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Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. Expels Whistleblower,Refuses to Cooperate with Federal Investigation
One year after WJLA-TV, aired a series of stories regarding financial irregularities in Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc, the Board has expelled the member held responsible for circulating the documentation on which the story was based.
Mrs. Natasha Stark, a resident of Atlanta, Georgia and a former member of the National Executive Board, was expelled on February 8, 2007 for violating her duty of loyalty to the sorority, engaging in conduct injurious to the sorority or its purposes, and unsisterly conduct.
“The bottom line here is that folks hard earned money has been stolen and the law has been broken," states Stark.
“Expelling me from the sorority for fulfilling my fiduciary duty to the members of Zeta and informing them that their dues and other contributions are being spent on clothes, shoes, furs, jewelry, fast food, and liquor, will not change the fact that money has been stolen and the law has been broken. The law doesn’t magically change because you’ve thrown me out.”
Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. is a 501(c) 7 exempt organization founded January 16, 1920 on the campus of Howard University, and headquartered in Washington, D.C.
Following the February 5, 2006 WJLA story, the IRS, FBI and United States Attorney launched an investigation into the alleged financial irregularities occurring in Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. in order to determine the means by which its National President, Mrs. Barbara C. Moore, obtained funds from the organization.
The reports detailed the unauthorized use of the organization’
Moore subsequently admitted to the membership that she had, in fact, used the sorority’s funds for her own personal gain, but disputed the figures being reported by WJLA. Despite this admission, however, the National Executive Board refused to remove Moore from office as required by the sorority’s internal fiscal management procedures, and worked to suppress the information reported by WJLA.
In addition, Moore and the members of the board withheld from the sorority’s general body the details of the federal investigation, and refused to cooperate with federal investigating authorities.
Internal correspondence from Mr. Thomas Zeno, Assistant United States Attorney to the sorority’s General Legal Counsel (R. Jonathan Charleston) documents the efforts of Moore and the National Executive Board to obstruct justice in this case. “Our office and the FBI frequently investigate cases of this type involving public and tax-exempt organizations,"
Moore and the National Executive Board have also refused to report to the sorority’s membership the state of the sorority’s business affairs. “We haven’t received anything of substance from this administration for three years," state members of the sorority. “It is the duty and responsibility of the National Executive Board to report to the members the state of the sorority, but we haven’t received any reports from our officers since 2004. We couldn’t even get something as simple and as basic as a bank balance at our 2006 national convention. We continue to wait for the minutes from that convention, due 90 days after its close, as well as the annual audit of the treasurer's records. How are the members supposed to make intelligent decisions if we aren’t informed?”
When questioned about what she plans to do next, Stark is surprisingly matter-of-fact about the situation. “I pretty much plan to keep on keeping on. I have two jobs, a dissertation to finish, a family to care for, a child to raise, and bills to pay. Zeta Phi Beta Sorority may be a part of my life but it isn’t my whole life, and “sisterhood”
When asked how she is feeling about being expelled from the sorority, Stark laughed gently and shook her head. “I know I’m supposed to be upset by this, but in the grand scheme of things, this is pretty much a non-starter. If I’ve got to choose between being a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, and doing time in a federal prison for aiding and abetting the commission of a felony, that’s pretty much a no-brainer. As much as I love my sorority, I’m not going to throw away the rest of my life over some St. John knit suits, especially when they aren’t hanging in MY closet.”