Zulu member expelled for revealing alleged fraud, sues organization

By Eliza Walker | Sep 17, 2013

NEW ORLEANS – A former member of the Zulu Social Aid & Pleasure Club is suing the organization claiming he was retaliated against for bringing to light issues of alleged fraud involving Zulu’s tax ID number.

David Belfield III filed suit against Naaman Stewart, Sheppard Roubion, Brent Washington, Andrew Sanchez, William Giles, Cardell Thomas, Elmundo Stiward and the Zulu Social Aid & Pleasure Club Inc. in the Orleans Parish Civil District Court on July 25.

The plaintiff claims he has been a member of Zulu since 1977, and is one of the longest standing members of the organization. the suit says. He is a member of the Zulu Hall of Fame, served as King Zulu in 1994, and has held many other offices within the organization, according to the suit.

The plaintiff alleges that the Diamond Cutters, one of the premier krewes of the Zulu parade, illegally used Zulu’s federal tax ID number without the consent or knowledge of Zulu. Zulu’s Recording Secretary alleges that the tax ID number has been in the custody of defendant Naaman Stewart since Stewart “broke into his office following Katrina and broke into a locked file cabinet and removed the file containing the Federal Tax ID information.”

The plaintiff alleges that it is no coincidence that Zulu’s tax ID number was used by the Diamond Cutters, which defendant Naaman Stewart, and his mother, Lena Craig Stewart, are both prominent members of, the suit claims.

Instead of beginning an investigation of the misuse of the tax ID number, the plaintiff claims the defendants have pushed an “unprecedented and frivolous investigation [of the plaintiff] that has resulted in the breach of contract and has the improper suspension and expulsion of the plaintiff, in complete disregard of the disciplinary procedures outlined in the Zulu Constitution and By-Laws.”

Defendant Naaman Stewart allegedly informed senior members of Zulu that the reason he went after the plaintiff was to get even for the disclosure of the tax information involving his mother, because it “looked like [the plaintiff was] trying to put his mother in jail," the suit claims.

The plaintiff seeks to have his Zulu membership reinstated and to be reinstated as captain of Timubktu Float Krew, which he earned prior to his suspension and expulsion. He seeks an unspecified amount in damages for harm to his character, reputation, and emotional well-being, and for being forced to miss significant club activities, especially the 2013 Zulu Coronation, the Zulu Parade and other events that he has looked forward to participating in for the past 35 years.

Plaintiff David Belfield III is representing himself pro se in the case.

The case has been assigned to Division G Judge Robin M. Giarrusso.

Case no. 2013-06981.

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