If  you thought things couldn’t get uglier at the Houston branch of the NAACP think again.  The Insite has learned there is a new internal battle going on at the organization over a $5,000 check. 

At the center of this controversy is NAACP local President Dr. D.Z. Cofield and the former interim Executive Director he appointed Barbara Irving.

Through a series of phone calls and emails this is what the Insite has been able to gather on the embattled organization.

Dr. D.Z. Cofield brought in Irving to serve as the Executive Director when Cofield thought he’d terminated long time Executive Director Yolanda Smith.  Smith was later returned to her position by members of the NAACP’s national office.

According to Cofield supporters Irving was to serve as a volunteer.  But after working several weeks in the position Irving wanted to be paid.  In an email Irving said there was a clear agreement all along that she would be paid in the position. 

Do you follow me so far?  Well, somehow Irving ended up with a $5,000 check drawn on the account of the NAACP.  But members of the executive committee refused to approve the check and Cofield allegedly refused to sign it.  Somehow the check allegedly ended up cashed and in Irving’s bank account without any signatures on it except for Irving’s endorsement according to those in the organization. 

An attorney who’s a member in the NAACP says the draft was not signed by anyone with checking signing privileges in the group.

In a letter to members of the group Irving says the check was left in a folder at her home and her husband mistakenly deposited it into their bank account.

Now, officials from the NAACP are demanding the return of the $5,000 and Irving is demanding payment for her services as interim director of the group.

The alliance Cofield and Irving once had appears to be permanently damaged.

This latest episode comes after weeks of infighting at the civil rights organization that has left Cofield powerless along with several members of the executive committee who were suspended by the national office.

Here are some excerpts from the emails exchanged between Cofield supporters and Irving: 

From Irving:  
I personally called Mr. Foster and advised him that my husband who manages all of our personal banking had found the check in a folder along with several other checks and had deposited it inadvertently.  After I voluntarily provided Mr. Foster with this information, he began rambling about how the depositing of the check compromised Dr. Cofield’s plan to respond to the National NAACP letter that suspended his membership and thus his Presidency…
I received a call from Dr. Cofield, President of the NAACP Houston Branch asking me to assume the duties of the Executive Director who had been terminated for cause.  I asked him if he understood that I must be compensated for my services.  He acknowledged that he did and proceeded to ask me how much would I charge. I gave him my fees which were $3500 due the 15th and another $3500 due the 30th.
From Cofield’s camp:
As a NAACP member, Executive Committee member, and professional accountant, you knew or should have known that cashing an NAACP check with no signatures was not only wrong but also against the law.  Cashing the check without any approving signatures may have placed you in serious jeopardy of allegations of theft by check and other criminal charges against you.  I truly believe any such accusations against you by any person in the future can be avoided by you immediately returning the $5000 within the next couple of days BEFORE anyone from the local or National Office can or will make such an accusation or charge.

I hope you realize the serious jeopardy that you have put both the NAACP Houston Branch and President Cofield in. I am also sure you probably have violated any code of professional financial standards that govern your profession.