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Former Urban League president files lawsuit against nonprofit alleging retaliation

Dr. Kish Cumi Price alleges the Louisville Urban League misappropriated millions of dollars in grants and other funding.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Louisville Urban League's former president and CEO has filed a lawsuit against the nonprofit.

Dr. Kish Cumi Price became the group's president in November 2022 after former President Sadiqa Reynolds announced her resignation last October.

The nonprofit said Price would be "transitioning out of the role, effective immediately" in late March. 

In a new lawsuit, Price claims she was retaliated against for investigating the organization's alleged mishandling of millions of dollars. 

The lawsuit alleges Price was "informed of and began to witness" what she believed was the misappropriation of grants and other funds on her first day in the new role.

She also believed there were conflicts of interest among some of the nonprofit's board members and officers.

In one instance, the lawsuit claims Price was informed $2 million of a $5.7 million gift had been used to pay off a loan.

The loan payoff was supposed to be reported to Humana, one of the group's largest donors and partners, but Price alleges that never happened.

On Monday, Humana said it would not provide a comment on the lawsuit at this time.


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The lawsuit said in another incident, Price learned the League had used a $1 million grant from the Brown-Forman Corporation for education purposes, which Brown-Forman made clear not to be used toward the Norton Healthcare Sports and Learning Center (SLC).

According to the suit, Price fired the League's Chief Operating Officer Rhonda Mitchell after concluding she purposefully hid her ties to the SLC and its president, Sadiqa Reynolds.

While with the League, Mitchell also served as the SLC's board treasurer, the lawsuit says.

The SLC is a separate nonprofit, therefore any "comingling of grants between the two without clearly distinct parameters" would be improper and potentially illegal, the lawsuit said.

According to Price, Reynolds was upset by Mitchell's firing and made her disapproval known to the Urban League's Board Chair Kimberly Sisnett.

Shortly after, the lawsuit claims Sisnett met with Price and Reynolds to discuss Price's concerns. 

During the meeting, Reynolds allegedly questioned if she was in trouble and warned Price she "better watch whom she fires from thereon."

Credit: Sadiqa Reynolds, Twitter
Photos of Saqia Reynolds and Dr. Kish Cumi Price posted on Reynolds' Twitter after the League announced Price would be its next president. Oct. 14, 2022.

Five days prior to the Urban League announcing Price's departure, the lawsuit claims the nonprofit met with the Sisters of Nazareth.

The lawsuit said the Sisters of Nazareth pledged a $2.5 million grant to the Urban League to build 50 homes at $50,000 each. By March 15, they had donated $1.5 million to build 30 homes, but only six had been built.

Price claims she spoke with the nonprofit's housing development partners and was told the nonprofit's administrators were "inexplicably slow" to release the funds.

In a statement on Monday, the Sisters of Nazareth told WHAS11 they wouldn't "comment on ongoing legal proceedings."

Facing pressure from the National Urban League for an audit, Price said she made it known to the nonprofit's Chief Financial Officer Anthony Leachman and Sisnett, she intended to cooperate fully.

Price was fired by the Board days later on March 20, according to the lawsuit.

Friday evening, Reynolds said Price's claims "hold no merit."

"When I recommended to the Board that Kish Cumi Price lead the Louisville Urban League, an organization I care so much about, I had every hope and confidence for her success. What unfolded over her 5-month tenure, the board concluded, required her termination," she said in a statement. "This board, like me, cares about the Louisville Urban League, its mission, and every person working there. Often, when people are fired, they sue. It is a sad reality of the world that has been created. Her allegations have no merit and will be resolved in a court of law." 

In a statement, the League's current President and CEO, Lyndon Pryor said the nonprofit is "deeply saddened by her actions as they detract from both the League's significant accomplishments and its important work in this community." 

"The League vehemently denies the baseless allegations made by Dr. Price, and will vigorously defend against the meritless claims in the Complaint to protect its mission, vision, and value," Pryor added.

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