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Tuskegee Airmen in Dogfight With Foundation’s Board

WASHINGTON (CN) - Tuskegee Airmen Inc. claims the board of the Tuskegee Airmen Foundation held secret meetings without it and changed the foundation's bylaws to remove it as the sole voting member of the foundation. Tuskegee Airmen Inc. is a fraternal organization that preserves the legacy of the African-Americans who served in the Army Air Corps during World War II.

In its Superior Court complaint, the organization says it started the foundation in 2000 to raise money and introduce young people to the world of aviation and science.

The Airmen say the former president of the foundation, defendant Brian Smith of Detroit, began holding secret meetings with defendant board members William Holton, Charles McGee, Henry Sanford, Charlene Smith and Julius Washington in 2005. That came after the plaintiff tried to remove him because he "exceeded his authority as national president, failed to keep TAI's Board of Directors informed of his actions, and acted in disregard of express directives and resolutions of TAI's Board of Directors," according to the complaint.

Smith and his co-defendants hired D.C. attorney Theodora Brown, also a defendant, who the Airmen say knew that it was the sole voting member of the foundation.

Tuskegee Airmen Inc. says that it and its foundation have been damaged both financially and in reputation.

It seeks damages for breach of fiduciary duty and negligence. It also seeks a declaration that it is still the sole voting member of the Tuskegee Airmen Foundation.

Tuskegee Airmen Inc. is represented by William Monts III with Hogan Hartson.

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