I still didn't find any information relating specifically why the RAAM's CEO/President was in the UMCA's executive committee meeting, which was making amendments to the UMCA Bylaws. If one looks up the report of this particular meeting in the Nov-Dec 2007 Ultracycling magazine, one will see why the members are having a problem with this report: More of their rights are taken away and there were no amendments relating the UMCA government's rights--which meant the UMCA government's actions are still in violation of the UMCA Bylaws. I asked you this particular question more times than I cared to count for 8 months:
As the UMCA members paying close attention to what was going on already are knowing, John Hughes is not a good leader anymore. He used to do good things when he first started 9 years ago, but he is now having way too much control and has a history of personal attacking people on both Topica and UMCA's yahoo lists. His attacks on people who are brave enough to voice their opinions he disliked is clearly what could terminate him as stated in his old contract. Furthermore, he lied to the UMCA Board of Directors. (All of this is on the blog.) Yet, the UMCA Board accepted the new contract, which will run through to early 2014, which is unnaturally long for this kind of job. See the news from UMCA website:
The Board's Liaison said in a private e-mail to me three weeks ago that the Board is aware of the UMCA member's concern about the soundness of UMCA-RAAM's partnership as stated in my letter discussing the lessons from history. I now question whether this is true because I already discussed the problem with keeping John Hughes as the UMCA Managing Director mainly since he's also an investor of RAAM LLC and strongly suggested getting a replacement. See my February letter:
As you already know from my letters, I said I would do my part in helping clean up the mess. ( http://ultracycling-us.blogspot.com/2007/10/offer-of-apology-still-stands.html ) This however can't happen without open communication between UMCA government and members concerning the questions left hanging. Some of the questions I am taking care of are unfortunately still being asked by others nearly two years ago. At this point, I felt like you wanted to continue displaying your dirty laundry instead of working this out. Is that true? If yes, you have awfully a lot of walking to do at this point.
Collection of the public evidences that are concerning the UMCA members can be found here: http://ultracycling-us.blogspot.com/
The UMCA members are still complaining about RAAM’s involvement in UMCA’s business ranging from being in the meeting where the amendments for the Bylaws were made to silencing certain people. The members are disturbed by the behavior of the UMCA government, especially because they voted and passed the old Bylaws back in 2003 and the new changes as reported in UMCA’s Nov-Dec 2007 magazine were concerning their membership rights and basically nothing was done to fit the current UMCA government’s actions such as which RAAM officer can represent RAAM on the UMCA Board and whether this same RAAM officer is authorized to be in UMCA’s reported executive committee meeting.
Observably, once the kind of actions like the examples above were done and not reversed, it's a matter of time before more of UMCA members' rights are taken away and where does that likely will lead us? UMCA is recognized by the IRS as a non-profit and RAAM is still a for-profit whether RAAM is profiting or not.
We must take legal steps in making the UMCA-RAAM partnership work without conflict of non-profit and for-profit business interests or having both organizations re-separated to protect both organizations’ business interests.
I believe that you have received answers regarding RAAM representative at a board meeting. I am not sure what else can be done to explain things or to alleviate your concerns. I would suggest that any legal action will take limited time and financial resources away from a small organization that can ill afford the loss.
Thank you. Rick
1) Rick, my e-mails may be my own writing, but they represents the concerns of many UMCA members. I believe I reminded you about this as much as you are reminding me that your writing is not representing your own opinions. "Your" replies do need to be sent to at least all of the addresses I am currentlyusing including the yahoo group list.
2) For years, UMCA published the UMCA meeting reports in the UMCA magazines. I didn't see any report(s) in the magazines answering the UMCA member's questions concerning the RAAM officer taking part in the executive committee meeting held last October and it's one of the UMCA member's biggestquestions. I didn't see one concerning the RAAM officer/representitive of the wrong title at "a" Board meeting either. (This is now for way more than one Board meeting.) Please tell me and everybody else where to find the report(s). Thanks.
3) UMCA's (as in the e-mail above) advice concerning the legal actions should be given to RAAM LLC, who hired a lawyer and sent me a legal threat letter without talking to me or possibly anyone else first. If you read my last e-mail, "Lessons from history--is the UMCA-RAAM partnership stable?", I said the legal actions is a waste of money and time and there is a better way to work this out, but it only will happen if UMCA is willing to communicate and discuss the actions too.
With all due respect I will only respond to the author of any email. I have no idea if all of those cc'ed have any desire to receive unsolicited emails.
I would ask that you send questions regarding RAAM, LLC directly to that corporation. That would be the appropriate place to seek information for that organization.
Your questions regarding board meetings and whom attended have been answered. I believe all board meeting minutes etc are available online. If I am mistaken about that I apologize. As to whether certain questions were answered; I do not set, nor even know the board's meeting agenda. I do not believe the board will answer the same questions just because the respondent did not care for the answer.
Unfortunately, I already have most of the RAAM inventors in the address list here ever since last Spring and none of them answered my questions about RAAM's actions within UMCA yet.
I believe you understood you are the Board's spokesperson and it's important for them to know what you were saying to the UMCA members they are representing. It's their choice to use the trash can or not. Who get to view the replies is apparently not the spokespeople's choice at all--and that applies to me too. You said you accepted the Board liaison position to help the communication between the Board and UMCA members flowing. Well, please help keep the communication channels open and available to all for everyone's sake!
The way I see the current UMCA-RAAM partnership, it is similar to conflicts of
interest practiced by other organizations in the recent past which resulted in
disaster or near disaster. As an observer from outside the UMCA leadership,
it’s clear to some UMCA members that UMCA-RAAM is traveling down a similarly risky path.
Here are lessons from other organizations that I put together based on my interviews with fellow UMCA members discussing the stability of UMCA’s long term future:
1) In the early 1980s, the American Motorcyclist Association split with several
Supercross event promoters over how the sport would be sanctioned and officiated as well as who would profit (AMA or promoters). The result was loss of major sponsorships which almost killed the sport. Today, Clear Channel is basically the sole producer of Supercross in the country, with AMA sanctioning and officiating.
2) In the middle 1970s, the American Bicycle Association was created shortly after the founding of the National Bicycle League to sanction and officiate BMX racing in the US. Despite at least one attempt by the NBL (which is part of USA Cycling) to buy out the ABA, the divisions between both bodies have kept many major sponsors out of this sport, which, despite its introduction into this year’s Olympic Summer Games in Beijing, continues at about the same level of participation it reached in the 1980s.
3) Open-wheel auto racing fractured in the 1990s after CART split from USAC (US Auto Club), followed by the further splitting and founding of the Indy Racing League in the mid-1990s. It is interesting to note that one of the reasons for CART's creation were complaints by drivers and teams about USAC's poor event management and media coverage. The IRL and Champ Cars (and CART) recently merged after years of mutual suffering and losses of sponsorships and race-car fans. Though IRL is a sanctioning and officiating body that also owns its own racing series and premier event (the Indianapolis 500), it is regulated by checks and balances between the IRL, rules, venues, drivers and team owners which have their own respective groups or committees.
Of course, there are other sports where small groups of people control almost
everything (such as Formula One) with an iron grip, but at least there's progress and everybody benefits. And there are other sports that have suffered as a result
of inbreeding and shortsightedness.
Which is UMCA? Since 99% of the e-mails I have received from the other side of the canyon in the past eight months were personal attacking, personal questioning, and lawsuit threatening, I am convinced that UMCA is suffering from inbreeding and shortsightedness. The other 1% were created by only one person talking about trying to move forward with new things. But I know (not think) this won’t work with the serious federal law violation problems remaining unsolved.
We could start up a new organization, but isn’t that similar to what happened to other organizations in the examples above? We know that if we split, it’s not the greatest thing. We are humbled by the arrogance of the UMCA management ignoring its members’ private suggestions for four years. Only when UMCA members such as myself start publicizing our complaints does the UMCA finally begin doing a couple of things about the election -- which UMCA members were regularly suggesting since 2003! These few things were, however, not solving the federal law violations yet.
Apparently, only when UMCA listens and acts on these serious things, will we then be a healthier organization again.Because UMCA and RAAM’s unhealthy partnership -- as it is known to the public -- is so identifiable in the examples I have presented, something needs to be done quickly. Or ultracycling as we know it will devolve into a swamp of confusion, and the sport we all love (or think we love) will limp along and eventually die.
Somewhere along the line, a lot of money is going to be spent. It could go to lawsuits, lawyers and court costs, or it could go to negotiating a positive result. Negotiating a positive result couldn’t be done perfectly, but it's better than the alternative.
Happy never-ending cycling,
Just wanted to acknowledge receipt. The board is aware of your concerns.
Thanks, Rick. I however hope the Board realizes it's not me alone. Don't forgot about 1/2 of the members from last year, who already left. I will appreicate it if the Board remembers this.
I publicly wrote on March 16th that I will be more than happy to write an apology to be published in the UMCA magazine, but how this can't happen without communication between UMCA government and UMCA members about what the members were questioning about.
