Dr. Ben Chavis exposed: Village Voice 2000

The Shame of Mosque No. 7

'With a Sex-Harassment Suit Hanging Over His Head, Some Are Wondering Whether Nation of Islam Minister Benjamin Muhammad Is Fit to Lead the Million Family March'

By Peter Noel Tuesday, Sept 5 2000

Party Chairman Randy Voller is still in denial about the baggage Dr. Ben Chavis would bring as an employee of the NC Democratic Party. A simple Google search pulls up dozens of articles that document Chavis' simply awful track record.

This is one of the best from the time of his controversial tenure as leader of a Nation of Islam mosque in Harlem in NY City. I hope all the members of the State Party's Executive Council will read it.



I'm not sure who's thinking what, but I can't see any way Chavis will end up in a leadership position at the party. I don't know if it was a trial balloon or not, but whatever it was, it ain't going nowhere.

Of course, I've been wrong about everything that anyone could be wrong about, so don't listen to me.

Exec Council

OK enough already. People are rehashing the nomination of Dr. Chavis and he has not even been nominated yet. And I think, at this point, the executive council would have something to say if he were nominated. According to the POO, the chairman has the ability to terminate the Executive Director and supplies the Executive Council with the name(s) of persons he would like to nominate. It is up to the Executive Council to either approve or deny of the nominee. A better use of our time would be to think who do we want as our next Executive Director? What qualities do we want our next ED to have?

Stephanie Goslen

I am responding after a meeting with Randy Voller

Stephanie, you have said on the record that you find Dr. Chavis inspirational and you had no problem with his being chosen as the NCDP Executive Director. I did not weigh in on that until now, after sitting down with Randy Voller yesterday for almost one and one half hours at party headquarters.

My post today is not so much about Dr. Chavis, as previous posts have been similar in content. As I stated clearly above:

Party Chairman Randy Voller is still in denial about the baggage Dr. Ben Chavis would bring as an employee

As recently as yesterday, he told me that stories about Dr. Chavis were untrue, because Chavis told Voller that there was another Dr. Chavis who did those things. This was in response to my continued questioning and my sharing with him information from articles that were quoted in local media. He appeared shocked when I explained the sources of the information were such media outlets as the LA Times and the Baltimore Sun.

The questions for the Executive Council members, therefore, are twofold:

1) If Randy Voller puts forward Ben Chavis's name, will they approve hiring him for a position--ED or other role?
2) Did Randy Voller as Chairman fulfill his own duties and properly look into Ben Chavis' career and past management employment and share that information with the Executive Council?

I will share an email I received from Randy today. It makes me think he still intends to hire Dr. Ben Chavis:

Martha, I appreciate your input and energy.

A lot of these news stories are from almost 20 years ago. When I review them it makes me wonder whether the great Michael Jordan could be hired. (He was accused of gambling 20 years ago.) In fact I doubt any potential candidate has ever received as much scrutiny as Dr. Chavis has.

To answer your query, I had heard about a few of these stories (NAACP), but I asked the source, Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr. and was satisfied with his answer.

And the man I have come to know is spiritual, inspirational, and an intellectual. A leader. Someone who can help get voters and potential voters engaged and voting for Democrats this fall.

Perhaps it was too soon to have considered him to be a candidate for the interim and/or permanent spot, but I believe that Dr. Chavis deserved and still deserves a respectful and thoughtful dialogue about his potential candidacy and/or role in GOTV and/or issue advocacy in North Carolina--especially considering the overwhelmingly positive reception he received in Charlotte last night.

In any case the NCDP has an acting director, Casey Mann, who is working hard to move forward and engage and train local parties and prepare to beat the GOP this fall. I would advise that you engage Casey and support her efforts as a strong and effective woman who has a track record of winning. (See Charlotte this past fall.)

Best Regards,

Martha Brock

Maybe You are in Denial, Martha.

I did a little research into that nearly 15 year old "expose" by Peter Noel in the Village Voice that perhaps you should have done. People like Stephanie Goslen and Randy Voller do not strike you as fools, do they? So why are you so willing to believe what Peter Noel wrote in a publication not known for its integrity, over people you know personally, who are?

