April 30, 1996 - In a special executive session, prior to the
official start of the ASMP national board meeting in Aspen on April 28th
and 29th, two board members were brought up on charges and expelled from
After the board voted, Alan Goldstein and Peter B. Kaplan were offered
the choice of being expelled or resigning. Goldstein offered to resign,
but has not submitted a written resignation as of this writing. Kaplan
refused to resign and was expelled. Both attended a special joint meeting
for chapter presidents and national board members, but neither were allowed
to participate in any of the deliberations of the regular board meeting.
Later that same day Kaplan was hospitalized with chest pains, but at
last report is currently in good condition.
The charges included:
- Undermining the MPCA effort.
- Distributing privileged material to non-board members.
It is my understanding that a full list of the charges will eventually
be published, but that the board will not be more specific in defining
what was specifically done to "undermine the MPCA effort" or
what was included in the "privileged material" that was distributed,
or how widely it was distributed outside of immediate board circles.
We do know that prior to this meeting there was some question as to
whether certain material that was provided to board members was, in fact,
privileged since it was not marked as such when it was handed out. It is
also rumored that this material was only shown to one non-board member,
and he was a former board member.
There is some question as to whether the actions of the ASMP board were
legal. Nothing in the ASMP constitution specifies the procedure for expelling
a board member. Thus, the board relied on Roberts Rules of Order as a guide
for its actions.
According to my reading of Roberts Rules of Order charges must be presented
at one meeting and the formal trial "is to be held at a later meeting."
This rule is designed to give the one charged time to gather documents
and call witnesses in his or her defense. In this case both actions took
place in the same meeting which would seem to be a violation of Roberts
Part of the dispute revolves around the issue of whether it is tolerable
for board members to have dissenting opinions on major issues. The board
appears to feel that it should be a requirement that all board members
support the majority view on any major issue.
Goldstein and Kaplan feel that their primary responsibility as board
members is to the general members who elected them. They feel they are
duty bound to ask questions, and expect reasonable answers when the numbers
don't add up. One recent example of numbers not adding up was provided
to Alan Goldstein when he asked Dick Weisgrau about the number of MPCA
members who have paid their $50 assessment. Dick provided the following
- There are 539 members of MPCA.
- 492 are current in their payment of assessments.
- 154 are in arrears.
A loyal board member is suppose to accept such
answers without question.
(This article was posted on April 30th with the best information we
had available at the time. Since that time a number clarifications have
been provided. CLICK HERE to see Dick Weisgrau's
clarification and correction of the specific figures above.)
It is well known that both Kaplan and Goldstein have, for some time,
had concerns about MPCA's ability to ever pay back the loans made by ASMP.
The board has never voted to make these payments gifts, but has insisted
all along that they are loans that will be repaid. However, to question
how that will be accomplished is not allowed.
It seems clear from these actions that any future dissenters will be
quickly removed from any position of leadership.
This action was certainly precipitated by the action of a number of
concerned ASMP members who began circulating a referendum petition on April
15, 1996. If the required number of signatures are obtained on the petition
it would mandate that an election be held to decide the issue of whether
or not ASMP should immediately cease all funding of MPCA and related activities.
Both Kaplan and Goldstein have signed this petition along with more than
150 other members. According to the constitution approximately 200 signatures
will be required on the petition to force a vote.
Why I Favor The Referendum.
I believe ASMP has already spent way too much time, effort and and
money trying to get MPCA off the ground. At some point it becomes necessary
to say "enough is enough" . I also believe MPCA is so disorganized
that no matter how much money they continue to throw at it, there is almost
no chance that it will ever be a success. Almost no one is putting pictures
into the system indicating that "it does not even have the support
of those who are MPCA members.
" However, my principle reason for supporting the referendum is
to force national to allow the opponents of spending ASMP funds for this
purpose to have a chance to present their point of view to the members
In the last three years members have only heard why MPCA is the "only
answer". There are many other facts that members need to consider
to make an informed decision about the viability of MPCA. Members have
not been allowed to even consider that there might be some reasons why
this whole idea is not workable.