This March 16th letter can be found on the bottom of this post:
Well...I reviewed the old e-mails during the peak of RAAM season and there is a pattern showing. Pervious to my March 16th letter, UMCA's BoD members and committee members used to talk to SaveUMCA and other UMCA members. After my March 16th letter containing the offer of apologizing, UMCA government members apart from the Board Liaison is unnaturally quiet.
Sorry to say, but this is indirectly suggesting UMCA's government is refusing to communicate with the UMCA members wanting to know whether the UMCA-RAAM partnership is stable. Is it stable??? UMCA did publish a few details, but the public is still missing details concerning the long term future of both UMCA and RAAM.
We want specific answers and we do have the rights to know whether our UMCA will be stable or not. My offer of apology if we mishandled the evidence available to the public will never be withdrawn.
Dear UMCA government,
This morning, another UMCA member stood up, saying what courage it takes to do so withthe lawsuits threats going around. He said that the UMCA management can sue him if they want to, but somebody has to take a stand.
Like UMCA already said to me, it was RAAM who was threatening the UMCA members and it was none of UMCA's business. I'm not an expert in lawsuits, but this is once again showing RAAM's imprint on UMCA.
Is UMCA and RAAM really separate organizations? This never can be ignored because it will neverblow over--even after I stop communicating what is concerning the UMCA members. We do hope UMCA realize what kind of hole they are digging up.
Dear all (including those watching the yahoo list),
A few of you are starting to ask me personal questions.
My answers: Absoluately no one pushed me (the messenger of questioning UMCA members) to do this. I volunteered to put my heart into this and I can quit anytime if I want to.
I am motivated because I love the sport and don't want it to be endangered. I can't bear being quiet when knowing the risks UMCA is putting itself and the sport in. For example, based on what I know about how the non-profit business works, I did warn last year about possibly hundreds of members leaving due to the leadership problems we are experiencing here. Some laughed at me back then, but they now know I was right.
I have absoluately nothing personal to gain from this. I don't run any companyor anything like that.
By the way, I am planning to write the lessons from history in about a week or so and if one wasn't realizing why they are dealing with questioning UMCA members yet, they will hopefully understand by then.
This weekend I am running my first race as the Calvin's Challenge Co-owner/ director. In the information that we are passing out to the racers, is the call for them to check out the UMCA. If they are new to this type of racing, we will encourage them to consider joining the UMCA and participate in the rest of the season. We are also plugging the races of our fellow race directors.
So, if the new racers at the race (about 30% are new) start checking out the UMCA because they had a great time at Calvin's and they come across the blog (I just can bring myself to say "save") that you are the spokesperson for, what are they going to think? Does what you are doing bring in new members? Or turn them off? The truth is that all bicycle club's membership ebb and flow with the times times. (the UMCA is just one big national bicycle club) We are in tough economic times, going bike racing is a luxury that is first to go off the spending list. I, myself, have cut back and canceled going to events because of the cost of just getting to the start.
As the membership ages, they quit racing and then quit renewing their membership, so it is always the goal to find new members to replace them. So far, I have not read one thing that would want me to join the UMCA based on what you have written. Airing one's dirty laundry in public is never a good way to make friends and have a positive influence on others.
You say that you have tried others ways, but have you ever considered that maybe you don't have the experience and talent to be involved in these kinds of negotiations? I'm going what I feel is the best way to improve the UMCA. Being a good role model to those I come in contact with. I took over an important race on the UMCA calendar that was going to discontinued. I try to make positive changes with positive actions. I have faith that those in that have been given charge with running the UMCA that they will make the best possible decisions the best way they know how. Right or wrong, good or bad I can't say, but all I can do is have faith in people to do the right thing. If they don't, they have to live with it, not me.
I really wish we could tap into Mavis's tenacity and energy. There are so many UMCA programs that need volunteers to help get them off the ground. Right now there is a big need for someone to manage the 100/200 mile TT championship that many of my racers are asking for. This kind of racing will bring in new members, which will inspire them to do the longer events which in turn could lead them to RAAM. And YES. the UMCA should own and have full control of their marque event. How it's done is up to the business people and lawyers, not me, a factory worker of 30 years that just likes to ride bikes.
Be safe out there,
It's folks like you, Christine, Jeff and Julie that do things that actually make a difference - unlike Mavis!
Good to know you are still reading my e-mails. Will you indeed be looking into ways to straighten out the problems the UMCA members are questioning about? How about the questions left hanging for months?
They are on the blog if you ever need to review them. I believe I have stated the reasons why we have lots of communication cleaning up to do if UMCA didn't do anything wrong.
I am trying to help straighten out all of this mess and the only way we can do this is to work together toward the best interests of UMCA's mission: Supporting all events equally--including RAAM. It's apparently appearing to be a conflict of interest to have non-profit UMCA and for-profit RAAM as business partners.
I don't do UMCA. I just subscribe because I DO support Ultradistance cycling. I don't even have a horse in this race!
I do California Triple Crown Doubles (60 Finishes). I Finished PBP 1999. And, I've been a SAG at over 100 Century+ events.
I don't know you or Mavis. Again, I have no horse in this race! Except, to support cyclists!
But, I've listened to Mavis' reports and wondered what was the purpose?
John, your reply, below, from you just SEALED THIS DEAL! for me!
John, if you had nothing to hide, you would not have taken this fine opportunity to applaud some Ultradistance folks with some really good comments with what you then turned into a Self-Serving attack at someone who disagrees with you?!
If there was ever an admission of GUILT, this WAS IT! This would stand up in any court!
So, I ALREADY don't like you or your methods! By your last email post, I ALREADY know you will go to any extent and all of your resources to support your effort to discredit anyone who opposes you and what I'm beginning to believe must be putting some bucks in your pocket?!
I don't know. I'm just asking?
Mavis, I don't know you. But, I LOVE you!
Yeah, John,...you can delete my email address from UMCA! I'm SURE you will do this at your earliest convenience!
Ah....no wonder UMCA is losing ridership! - Frank
To the full UMCA BoD:
JOHN HUGHES IS A PIG. His latest untoward slander of Mavis demonstrates once again that he is destroying what is left of the tattered remains of the once noble and worthwhile UMCA.
Shame on all of you BoD members for allowing him to run amok and continue to demonstrate what a disgusting human being he is.
Hey John, despite your efforts to damage the 508's reputation, and promote other events instead (including and especially RAAM), we've got a record number of applicants. You see, you're really as impotent and worthless as the rest of us knew all along. Quit taking the UMCA down the toilet hole with you, please!
The infective tissue in the body of UMCA has grown. The abscess of full of putrid stuff. The body can try to hide it, cover it or deny it or, but it comes to a point where the abscess will either need to be excised or it will explode and drain itself. If the abscess drains inward instead of outwards, then there is risk of sepsis and death. Do not blame the one who points at the infection,or the doctor that says the abscess needs to lanced and drained.. they are not at fault. I thought personal attacks were not allowed on the forum of the UMCA that the managing director created, and now it seems that the forum manager has failed to obey his own rules. (don't worry, I am not part of that forum, so I will not post there)
I suggest, once again no doubt, that you turn your sights on Rumsfeld and Rice, Mavis: RUMSFELD and RICE.
Lots of problems with this here reference including not good "evidence", seemingly poor interface in yahoo groups, and most sorry of all": no email address given for "Cycleman - Frank".
Again, Mavis et.al., I urge you to address the US Government, including the "playing dead" democrats instead.
Whatever are you talking about? Rumsfeld was removed from office ages ago. This is precisely what Mavis - and many others - think should happen to John Hughes, who has acted for an extended period of time with similar disregard for the constitution and bylaws, as well as the interests of the UMCA members.
Correction Paul...John Hughes has always acted with the best interests of the UMCA at heart! You should be ashamed of yourself for telling anyone that will listen that John has not had the best interests of the UMCA at heart. It is people like you that seem to be trying to destroy the UMCA ... and for what purpose? Do YOU need the UMCA to cease to exist for any personal or political reasons of your own? Same question to you Mavis.
- Stuart [Nibbelin]
To answer Paul's question down below, I was simply pointing to the whole dirty team backing Bush wherein in the name of their misguided and perhaps secret mission they have caused the maiming of 500,000 Americans let alone untold others. And you think just because Rummy is out of office he has just gone away? Maybe, but maybe not and in any event there's still "something rotten in Denmark".But wait. What about the main point? You know, that these kind of energies would be much better employed at the National level?!
Why do you insist on browbeating people who express an honest opinion? Disagreeing with an opinion is one thing, but making character slurs is different altogether. Remember this: Your bullying ways won't stop the tide. Now let's try to keep this debate focused on the issues.
Sure, I'd like to see a different GM of the UMCA. I would like to see somebody that does not do secret deals, pervert the constitution to suit personal power goals, and obfuscate the rules to conceal incompetence. If the UMCA stands for things like that, then yes, it should be disbanded. However, I don't believe the UMCA is about that; there are just a few rotten apples in the barrel.
As for my further role with the UMCA, it will not resume until changes are made, but that would only be as a regular member. Sorry to burst your bubble, but I have had my fill of working for governing bodies; I have no aspiration to any official role with the UMCA.
