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NAACP "withdraws" from the Hollman Housing Lawsuit
NAACP supports City's motions in Court without endorsement by branch membership
A press release dated October 15, 2003 says: "Dennis Courtland Hayes, NAACP General Counsel, announced today that the Minneapolis Branch NAACP has withdrawn as a plaintiff in the housing case Hollman v. Martinez..." Full text at
This is news to most of the branch membership, and possibly to the Court. To date a motion to dismiss the NAACP as a party to the Hollman lawsuit has not been filed in the Court's Hollman docket (file).
However, Attorney Thomas White filed a motion to withdraw as counsel for the NAACP on October, 1, 2003 [docket #233]. That motion was granted on October 14, 2003, and will be effective November 1, 2003.
The NAACP was still a party to the Hollman lawsuit as of October 17, 2003. There was a hearing on October 17, 2003 to consider a motion by the City seeking an additional $7.3 million from the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The NAACP and Legal Aid supported the City. -- "MEMORANDUM by class plaintiffs in support of MPHA's motion for order to enforce decree," docket #242, dated 10 / 9 / 03
The constitution and bylaws for branches of the NAACP give branch executive committees authority "To decide matters of Branch policy subject to endorsement by the Branch and in accordance with National policy." (article IV, section 2, paragraph f).
However, the branch never endorsed the executive committee's decision to support the City in Court. The branch executive committee blocked the formation of a housing committee in September (see "Don't give them shelter," pulse of the twin cities), ignored several requests for special meetings to address this issue, and the branch president prevented the September membership meeting from being convened. The branch membership was ordered to vacate the site of the meeting (Urban League building) or face arrest by Minneapolis Police.
It's not hard to figure out why the Minneapolis NAACP branch executive committee did not want any input and direction from the branch membership. A majority of branch members who regularly branch attend meetings can't be trusted to vote the way the executive committee wants them to.
[NAACP Press release] Hayes said: "We feel it more important that the efforts of the plaintiffs, as well as the community at large, not be hindered by the ongoing distractions within the local branch. With the recent withdrawal of attorney Thomas J. White, yet the third local attorney to withdraw from the case, we have been unable to retain adequate substitute counsel. Therefore, notwithstanding Branch President Brett Buckner's desire to persevere, we must accept the reality that internal matters should be resolved before the branch could be an effective voice in this case or other civil rights initiatives."
"Accordingly, a pending internal misconduct complaint against some branch members and a civil suit concerning a branch election currently under adjudication are serving as distractions from the overall goals of the Hollman litigation."
[Doug Mann] Spoken like a true lawyer