The ASMP constitution requires that a ballot must be sent to the general
members within two months once a referendum petition with the proper number
of signatures is presented to the executive committee. It further requires
that both sides be given equal space to present their views in the bulletin
and in any materials sent with the ballot.
If a majority of members truly wants to continue to use ASMP funds
to support MPCA after having been able to consider the arguments from both
sides, I will have no objections. I just want a democracy, not a dictatorship.
My objection is not to MPCA in principle, but to the Machiavellian
silencing of any opposing points of view.
Letter To General Members
The letter that was sent out April 15th read as follows:
Dear ASMP Member,
A group of concerned ASMP members, including past and present ASMP board
members, as well as a past ASMP President, are asking you to take action
and sign the following petition for a referendum. A successful referendum
will bar ASMP from contributing any further financial aid in any form to
We believe that it is wrong for ASMP to continue supporting a "for
profit" organization with your dues money, which will only benefit
a minority of ASMP members. To date MPCA owes ASMP over $120,000 in loans,
and the board has authorized an additional $125,000 which can be used for
MPCA if the executive committee chooses. For every $10,000 borrowed, MPCA
must generate a minimum of $100,000 in sales just to pay back the money.
So far MPCA has generated less than $5,000 in sales.
With less than 15 percent of the eligible members of ASMP participating
in MPCA, it seems inappropriate for the dues of the other 85 percent to
provide the funding. Further MPCA funding should come from its members,
or from its partners, so ASMP can concentrate on issues that will benefit
its entire membership.
Alan Abramowitz, David Betito, David Brill, Nancy Brown, Dick Busher,
Cody, Cameron Davidson, Jon Feingersh, Alan Goldstein, Peter B. Kaplan,
Klumpp, Jim Pickerell, Robert Rathe, Stan Sholik, Steve Sint, Paul
Vince Streano, Randy Taylor, Steve Umland
Note: Since this letter was sent out the board has met and rescinded
the authorization they gave the executive committee in December 1994 to
spend $125,000. Therefore, the reason for moving ahead with the referendum
is to prevent the use of ASMP paid staff for MPCA purposes, and to insure
that a new loan will not be granted.
I would encourage every ASMP general member to sign the referendum
petition below. I would also ask that you pass copies to other General
Members who do not receive this newsletter.
Once you have signed, please fax the copy to me at: 301-309-0941 and
mail the original to the address below. (We need to know as soon as possible
how many signatures we have, but we also need the "original"
Mail to: Jim Pickerell, 110 Frederick Avenue, Suite A,
Rockville, MD 20850.
(Only ASMP General Members May Sign.)
To sign the petition, follow this link to
display and print the petition without the story.
We, the undersigned, believe that the continued funding of MPCA (a
private, for-profit corporation) by ASMP, jeopardizes the financial future
and viability of the Society. For these reasons, and others, we are signing
this petition to place a referendum before the general members of ASMP.
The referendum will state: "ASMP shall immediately cease all funding
of MPCA and related activities, included but not limited to loans, legal
costs, personnel costs and other direct or in-kind support, effective thirty
days following the date this referendum is approved."
(Please print your name)____________________________________
Rules for supplying feedback
What Is Going On At National?
By Steve Sint
In the best tradition of what one might associate with an oppressive
regime, the National board of ASMP brought two of its members up on charges
and ousted them. (see the accompanying story). The charges against them
included undermining the MPCA effort. In fact, both board members had signed
a petition for a referendum, which, if successful, will stop the further
funding of MPCA by ASMP.
In a special executive session prior to the start of the meeting of
the National board and chapter presidents in Aspen, Colorado, at the end
of April, Alan Goldstein and Peter B. Kaplan were tried and convicted by
the National board and given the choice of resigning or being expelled.
Goldstein resigned and Peter B. (who, by the way, received the fourth highest
number of votes of the 23 candidates in the recent election for National
board positions) was shown the door. The board seemed totally uninterested
in the fact that these two members were elected not by them, but by you,
the membership. I think this board is really scared that the general membership
might disapprove of what it is doing and would pull the plug on the money
pit that MPCA has become.
