Howard sorority president sued over $900,000 wax statue of herself—and we’ve got the picture!

Some members of the Howard-founded sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha are suing its president Barbara McKinzie for various alleged financial misdeeds, according to the Washington Business Journal. One of those misdeeds was commissioning a $900,000 wax sculpture of herself.

But what kind of wax does $900,000 buy? In what we think is a Vox exclusive, the above picture is McKinzie’s statue, taken from an event spread in the Washington Afro-American:


We’ll hopefully have a better quality version along soon.

Via Loose Lips Daily

19 Comments on “Howard sorority president sued over $900,000 wax statue of herself—and we’ve got the picture!

  1. Statement by Barbara A. McKinzie, International President, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., issued July 28:

    Although I do not usually comment on active litigation or the allegations raised in that litigation, I am compelled to speak publicly at this time. The allegations in a recent lawsuit against AKA leaders are without merit.

    Under its new leadership, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. (AKA) has enforced stringent financial standards as part of a professionalization of our organization, which has a budget of nearly $14 million and is comprised of more than 260,000 members in more than 950 chapters worldwide.

    Accounting and budgetary practices have been tightened, erasing past IRS liabilities and cost overruns.

    Change never comes easy. The malicious allegations leveled against AKA by former leaders are based on mischaracterizations and fabrications not befitting our ideals of sisterhood, ethics and service.

    The most outlandish misrepresentation is the so-called $900,000 wax figure of me. That amount was allocated by the AKA Board of Directors to help defray overall expenses for our 2010 convention.

    Two new wax figures – one of me as president at the time of the centennial and one of our first international president – were purchased for a total of $45,000 by the Centennial Boule Hostess Chapters to complement the wax figure of our founder created in 1996.

    Further allegations about personal use of AKA funds are false and unsupported by the organization’s audited books. All expenses were consistent with furthering AKA’s mission.

    As part of the professionalization of the organization and in accordance with AKA’s Constitution and Bylaws, the Board of Directors authorized a stipend for the president. The Board is the elected governing body of the organization.

    AKA regrets that it has been put in the position where comments are expected about ongoing litigation. The Sorority understands the litigation process and will not try to subvert or circumvent it. Nevertheless, AKA and its leadership are proud of its successes and look forward to advising its membership and the public of its continuing successes.

    We are committed to continuing this course of maintaining the financial integrity of our proud organization to serve the best interest of our members and advance our mission.

  2. A gross misuse of the sorority funds… this woman is a crook and a egotistical LIAR.

  3. Did the Voice bother to do any real reporting on this? Did they attempt to contact Ms. McKinzie, or the plaintiffs, to verify the facts, since the facts are obviously in dispute? Or did they just hastily throw up something they found on another website without independently verifying it in an attempt to stir up controversy? What a disgrace to real journalism!

  4. That’s just to cover your rear end in case you’re wrong. You apparently didn’t do a shred of real reporting. It’s instances like this that cause people to dislike the American media, especially web-based media, for blowing things out of proportion and spreading rumors. For example, the furor over whether Obama was really born in Hawaii. If journalists actually checked their facts instead of regurgitating the nonsense being spewed by right-wing fear-mongers, we could have moved past this asinine debate. Likewise, this post presents a biased account of what allegedly happened. You did not give Ms. McKinzie a chance to respond to the allegations, you did not explore any ulterior motives for why the plaintiffs might have sued her, and you did not even check to see if the facts ($900,000 statue) were correct. The poster above casts doubt on that $900,000 price tag, but we never would have known that from your reporting or lack thereof.

  5. I’m not interested in getting in a fight over my reporting, because the facts came from Washington Business Journal. All I brought to the table was the picture.

  6. Anon,

    The word alleged was in there. I would assume that the Statement of Facts the plaintiffs brought listed one of the misdeeds as buying a $900,000 sculpture. Since this is simply an allegation, writing that this is an alleged misdeed is correct reporting. They are reporting on the allegation.

    Going off on a diatribe about the American news media directed towards a college blog where the contributors run this entire thing without getting paid is asinine.


  7. I am appalled at this “alleged” misuse of sorority funds. McKinzie claims it was not $900,000 but $45,000. A dime was too much! And it came from unauthorized funds and without member consent. Can’t wait for the court case to settle this mess. Google the Mo kelly Report blog for detailed information, court filing PDF’s, IRS 990’s and a audio interview with the plaintiffs attorney.

  8. This is the problem with American media today, especially bloggers. Instead of doing original reporting, oftentimes they just re-post what someone else reported on without getting deeper, causing misinformation to spread. If the New York Times was covering this story, don’t you think they would have at least tried to get a comment from Ms. McKinzie, attorneys on the case, reviewed the court filings, and tried to verify the accuracy of the $900,000 claim, especially since it is so outlandish? Will-the problem is that you didn’t do any reporting. Your headline trumpets the alleged $900,000 cost of the statue, but you don’t even know if that’s accurate. Apparently, Ms. McKinzie says the combined cost of 2 statues was only $45,000.

  9. This story makes me want to puke. That woman is insane. Oh and Anon, chill out.

  10. Anonymous, again this is a college blog and the writer used the word “Alleged.” I doubt very seriously because a lawsuit is pending that the SB will responding to anyone that request an interview. But since you are answering for the SB, why not a wax figure of the Eye of the Beholder author Mrs. Parker?

  11. Dear “anonymous”…

    Please show me your “journalism” credentials. As a G-Town alum and the “blogger” who originally broke this story, I feel compelled to correct you (whoever you are.)

    A journalist’s job is to report the allegations if they seem to be legitimate in terms of the source. Not “true”…the courts will decide that, but whether the allegations are REAL. A lawsuit (which lists the amount at 900,000) and other primary media sources which corroborate the amount satisfy that requirement.

    They include…

    Washington Business Journal
    AP Wire

    They are reliable “sources” in which to indicate the amount of $900,000.

    Now, as for Barbara McKinzie’s supposed side…there is no legitimate source indicating where her “statement” came from. It’s not posted on the website and it’s not listed with any origination contact point. It’s just been posted in comment sections. Thus far, McKinzie has been mum. There is no “other” side to report because McKinzie has had nothing publicly to say.

    Get your journalism law facts together before you ANONYMOUSLY castigate someone over journalistic lack of integrity.

  12. If you can prove that this supposed statement from “Barbara” was SENT to Vox Populi and it wasn’t posted, that’s different. But until you do, your ANONYMOUS criticisms mean nothing.

  13. Dear reader you arguing semantics over someone’s blog. The blog’s author put a picture up of the statue that everyone was interested in seeing. I think a wax figure of Marjorie Parker would have been fitting as she was a historian. The most telling part of the journalistic article you posted was that she invested money out of cash and into stocks and bonds that have now lost money. The Boule bible contained a picture of herself in the inside cover instead of the “Original Pearls.” It sounds like a whole lot of wasted money and if you are a member you would be upset as well in this troubling economy.

  14. Ball of Wax aside, it is a FACT that Barbara McKinzie was PAID $375,000 of member funds according the the IRS 990 form submitted for the year 2007. That represents ONE year Barbara McKinzies was in office. The media focused on the ball of wax and missed the other numerous alleged instances of malfeaseance.
    The membership was NOT informed. The Board of Directors secretly approved this outlandish payment for this VOLUNTEER position. Get over it (soror). Thank you journalists for doing a fine job!

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