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Emails Provide Look At Johnson's Tenure With Black Mayors Group

Bob Moffitt / Capital Public Radio

This email was one of about 6,000 released by the City of Sacramento that relate to Mayor Kevin Johnson's tenure as president of the National Conference of Black Mayors.

Bob Moffitt / Capital Public Radio

Mayor Kevin Johnson was president of the National Council of Black Mayors for only a year, but in that time, he launched an investigation into its financial practices, had the executive director fired, survived a court challenge to his presidency, had the organization file for bankruptcy and then left to start a new black mayors organization.

The documents, released after a Public Records Act request, include emails related to the unveiling of the Affordable Care Act, scheduling and a plan called the "Annual Meeting Coup."

The plan was created by Johnson's staff with the expressed purpose of "turning the organization around."

It identified the organization's loss of its non-profit 501(c)(3) status, relatively small membership and financial mismanagement as reasons to replace Vanessa Williams, who was the executive director at the time.

NCBM Board Action Steps by Capital Public Radio

Johnson continues to be the defendant in two lawsuits related to his tenure. Attorneys for Ballard Spahr, which represents the organization's bankruptcy trustee, say Johnson has been victorious in every phase of litigation.

The firm says a series of lawsuits involving Johnson are the reason 475 emails were not released to news organizations that requested them through Public Records Act requests. Johnson has requested an injunction to keep them private.

Since the emails are on city servers and have been seen by city staff, the Sacramento News and Review claims the emails have lost their attorney-client privilege.

Ballard Spahr and City of Sacramento attorneys are creating a log of emails on city servers they feel are protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Sacramento News and Review will have a chance to review that log and its attorney will make any challenges the paper requests.

There is a hearing scheduled on Thursday in Sacramento.

Bob Moffitt

Sacramento Region Reporter

Bob reports on all things northern California and Nevada. His coverage of police technology, local athletes, and the environment has won a regional Associated Press and several Edward R. Murrow awards.   Read Full Bio 

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