SCLC leadership removed amid flap

ATLANTA --- As the daughter of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. prepares to take the helm of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the civil rights organization co-founded by her father is embroiled in an internal investigation that is distracting leaders from the group's mission.

A statement issued late Monday announced the removal of the SCLC's chairman, the Rev. Raleigh Trammell, and its treasurer, the Rev. Spiver Gordon, pending an internal investigation into alleged mismanagement.

A phone call Tuesday to the Rev. Trammell in Dayton, Ohio, was not answered. The Rev. Gordon, of Eutaw, Ala., did not immediately return a phone call.

In the years since Dr. King headed the Atlanta-based SCLC, the group has lost influence, funding and membership, and infighting has led the group to stagnate.

In October, King's daughter, the Rev. Bernice King, was elected the eighth president of the SCLC and has pledged to be a bridge between the civil rights and hip-hop generations. A date for her installation has not been set.

In June, a former SCLC board member asked for a federal investigation into the alleged disappearance of more than $1.4 million in SCLC funds.

The statement released Monday in the name of the SCLC board said the investigation was launched in October concerning mismanagement of organization funds. The SCLC says a personnel matter involving an Ohio employee also is being investigated. The release stated the board named the Rev. Sylvia Tucker as acting chairman and attorney Randall Gaines as interim treasurer.