Group gave money to mother of Jesse Jackson’s child

The Associated Press
Saturday January 20, 2001

CHICAGO — The Rev. Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow-PUSH Coalition said Friday it paid $35,000 in “severance pay” to the woman he had a child with in an extramarital affair. 

Members of the board also voted unanimously not to entertain any thought of Jackson resigning his leadership of the civil-rights group over the extramarital affair, said James Meeks, a Chicago pastor who is second-in-command. 

Meeks said the group made payments to Karin Stanford, former head of the group’s Washington office, when she moved to Los Angeles, where she now lives with her 20-month-old daughter. Meeks denied reports of other payments to Stanford. 

“We do not pay her any monthly compensation,” Meeks said. “Number two, we are not buying her – nor are we paying for – a house.” 

Earlier in the day, Rainbow-PUSH spokesman John Scanlon said Stanford received the $35,000 in two payments from Rainbow-PUSH – $20,000 in moving expenses and a $15,000 advance on a contract to do consulting for the organization. 

Jackson personally pays Stanford $3,000 a month in child support, he said. 

A spokeswoman cut off the news conference about the payments after only a few questions from reporters. Meeks said the organization’s finance and budget committee would eventually give board members a more extensive written report about the $35,000. 

He raised questions about the timing of the story’s being leaked to the National Enquirer. He said it appeared to be a deliberate attempt to silence Jackson’s protests of the presidential election results in Florida. 

“We think that there is something awfully suspicious about the timing of this 2-year-old story,” Meeks said, noting that it broke three days before Jackson was to help lead a rally Saturday in Tallahassee, Fla. Meeks said he did not know who could be behind the alleged plot to silence Jackson. 

Rainbow-PUSH officials said it is unlikely that Jackson will attend the rally. 

“We need him,” said the Rev. Willie Barrow, co-founder of the coalition.  

“We cannot afford to have Rev. Jackson on the sidelines for an undetermined time.” 

Jackson released a statement early Thursday about the affair and child after learning that the Enquirer planned to run a story. In the statement, he apologized and asked for time with his family to deal with the matter. 

Jackson, 59, and his wife, Jackie, have been married for 38 years and have five children. 

Meeks said the board has agreed to honor Jackson’s request for time away. 

Jackson will attend a service at Meeks’ Salem Baptist on Sunday and will also attend Rainbow-PUSH’s annual Wall Street conference in New York next week, Meeks said. The conference is aimed at increasing minority involvement in business and investing. 

Meeks said Jackson got a phone call of support from President Clinton, whom Jackson counseled after Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky. 

On the Net: 

Rainbow-PUSH coalition: http://www.rainbowpush.org