And to Mavis, she's one of the best things the UMCA has going for it, as Lee Mitchell recognized when nominating her for a seat on the Board of Directors. She is young, intelligent, has loads of integrity, huge energy and focus, staying power, fresh ideas, and she wants to be involved. The fact that she is shut out speaks mainly to the inward focus of the UMCA voting membership (a paltry few) and BoD.
You might be surprised to read this, but I agree with you about everything. It looks to me as though the UMCA executive has started behaving as the White House executive: bypassing the rules to promote an agenda that is not in the interests of the people, and which ultimately drags the organization down. Perhaps with better role models, the UMCA executive would have acted differently. Who knows?
You may or may not know, but I've been out of the struggle for more than a year now. I just pop my head up from time to time in order to keep some people guessing. But Mavis has remained involved, and I think we need to respect her decision to do this. Clearly this is a battle that she considers truly worth fighting, because ultra cycling has meant so much to her.
At least one member of the UMCA executive tried to scare her off with the threat of legal action (can you believe it?), which didn't even interrupt her stride. And from what I know of Mavis, she will not cease until she is satisfied with the resolution. I really cannot understand why the UMCA does not embrace such an ardent and energetic supporter, can you?
Bill, Stuart, Paul, et al.
The political discussion belongs on any other group lists apart from this one.
I was answering an UMCA member's question about where to find the references of what was going on within the UMCA. Links are provided for this UMCA member and there's no more I can say here.
My reply to the questions here will be over at yahoo:
Oh my dear.
I do understand that Larry's wife said there are two drives in this world: sex and money. (I will rephrase that as love and money.) Which am I? It's my love for the sport that drives me.
Which is UMCA? There are plenty of reasons to wonder if it's the money drive of the RAAM business, which is appearing to shut out other "RAAM-like" events. So many questions are still not answered. The only way we can make the concerned UMCA members interested in what is best for UMCA as a whole happy is for UMCA to answer their questions.
I did publicly write to UMCA about two months ago that I will be more than happy to write an apology to be published in the UMCA magazine. This however can't happen without communication between UMCA government and the UMCA members.
I am a messenger taking it upon myself to continue asking the unanswered questions already asked by others for a long time.
Please understand that I am trying to work things between UMCA and the UMCA members by pointing out what the UMCA members are understanding about things. I don't think it will be a nasty thing to sit down and talk about the subject questioned about for a long time. After all, UMCA has been trying to explain they didn't do anything wrong.
Lawsuit threating, personal attacking, personal questioning, and personal mocking isn't how we can work this out.
I could be dropping UMCA and working the bigger levels, but I do believe the world will be a much better place if all of us work the small pieces we personally care about because those do build up to the national level. Furthermore, I never heard of the local government telling people to take their energy to the state government. Then the state government tossing them over to the national government. It will be unprofessional of them!
I do want to talk this out calmly as we possibly can. We can always have peroids of cooling down if we need them. Is UMCA willing to let me take down the brick wall and commuincate with the UMCA members?
If I mis-stated something here, please keep in mind that English is my second language and I am a nice person willing to talk with both parties and anyone in between. Those who did talk to me privately already know this. Stuart and Bill, you both didn't try to sit down with me yet. I will be happy to discuss things with practically anyone if they are willing to give me a piece of their mind about the UMCA subject itself and be specific about why they believe the evidences available out there are nothing or miscommuincations. This will be the kind of commuincation we need and want.
Dear UMCA government,
I read the election results in this link with interest:
Only 965 total members as of the election period?
This is of interest and a rather big concern because a person expressed her concern back in May 2007about whether UMCA can afford having members leaving:
As you see, her primary concern of about 700 members leaving appears to come true! Here is SaveUMCA's excel (see attachment) [not available on blog] of all the current and past UMCA members data available to anyone as of 4/21/08. If we include the memberships expiring in 2007 to current (1024) we would have 1,849. This meant 825 people didn't renew this year yet as of today. (Don't forget that we have 174 current life members in this database.)
In late April 2007, we used to have the membership in the 1,700's. We are aware that the online directory is not accurate, but this is looking close enough to the real thing. The number of paying members cut into about half is not looking good at all.
Well, the UMCA members did communicate to UMCA about the unrealistic of UMCA's governing behavior toward their customers for four years. In all seriousness, it's the time for UMCA to better communicate what they are doing. Start by answering the UMCA members's questions!
Dear UMCA government,
I reviewed the election results with a smile because ever since 2003, the UMCA members were suggesting ways to improve the election voting turnout. After all, it was the UMCA members themselves who voted to accept the UMCA Bylaws!
It took the public pressuring from UMCA members wanting UMCA to follow its own UMCA Bylaws to finally make UMCA do a few methods already suggested for years. Speaking on the belief of the UMCA members, who were trying to convince the methods finally used in the recent election would likely work, we are really happy to know we are right all along!
The credit should go to all the Board of Director members trying to improve the election ever since 2003. Be sure to write an article in the UMCA magazine, apologizing for ignoring the Board of Director members who does know better than to bury their heads in the sand. Now, let's make the elections even better:
1) Throw out the ridiculous requirement of having Life UMCA members (as well as any other members) sign the waivers to not sue so they can vote. This is NOT in the UMCA Bylaws and there is no such a requirement for this country's messy, but more democratic government. (If anyone did have to sign a
wavier to not sue so they could vote for the next president of USA, I am sure there will be a riot. We ultracyclists are much more civilized than that!)
2) Drop the ridiculous three requirements to run for Board of Directors. Not only because they were not in the UMCA Bylaws, but the UMCA Bylaws clearly stated that any UMCA members can run. Furthermore, one of these requirements kept members like me out of the last election even through I was
in the one before this recent election.) Anyone who is a regular UMCA member as stated in the UMCA Bylaws legally can be candidates!!
I am telling you these things because even with the wonderful voting turnout in this election, there are still some UMCA members who didn't vote out of protest over UMCA's new system of selecting applicants for their ballots. (Don't look at me, I am only the spokesperson and I did vote in this election.)
December 23rd--Marino pointed out Article 12
March 25th--Orignal date of Marino asking UMCA about Article 12 vs. Article 3 (see below)
April 9th--Marino e-mailed UMCA's lawyer, asking about Article 12 vs. 3
April 9th--Mavis asked UMCA to answer Marino's e-mail and a few people joined the discussion (see below)
March 25th--from John Marino
To: UMCA Board of Directors
From: John Marino
One of the reasons I did not vote in the most recent BoD election was because of the UMCA's disregard for the written letter of the UMCA Bylaws indicating that a 20% quorum is needed. This was my personal way of protesting your actions as a Board. The UMCA decided to omit this Bylaw in the current election. You did hire an attorney to review this quorum issue, however per Ultra Cycling January-February, page 24, IV. Highlights of Board and Committee meetings of the Executive Committee on January 15, 2008, the hired attorneys Lew Harstead and Steve Larson, of Johnson and Repucci, LLP concluded that Article 3 Section 6 of our Bylaws indicate that no quorum is needed. Please note that the Article in question is #12, not #3.
Did you pay an attorney to review the wrong Bylaw?
Below is my original email, noting Article 12. I have presented this to four independent attorneys and all concluded that a quorum is needed. The only people in the UMCA who have not accepted this are non-legal experts. This is why I was so shocked to see that a 20% quorum or any quorum has been completely tossed out by the UMCA in the current election. I ask myself, was this intentional to get past the next election or is this merely a typo?
What is going on?
My original email of December 23, 2007
UMCA Bylaws, as published on the Ultra cycling web site
Article 12 (Note: for Sections 1 and 2, go to the Ultra Cycling web site. Click on Site Index, then scroll down to Bylaws)
Section 3: Quorum for Meetings
A quorum shall consist of 20% of the voting members of the corporation.
Except as otherwise provided under the Articles of Incorporation, these Bylaws or provisions of law, no business shall be considered by the members at any meeting at which the required quorum is not present, and the only motion which the Chair shall entertain at such meeting is a motion to adjourn.
Section 4. Majority Action As Membership Action
Every act or decision done or made by a majority of voting members present in person or by proxy at a duly held meeting at which a quorum is present is the act of the members, unless the Articles of Incorporation, these Bylaws or provisions of law require a greater number.
Section 5. Voting Rights
Each member is entitled to one vote on each matter submitted to a vote by the members. Voting at duly held meetings shall be by voice vote. Election of Directors, however, shall be by written ballot.
Section 6. Action by Written Ballot
Except as otherwise provided under the Articles of Incorporation, these Bylaws or provisions of law, any action which may be taken at any meeting of members may be taken without a meeting if the corporation distributes a written ballot to each member entitled to vote on the matter. The ballot shall:
1. set forth the proposed action;
2 provide an opportunity to specify approval or disapproval of each proposal;
3. indicate the number of responses needed to meet the quorum requirement and, except for ballots soliciting votes for the election of directors, state the percentage of approvals necessary to pass the measure submitted; and
4. shall specify the date by which the ballot must be received by the corporation in order to be counted. The date set shall afford members a reasonable time within which to return the ballots to the corporation.
Ballots shall be mailed or delivered in the manner required for giving notice of membership meetings as specified in these Bylaws.