Are the general members interested in cutting off MPCA funding? I think
that after giving $120,000 of our dues money (see the April '96 National
Bulletin for National's explanation of what comprises this amount) and
getting a return of less than $7000, National appears to be willing to
do anything to avoid a showdown vote. It seems that the National board
is not sure of the general members' feelings about MPCA, and they are unwilling
to find out.
If they feel that MPCA's goals and performance so far are exemplary,
then it seems to me they would welcome such a vote, so that if the anti-MPCA
referendum is defeated, they will have free rein to vote any dues money
they care to on future funding of MPCA.
I think most of the members of the National board are acting as if
they are so taken with their own power that they will go to extraordinary
lengths to retain it. That includes banishment for any board member who
disagrees with them.
First, general members were asked to give up the right to vote on the
president and officers of their own society. This was rationalized by the
thought that general members would, in effect, control the election through
their vote for the board members themselves. But if your vote for a board
member can be nullified by expulsion of that member, what power do you
Alan Goldstein ran for the National board on an anti-MPCA platform.
He was a candidate who stated that fact in his ballot position. Alan Goldstein,
by the way, received the eighth highest number of votes of the 23 candidates.
If you voted for him for that reason-his MPCA stand-your voice and your
concerns have been eliminated.
One of the charges brought against him by the board was that he distributed
privileged information to a non-board member. That member was me.
But whom am I? I am president of the New York City chapter, which represents
approximately 20 percent of all ASMP membership. Until September 1995 I
was a seated National board member. I gave up my seat to re-assume the
presidency of the New York chapter, a move that was applauded by National!
As a sitting national board member I was privy to all the facts and figures
in Alan's "privileged" report. He revealed to me nothing I didn't
already know! This is privileged information?
Have the National board's activities become so important, so "privileged"
that if the information is divulged the world will end? Does Alan's punishment
seem like being executed for chewing gum on a subway platform? If his punishment
seems as extreme to you as it does to me, I ask you-was it because he leaked
privileged information or because he disagreed with the board about MPCA.
And while I'm expressing my opinion, let me add this: what kind of
Society is it that conducts its business in secret? Top level decisions
are made in executive session, and no one is permitted to talk about what
goes in those sessions. In effect, the important business of your Society
is being conducted behind closed doors. You see only the result, never
the process. The doors open and you are informed of the decision. Executive
session has become executive privilege. Is this the way you want this Society
It seems to me that the general member's absolute right to protest
National's decisions is the right to offer a petition that forces a referendum
vote. And I think this present National board is afraid of that right.
So what is the ASMP general member good for in National's eyes? Are
we all just cash cows, dutifully sending in our $275 each year to support
the Board and its projects?
We do know that after three long years, MPCA has been able to entice
only about 15 percent of ASMP members into joining. Yet all of us are paying
dues to support the project! Maybe the 85 percent who haven't joined are
already committed to another stock agency, and their contracts don't allow
them to sign on with MPCA. Maybe the 85 percent are just uneducated fools
who don't see the wisdom and vision of our National board. Or maybe National
has never produced a sound business plan for MPCA, nor explained it properly
to the 85 percent who have remained on the sidelines.
Maybe the 85 percent just don't feel that it's right for ASMP, a non-profit
organization, to be funding a for-profit operation. Or maybe they don't
feel it's right for some of the board members of one to serve on the board
of the other.
Whatever the reason for the lackluster support of MPCA, if the reasoning
behind it is sound then the ASMP National board should welcome a vote on
the issue. I'd imagine that National would embrace a "vote of confidence"
on MPCA. Instead, National has decided to oust two board members who are
outspoken in their support of just such a vote.
Is the idea of MPCA so weak, is the MPCA idea so flawed, that it can't
be brought out into the open and be examined?
What is National afraid of? If our board has to crush any opposition
to MPCA, I think it's time to take a harder look at MPCA's future.
And I think it's time to take a harder look at the bigger question
of how our Society is being run.