Peter Noel's story for the Village Voice was largely based on defamatory quotations from Khallid Abdul Muhammad, who had been expelled from the Nation of Islam (NOI) following his inflammatory statements of anti-semitism. In the aftermath of Khallid's highly publicized anti-semitic outburst, Dr. Chavis, then ED for the NAACP, became the strongest African-American critic of this outrageous anti-semitism. The criticism leveled on him by Dr. Chavis and others led to Kahllid's removal from his high-ranking post inside the NOI.

In his diatribe, Khalid lashed out at Jews as, "bloodsuckers of the black nation." Dr. Chavis shot back in public remarks he made at the National Museum of Natural History, characterizing Khallid's anti-semitic diatribe as a, "virulent strand of racism that must not go unchallenged." Again, Dr Ben Chavis attacked the anti-Semite. How did this get conflated recently on NC twitter sites as the opposite? And how, Martha, did you fall for it without hesitation, even when Stephanie, whose judgement should be unquestioned, told you she stood by her high opinion of Dr. Chavis?

The theme of Noel's improbable story was based on the wildly varying accounts of alleged sexual harassment by a disgruntled female member of Mosque No. 7 who set out to sue the NOI for over $100 million. In her extraordinary version of events, Anita Williams alleged that Dr. Chavis pursued her until she finally consented. This was never proven, nor did Dr. Chavis ever say it held a shred of truth. Her unconvincing claims did not impress the NOI or the court. However implausible this story was, this testimony, perhaps fabricated in hot pursuit of financial ambition was taken as a given by Peter Noel when he fashioned his media assassination of Dr. Chavis over 13 years ago. Khallid Abdul Muhammad was his primary source, the man who had grudge, a major reason to smear Dr. Chavis. His word is worthless.

The Village Voice has a well known reputation for publishing incredible speculation about civil rights leaders. Dr. Chavis is merely one of many who have been subject to astoundingly unbelievable stories in its pages. To see you recirculate this garbage is what strikes me as shameful.

I posted the article which was sent from someone I trust

and someone who has the actual court documents that show Dr. Chavis only denied assault on a female, not that he did not harass a female.

As to whether I should always agree with Randy or Stephanie--I have only tried to bring out facts some would like to hide. My intent is to create transparency where there was none.

Suggest you read the story online that will appear in tomorrow's Wilmington Star News. The title of the article says it all.: 'Wilmington Ten leader's potential political job draws mixed reaction.' There is disagreement among leading Democrats on the suitability of Chavis as Executive Director.

I can only speak for myself, and I have no vote in the matter. I am a writer not an insider.

I will add, however, as a woman, I find Dr. Chavis' record of repeatedly being accused worthy of consideration. I don't care whether you agree or not-- multiple reliable media outlets reported on these lawsuits, not just the Village Voice. My chief concern, which I expressed privately with Randy Voller, is that Dr. Chavis hid the accusations and the payment for settlements in both cases from his Board of Directors, both the first with the NAACP and the second with the Nation of Islam.

Dr. Chavis is the only Executive Director of the NAACP ever to be fired, and the vote was not even close according to media reports. Here is a Baltimore Sun article I shared with Randy Voller:

Board members say Ben Chavis' downfall was the accumulation of a series of mistakes -- holding a secret meeting of black nationalists without telling the board, lobbying for the North American Free Trade Agreement in disregard of an NAACP position against it, spending unwisely, claiming huge membership gains -- all capped by the Stansel [sexual harassment] deal.

"There's no joy in doing what we had to do," said Kelly M. Alexander Jr., a Charlotte, N.C., board member who had strongly supported Dr. Chavis. "I remain supportive of many initiatives we had. But this organization is bigger than any individual."

Martha Brock

I've read it.

I see a distinct line, with some on each side. On one side are those Democrats who lead us to inglorious defeat in 2010. On the other are those who will lead us to victory in 2014 and 2016. I know where I want to be.

You say you read articles sent to you...

...by someone you trust.

How do you know you can trust the articles?

I've read articles written by reporters who don't have a clue. For example how many of the articles about David Parker in 2012 were written by reporters who didn't know they were patsies for the political consultants who wanted to get Parker out so they could continue to get their no-bid contracts on the way to privatizing the NCDP?

Those third-party jerks who leaked the documents to the press and who were pushing to remove Parker cost this party millions of dollars in donations, to say nothing of the confidence of volunteers and voters. Parker was vindicated this past summer when the Ortega lawsuit got dismissed/withdrawn, and Shanahand resigned from his post at Public Safety.

