Wax Job: AKA Prez Accused of Spending Cash on Likeness

Sorority members suing president for alleged misuse of funds

Oh, the high price of vanity.

Members of the prominent Chicago-based sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha are suing the group's national president, accusing her of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on herself.

Barbara McKinzie -- who denies the charges -- is the president of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority and is also a former Chicago Housing Authority comptroller.

Eight sorority members are suing McKinzie for spending $400,000 of sorority money on designer clothing, lingerie, jewelry, gym equipment, and a 46-inch HDTV. She also allegedly arranged for a $4,000 monthly stipend for herself once she left office.

But the most extravagant -- and perhaps strangest -- expense, according to the lawsuit, is a life-sized wax statue of McKinzie, costing $900,000.  It makes you wonder if the designer clothes were for herself or her other "self."

$900,000! Imagine the sorority party that could have been thrown with that kind of money.

Speaking of parties though, the controversy also includes the organization's centennial celebration last summer in downtown Washington, D.C., which drew nearly 20,000 guests. The registration fee -- $500 per person -- was twice as high as it had been in previous years, creating a significant surplus. The plaintiffs allege that McKinzie used this money to fund her own "pet projects" along with the wax figure.

McKinzie responded to the charges:

"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."

Even at $45,000 though, those figures had better look fantastic.

Matt Bartosik is a "between blogs" blogger and was never a Greek.

Copyright FREEL - NBC Local Media
Contact Us