks, it questioned the whereabouts of $540,159 deposited into Next Generation CDC’s account for the period of 2007 to 2014, and why Mondesire wrote checks to himself or to cash in the amount of $70,168.
“The question I want the answer to is why would a nickel earmarked for the local NAACP account ever end up in Next Generation CDC’s account? Why would any of that money ever go into the non-profit? It makes no sense,” said Egan.
Thomas Kenny, an attorney with the KMKM Law Group, P.C. who is working with McGill in representing Mondesire, expressed concerns they had about the case and said they are looking to change jurisdictions so their client can receive a fair hearing.
In a letter sent to The Tribune, Kenny stated that his client “categorically denies all allegations alleged and implied in” Egan’s letter.
Aside from charging that the case was incorrectly filed in Civil Court instead of Orphans Court, he argued, “This is about the NAACP, which is not a party to this case. We have three members of the local chapter who were ousted a month before the suit was filed. Since they weren’t members at the time they don’t have the legal standing to file a lawsuit. We’re also looking at changing jurisdictions; with all the media attention we’re concerned about our client receiving a fair hearing.”
Over the last several months a verbal feud ignited over contributions made out to the Philadelphia NAACP that were allegedly diverted to Next Generation without explanation. The dispute, which led the NAACP to suspend Booker, Moore and Birts, began when Booker wrote a check in the amount of $500 for the NAACP 2013 fundraising gala. Booker alleged he asked Mondesire about the status of the check and allegedly never received an adequate explanation. When Booker contacted his bank, he was sent a copy of a deposit slip indicating the check and another check in the amount of $10,000 from Market East Associates L.P. had been deposited into Next Generation accounts.
“Mr. Mondesire was ordered by the Honorable Judge Gary Glazer to produce the financial records of Next Generation CDC to my clients,” Egan wrote to McGill. “To this date Mr. Mondesire has made no effort to comply with the court’s directive.”
In return, Kenny wrote, “It is disheartening that Mr. Mondesire’s opposition has decided to proceed in a crass and unprofessional manner with regard to this matter,” Kenny wrote. “If this level of unprofessionalism and lack of civility continues, we will weigh our options and proceed accordingly. The effort to change this matter into a media circus will not be countenanced or engaged in by this firm. Any response will be done legally, professionally and at the appropriate time.”
Contact staff writer
at (215) 893-5747