The following is a correction from Dick Weisgrau on May 7, 1996 relating
to our original post on the Aspen board meeting.) While I certainly couldn't
dispute that the numbers don't add up, I can point out that if Alan wanted
to question those numbers he could have simply called me for clarification
rather than provided them to you for publication. I don't know anyone who
would assert that "loyal" directors should accept anything automatically.
Certainly, I do not believe they should, and as you and I served as directors
together, you know I ask tough questions. However, I might suggest that
"loyal" directors do not publish administrative errors unless
they have a political or personal agenda, either of which is poor reason.
If Mr. Goldstein had called about the numbers, I would have researched
the mistake and reported the following to him: At the time of the request,
there were 539 MPCA members. Of these, 492 were required to pay the annual
$50 assessment (as you call it). 154 of the 492 have not paid while 338
did. The error was made by our reporting the wrong line in the record.
True, we should have caught the error. We didn't know our response was
for publication. We hope that ASMP Directors and members would exercise
good judgment when they find an error. After all, we are all human. In
fact, you should understand this. After all, your newsletter often carries
"corrections" of your own errors.
For your information, the current figures for MPCA (as of 5/4/96) are
Number of MPCA members: 579
Charter Members - 40
Paid in Full 362
Open Balance 130
Limited - 3
Regular - 44
So the good news is that MPCA is growing - 40 new members since April
18. Best regards as we hopefully strive for perfection.
Return to your place in the story.
Harry Butler - ASMP/TN Chapter President
May 3, 1996 Steve Sint President, ASMP/NY
Reference your " what is going on at National ?" article from
Jim Pickerell's Home Page (which was FAXed to me today by another member),
I guess the short answer is that, had you and/or your rather large chapter
found it possible to send a representative to the CP meeting at Aspen,
a lot of the issues you raised would probably have been addressed, and
addressed by those who were participants in the unusual chain of events
rather than snippets of information, misinformation and innuendo from which
much of your article seems to have been drawn.
The specific points of your posting have been answered to my satisfaction
by the news release from National and by Mr. Perlman's piece, posted today
(May 3) into CompuServe's Photo Forum / ASMP Private Section 17. I will
reiterate but a few.
1) The CPs unanimously supported the direction the Board is taking
on MPCA (3 abstensions, no "nays") following Matt Herron's presentation
of the importance of MPCA to members and, downstream, all independent creators
of intellectual property. I'm a new guy. It's 3 months into my first term
as a CP, and my chapter is smallish (80 or so members), so I went seeking
information rather than planning to put forward any kind of agenda. I can
honestly say that in view of the factual distortions and misrepresentations
readily observed in the Pickerell referendum I saw, my conclusion was that,
on merit of facts, the decision to support the Board's position was entirely
warranted. As you probably know, the lion's share of the funding involved
was rescinded by Board action, and a referendum on the total membership's
support (or lack thereof) for MPCA was initiated. If we were fed "the
company line" with no valid counterpoint, all I can say is that had
you (or one of your compadres) been there to speak knowledgeably for "your"
side, I (and the rest of the CPs and chapter reps present) would have listened
carefully and voted accordingly.
2) As a former National Board member, I would think you would be well
aware of the legal ramifications of publishing executive session-protected
information. If you are unaware of these issues, a chat with Mr. Perlman
should clear up the points of law. I am satisfied that, while I would enjoy
knowing the process leading to the decisions made at Aspen, I can think
of no compelling reason to demand access to information made inaccessible
through the by-laws of the Society. Again, I can't help but think that
had you been in attendence, as much information as could legally be made
available to you, would have been, and in a proper forum. I saw none of
the Board members in attendance shirk from any question that was asked.
I did see them defer to Mr. Perlman for advice, but my sesne is that these
people take their jobs and responsibilities very seriously and are honoring
their commitments in a totally ethical and honest fashion. I wish I could
say I have seen the same commitment to open, honest and factually correct
presentation made by Mr. Pickerell's contingent.
