Mondesire's friends-turned-foes get access to his books

DAVID MAIALETTI / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER J. Whyatt Mondesire founded the nonprofit Next Generation CDC. A judge ruled that board members may review its bank records.
DAVID MAIALETTI / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER J. Whyatt Mondesire founded the nonprofit Next Generation CDC. A judge ruled that board members may review its bank records.
Posted: June 12, 2014

THE REV. ELISHA Morris was nearing the end of his court testimony yesterday when he turned to the judge and decided to speak plainly about his former friend, J. Whyatt Mondesire.

"We were doing good work," Morris said dejectedly of Mondesire, the now-deposed leader of the NAACP in Philadelphia. "We were helping people."

For more than a decade, Morris said, he relied on that friendship when Mondesire provided few details about a nonprofit he founded, Next Generation Community Development Corp. Morris, a board member, said Mondesire always told him all was well.

Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Gary Glazer yesterday gave Morris and another Next Generation board member, Sid Booker, the power to review the nonprofit's bank records to see for themselves.

Booker, Morris and a third board member, Donald "Ducky" Birts, went public with concerns about Next Generation in an AxisPhilly.org story in January.

The three men were also board members for the local NAACP.

Booker says a $500 check he wrote for a NAACP event was deposited instead in Next Generation's bank account, along with a $10,000 check to the NAACP from a group of investors seeking a state casino license at 8th and Market streets.

Mondesire endorsed the casino project in November, a month after the $10,000 check was deposited in the non-profit's account.

The NAACP's national headquarters suspended Mondesire, Booker, Morris and Birts in April as a result of their public feuding.

Booker and Morris went to court a week later, seeking to review Next Generation's records.

Mondesire, who did not attend yesterday's hearing, has claimed Booker, Morris and Birts resigned as board members.

They deny that.

Morris yesterday said Mondesire gave him the "cold shoulder" after a confrontation.

"I pretty much got cussed out," Morris said. "I'm asking the right questions and he doesn't want to give me the answers."

Glazer declared "there's no question it's totally appropriate" to give Morris and Booker access to Next Generation's records.

The Daily News on Friday reported that investigators from the state Attorney General's Office said a 2009 grand jury investigation "uncovered what appeared to be questionable spending" of state money by Mondesire after Next Generation's bank records were subpoenaed.

The Daily News also reported that Attorney General Kathleen Kane's staff is now reviewing that investigation.

Mondesire did not respond to a request for comment. He issued an angry denouncement yesterday of AxisPhilly.org's stories about him, including one Saturday that questioned what became of a $100,000 state grant to refurbish the Hunting Park home field of the North Philly Aztecs, a Pop Warner football team.

Mondesire said AxisPhilly.org is a "renegade blog that specializes in character assassination" and is "working in concert with my enemies to attack my leadership at the NAACP."

Mondesire also claimed he received approval from the state to use the grant for "anti-violence and scholarship programs" rather than the originally approved "brick and mortar projects."


On Twitter: @ChrisBrennanDN

Blog: ph.ly/PhillyClout.com

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