Infighting over NAACP Chairman William F. Gibson's spending habits raged Friday as a judge refused to block a weekend election for Gibson's job and his only challenger said donations may dry up if Gibson stays.
"So many people are waiting for what the outcome will be, and they are waiting with checkbooks in hand," said Myrlie Evers-Williams, widow of slain NAACP official Medgar Evers, as she campaigned to unseat Gibson.
Informal tallies gave Gibson a majority of votes going into today's election. But a band of dissidents who want to oust Gibson closed the gap slightly Friday, winning three of seven at-large seats on the 64-member board of directors.
However, the dissidents suffered a blow in court, when state Supreme Court Justice Stuart Cohen refused to delay the election until the board could learn the results of an audit of Gibson's expense accounts.
Gibson has been accused of spending NAACP money on himself and making poor financial decisions that drove the nation's oldest civil rights group $3 million into debt.
He has denied any wrongdoing, contending his critics are out to ruin his reputation so they can take control of the 86-year-old National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People.