I-Team: Sorority Spending Follow-Up Part 1
Posted: March 08, 2007 5:40 PM EST
ABOUT A YEAR AGO, AN ABC7 INVESTIGATION UNCOVERED FINANCIAL TROUBLES AT AN INTERNATIONAL SORORITY BASED HERE IN WASHINGTON. TONIGHT LESLIE COOK HAS A NEW DEVELOPMENT IN THE ONGOING CONTROVERSY SURROUNDING ZETA PHI BETA SORORITY.
Leslie Cook on set:
ZETA PHI BETA SORORITY INCORPORATED HAS BEEN HELPING RAISE MONEY FOR CHARITIES FOR MORE THAN 80 YEARS.
NOW THE SORORITY MEMBER WHO THOUGHT SHE WAS HELPING HER SISTERS BY REVEALING SECRETS ABOUT ALLEGED MISUSE OF THE ORGANIZATION'S MONEY.. HAS BEEN KICKED OUT.
Natasha Stark: "It's like a kick in the stomach.. It's like being married to someone for 17 years and find out they're having an affair."
NATASHA STARK DID NOT WANT HER FACE SHOWN IN THIS REPORT THAT ABC7 AIRED IN FEBRUARY 2006.
SHE WAS THE WHISTLEBLOWER - THE ONE WHO OUTED BARBARA MOORE, THE INTERNATIONAL PRESIDENT OF HER SORORITY, ZETA PHI BETA.
OUR I-TEAM INVESTIGATION FOUND THAT MOORE SPENT NEARLY 400,000 DOLLARS ON WHAT APPEAR TO BE PERSONAL ITEMS.
DESIGNER CLOTHING, FINE JEWELRY, FUR COATS, HIGH END HOME FURNITURE, EVEN LINGERIE...ALL CHARGED TO A SORORITY CORPORATE CREDIT CARD -AN APPARENT VIOLATION OF THE IRS TAX CODE PROHIBITING ANY INDIVIDUAL FROM BENEFITTING FROM CONNECTION TO A NONPROFIT.
"129 dollars on panty hose, wilson's leather, designer sportswear, ladies' shoes, day wear, St. John's, St. John's, St. John's."
OUR STORY RESULTED IN A FEDERAL INVESTIGATION INTO THE SORORITY'S FINANCIAL TRANSACTIONS.
ONE YEAR LATER, MOORE IS STILL IN CHARGE, AND THE WHISTLEBLOWER, NATASHA STARK, HAS JUST BEEN EXPELLED.
THIS LETTER THE SORORITY'S BOARD SENT TO STARK OUTLINES THE CHARGES -VIOLATING THE DUTY OF LOYALTY, UNSISTERLY CONDUCT IN PART, BECAUSE SHE PARTICIPATED IN OUR STORY.
ZETA PHI BETA WAS FOUNDED AT HOWARD UNIVERSITY IN 1920 AND IT WAS CLEAR THE UNDERGRADUATE MEMBERS TODAY DID NOT WANT TO TALK ABOUT THE CONTROVERSY.
Member: "There's mixed feelings, but I don't know what to say."
BUT MEMBERS OF OTHER SORORITIES HERE HAD LOTS TO SAY ABOUT IT.. AND QUESTIONS ABOUT THE ALLEGED LAVISH SPENDING.. ON THINGS LIKE RENTAL CARS.. AND HOTELS.
"Are they trying to cover it up.. Are they trying to get rid of it.. Are they trying to pretend it didn't happen."
Marcia Smith: "If you're trying to make your organization better.. I don't think it's right to expel the person trying to make it better."
Kourtney Wilson: "Thinking about the history of black organizations like that and the principles that they're founded upon. Sisterhood, scholarship, community service. That's definitely not an example for younger african american women in the community to be misusing funds like that."
Leslie Cook on set:
ZETA PHI BETA LEADERS HAVE SCHEDULED A HEARING FOR NATASHA STARK TO APPEAL HER EXPULSION, THAT WILL BE TOMORROW HERE IN WASHINGTON.
BUT STARK TELLS US SHE DID NOT HAVE TIME TO REARRANGE HER LIFE IN ATLANTA IN ORDER TO GET HERE IN THE 3 WEEK NOTICE SHE WAS GIVEN.
HER SUPPORTERS...WHO WERE AFRAID TO TALK TO US ON CAMERA.. ARE PLANNING ON ATTENDING.
ZETA PHI BETA REFUSED OUR REQUEST FOR AN INTERVIEW.. BUT INSTEAD ASKED US TO FAX THEM QUESTIONS IN ADVANCE.. THAT WE DO NOT DO.