And if the Parker- and Voller-haters aren't dealt with soon, they will get theirs in 2015 in the courts or in 2016 when the SBOE comes after them. They know what I mean....

Chris Telesca
Wake County Verified Voting

"dealt with"?

You can consider this a warning, Chris. We have allowed much lee-way in the discussion of NCDP issues here, but using this site to threaten lawsuits is a step too far. Pursuing legal action is (of course) your prerogative. But to use the possibility of that to stifle opposition on the pages of BlueNC is not.

I am not threatening lawsuits.

But there have been actions (such as misuse of resources) and other things that border on criminal theft from NCDP. And some of it could attract the attention of the SBOE as campaign finance might be involved.

As an elected officer of the Party (Precinct Chair) and SEC member, I have a fiduciary responsibility to the Party. I don't like it when anyone steals from the Democratic Party. Is it appropriate to warn me about wanting justice for crimes committed against the Party?

Some of this stuff could be and should be looked into by the Courts and the SBOE. I am merely suggesting the timing of that legal action based on a number of factors. I don't think these matters will be ripe for criminal investigation until 2015. And I know the Republicans would love to start an investigation into these matters right before the 2016 election?

Whether or not the grifters, con-artists and thieves are dealt with now by the Democratic Party, I expect that some of them will come under the microscope in the future. But by that time I hope the Democratic Party won't provide them any lifeline or protection for the crimes they have committed.

So I am not threatening a lawsuit. So you can withdraw your warning.

Chris Telesca
Wake County Verified Voting

Telesca, you are jumping to conclusions

I know you and I disagree, but calm down for a moment and reread what I wrote. The documents I referenced are in the public domain and are court documents that pertain to litigation involving Benjamin F. Chavis in New York. That is why I quoted the Village Voice, because it had info about that lawsuit.

Now I don't read the Village Voice, but the reporter who wrote the story I referenced covered the beat of "black activists," and he is black himself. His only book written to date was one that centered on police brutality against blacks in New York City.

I enjoy a good online discussion, but this is getting ugly and is not based on facts but on innuendo. I would have preferred to post the documents and identify the person who gave me the information, but I can see why he does not want to speak on the record given the rancor surrounding this issue.

Martha Brock

You of all people should know

That just because something is in the public records or the public domain, it doesn't make it true.

That's what courts of law are for - where there is a trier of fact. When people are accused of something without having the facts tried, how do we know whether or not the information contained in these documents are true or not?

And we don't know the true motives of all the people who led the coup against Parker last year, but they tend to be the same folks who are also Voller-haters.

And no I am not jumping to conclusions and I am not getting ugly. What is ugly is the folks who made complaints to Exec Council members using the "N" word.

Chris Telesca
Wake County Verified Voting

Don't Like Innuendo, Martha? Really?

This discussion was ugly from the beginning because it is based on an old, defamatory article primarily sourced by Khallid Abdul Muhammad, the man who had been expelled from the Nation of Islam (NOI) following his inflammatory statements of anti-semitism. He wanted that article written to settle a grudge.

The man who stood up to that anti-semitism was Ben Chavis. He took the retaliatory fire then, and he does not look back.

The document he signed (denying assault) denied wrongdoing of any kind. It is the only document available. Suggesting one that does not exist is a fools errand.

Both civil and criminal courts cleared Ben Chavis. Why are we even discussing this? Did you post old articles about what's-his-name, the recently departed management? No, you did not. Ask yourself why are you discussing it now.

You yourself just brought up the race of the people involved. Again, why did you even mention that? Because what the problem really is here, you and the others just want an executive director you can all control. You can't control Voller, and now you have lost the ED you had under control.

Let us now discuss instead the leadership, charisma, and record of electrifying young people and Democratic demographics enough to get them registered and voting in 2014. This is what active Democrats should be discussing.

The documented record of Dr. Ben Chavis is getting Democratic demographics to the polls. Activating the base is the only way the Democrats will win in GOP distorted districts. This is the key to Democratic victory in 2014, and 2016: increasing voter participation in low income citizens from 46.9% to 75% or better. This is our only hope.

How can we do that?

The man with a history of success here is Ben Chavis. Grasp the vision: a Million Man March of new Democratic voters at the polls next November in 2014. Keep that vision as your priority, it is the way to recovering what was thrown away in 2010.