3) In my view, the MPCA idea is sound; the analogy to ASCAP and BMI
as rights-protection agencies is well constructed; and as the technologies
and partnerships are forged, I can see a continual improvement in the number
of members served, short-term, by MPCA. I have no problem at all seeing
how we all will be served long-term in the context of Corbis and Time/Warner
dominating the marketplace for images in the immediate future. This concept
has never been done in this way before. They are defining the field as
they go. I have no problem understanding why it's not a smooth, quick ride.
I have no problem understanding it's a bigger thing than I may be able,
at this point, to comprehend. And I have no problem lending a portion of
my dues to a venture that everyone, save a small but vociferous group of
members who perhaps have their own agenda to promote, seems to think may
just be the way to protect our copyrights in the world Bill Gates is planning.
As to my dues dollars supporting the venture: I have never registered
a copyright, yet I appreciate the Society making it easier for me to do
so. I have never had a bona fide work-for-hire situation arise with a client,
yet I appreciate the Society's efforts in that arena to protect my independent
contractor status. I have never filed a lawsuit, yet I appreciate the Society's
efforts on behalf of shooters who have had to litigate cases they would
have been unable to do had there not been a few of my dollars in the Legal
fund, and a bunch of my dues dollars supporting the overhead that enables
such assistance to be kept, whether active or just "on deck."
In short, whether I submit image one to MPCA or not, I am firmly of the
opinion that what's good for the profession will ultimately be good for
me. And, since what MPCA is attempting is so far in front of the curve
as to what has been done before, I also am of the opinion that I should
either lead, follow or get the hell out of the way. Until I know enough
to lead, I'll be a strongly supportive follower. Another thing I learned
at Aspen is that there are a lot of people at the top of this organization
who are a lot smarter than I am at this point. I voted a number of them
onto the Board. I will support them until I am convinced, by verifiable
facts, that my faith and support has been misplaced.
In my view, the Society is being run openly, honestly and within the
charter and by-laws as I understand them. The Board has my unequivocal
support as a general member and as a Chapter President. I can't help but
wonder if the fact that it is not being run from New York, by New York
insiders, for the primary benefit of New York members (and, yes, I do know
that $1,000 a month of Society funds over and above designated rebates
is being pumped into your chapter... which I don't yet begrudge, if the
problems causing the hemorrhage are being addressed) is at the root of
a lot of the discord jangling the Internet and Section 17. I personally
would like to see a lot less flaming and more of an attempt at direct communication
from your side to the Board and the staff until these issues are resolved.
There is always room for honest dissent. I sense a growing impatience with
misguided and factually incorrect bitching, moaning and whining that seems
to eminate from folks whose individual agenda may not be in the best interest
of the Society... especially those 75% of us who reside out here in flyover
Steve Sint - 5/9/96
I read your posting several times to be sure I understood everything
you said. I hope you'll give me the courtesy of reading my response.
It is not fun running around with the target on my back, and I certainly
don't enjoy being the meal floating in waters that are filled with ASMP
members in a feeding frenzy. But I, too, am interested in the future, the
health and the viability of ASMP.
I am sorry I couldn't attend the Aspen meeting. I had family commitments,
and the New York board members who were willing to attend were booked that
I am glad that the other CPs voted unanimously(no nays) to support
MPCA after hearing Mr. Herron's glowing presentation, but I wonder about
the presentation's content. Mr. Herron is currently being paid $12,000
per year by MPCA to travel around the world and be MPCA's cheerleader.
I don't know if his expenses are over and above that fee, but regardless,
with Mr. Herron being financed by the group he is touting, what you and
the other CPs applauded was nothing more than an info-mercial. (But don't
feel bad, I bought a Tummy Cruncher and some Wonder Paint Remover the same
When a corporation wants an unbiased report on its own status, performance
or reputation, it hires an outside, independent company to perform the
task. However, when those who support a project have something to gain
by that project's success, everything that's "reported" must
be critically viewed.
Further, whether you want to view the proceedings critically or not
is not a choice you have. As an elected official of this Society, you must
be critical to serve the people who voted for you.
