Members of the country's oldest black sorority are suing to remove their president, alleging that she spent hundreds of thousands of dollars of the group's money on herself — some of it to pay for a wax statue in her own likeness.
In the suit filed in Washington, D.C., the Alpha Kappa Alpha members also alleged that international President Barbara McKinzie bought designer clothing, jewelry and lingerie with the sorority credit card. She then redeemed points the purchases earned on the card to buy a big-screen television and gym equipment, the lawsuit said.
"This is extraordinarily shocking if not illegal conduct," Edward W. Gray Jr., an attorney representing the plaintiffs suing the Chicago-based sorority, said Wednesday.
McKinzie denied what she called the lawsuit's "malicious allegations," saying they were "based on mischaracterizations and fabrications ... not befitting our ideals of sisterhood, ethics and service," according to a statement issued this week by the sorority.
The lawsuit also accused the sorority's board of directors of signing off on spending funds on McKinzie without the required approval by the group's membership. For example, the lawsuit says the board approved a monthly "pension stipend" of $4,000 for four years after she leaves office and purchased a $1 million life insurance policy for her. The suit demands McKinzie be fired and return money to the sorority.