To help revive the dormant St. Paul group, past leaders agreed to help get its headquarters out of foreclosure.
Hopes for a revival of the once-storied but now-dormant St. Paul Urban League received a boost Friday with settlement of a legal dispute between its past and current leaders.
Those voices of the past now may have a major say in the group's future.
According to the agreement, Willie Mae Wilson, the Urban League's former president, and Bill Wilson, her husband and a former City Council president, will provide a loan to the group to redeem its Selby Avenue headquarters building from foreclosure and to pay the mortgage's registry tax and recording fees.
Nathaniel Khaliq, retired head of the St. Paul NAACP, is to serve as a volunteer court-appointed receiver for the group's property.
Earlier this year, the Wilsons sued in Ramsey County District Court to stop the Urban League's current board from selling the headquarters building at 401 Selby Av. They argued that losing the building would kill hopes of reviving the organization.
The group's chairman said then that the group could get a new start only after securing the resources from a sale.
That deal fell through after District Judge Margaret Marrinan granted a temporary restraining order blocking the sale. But the legal dispute carried on.
Court documents show that in December 2004, when Willie Mae Wilson retired after 30 years as the group's president, the Urban League had an annual budget of $1.7 million. During the next several years, the group lost its United Way funding and was unable to obtain funds elsewhere.
As part of the agreement affirmed Friday, the Wilsons put on record that "to the best of their knowledge, at this point in time," they had no evidence of any misconduct by the current board between Jan. 1, 2007, and the present.
The agreement now calls for the election of a new board within 45 days.
Anthony Lonetree • 612-875-0041