Approval of action by written ballot shall be valid only when the number of votes cast by ballot within the time period specified equals or exceeds the quorum required to be present at a meeting authorizing the action, and the number of approvals equals or exceeds the number of votes that would be required to approve the action at a meeting at which the total number of votes cast was the same as the number of votes cast by ballot.
Directors may be elected by written ballot. Such ballots for the election of directors shall list the persons nominated at the time the ballots are mailed or delivered.
April 9th (Copies of public discussion relating the 20% quorum)
Here is some grist for the mill regarding quorum for elections. This is meant as a purely theoretical argument, in terms of what factors I might consider if I were writing bylaws for my own organization (I don't know, the National Association of Cookie Dunkers?), not as a commentary on any current situation, so take it as you will.
I can see good theoretical arguments for both requiring a quorum and for not requiring one. Obviously, participation of membership is important, so requiring a quorum for an election to be valid makes a stronger statement to membership to participate. It creates incentive for candidates and oversight committees to make sure that participation is maximized (by making it convenient, making the election widely publicized, etc) because it isn't valid if enough people don't participate. If there is no quorum requirement, it's easier for a small vocal minority to control the election if the rest of the membership is apathetic. If there is no quorum requirement, current leadership that wants to be reelected has an easier time of mobilizing a small number of members to win, in an election with very low turnout. However, there are also good theoretical arguments for not requiring a quorum. You can't force people to care and to participate, and if they don't like what's going on and still don't vote, it's their own fault. If a valid effort is made to make voting easy and convenient, to keep the membership informed, and to maximize participation, and most people still don't bother, it seems counterproductive to invalidate the whole thing.If there's a quorum requirement for an election to be valid, and current leadership don't want to step down, all they need to do is make a less-than-stellar effort at getting out the word about the election, turnout will be low, the election will be invalid, and they get to stick around. If the membership is apathetic or thinks the election is irrelevant, then turnout will always be low, quorum will never be met, and no new blood will be voted in, so nothing will change. If These are both worst-case scenarios; in ideal circumstances, it wouldn't even matter because voting would be easy and convenient, and members would inform themselves about the candidates and vote. It's only in less-than-ideal circumstances that it matters. As I see it, either scenario leaves room for unscrupulous leadership to use the quorum requirement or lack thereof to their advantage. An ideal set of bylaws, in the theoretical sense (because in practice there's no such thing), would be the set of rules that would most facilitate the transition from whatever bad circumstance might arise to the aforementioned ideal circumstance. I don't know what that ideal rule would be; I'm sure there are arguments on both sides that I haven't thought of. But perhaps it would be a useful discussion to step back and think in theoretical terms for a minute, and come up with some arguments one way or the other.
Quoting Emily O'Brien firstname.lastname@example.org:
"If there's a quorum requirement for an election to be valid, and current leadership don't want to step down, all they need to do is make a less-than-stellar effort at getting out the word about the election, turnout will be low, the election will be invalid, and they get to stick around. If the membership is apathetic or thinks the election is irrelevant, then turnout will always be low, quorum will never be met, and no new blood will be voted in, so nothing will change."
I have thought a lot about that senario and yes, I agree it is a potential problem. However, any organization that claims to be democratic (which all 501c3 orgs must be) that can't meet a quorum doesn't deserve to be in existence (and certainly doesn't deserve to be tax exempt). And yes, for me that includes "organizations" such as the US govt...I believe there should be a quorum requirement for ALL elections.
pvb [Paul Biron]
All right, people.
I am not a licensed lawyer, but as I understand it, the 501c3 organizations such as UMCA arein fact required by the federal to have some kind of quorum. Another, THAT wouldn't be in the UMCA Bylaws in the first place.
The 20% quorum in UMCA's Bylaws was not met in the pervious three years of elections and UMCA maybe able to legally change the quorum a long time ago instead of ignoring it then hiring lawyers using thousands of the UMCA's money instead of Marino's personal money actually mailed for this verypurpose (his check was returned to him uncashed.) Furthermore, according to the review by UMCA members's hired independent licensed lawyers, some of them specializing in non-profit organization laws, UMCA's Bylaws was actually written in a way to put the power in the hands of a few individuals. This does put a lot of things in question.
If one doesn't believe this and is serious, go hire two or more independent lawyers to review the entire Bylaw like the few I know to actually do. It has been two weeks since the question about the possible typo in the magazine first surfaced. I see that John Marino recently sent a letter to UMCA's hired lawyer relating this.
None of this is a joke and it's seriously time for more members of the UMCA government to start communicating with the UMCA members like they say they would. (Thank you for stating what youunderstood about this, Emily.)
Hello all, I apologize for not responding to this earlier, but, simply, I did not.
This is my understanding of the quorum question. Bylaw 3 supersedes 12.
A point to consider is that members can not be required to vote. That is true in all elections. Suggesting that a quorum for such a geographically diverse organization may not be practical. Another point is that not voting can also be interpreted as satisfaction with the status quo hence that is voting. As we also know the legal field is predicated on differing opinions. It is one reason I have a fairly comfortable lifestyle. Personally I know this response will not be satisfactory for some with questions. I suggest that at some point we have to accept that there are differing opinions. I can personally attest to the board's efforts to ensure fair and conflict free elections. The board can not make people vote. Perhaps viewing this as a voter issue might be another tact. Developing membership investment in any organization is one of the most difficult tasks for those who are more active. The question remains if the lack of voting is satisfaction or apathy. I would venture that with dues paying membership growth the issue is not apathy. That is a personal opinion.
Thanks for your input, Rick Hays. Yes...we could let this be, but there are still a few unfinished businesses.
After UMCA paid the lawyers $8,600 of the UMCA's money and refused John Marino's money thenwe are having UMCA members complaining about the programs suffering from this political disagreement,we do need to work things out.
It's necessary to step back and look at why we have the quorum. If the quorum is notin place, UMCA then can "legally" have only one person vote who to get on the Board of Director and this is not a making of a non-profit organization.
Also, it is noted that UMCA did things to leave the voting turnout low in the first three years by not heeding to reportingly three years of advices to print "Vote for Board Directors" on the cover of the magazines and mailing the voting packages like they finally did in the last election--only after the pressuring fromthe UMCA members. This election was the first time we are actually working on bringing the voting turnout up, but at the same time, UMCA is now empowered to select people running for the Board only after they are members for three or more years and have resumes of community service experience. If an application was turned down, this applicant can then get 30 signtures by paper mail only within a few weeks to override UMCA's decision. Some UMCA members took this to be UMCA's new way to control who gets on the Board.
All of this is complex. Thus, we are bringing it down to simple, bottomline things such as article 12. The point was that UMCA did have a chance to address their Bylaw problems for three years before it becomes sticky like now.Why didn't they do it when making amendments to the Bylaws on October 22nd 2007? That's actually to name justone Bylaw not updated back then. We still were not answered ever since January why Fred Boethling is in this particular executive committee meeting, which was a clear Bylaw violation for the current Bylaw version.
I am also a layperson, but I do understand that a quorum of some kind is needed. I don't know whether 20% was the federal standard or not, but I do think it's possible to change the quorum to something more fitting for UMCA to ensure the voting to never be "legally" shifted to at least one voter in the upcoming decade and beyond. Yes, we can't afford to have no quorum over a long term. After UMCA dumped the quorum in this March 2007 election and ignored article 12 for years, we are mainly forcing them to look at what they are doing for the long term. Yes, it's sounding like one big mess after they have lawyers saying article 3 indirected no quorum is required. (I guess it's not a typo on UMCA's part since Rick Hays said article 3 supersedes article 12, right?)
We however still want to know whether the UMCA lawyers, who were paid using $8,600 of our money (instead of Marino's) away from our ultracycling programs, were shown the article 12 at all. If article 3 was the only one shownto these lawyers despite John Marino pointing out article 12 way back in December, we have good reasons to go fix this once and for all.
Again, we can't afford having absoluately no quorum of some kind over a long term.
Mavis, The very definition of a board of directors is deciding how resources are used. It may have been the executive committee that made the decision, but again that is how boards function. To ask membership to vote on every donation and / or expenditure is simply not practical.
The impression that elections were not well publicized is difficult to address. That has not been my personal experience.
As to the choice people have made to spend personal funds that was their choice. With all due respect that is not relevant. Again legal opinions are simply that, legal opinions. Perhaps a better use of resources for those with concerns would be the hiring of a mediator, but this would also rely on the time and money of those with whom you have a conflict. At this juncture it seems unlikely that mediation would be effective.
Finally if you have any way to motivate people to vote in any election copyright the idea. Voter apathy in all arenas is of concern. We have to rely on those who do vote to elect those who govern our organizations or countries to make wise choices. If we do not like those choices it is incumbent of us not those elected to challenge more people to be involved. The simple reality is that a 20% quorum of eligible voter / members may never be achieved. That is an issue for the membership not the leadership.
From: Rick Hays [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Thursday, April 10, 2008 13:23
Subject: RE: 20% quorum???
"Mavis, The very definition of a board of directors is deciding how resources are used. It may have been the executive committee that made the decision, but again that is how boards function."
