NCBM fires executive director, Vanessa Williams

9/10/2013, 1:08 p.m.
Vanessa Williams

The board of directors of the National Conference of Black Mayors (NCBM) voted this week to terminate the employment of its executive director, Vanessa Williams. In a letter, Williams was notified she was terminated effective immediately “due to your failure over a sustained period of several years to fulfill core duties and responsibilities of the Executive Director of NCBM and your recent admissions regarding your use of the bank accounts of NCBM and The NCBM Title Company for personal expenditures totaling at least $623,000 without board approval.”

The troubled organization notes that 21 mayors previously issued a memorandum to Williams asking her to resign. Through her attorneys, she refused to do so.

According to NCBM, the personal expenditures were uncovered in a forensic audit that had been ordered by the board, along with creation of a Special Task Force, in May to identify legal, operational, and financial issues of the NCBM. This action followed the election of Mayor Kevin Johnson as president, who has vowed to restore transparency and accountability to the 39-year-old organization which had lost its 501(c)(3) tax status and run up more than $1,000,000 in debts to the IRS and others.

In a court suit filed by the new leadership of NCBM, Williams and former NCBM president Mayor Robert Bowser were previously found to have not acted in “good faith” by Fulton County Superior Court Judge Christopher Brasher, who ordered them to release records they had withheld from the audit.

With the termination of Williams, the board notes that it seeks to move the NCBM in a positive direction, restore its noble reputation, and preserve its core missions.