The Pink and Green is in the news. In an unflattering way.
It is being reported that current and former members of the AKA’s are suing sorority president Barbara McKinzie for the misappropriation of funds directly related to the business of Alpha Kappa Alpha. McKinzie is also accused of spending $400,000 of AKA membership funds for her personal expenditures, commissioning a $900,ooo wax statute of herself, and somehow re-drafting her contract so that when her presidency is over, she will receive a $4,000 month payment.
The lawsuit also states the following:
AKA directors violated the group’s rules when they approved a four-year “pension stipend” for a total of nearly $192,000. They also purchased a $1 million life insurance policy for McKinzie.
• • McKinzie used the group’s American Express card to buy designer clothing, lingerie and jewelry, then redeemed points racked up on the card to get a 46-inch HDTV, gym equipment and other items for personal use.
• • The president started a campaign to raise $100 million for an endowment fund to be run by her management firm — BMC Associates.
And that’s not all. AKA leadership is accused of overcharging members for the 2008 centennial conference that celebrated the 100th anniversary of the founding of AKA. The tickets originally were priced at $250 per member. But soon the price jumped to $500. The sorority took in $13 million, the event cost almost $9 million, and the rest was left up to sorority president McKinzie to dispense as she saw fit.
However, Barbara McKinzie denied the allegations that are being hurled at her. McKinzie claims that “the malicious allegations leveled against AKA by former leaders are based on mischaracterizations and fabrications not befitting our ideals of sisterhood, ethics and service.”
Ok. But what is up with the $900,ooo wax statute of herself? Did Barbara McKinzie have board approval for that little expenditure? Whatever the case, the reputation of the AKA sorority, also known as Alpha Kappa Alpha, is being trashed royally.
Founded on the campus of Howard University in 1908 by Ethel Hedgeman Lyle, Alpha Kappa Alpha, is the oldest African American sorority in the U.S. Nine college educated African American women, who were students at Howard University, came together to support one another as they became the first generation after slavery to seek an education for the betterment of themselves and the African American community.
It is so sad to see that an institution founded 101 years ago with such hope and promise for African American women is being allegedly torn from within on the bases of uncontrollable greed. If the other eight members of AKA were alive to witness this, what would they think?
AKA Founding Members 1908:
Anna Easter Brown, Beulah Burke, Lillie Burke, Marjorie Hill, Margaret Flagg Holmes, Ethel Hedgeman Lyles, Lavinia Norman, Lucy Slowe, Marie Woolfolk Taylor.