Former NAACP head sues Hillsborough chapter

Decorative Scales of Justice in the Courtroom

Former Hillsborough County NAACP head Bennie Small Jr. is suing the civil rights group and its current president over procedural votes he says violated the organization’s rules.

The Hillsborough County chapter of the NAACP is named in the suit along with current president Yvette Lewis. Small is the immediate past president of the group and the president of the small general contracting company Small Construction Service.

The lawsuit claims that on Oct. 20, the Hillsborough chapter met at the 34th Street Church of God to nominate members for an election scheduled for Nov. 10.

But Small alleges the group did not give 30-days notice for the Oct. 20th meeting, which led to only six people attending. The group did not have a quorum for the subsequent vote for nominees.

Small isn’t seeking any monetary relief or asking for anything for himself, rather for the NAACP to postpone any election until proper notice is given to members.

It’s not clear why Small filed the lawsuit, and he did not respond to a request for comment.

The lawsuit comes as the Hillsborough NAACP is the subject of other prominent headlines. The group received a hate-filled letter with racial slurs and threats. Police are investigating its origins.

That letter, addressed to Lewis, targeted Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum.

The Hillsborough NAACP also recently penned its own letter, rejecting the All For Transportation plan. Lewis explained the group worried there wouldn’t be adequate representation of the African-American community on the oversight committee that would be established to make sure the $280 million raised annually would be spent appropriately.

The group also alleged the money would be spent disproportionately on downtown projects and would not go enough toward predominantly black communities.

Losing that endorsement was a hit for the campaign that will need support from the black community to get voter approval on the 1 percent sales tax increase.

The campaign counters the NAACP’s claims pointing to language in the referendum that allocates equal parts of the money to the cities of Plant City, Temple Terrace and Tampa as well as Hillsborough County to ensure projects are appropriate in their communities.

Staff Reports


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704