How Kevin Johnson Destroyed A Black Mayors Group To Promote His Brand

How Kevin Johnson Destroyed A Black Mayors Group To Promote His Brand

In this Jan. 23, 2014 file photo, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan, left, talks with Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, before President Barack Obama arrives to speak at a reception for the U.S. Conference of Mayors in the East Room of the White House in Washington. (Carolyn Kaster/AP)
In this Jan. 23, 2014 file photo, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan, left, talks with Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, before President Barack Obama arrives to speak at a reception for the U.S. Conference of Mayors in the East Room of the White House in Washington. (Carolyn Kaster/AP)

(Deadspin) – The African American Mayors Association, led by Kevin Johnson, opens its annual meeting today in Washington, D.C. The former NBA star and current mayor of Sacramento has been the president of the association since its founding in 2013—when, as president of the Atlanta-based National Conference of Black Mayors, he declared the older group bankrupt and resigned from it.

The NCBM was a historically significant but poorly-managed organization. By the time Johnson walked away from it to start the competing AAMA, it was crippled. This produced litigation now sitting in county and federal courthouses in the state of Georgia, in which remaining members of the NCBM accuse Johnson of first scheming to seize control of the group, then destroying it.

The filings allege that Johnson covertly organized a public/private consortium to launch what he called a “coup” against the NCBM. It was a study in overkill. His army included three public-sector PR firms plus his own mayoral communications staff, a law firm that boasts about its prominent role in the charter school industry, and his wife, the charter-school activist Michelle Rhee.

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