Kalamazoo NAACP official pleads guilty to conspiracy charges

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - A Kalamazoo NAACP official has pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge connected to a series of arsons in Kalamazoo.

NAACP First Vice President Lola Atkinson pleaded guilty in court to conspiracy to commit second-degree arson, thereby avoiding a trial which was to start shortly.

On June 16, Atkinson's handyman, 57-year-old Elvis Patterson, pleaded guilty Monday to conspiracy to commit second-degree arson.

Patterson was arrested with Atkinson back in February, when police allege the duo was plotting to burn down a vacant house in Kalamazoo that Atkinson owns.

Police say they caught Atkinson paying a tenant to move out of her home so she could have Patterson burn the place down.

In May, Newschannel 3 discovered that Atkinson owes thousands in back taxes to Kalamazoo County on the dozens of properties she owns.

As part of Patterson's plea agreement, he would not testify against Atkinson.

He is scheduled for sentencing next week, and will face between three and eleven years in prison.