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Arberry puts Urban League in quandary

A criminal complaint against former Assemblyman Morse Arberry could have ramifications for the Las Vegas Urban League.

Arberry, who is accused of six felonies related to diverting unreported campaign contributions into a personal account, is also interim president and CEO of the local Urban League.

Teresa Candori, spokeswoman for the National Urban League, says the Las Vegas Urban League makes its own decisions through its own board of directors. But she added that Arberry’s legal woes could jeopardize the local affiliate’s status with the national group.

“If he were to be found guilty and the board did not intervene and he remained as president, we would probably put that affiliate on probation until that was resolved,” Candori said. “It would mean sort of a suspension of the agreement, the terms of affiliation.”

The local Urban League isn’t saying how it intends to handle the situation.

“It appears the alleged charges occurred prior to employment with the Las Vegas Urban League and have no bearing on operations within the organization,” said Jackie Shropshire, vice chairwoman of the board.

“We believe it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.”

The Las Vegas Urban League is a nonprofit organization founded in 2004. Its stated mission is to “empower communities and ensure equal opportunity for low-income people.”

It is involved in administering programs that include the WIC (Women Infant Children) nutritional program.

According to the Urban League’s most recent report to the Internal Revenue Service, Arberry’s annual compensation is $104,864.

So far, there has been little progress in the case since Chief Deputy Attorney General Thom Gover filed the complaint June 24. It accuses Arberry of failing to report more than $120,000 in campaign contributions and diverting the money into a personal account.

Arberry, who was in the Assembly for 25 years, including a stint as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, has not returned calls for comment.

A court date is scheduled July 22 in Las Vegas before Justice of the Peace Diana Sullivan. It will entail confirmation of counsel before a preliminary hearing is set.

Contact reporter Benjamin Spillman at
bspillman@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3861.

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