86ºF

Museum of Contemporary Art director denies allegations that led to suspension

Babacar M'Bow not allowed to conduct city business, says he's paying for trip

NORTH MIAMI, Fla. – The executive director of the Museum of Contemporary Art in North Miami is denying the allegations against him that led to his suspension.

Babacar M'Bow remained on paid administrative leave Wednesday.

Sources within the city of North Miami told Local 10 News that city officials are investigating several allegations made against M'Bow, including complaints of sexual harassment and other misconduct.

Babacar, who is in Bogota, Colombia, denied harassing any MOCA employees.

"I have never been presented with anything about sexual harassment," M'Bow told Local 10 News reporter Michael Seiden by telephone. "That doesn't reflect my morals."

Local 10 News also asked the interim city manager about the allegations.

"It is workplace misconduct stuff that shouldn't be happening at the workplace," interim City Manager Arthur Sorey said.

Seiden asked Sorey to define the workplace misconduct.

"Various things," he replied. "Right now, we're trying to foster a professional environment, and the behavior (that was) happening was not in a professional manner."

According to a city memorandum, M'Bow is banned from all city buildings and events. He's also not allowed to conduct city business until the investigation is finished.

So why is he in Bogota handing out awards on behalf of MOCA, Seiden asked Sorey.

"The city didn't pay for his trip to Colombia," Sorey said.

M'Bow told Seiden his trip was on behalf of the city.

"Because of our financial situation, I have paid for it from my pocket," M'Bow said.

M'Bow said he plans to return to South Florida on Saturday. When he returns, M'Bow will fight to clear his name.

Alan Waufle, MOCA's assistant director, was also placed on paid administrative leave for three days after a complaint alleging "inappropriate gender language" was filed against him. It's unclear if the complaint was made by the same person who made the complaint against M'Bow.