Yes, we know that is how the board functions, but that is NOT what theBylaws require:
Article 3: Directors Section 10. Quorum for Meetings
A quorum shall consist of ten of the members of the Board of Directors...no business shall beconsidered by the Board at any meeting at which the quorum is not present, and the only motion which the President shall entertain at such meeting is a motion to adjourn.
"The simple reality is that a 20% quorum of eligible voter/ members may never be achieved. That is an issue for the membership not the leadership."
Well, the membership did speak, by approved a constitution and bylaws that included a 20% quorum requirement (by my reading and that of many others, including the laywers hired by Marino).
pvb [Paul Biron]
Dear UMCA government,
My apologizes for breaking the silence that I was intending to maintain for a few weeks. I recently learned that the UMCA spent $8,600 of the membership money on legal fees. This bothers me because I knew from pervious e-mails that one check actually sent by UMCA co-founder and member number one, John Marino, for legal fees was mailed back, uncashed. Marino also has repeatedly offered financial assistance in dealing with legal matters, only to be ignored by the UMCA. Ultra Cycling magazine indicated that this $8,600 was for determining if any violations of the UMCA Constitution and Bylaws took place.
We have to ask why Marino's repeated offer to assist in the investigation of legal violations was not accepted. This is seriously hurting the members of the UMCA to be using their money toward covering the legal fees instead of the ultracycling programs! The money shouldn’t be used for legal fees. Those fighting for the members’ equality within the organization (including me) would honestly be willing to make arrangements to avoid using membership money to resolve this problem. Yes, just like what John Marino did in the past months, the others on the SaveUMCA Team would also help pool the money for legal fees. Why is the UMCA so closed about this and repeatedly refusing help?
Furthermore, the UMCA never answered several of the questions relating these issues.
On January 2nd 2008 and February 17th 2008, I asked if the Board, who is supposed to be above the Executive Committee, is allowed direct contact with the UMCA lawyers too. I even submitted this question as a multiple choice and never got a response. Was the entire Board in fact offered the opportunity and was it allowed to talk to the UMCA's lawyers? Would it be allowable for individual UMCA members to consult with the UMCA attorney, using their own money?
On February 8th 2008, I noted the conflict between the UMCA and Marino's four independent lawyers’s interpretation of the 20% quorum and how important it is for the entire Board to consider what this Bylaw really meant. I got no response. Who is really in control of the member-owned non-profit UMCA organization? According to the Bylaws, it's the entire Board who should be representing the members. This, however, does not seem to be happening.
The only way to clear this up is for the UMCA to start communicating about everything instead of closing up and never responding. This secret behavior is quite disturbing--especially when using the member’s $8,600 for legal fees without allowing participation of those involved in the problem and not accepting Marino's money. Why? Why? Why?
Board of Directors: Do any of you have even a beam of concern about the health of the UMCA organization? Why did you allow the UMCA to use the member’s money to get legal advice regardless of all the financial help Marino already has offered? Why? This is serious. This is hurting the sport itself! It’s hurting the bystanders! It’s hurting the entire organization! This is really horrible!
Better late than never, speaking for those involved in trying to help you resolve the issues, I strongly recommend you start accepting our money help for the violations right now on one condition: The legal help must be contracted to an expert in non-profit law and have reputable credentials in this field of law. If there is nothing wrong, then there is nothing to hide. All we want is for the laws of the UMCA and the USA to be followed, nothing more.
Dear UMCA government and all others whom this may concern,
I got forwarded e-mails from Fred Boethling from several members saying that the UMCA members like me doesn’t know all the facts, all the UMCA member’s questions are already addressed, and RAAM have done nothing wrong but to step in and save the race.
I see that I need to be allowed to list the issues that still need to be addressed. The UMCA members do expect UMCA to address each one of them so we can be clearer what is going on.
1) Fact: On page 24 of the Sept-Oct 2007 UMCA magazine, the executive committee met to make amendments to the UMCA Bylaws. The UMCA member’s non-elected Fred Boethling is present, but none of the other non-executive Board members were. I have been asking UMCA about the details of this one and even gave a multiply choice option to help save UMCA time answering the question. Please answer my questions (such as in the Feb 17th e-mail) relating this.
2) Fact: Fred Boethling is wearing all the hats as in this blog post:http://ultracycling-us.blogspot.com/2007/11/inside-job-of-raam-sale-and-operation.html
I got all of these facts from the Nov-Dec 2006 and Sept-Oct 2007 UMCA magazines as well as Lee’s e-mail posted in a different blog post. If UMCA and RAAM will be separate organizations like stated in the Nov-Dec 2006 magazine, doesn’t this wearing of hats look a little too much? That’s my opinion, but supported by these facts. Please address the roles of these hats providing what some feared as a conflict of interests in UMCA's services.
3) Fact: Marino sent in the RAAM Report and is anxiously waiting for answers the last three months. I publicly asked his questions in a few of my letters—even in the multiply choice option--for him and didn’t get any answers either. Please answer these questions now if they are already addressed like Boethling said.
4) Fact: One of the things in Marino’s RAAM Report was concerning the lawsuits. As you all see now, it is already happening from the RAAM end and if we carry on with this lawsuit, UMCA will very likely be involuntarily dragged along with this and no one will like this. It’s still a fact that this lawsuit threat proved the concerns of the UMCA-RAAM partnership. What will happen when a RAAM rider sues RAAM? Please answer if this is already addressed after all.
5) Fact: Former UMCA Board of Director Lee Mitchell said the only paying UMCA officer John Hughes with invent in RAAM LLC and Jeff Stephens of RAAM put together a campaigning letter for the six Hughes wanted elected. Three of these elected people are then given executive rankings within weeks. (Opinion: This does all sounds odd.) Fact: Instead of an independent group of people like suggested by many, almost half of the UMCA Board members voted on this issue and overturned the complaints. Yet, UMCA set up an election committee to address the problems of the last election. This does prove that the last election was not done right. Please explain why the having the recommend of the independent party reviewing the complaints was turned down.
6) UMCA’s opinion: There was aggressive campaigning on the part of some UMCA members. Fact: Seana Hogan sent in an ad she would pay for herself to the UMCA magazine in February 2007 and this was not published out of fairness to all candidates. This however didn’t stop her from e-mailing the thing to UMCA members. If you read the ad with dispassionate, you will see that it is asking the UMCA members to vote, but it doesn’t say which candidates. This was the only “aggressive” thing known. And it’s still a fact that UMCA’s government itself was being involved in the last election by sending out the campaigning letter on a timely base and never giving the other 12 candidates the same resource a few requested after the letter came out. Opinion: UMCA’s government itself is clearly the more aggressive one in the last election and it’s disturbing to be turning down Marino’s personal money for redoing the election in a fair way. What is UMCA afraid of?
Seana’s turned down ad: http://ultracycling-us.blogspot.com/2007/11/seanas-pay-for-rejected-political.html
7) Fact: Bill Palmer’s opening sentence in his 150-word limit candidate statement was removed by someone putting together the UMCA magazine. This sentence was confirmed as saying “Thank you Lee ‘Fuzzy’ Mitchell for nominating me to run for the UMCA Board of Directors.” Bill Palmer already sent the printed out copy of his e-mail to everybody requesting for it. UMCA was asked for their copy of Bill Palmer’s candidate statement to prove that they didn’t get the same one Palmer gave to other UMCA members. Please come out and show UMCA's evidence. Do this by printing out Palmer’s e-mail and send it to the people who requested this. Only then we can be in the clear.
8) Fact: Not all UMCA members are able to vote in the last election because of the last-minute rule requiring all UMCA members to sign the wavier to not sue. There is nothing in the Bylaws stating this. Why is UMCA all the sudden doing this? Please explain for once and all.
9) Fact: There are still things in the financial report we need clearing up.
This is not a joke. Please step up the effect because there are UMCA members knowing the economy, who will like to see more complete reports than the 2003-2005 ones. (And I do hope you are indeed going to publish the 2006 and 2007 financial reports as I asked in one of my letters two months ago.)
10) Fact: A non-UMCA member, Joe Jamison, was elected to the Board of Director then made President. We asked Joe and others many times to explain to all UMCA members because it’s us who owns UMCA. All we publicly know right now is that Joe either was called back when he won the election or he unannouncingly came back within days after publicly announcing he withdrew his membership and dropped out from the race. It’s a must to please explain to all UMCA members once and for all. (Opinion: Because it’s indeed a poor UMCA image as it is right now.)
11) Fact: The May 2007 election was delayed for reasons I couldn’t find by reading all of the posts on the old topica between Aug 2006 to May 2007 list at least five times. Why was this election delayed? The best answer I got was because of working on the RAAM purchase. Is this really correct? If so, then please explain because the story told by some Board members on topica, such as Joe Jamison, said they were under the impress that it was an “emergency” purchase of RAAM late in November.
12) Fact: Former Board of Director, Anna Catharina ‘Cat’ Berge, showed me an e-mail from Friday, October 27th, 2006 at 12:40:49 PM. All of the active Board members who served at this date should had got this letter from John Hughes relating the RAAM involvement. Those on the Board back at this time should review this e-mail if you don’t believe me that it’s in fact a lie to the entire Board of Directors about RAAM sale itself being negotiated. We do know Hughes is involved in having UMCA purchase the RAAM title shortly after the 2006 RAAM ended as stated by Hughes himself in Greg Pressler’s article (link below.) UMCA need to please get this one out in the clear because what UMCA members could dug up from the evidence out there clearly doesn’t smell right.