I-Team: Sorority Spending Follow-Up 2
Posted: March 09, 2007 5:30 PM EST
- WJLA Script -
NEW DEVELOPMENTS TONIGHT IN A STORY FIRST REPORTED BY THE ABC 7 NEWS I-TEAM.
A MEMBER OF ZETA PHI BETA SORORITY RAISED QUESTIONS ABOUT ALLEGED MISUSE OF THE ORGANIZATION'S MONEY. SHE WAS KICKED OUT OF THE SORORITY.
JENNIFER DONELAN IS HERE WITH TODAY'S NEW DEVELOPMENTS.
Jennifer Donelan on set:
TODAY THERE WAS A HEARING AT THE ZETA PHI BETA S HEADQUARTERS IN NORTHWEST. THE ONE MEMBER WHOSE SAYS HER NAME HAS BEEN DRAGGED THROUGH THE MUD BECAUSE SHE SPOKE OUT IS NO LONGER ALONE. HER FELLOW MEMBERS SHOWED UP TODAY WITH QUESTIONS BUT THEY GOT ABOUT AS FAR AS WE DID, THE FRONT DOOR.
Yvette Jardine: "It's bigger than zeta phi beta sorority. It's about right and what's honest."
OUTSIDE OF ZETA PHI BETA INTERNATIONAL HEADQUARTERS IN NORTHWEST, A CROWD OF SORORITY MEMBERS LOCKED OUT OF THEIR OWN HOUSE.
Narkai Kamara-Tate: "I think it's ridiculous, if you have nothing to hide then why can't the members participate in the hearing."
INSIDE A HEARING CONCERNING THE EXPULSION OF NATASHA STARK, A FORMER SORORITY MEMBER OR SOROR FOR 20 YEARS, A FORMER BOARD WHO OUTED INTERNATIONAL PRESIDENT BARBARA MOORE FOR REPORTEDLY CHARGING NEARLY 400,000 DOLLARS ON A CORPORATE CREDIT CARD. OUR I-TEAM INVESTIGATION REVEALED MOORE BOUGHT EVERYTHING FROM DESIGNER CLOTHING TO FURNITURE, EVEN LINGERIE. IT WAS AN APPARENT VIOLATION OF THE IRS TAX CODE, PROHIBITING ANY INDIVIDUAL FROM BENEFITTING FROM CONNECTION TO A NON PROFIT. STARK WAS THE WHISTLEBLOWER.
Natasha Stark: "At the end of the day crimes have been committed, money has been stolen and the law has been broken."
STARK, IN GEORGIA TAKING CARE OF THREE SMALL CHILDREN, WASN'T AT THE HEARING. A FEW WEEKS AGO, SHE GOT A LETTER INFORMING HER SHE WAS EXPELLED FROM ZETA PHI BETA FOR UNSISTERLY CONDUCT, VIOLATING THE DUTY OF LOYALTY AND, IN PART, FOR TALKING TO US.
Natasha Stark: "The questions that members need to ask themselves is who's next."
WHEN OTHERS HEARD THE NEWS THEY CAME HERE FOR ANSWERS BUT, EVEN ELDER SORORS...
"No, not allowed to go in."
WERE TURNED AWAY.
Dr. Freeda Thompson: "We came here to be supportive and to find out what was going on with our sorority and we had no idea when we left home that we would not be allowed to get in."
Narkai Kamara-Tate: "This is sending a chilling message to the rest of my sorority members. How dare we stand up and speak for what is right."
ON THIS DAY ONLY DELIVERIES AND LUNCH WERE ALLOWED PAST THE FRONT DOOR. NO ONE INSIDE WOULD TALK TO US. AS FOR NATASHA STARK SHE'S PROUD OF THOSE WHO STOOD OUTSIDE.
Natasha Stark: "The future of Zeta is the hands of those sorors who had that courage to come out in freezing weather and take a stand for what was right."
Jennifer Donelan on set:
OUR ORIGINAL REPORT BACK IN 2006 LED TO A FEDERAL INVESTIGATION OF BARBARA MOORE AND HER ALLEGED ACTIVITIES. ACCORDING TO THIS LETTER TO THE SORORITY, EVEN THE U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE F FOR THE DISTRICT HAD PROBLEMS GETTING INFORMATION. AN ASSISTANT ATTORNEY WROTE RARELY HAVE ENCOUNTERED THE KIND OF RESISTANCE SHOWN BY ZETA PHI BETA TO DISCLOSING WHAT HAS OCCURRED. THEY HAD TO CLOSE THE CASE BUT THAT DOES NOT STOP THE IRS, THE FBI OR ANY OTHER FEDERAL, STATE, OR LOCAL PROSECURTOR FROM PURSUING CHARGES.