The director of North Miami’s museum has been placed on administrative leave following a complaint from an employee.
On Wednesday, Natasha Colebrook-Williams was named interim director until further notice.
Museum of Contemporary Art director Babacar M’Bow was placed on paid leave last Thursday and barred from the museum, City Hall and city events by the interim city manager.
Interim City Manager Arthur Sorey said the incident happened last Wednesday afternoon and the employee filed a complaint with the city the next day. M’Bow was immediately placed on leave, but there’s no timetable for the discipline to end.
“We’re still doing the investigation, we’ve already interviewed the witnesses and now we need to have Babacar in to discuss his side of the story,” Sorey said.
A report from ABC 10 indicated that the complaint involved sexual harassment, but Sorey said the city hasn’t made that determination and calls the incident “office misconduct.”
M’Bow, who is in Bogota, Colombia, said the allegations are false and that the complaint came from a disgruntled employee.
“I’ve lived in Florida for years and I’ve never had any allegations,” he said. “I’m surprised by the allegations and by the reaction of the city.”
M’Bow was appointed director of the museum in April 2014 in the midst of the split between the city and the former board of trustees. He has since brought in multiple exhibits from Caribbean, African and Latin American artists. Currently the museum is hosting an exhibit curated by painter Carlos Salas, “Latin America and the Global Imagination.”
In June, the North Miami City Council approved more than $1 million in financial support to MOCA. The former board members opened the Institute of Contemporary Art in the Design District, which is expected to open a new permanent space in 2017.
MOCA’s assistant director Alan Waufle was also placed on paid leave for office misconduct. On Wednesday, Waufle began a three-day suspension without pay. The complaint alleged that Waufle used “inappropriate gender language” toward an employee.