13) Fact: I suggest you to ask Jim Pitre if you won’t believe the interested Guus Moonen and Chris Kostman would buy RAAM if they were given the chance. Then there were other people interested too, but no one apart from those “inside the circle” knew RAAM was for sale. If it was saving RAAM, please explain why the sale was not made public. (Opinion: When the sale was not public, it was not saving RAAM. It was taking away what others were interested in buying.) Fact again, the UMCA members never knew UMCA got the RAAM title until the letter of intent was signed on November 24th, 2006.
14) Fact: The RAAM sale to UMCA was a deal on November 24th, 2006. The Board “voted” on December 3rd, 2006 and it was NOT unanimous. Cat Berge immediately resigned in protest. Cindi Staiger didn’t vote. George Thomas didn’t attend the meeting then later resigned using the “other” reasons. (I do in fact know his real reasons, but I respect his wishes to be out and away from all of this.) We have good reasons to question this timeline and we still need for you to come in the clear about it. Please explain what these facts really meant.
I’ll try to be quiet for a few weeks while you try to improve the communication of all these facts I could fish up from only God knows how many sources I checked and confirmed before putting them up on blog. As you may see now, some UMCA members have reasons to be frustrated over getting no answers.
Yes, I do want this disagreement to end as much as anyone else does. I hope you appreciate this outline of all the evidences publicly out there as your guideline. Again, I am the messenger and I don’t come to destroy. Like I said many times before, I come in peace, but with the firmness that UMCA really needs to communicate back and for the Board to take this more seriously. I have done nothing wrong.
Thank you for your time,
First and foremost l would like to make it perfectly clear that what I am about to say is MY personal opinion and not ANYBODY else's, I am not a voice for anybody else! It is also not the UMCA's opinion or standpoint, and I am not speaking as UMCA Vice-President, I am speaking as me. As far as I am concerned this can be on or off record, I don't really care as all I am going to do is state facts and tell you my opinion.
I would also like to let you know that I am not trying to be rude or impolite, as in the past it has been known for people to take offence to my candidness, and I have been known to be blunt and to the point. I will try to adhere to the code of conduct I have signed, while being as truthful , honest and open to you as I am able within these constraints.
Firstly, I can't understand most of what you're talking about, most of it is double dutch. I teach kids from the ages of 5 - 18 and am used to deciphering twaddle, but boy, some of this has got me beaten!
Some examples :
- What is a "violate" word?
What is a "multiply choice"?
"Please address the roles of these hats" ??!!
"Why having the recommend"?
"Out in the clear" ?
"UMCA members could dug up" ??
I could go on and on and on like you seem to do, but I won't, but, lastly, your final paragraph.
Forgetting the war analogy, the "I come in peace" bit, "I don't come to destroy". Did you get that from a 1950's UFO B-Movie? It sounds like a badly crafted speech from invading aliens! Hahaha
Anyway, you say that you are only a voice for other members and that you are being used as a mouthpiece for their opinions. Do these other people mind that you're making them look like a bunch of fools? Why do they wish to look foolish? I'm sure some of them have very good reputations, why would they want sully that by making themselves look stupid?
Anyway, I must go now and put on another hat with one of it's different roles, and cook lunch, once i've got the recommend of my wife and it's all out in the clear what we are going to have. Please don't be violate anymore, you never know what I could dug up.
All the best.
Hoppo [Chris Hopkinson]
PS. I shall have a bottle of wine with lunch and a few beers after and then i'll read your e-mail again to see if it makes more sense. If it does then i'll get back to you......................but don't hold your breath!
Once again you demonstrate what a completely rude, clueless, and useless waste of space on the planet you are, not to mention an embarrassment to the UMCA.
Mavis is deaf and mute. Surely you know that. Therefore her use of language is not perfect. Perhaps you want to factor that into your reading of her emails, not to mention the way in which you respond to her.
You may speak "the Queen's English," but 100% of what you communicate is "twaddle."
You disgust me.
Hey stop and look at what is going on.
From my look at the Emails flying back and forth, a section of the UMCA wants to kill the UMCA. The UMCA board is either “quite” or doesn’t respond directly to the growingly “obtuse” questions and statements.
All this infighting is over RAAM. RAAM may never make any “real” money (I will never make $100,000/yr on the $2000 “gift”) so what is the big deal? Many clubs put on races and control the trademarks. Porsche Club of America puts on races and controls Trade Marks. Hence UMCA is not in an unusual position.
All this infighting is counter productive to the functioning of the UMCA. The club is small (1800 members) and will get smaller if this continues. RAAM and other events we all enjoy may be at risk.
Please think about how to close the gap so that we can get on with cycling.
BTW->if I get “flamed” these Emails go into “junk” so please be nice.
You're right, Walter: a section of the UMCA - mostly BoD members and RAAM staff - is trying to kill the UMCA. That's why some people are trying to save it. RAAM's a separate issue: it should sink or swim based on its own merits. But the UMCA members' dues shouldn't be propping it up, nor should the UMCA's lone paid employee spend most of his time propping it up. Oh that's right, he's not a paid employee anymore as his contract is expired.
The "big deal," aside from a number of other issues, is that the purchase of RAAM was violation of the UMCA Constitution and may have violated tax laws, as tax deductible contributions to the UMCA, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, went to fund a for profit entity, RAAM. In addition to that, the transaction was kept a secret from even board members until the last minute, and even now critical documents related to the transaction have not been disclosed to board members, who have asked for them and have an absolute right as board members to see them. So, we have a secret deal in violation of the UMCA Constitution, tax laws, and kept a secret from board members, who have the highest legal responsibility for the UMCA. No big deal?
Constitution of the UltraMarathon Cycling Association, Inc.
RAAM and RAAM Qualifiers
"The Race Across AMerica (RAAM) and the UMCA are legally separate organizations. The Race Across AMerica (RAAM) is owned by an independent event organizer. The UMCA sanctions RAAM to ensure the athletic integrity of the race; however, the UMCA is not responsible for RAAM financially nor for the actions of the RAAM director(s). The RAAM Race Director serves as an ex officio member of the UMCA's Board of Directors."
Hi Chris [Kostman],
Nice to hear from you again.
I take it from your e-mail then that you, your friends, and compatriots are allowed to put whatever rubbish they want in e-mails, press releases etc, be it falsehoods, exaggerations or just plain garbage, but I am not allowed an opinion. That's fair isn't it?!
Nice to see that you haven't changed.
Hoppo [Chris Hopkinson]
PS. You also disgust me, nice to see we agree on something.
There's a huge difference between discussions of the UMCA and your personal attack against Mavis. If you don't get that, you have zero credibility.
Thanks Doug, Pick on the one thing which isn't true and make a big deal of it. It was not a personal attack. Thanks for proving what I said in my previous e-mail to be 100% correct.
Hoppo [Chris Hopkinson]
I feel that I was libelled and slandered because I dared to express an opinion. I'd like to make two things clear: (1) Losing the RAAM PR account was no big deal to me, other than it ended an enjoyable working relationship with Jim Pitre and Lon Haldeman (but that was coming to an end anyway). I run a busy PR company and we had no shortage of other accounts. So, after three great years with RAAM I was happy to move on. (2) I am not interested in taking a seat on the UMCA board. I've served on sporting governing bodies before and I'll happily serve as an advisor, as I did to John Hughes in 2005/6, but I don't have a big appetite for Board work.
If RAAM can make a profit and its investors get rich, I'm all for that as long as conditions for the athletes and event staff don't decline.So why did I speak up?
Well, as both a journalist and an organizer I've looked closely at many sporting bodies over the years, and I have a university degree in the subject of sports management. I gradually perceived serious problems within the UMCA. Over the years, in my view, it had slipped into a habit of overly centralized control, with too much power in the hands of the GM. The UMCA made some egregious errors such as the RAAM purchase which as we all know was illegal. When people picked up on these errors I thought there should have been several resignations, but there weren't. That's what offended me. I then learned that a great deal of the UMCA's cohesiveness is based on personal loyalty, rather than business ethics and performance. The alarm bells started ringing and I diverted my attention to more promising endeavours.
With more than 20 years as a professional working around the sport of cycling, including close relationships with the IOC and UCI, and most of the major cycling publications in the world, I felt I could have offered the UMCA something, and I still can. But I won't work with the current UMCA leadership.
I second Chris K[ostman]'s disgust. Those remarks were in very poor taste, and in fact you do yourself a disservice. Are you aware that Mavis is highly intelligent? In fact, soon you will be referring to her as Dr. Mavis Irwin as she is near completion of her PhD. I hope you are not similarly unaware of the potential of the children you teach.
Here's a funny thought in the context of your remarks: While you are teaching elementary school students, she will be teaching university students!
You wrote: >why would they want sully that...
Since you are such an ardent pedant you might wish to be aware of a problem with your own grammar. You would have correctly written 'to sully' when using the infinitive.
