Prosecutors decline to bring charges related to SCLC

In 2009, questions began to arise about expenditures by the Atlanta-based Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) Board of Directors. Though there was no hard evidence, allegations were made that two members of the leadership of the SCLC may have engaged in embezzlement and fraudulent misappropriation of funds. There were concerns that the two men had taken about $1 million for their own personal purposes.

Fulton County prosecutors launched an investigation into the suspicions, but have now determined that there is “insufficient evidence to pursue criminal charges.” After 18 months, the District Attorney’s office has closed investigation into the allegations.

The two men at the center of the allegations said that they are pleased with the findings and thanked the district attorney’s office for their investigation into the matter. Former board members have questions the length of time that it took to release the report on the investigation. Others have requested that the full report be made public.

Unfortunately, despite the final determination that there was not sufficient evidence to pursue criminal charges, the allegations and questions hanging over the organization caused considerable friction. Factions within the SCLC ended up engaging in litigation to determine who was actually in charge of the group.

Even unfounded criminal charges can be highly disruptive to an individual or organization. These disruptions can be greater if there is a criminal trial. When facing suspicions of criminal activity, it is often helpful to consult with experienced legal representation early in the process to limit or mitigate potential disruptions.

Source: The Atlanta Journal Constitution “Fulton DA finds no crime in SCLC expenditures,” Rhonda Cook and Shelia M. Poole, Nov. 16, 2011