Tenants join NAACP members in call for resigation of chapter president over management of Woodlawn Terrace


SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Calls grew louder Wednesday for Shreveport NAACP chapter president Michael La’Fitte to step down amid criticism of his management of a Hollywood neighborhood apartment complex and the treatment of tenants who say living conditions on the property are poor, unsanitary and unsafe.

“He’s a manipulator. He lied. He just need to step down. It’s not right what he’s doing to the tenants over here,” said tenant Jamisha Peoples, who joined other tenants and community activists outside the Woodlawn Terrace apartments Wednesday morning to demand La’Fitte’s resignation.

“How can you be the president of the National [Association for the] Advancement of Colored People, and how can you then be the property manager on the other hand of the same place that’s oppressing these people?” asked board member and Citizens Watchdawgz organizer, Alvin Oliver.

Oliver was joined by other members of the board who voted no confidence La’Fitte earlier in the week and asked him to step down, saying the alleged conditions at Woodlawn Terrace amount to oppression and are in conflict with the NAACP’s core values.

“I myself have spoken with him on numerous of times and asked him to do certain things to ensure the people that you have their best interest, and he failed. He failed to do that,” said Marvin Muhammad, who is third vice president of the local chapter.

Some members have reportedly also called for Muhammad’s resignation along with that of first and second vice presidents Dr. Montrell Whitaker and Barbara Smith-Iverson for their alleged complicity in allowing La’Fitte to remain in the position despite repeated concerns raised about his management of the apartment property.

That’s what led to some heated exchanges among those gathered Wednesday morning in calling for La’Fitte’s resignation.

“You got a first second or third vice president, where is the accountability? It’s no accountability. It’s none,” citizen activist Breka Peoples said of Muhammad. “What social justice have y’all seen the first, second, or third vice president fight? I mean, they’re not helping the community. I’m asking for him to step down, too, because I am tired.”

Tenants also expressed frustration and anger with the lack of a plan for improving conditions at the apartment complex, whether or not La’Fitte loses his position with the NAACP. Some say they say they are living in mold-infested units with plumbing and electrical issues that the management team refuses to resolve.

So far, La’Fitte has not responded to calls for his resignation and referred all requests for comment to his attorney, who has not returned calls.

According to Regional NAACP Vice President Lee Jeter, a complaint has to be filed in writing to the national organization in order for any elected official to be removed. After that, the national organization will notify the individual that there has been a complaint and schedule a hearing if the person requests one. If the person does not request a hearing, Jeter says the national chapter will act on the complaint.

Alvin Oliver says NAACP Louisiana state conference president Michael McClanahan told him Tuesday that he had spoken with La’Fitte and asked him to step down.

“He said he told Michael La’Fitte to step down. He said Michael La’Fitte’s comment to him was he needed time to think about it.”

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