As you probably aren't aware I don't only teach elementary school kids, I teach the full age range. I have three diplomas with letters after my name, two with honours. Last week I gave a masterclass at The Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. I'm afraid your attempts to belittle my education are wasted!
I hope I'm not unaware of the potential of my pupils as well Paul as I also teach special needs, deaf, blind, autistic. I haven't seemed to have had any problems yet though.
Here's a funny thought: If Mavis is that clever then she obviously must realize your group are using her and her disability to their advantage, and she must be a willing player in your little game!
Hoppo [Chris Hopkinson]
The only contact I've had with Mavis since March last year was when I saw her at the Furnace Creek 508 in October. I am not aware of any group that has been organized in opposition to the UMCA since early last year. Her blog does, however, represent views that I hold.
Your allegation that I am exploiting Mavis to my advantage has no basis in fact. Your allegation is simply ridiculous. Pure twaddle, to use your words. What advantage exactly would I derive from the UMCA being run in accordance to its bylaws and constitutional premises? And should the existing directors be replaced, as I believe all should be with immediate effect, I have stated that I am not interested in a position on the UMCA board. As for even organization, I know that even the most successful organizer, Chris Kostman, is not making more than a reasonable living from the sport, so I don't have a financial motivation to bring down the UMCA/RAAM and replace them with my own organization.
Please explain to the group exactly what advantage you were you referring to?
My English is imperfect, but I am not going to become an English professor. Biology is my thing and a good biologist is the one who do careful research. I did my homework and it's a fact. There is nothing false in my public reports and they all are backed up by the evidence out there. I honestly couldn't find any evidence that would tell me that I was wrong. As a biologist, I am more than willing to be wrong and I won't have a problem writing an apology to be published in the UMCA magazine and posted on the UMCA website, but this won't happen if there is no communication about the actions on hand.
No one took advantage of my disablities. I will be mad when someone does and I already gave Kostman and Paul the bricks over the heads. Trust me. I even forced people to take my money instead of letting me into museums for free, saying it's so unfair. I hate the deaf community and never idenified myself as a deaf person. The ultracycling community is where I feel more at home and I am willing to fight for what some UMCA members and I have reasons to believe in: UMCA represents all ultracycling events. RAAM represents RAAM. As far as the evidence available out there, RAAM do seems to influence UMCA's business interests and this is a serious concern. Not answering some of the posted questions and other pointers for months further indirect something is not quite right.
Everything I do is by my own drive. I self-volunteered to be the spokeperson, but I can easily give it to someone else.
Now, please quit personal attacking each others and think about the actions on hand. We need to commuincate. I gave the specific details out of goodwill to communicate.
P.S. Hoppo, if you do teach deaf, blind, etc. you would know that my English skills is in the top 1% for the deaf population even through I didn't read and write until I was 14 years old. Many educators knowing the English skills of deaf people thought I used to have hearing when I was little because of my good (but still imperfect) English. Well, I am deaf since birth.I worked very hard on my English and always will work hard at it. You may have worded your feedback poorly, but I am not insulted at all and actually appreciated the feedback.
Dear UMCA government and others whom this may concern,
All of this fighting would not happen if we are not having conflict of UMCA and RAAM interests within the UMCA organization.
How about sitting down and say that in best of both organization's interests, RAAM have to be on its own like it was when UMCA became a non-profit organization. RAAM wasn't in danger. There is even the Le Tour Ultime out there.
If you agree, I then will be daydreaming of the good things that will happen for all the ultra events and people out there. How wonderful will that be? This is what motivates me.
Like Mavis, I live in the United States of America, where freedom of speech is still not only legal, but encouraged and celebrated. As such, the following went out to about 7,000 endurance athletes this morning.
We'll continue to beat the drum for sportsmanship, fairness, integrity, and transparent democracy within the ranks of the UMCA government until the end of the time. Somewhere, along the way, we can only hope that the Board of Directors of the UMCA will wake up and realize that two things need to happen without delay and without any gray areas or secret back room deals:
1) Remove John Hughes from any position of authority within the UMCA, subsequently abolishing the paid Managing Director's position.
2) Sever all ties with RAAM and treat it, and all other ultracycling events and their organizers, with equality.
March 8th, 2008 at 12:20 PM
Dear UMCA government and others whom this may concern,
I attached the picture of the legal letter from RAAM, LLC's attorney to show that it's indeed real.
(Blog's link of letter: http://ultracycling-us.blogspot.com/2007/11/raam-llc-threatening-to-sue-umca.html)
There are many ways to say this letter was a poor approach to solving the problem.
You all need to think long and hard about the UMCA-RAAM partnership. UMCA is a non-profit organization and as an UMCA member, I do have the rights to investigate and report UMCA's actions to the UMCA members wanting to know what is going on.
We, as UMCA members, are still waiting for UMCA's answers to the questions asked several times since the beginning of January. If you need to view the questions again, here is the link:
(The link given in the e-mail is this website page.)
(March 10th, 2008 at 7:47 AM)
I'd take that letter and plaster it all over the internet, showing how nasty these RAAM/UMCA people are being. Cannot hurt to state absolutely true facts, such as quoting from
the UMCA Constitution where it states that it is separate from RAAM, about election delays, Hughes'/Lee's letter, etc. Maybe people will get the picture about how completely
awful these people are being.
This is what this lawyer is threatening, which is illegal in California:http://www.nolo.com/definition.cfm/term/1264241E-6BCC-41DE-88FB065B11543680
Google "SLAPP suit" for more info
(March 10th, 2008 at 10:45 AM)
Replying all to add a couple more people whom this may concern.
I also posted both the letter from RAAM, LLC's lawyer and Fred's e-mail to me. They can be viewed here:
I am only the messenger voicing for the UMCA members, who elected these UMCA Board of Directors. The UMCA members do legally own UMCA, you know that.
UMCA, either have RAAM send this same threat to all UMCA members and directors or answer the UMCA member's questions concerning UMCA's actions and UMCA's relationship to RAAM.
Believe me, there are plenty of anonymous people out there wanting to know.
Dear UMCA Government,
Like any good Board of Director members, will you be putting aside your opinions and investigate why renewing the Managing Director's contract is bothering the UMCA members watching UMCA's actions closely?
This will be what I will do no matter what my opinions and the opinions of those I am representing are.
If I am you, what I will be doing is never think this in terms of "them vs. us"--I never did. I will be thinking this in terms of law and order. What I am seeing is lawsuits in the coming years if law and order is not putten above everything else now.
Think carefully about renewing the contract if you are planning to do so. In the opinions of those I am representing, we do indeed need a new Managing Director with fewer conflict of interests as stated in my letter below.
Again, I would be investigating everything more than five times and talk to people standing at as many angles as I could find, especially as a Board of Director. (I did exactly this unstop the pass year.)
(Unclear whether it's on the record or off the record from Joe Jamison.)
I am planning to resend the questions not answered since early January again next week because I didn't hear anything since my last resend on Feb 17th. I'm peaceful, but keeping UMCA reminded.
If UMCA is planning to answer those questions soon, please let me know and I will wait a bit longer. I however will be urged to push these questions again soon or later because it's important to all of us to be open-minded and researching carefully. (As an editor, I turned down a lot of things suggested for the blog due to little or no public evidence.)
Thanks for the note on Jack. Yes, he may had forgetten. I will confirm this then put it to closure. (Don't mind me. I am still hurted over being publicly called a lair, but as a representer, I am putting my own personal feelings aside.)
February 17th, 2008 at 9:58 AM
Dear UMCA Government,
This is my personal letter stating why I strongly recommend replacing the UMCA Managing Director.
1) Conflict of interests: The report in the Nov-Dec 2006 UMCA magazine stated that Hughes will not be receiving any earnings from RAAM, LLC and his earnings will go to Annemarie McSweeney scholarship fund. There is however still a conflict of interests in terms of his passion and devotion to RAAM’s well being. This will strongly influence his decision making on issues that are good for the UMCA membership, but not good for RAAM.
The examples involve, but are not limited to:
UMCA duties were suspected to be evaluated in May 2007 when 12 of the 18 candidates were never given their requested opportunity to re-level the campaigning grounds about 40 days before the ballot submitting deadline. Be noted that Hughes did publicly say he would be devoting most of his time to the RAAM program in this May 4th 2007 topica post:
The 120-page May-June 2007 UMCA magazine had about half of all pages devoted to RAAM and to the best of my knowledge, all of these were copies of what was posted on RAAM’s website. This May-June 2007 magazine arrived 6 days after RAAM started. Also, this was during the months of enriched ultracycling events, where many other events were being presented. The other races could use this amount of attention for the 85% of the UMCA members not having the resources to do RAAM. It would have been more appropriate for RAAM to produce their own program and mail it to the UMCA members, thus allowing the UMCA to offer more exposure to non-RAAM events.
2) Regarding before and after the UMCA’s change to non-profit status: Hughes was a Managing Director since 1999. A number of active UMCA members told me they remembered the UMCA history differently from the version posted on the UMCA website: Hughes didn’t take the lead in the status change; he was forced to do this. It could be true that Hughes may have a condition called “Founderitis.”
