Urban League chairman confirms credit card concerns amidst Caire’s resignation

Chairman: President didn't do anything illegal, but made mistakes
Urban League chairman confirms credit card concerns amidst Caire’s resignation
Kaleem Caire in February 2014

Officials with the Urban League of Greater Madison said they’re concerned about how their president used the nonprofit’s credit cards.

Kaleem Caire announced his resignation Monday, but he and the Urban League said it didn’t have to do with this latest allegation.

Urban League’s Chairman Wade Harrison said Caire didn’t do anything illegal, but he did make mistakes. Harrison wouldn’t elaborate, saying the human resources matter was being handled internally.

This week, Caire said recent health concerns, finishing his MBA and spending more time with his family was why he was stepping down.

Caire has been president and CEO of the Urban League for four years. His most notable fight might be for a charter school geared toward minority students that the city’s school board voted down in 2011.

“He’s done fantastic things here,” Harrison said. “We’ve just had a little bump along the road, but that’s not what led to this separation.”

Harrison said questions arose at the beginning of the year over whether Caire was using the organization’s credit cards in the best way.

“There can be appropriate business expenses, where in terms of utilizing an organization’s resources, that the board may feel a better way to do ‘x’ is ‘y,’ (that) is primarily what we’re talking about here,” said Harrison, who didn’t initially mention financial concerns when Caire announced his resignation.

Caire hasn’t spoken publicly, but wrote Tuesday on Facebook about 15-hour work days, two heart attack scares and gaining weight.

“Frankly, our handling of the separation from a news media perspective may not have been ideal,” Harrison said. “What we’re really worried about is maintaining the integrity of the Urban League and keeping Kaleem’s integrity intact because he’s sacrificed a ton.”

Harrison said the board is changing its credit card procedures, and it’s starting to put together a search committee with both board members and public citizens to find Caire’s replacement.

His last day is March 31.