This is wrong

I am troubled that you seem to be saying here that Randy will, in fact, put Chavis to a vote for ED.

If that is true and if that happens, I am one vote out here that has hopes that any vote like this fails miserably.

If it doesn't, let's just pack it in and head to Alabama. http://www.businessinsider.com/most-conservative-states-2013-2?op=1

Let's clarify that, Chambers1

All I can say is based on Randy Voller's comments, he appears satisfied with Chavis' credentials for some leadership role in the NC Democratic Party, but he is not saying what role that will be.

While James does not think that could happen, I can only speak for myself, and I do believe he is moving in that direction. My reason for posting is that many people have said they did not know Chavis' history before the scheduled vote of the Democratic Party's Executive Council or at least not before they read what I posted.

Martha Brock

What the Party Needs is a Leader.

Leadership requires leaving the comfort of old habits and ways of business. Leaders must enter new territory and do whatever is needed to win elections. The supposedly 'safe' GOP districts as drawn can be won by Democrats in 2014 and in 2016. The person for the job of ED will be cut from new cloth, it will take bold leadership, someone not in the control of the people who lead the Democratic Party into record losses in 2010.

Only 46% of eligible citizens falling into the demographics that tend to vote for Democrats actually cast votes. We need an executive director who can excite these potential voters to get registered and then to convince them the Democratic Party in North Carolina represents them. The new ED must strongly deliver the Democratic message, and contrast it sharply with the performance in 2013 of the radical GOP legislature's program of austerity.

This effort means working with the county parties at the grassroots, training county volunteers on Votebuilder and promoting the recurring donor program to replace the now defunct tax check off money. These efforts are crucial to winning for all Democratic candidates from County Commissioner to Congress to the Senate. These efforts must begin now and continue for Democrats to regain the majority in our legislature in 2014 and 2016, and the Governor's mansion and the other Senate seat in 2016.

I would point out that Dr. Ben Chavis never admitted wrongdoing with those women, no civil or criminal court ever found any truth to the allegations. The media repeating these charges dance to the tune whistled by those Democrats who lost North Carolina to the GOP 5 years ago. I have also noticed that not one of the detractors citing twenty year old sources mentioned that he also has a record of energizing and registering young voters, or mention his history as a leader in the civil rights movement, or any of his other positive traits, they only repeat the information his enemies want known.

I ask you to envision this: a Million Man March to the polls for Democratic candidates in 2014. Ben Chavis absolutely did this, and there is no dispute about this. He could do it for the North Carolina Democratic Party.

Fortunately for now we have a very strong and capable woman at the helm as executive director. Casey M. Mann knows how to manage and win elections on the ground using scant resources, managing volunteers. Her work in Charlotte for Patrick Cannon put him in office as mayor, ask anyone in Mecklenburg County how that race would have gone without her work there. For over a year she has been training county organizations in grassroots skills using Votebuilder and volunteers to get out the Democratic Party message and raise money.

Down from the Mountain, with tablets

I would not argue with St. Martha, she has come down from the mountain grasping tablets and her hair on fire. She has consulted with St. Elaine in private and has concluded her truth is the only one. All bow and scrape to her wisdom. Only problem, perhaps she is the only one seeing these received visions. I hear she visited St. Elaine and everyone wants now to play well together after a year of savaging Voller. Is that not sweet as hell? Stop it, yes, but recognize the fact the Malcontent Caucus has attempted to ruin Voller personally, professionally and politically, completely and in no particular order. If you want to associate with such trash, well ..them as runs with dogs gets fleas (ole country saying hearabouts). Oh, it was not "fair and balanced" as some say, it was all one way and vicious as hell. St Martha wants come amongst the group with healing balm and falsehoods, spreading comfort on fevered brows. Out of 2.7 million registered Democrats, about 7-10 people are avowed and delirious "Randy Haters" whose only comfort would be to see him in hell. As the other writer said so well, LET IT DROP!



Martha hit a nerve?

WAFranklin, given your close friendship with Voller, is it necessary to personally attack Martha Brock for reporting her concerns? Seriously? When you resort to personal attacks, it is clear she's hit a nerve. If you have something to contribute to the discussion then by all means do so. Lobbing personal attacks on people whose views differ from yours is plain childish and vitriolic.

Please stop.