Check these links for a brief description and a couple of links to Founderitis management:
You may suggest Marino has this too, but his concerns are also shared by the new generation of cyclists in the non-profit era such as but not limited to Catharina “Cat” Berge, Lou Lamoureux, Steve Scheetz, Anna Noone, Jan Christiansen, and myself. Then there are others who I understood to take part in forcing UMCA to become non-profit in 2002 such as but not limited to Seana Hogan, Charlie Liskey, Chris Kostman, Pat Enright, Paul Biron, and Reed Finfrock.
Thus, I believe it’s time to have someone willing to abide by the non-profit ways. Time is changing and we know from the former and current Board members that Hughes is still carrying out things without the entire Board’s knowledge. We definitely need someone who doesn’t have the old for-profit habits to take over.
3) Hughes hadn’t cleared up the situation on why the UMCA private mailing list was released to an unauthorized UMCA member.
The overall story is in this blog post:
This blog post also has the topica post reference:
I talked to Jack Bochsler last week and he said UMCA hadn’t apologized to him or anything like that yet. He was very upset when Hughes publicly said this on topica (link is above): “There are multiple ways to validate the list and I've done that. That isn't my point. If someone is going to make a serious public charge about someone else without providing any evidence, that is nothing more than an unsubstantiated rumor, not a statement of fact.”
Well, UMCA now knows for sure that this person told the truth and she does have the evidence right from the day she mentioned the problem. She did try to help Hughes figure this out without giving him the name—go back and read the topica posts again to refresh the memory. She was just not in the position to disclose someone else’s name back at that time. Jack finally gave her permission to do so on November 30th 2007, when she asked him if he wanted to stand up with the others on the SaveUMCA team. If Hughes compared the public UMCA directory and the list he gave Jeff Stephens alphabetically, it won’t take him long to notice “Bochsler” was supposed to not be there like it never was ever since Bochsler became a member in 2004.
4) We are still investigating this one. Let’s try again: Hughes, did you send out this letter?
I guess it’s time for me to say I do know from Rick Kent that someone answered Hughes’s e-mail, saying that Hughes is ignoring this and told Rick Kent to do the same thing. Rick Kent didn’t mean to have this information in his e-mail to Pat Enright. Pat Enright forwarded this evidence to me. Thus, I do know Hughes and someone else answering his e-mails at UMCAHQ@aol.com is ignoring this.
None the less, this is a very serious thing and calling for a termination as stated in Hughes’s old contract, which I posted on the blog. I already confirmed that this e-mail was sent out from two of Hughes’s friends who separately got this first-person. They separately and independently forwarded this e-mail from Hughes to me as well as some other people.
Hughes never denied sending out this letter, so we do have strong suspects that this was indeed real. I was surprised no lawsuit was filed, but it’s dangerous to keep Hughes in office with this in the UMCA members’ memories.
For the sake of UMCA’s interests, we need a Managing Director replacement.
Marino's RAAM Report submitted to UMCA on January 6th by Marino
February 6th (original questions)
February 17th (Compile of Feb 6th questions as multiple choice--see below)
April 17th (Mavis re-sent the questions)
February 17th, 2008 at 9:52 AM
Dear UMCA government,
Based on the quickness of the answers to the other questions (within one or two days), I assume, I have compiled some multiple choice questions based on Marino’s version of questions he presented from February 6th. Once again, it’s up to you to either pick the most accurate answer or answer in your own words.
1) I presented a 13 page report dealing with the subject matter of the UMCA owning RAAM. Where am I in error with my opinions? For those who did not read the report, I outlined many potential conflicts of interests between the UMCA and RAAM, LLC. My presumption is that RAAM, LLC wants desperately for the UMCA to legally own the race because it will afford RAAM, LLC many potential opportunities to reduce their operating expenses, which increases their personal profits, but still does not put a ceiling on the amount of money RAAM, LLC investors can make by owning the race. If RAAM, LLC were to become non-profit, this would greatly reduce their personal earning capacity. In essence, RAAM, LLC has the best of two worlds, that of operating as a non-profit, but able to make money as a for-profit. In order for this to work for them, they must have a heavy influence on the UMCA Board because the Board has the ability to control future races (and their personal profits). This is a control and money issue. (Pick all that applies.)
A—We will gladly answer all of Marino’s points in the Jan-Feb 2008 UMCA magazine. Be on the outlook for the magazine.
B—We hadn’t discussed Marino’s 13 page report much ever since it was submitted on January 6th. We are generally ignoring it.
C— We hadn’t discussed Marino’s 13 page report much ever since it was submitted on January 6th, but we will eventually get to it. It’s just that we need to first work on Hughes’ new contract and some other more time sensitive issues.
D—We discussed Marino’s 13 page report and decided Marino is just a grumpy old man and we think that as long as we ignore his pestering, he will eventually go away.
E—We spent 2-4 hours (or more) discussing Marino’s report and is still working hard on it each time we have a chance. We may not have a conclusion until (March?).
F—We now understand why we need to uncover more details about the UMCA-RAAM partnership and we will do that so the concerned UMCA members don’t have to be assuming anything about the non-profit and for-profit organizations’ partnership anymore.
2) How many investors of RAAM, LLC are on the UMCA Board? How many should there be? (Pick all that applies.)
A—There are currently three of them: Fred Boethling, John Hughes, and Muffy Ritz. During Spring 2007, there was also Lee Mitchell.
B—There is nothing in the Bylaws saying how many should be on the Board. Of course, that was before the partnership. We forgot to make this Bylaw amendment when we did the amends last Fall.
C—We are aware that the UMCA Constitution stated the UMCA and RAAM should be two separate organizations—as one of the ways to avoid negotiating other non-RAAM events. This indirectly meant we shouldn’t have RAAM investors and UMCA officers wearing both hats as a way to avoid conflict of interests between acknowledging RAAM itself and the other events UMCA is supposed to be acknowledging too. Well, we forgot to make these necessary changes when we made Bylaw amendments last Fall.
D—We don’t care what you think of the UMCA-RAAM partnership. It’s valid regardless of what the UMCA Constitution said and the non-RAAM race directors can whine all they want.
3) Per Federal law, all Board members (or their legal council), are entitled to view all business contracts involving the non-profit (UMCA). RAAM, LLC has been refusing to abide by this law. Why is RAAM, LLC violating this law, why is the UMCA allowing this law to be violated?
A—Like we told you before, the business contract is a private matter and we don’t want to deal with the non-RAAM race directors protecting their event’s interests.
B-- Like we told you before, the business contract is a private matter and there is no proof of the federal law entitling all Board members the rights to view all business contracts.
C-- Like we told you before, the business contract is a private matter and not even all of the RAAM, LLC’s investors have the right to see this contract. (This one is a rumor the UMCA members want to confirm.)
D-- Like we told you before, the business contract is a private matter and you have absolutely no business trying to preserve the Board or anyone else’s federal law rights.
4) Is the UMCA better off by owning RAAM? Support your answer. (Pick all that applies then explain)
A—Oh yes! The UMCA and RAAM were partners in the pioneer days and it was so successful we want to unite the two again to maximize the interests of the ultracycling sport even through RAAM will keep other RAAM-like races off the market.
B—Oh yes! UMCA and RAAM used to be together when both were for-profit organizations and even through UMCA is now a non-profit organization, we see no harm in bringing the two together again.
C—Oh yes, even through Marino’s 13 page report did unmask a few serious possible problems that make the partnership impossible to be stable.
D—Oh yes and clowns such as Marino are only bothering us with details we don’t think will ever happen or be a problem.
E—It’s probably not quite a good idea to bring the non-profit and for-profit together again. After we were told of the estimated RAAM costs by those familiar with hosting RAAM, we realized RAAM wasn’t in danger at all.
5) What exactly are the details of the MD's interest being in a Blind Trust?
A—Like stated in the Nov-Dec 2006 UMCA magazine, MD is not participating to make any money and any earnings he makes will go to the Annemarie McSweeney scholarship fund. This is not in writing, just a verbal promise and the UMCA members don’t have the right to ensure this is actually happening because the RAAM, LLC’s financial report is a private business matter.
B—Like stated in the Nov-Dec 2006 UMCA magazine, MD is not participating to make any money and any earnings he makes will go to the Annemarie McSweeney scholarship fund. This is in the UMCA-RAAM contract or some other contracts the UMCA members don’t know about yet.
6) Extra: Regarding the MD’s Blind trust details. It was stated in Ultracycling Magazine that Hughes is a less than 20% investor in RAAM, LLC. If Hughes remains as the MD and RAAM is sold in 4 years from now for three times the original price that RAAM, LLC paid, select the best answer regarding Hughes’ earnings.
A—Hughes will be paid the same amount he originally invested when RAAM was purchased.
B—Hughes will be paid (less than 20%) of the new RAAM selling price.
C—Not exactly either A or B, explain.
6) What is in the contract between the UMCA and RAAM, LLC?
(Basically, we need to know whether the possible problems unmasked in Marino’s 13-page report are taken care of in the contract. You are expected to carefully answer each of Marino’s problem points, stating whether they will be prevented from happening according to the contract between UMCA and RAAM, LLC.)