National NAACP Powerwashes Local Branch, Orders Reorganization

Dissension within the ranks of the Greater Bridgeport NAACP branch as well as non-compliance processing financial information have reached such a boiling point the National Board of Directors for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has ordered “all elected officers and executive committee members be removed” and the local branch reorganized including an election of new officers.

Roger Vann, Chief Operating Officer of the national civil rights organization, sent a certified letter dated March 11 to Carolyn Vermont, president of the Greater Bridgeport NAACP, who’s been embroiled in a dispute with several officers and executive committee members of the local chapter including Board of Education member Bobby Simmons over access to financial records. The memberships of Simmons and branch officers Keith Williams, Jeff  Baldwin and Delores Crawford-Carey were suspended last month by the national headquarters for directing People’s United Bank to remove Vermont and the Treasurer Errol Earle as signatories of the branch bank account, in violation of NAACP policy.

Simmons, who is appealing the suspension, insists he and the others were within their rights to remove Vermont and Earle as signatories because “Vermont and the treasurer repeatedly refused to release the financial information” requested by the group.

“I certainly think that the measures undertaken by the Branch’s Executive Committee were appropriate in view of verifiable accusations that fundraisers were being held in the name of the Bridgeport NAACP Chapter; however, no reporting as to the receipts collected were disclosed and reported to the Branch’s Executive Committee and General Membership by Vermont and/or the treasurer,” Simmons, a certified public accountant, wrote to OIB.

Vermont disputes Simmons’ assertions, saying she is compliant within her responsibilities as president.

Who’s right? Who’s wrong? Perhaps it’s somewhere in the middle. One thing’s for sure, the local branch, per order of national headquarters, will be reorganized.

“A meeting will be held on April 18th specifically for this purpose,” according to Vermont. “State President Scot X. Esdaile will chair the meeting. In recent months, it was revealed that the 2009 Financial Report had not been filed. I was not President at the time. In addition, 2011 report was filed late. All records were given to the Secretary by the Treasurer. State President Esdaile requested that the Secretary give him the files and she refused to do so.”

Here is the letter dated March 11 by Roger Vann, chief operating officer and chief of staff, directing the reorganization of the Bridgeport branch that also includes an election of officers. The last branch election was November of 2010.

The National Board of Directors, at its February 16, 2013 meeting, has directed that all elected officers and executive committee members be removed and the Greater Bridgeport Branch be reorganized. This action was taken due to non-compliance with NAACP policy. Specifically, during the recent branch election cycle, it was found that memberships had not been properly processed in accordance with Article IV, Section 11 of the Bylaws for Units. “The National Office and Units of the Association shall share in all membership dues as hereinafter provided.” In addition, there were issues of financial reporting and mismanagement of records.

All records and other NAACP property are to be forwarded to National Headquarters, Rev. Gill Ford, National Director of United Administration, 4805 Mount Hope Drive, Baltimore, MD 21215 within the next five (5) business days from the late of this letter, to be inventoried. The failure of any officer to forward all records and/or NAACP property may result in additional action being taken by the National Board of Directors, including suspension or revocation of membership in the Association.

The National Headquarters in collaboration with the Connecticut State Conference will be responsible for assisting with the rebuilding of membership, ensuring that the Executive Committee and General Membership meetings are conducted, and Standing Committees are functioning in accordance with NAACP policy. A general membership meeting will be scheduled within the coming weeks.

After all NAACP records/property and a current membership has been secured, training on NAACP policy and procedures will be provided after which a recommendation will be made for an election to take place at which time, election procedures will be provided. The Connecticut State Conference will continue to monitor the activities of the Branch to insure compliance.

We are soliciting your support to help increase our membership and work to move the mission and work of the NAACP forward in your community. You can help by identifying new members within your churches, communities, workplace and keeping your membership active. Together we will bring the Greater Bridgeport NAACP Branch back to prominence.



  1. *** Seems enough wrongdoing has been found concerning both side’s actions and its non-compliance with the NAACP’s national policies. This move will hopefully help reorganize the local chapter and get the ball rolling towards bigger and better things for the NAACP in the city of Bpt. *** GOOD LUCK ***

  2. I will seriously consider renewing my membership. I decided not to renew my membership about four years ago. I still get e-mail from the National, but it was the poor leadership of the local chapter that held me back. I never received any notification of meetings or activities of the local chapter. The only way I was able to find out about meetings was via CT Post articles. I attended three meetings and in all three there was disorder. Strange looks were common and I got the sense the looks had to do with the curiosity of what is a Puerto Rican doing here. Puerto Ricans are black too! Hispanics and African Americans in Bridgeport suffer from the same issues and problems. We live in very close proximity, go to the same schools and we suffer the same consequences from political decisions made here and in Hartford. Not only have we been divided for too long, there is much division among our own organizations. We still have separate Puerto Rican Day Parades. I hope the future NAACP leadership is one that reaches out beyond its core membership once they have their house in order. The strength is in unity.

  3. I don’t think you were getting the fish eye because you are Puerto Rican; I think you were getting the fish eye because you are a weird Puerto Rican.

  4. The reorganization meeting will be held on Thursday, April 18, 2013 at 7 p.m. at Messiah Baptist Church. All those who are interested in rebuilding the local NAACP Branch are encouraged to attend. If you are not a member, you can go to www (Unit #2002) to take out a membership online.

  5. Dear Concerned Members and Citizens,
    It is well known by ATTENDING NAACP meeting members and officers that President Vermont performed both roles of President and Treasurer for the last two years which is a direct violation of NAACP or any other non-profit guideline. Errol Earl was the appointed Treasurer by Ms. Vermont but he stopped coming to meetings in March of 2010 under pressure to produce the annual report and monthly financial reports of 2009. He did not surface until the November meeting of 2012 and had no financial report to supply the membership as would be expected.

    President Vermont WAS responsible for the 2009 financials since former President Craig Kelly stepped down in Dec. 2009 and she finished the rest of his term until November 2010 under the attrition guidelines of the National NAACP, not handpicked by state president Scot X. Esdaille as was so widely publicized.

    Further, President Vermont confirmed in our 2012 October meeting to the branch membership and representatives of the state NAACP that Errol Earl had no interest in coming to any NAACP meetings at all. This resulted in a special meeting being called later in the month specifically for President Vermont to produce any and all financials, monthly reports or bank statements to the branch and the state compliance officer Joan Gibson. Once again President Vermont refused to supply any financial reports and told the gathering that she felt it was an “illegal meeting.”

    The board, Bobby Simmons, Keith Williams, Jeff Baldwin and Delores Crawford-Cary, reacted responsibly to protect the integrity of membership rights of supporters and the NAACP’s portion of its dues.

    It is the reason Roger Vann outlined for suspending ALL officers and not just the ones outlined in Ms. Vermont’s complaint.

    It is a fact the Bpt NAACP was operating Out of Compliance from 2009 to 2012 despite the continual warnings from all levels of local membership.

    No one from the local branch has seen a financial report in over two years, and even the 2010 or 2011 reports have not been supplied or ratified in our local meetings or annual statement to membership as is mandated by NAACP guidelines. It is not something we can take her word for.

    What we have here is a matter of suspended President Vermont showing she feels she can run the Bridgeport NAACP by her own rules and not the ones the rest of the branches have to abide by.

    Too many times media has called this a matter of personal infighting without investigation and that is a great disservice to the people who are fighting to return the credibility back to our local branch. We have to be more than an unaccountable fundraising machine. As the famous Jerry McGuire saying goes,sShow us the money! And the paperwork to go with it.


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