A lot has been said about a National board member's fiduciary responsibility,
but after checking two dictionaries, let me point out that a board member's
fiduciary responsibility is not to the board on which he is seated, but
rather to the people who elected him to that board. When you are elected
to a position in any organization, your responsibility is to the people
who voted for you-the people who have entrusted you with their organization's
You pointed out that you know about the "$1000 a month of society
funds over and above designated rebates being pumped into your(my) chapter...which
I don't yet begrudge." I'm sorry to say that knowing about it is not
enough. You are supposed to begrudge it-if you disagree with it. And if
you don't know if you disagree, you are supposed to ask questions and gather
information so that you can make a responsible decision for the people
who elected you. And if, after gathering your information, you disagree
with what's going on, you are supposed to speak up! It is your responsibility.
It is a trust placed in you by those who voted for you.
When the two board members were tried and convicted by the National
board, one reason the ASMP constitution was over-ridden by the board was
the possible "anti-trust and tax liabilities" that ASMP might
face if these issues were brought into the open. I think the tax liability
that was alluded to is the fact that ASMP might lose its non- profit standing
if it were exposed to government investigation. Is this because a non-profit
corporation should not own and operate a for-profit corporation? Further,
should the board of a non-profit corporation be the board of a for-profit
corporation that is owned by the non-profit corporation? Wouldn't it be
a pity, if after 50-plus years, ASMP loses its non-profit status because
of the actions an overzealous board has declared as its salvation?
Many of us who joined ASMP simply don't want to be involved in MPCA,
and many members feel that the current National board has linked the two
corporations. Do we have to be part of MPCA if we want to be part of ASMP?
Should the National board be involved in a project that has even the
most remote possibility of triggering a government investigation? I know
of a letter circulated to National board members that says that if any
board member is approached by a member of a government agency, the board
member is to refer the inquiry to our legal counsel. Why do we find ourselves
in a position where ASMP board members have to carefully word anything
they say to the government-or avoid talking to the government at all?
MPCA was formed as a separate for-profit corporation, and the stockholders
of that corporation are the ASMP National board, not ASMP. As a private
corporation, no action it takes has to be divulged to members of ASMP.
Maybe that is why you don't know of Mr. Herron's stipend. In general, I
am against secret societies; I'm even more against funding them. It goes
against everything I feel as an American. Equally true, as an American,
I will defend each person's right to speak their mind-which is exactly
what Mr. Goldstein and Mr. Kaplan did.
The CPs were presented with the charges against Mr. Goldstein and Mr.
Kaplan and the fact that they were found guilty. Were you at all interested
in the defense they presented or the methods used to conduct the trial?
Do you know if they presented any defense? Isn't that what you should be
I think that since Kaplan and Goldstein received the fourth and eighth
highest number of votes, respectively, from members in the last election,
it is my responsibility-and yours-to push and prod and be a pain in the
butt until we find out the nature of a trial in which the ASMP National
board in effect set aside the Society's constitution.
Like a good PR campaign, the referendum National is placing before
the membership is all gloss and glitter. The way it is worded, if a member
doesn't vote to support MPCA, he is in effect stating that he doesn't believe
in ASMP. Where is it written that to support ASMP you must also support
MPCA? Who made that the new law of the Society?
Let me tell you about the other referendum. A group of ASMP members
(you know, that small group of vocal dissenters) supports a petition that
will call for a referendum that says ASMP is to stop funding MPCA. These
members don't want MPCA stopped-they just don't feel that ASMP should be
funding it! They are interested in the health and future of ASMP and don't
want to see the Society exposed to possible financial harm-or government
investigation. What they want is a true separation between MPCA and ASMP.
I, too, feel this is important for the future of our Society. Although
you make an analogy that links MPCA to ASCAP and BMI, are these two other
agencies owned and operated by non-profit corporations?
The "other" referendum I am referring to has a cover letter
on its petition that was signed by 18 ASMP Members, including:
Alan Abramowitz, former National board member; David Brill, former National
board member; Nancy Brown, former National board member; Dennie Cody, former
National board member; Alan Goldstein, former National board member; Peter
B. Kaplan, former National board member; Don Klumpp, former National board
member; Robert Rathe, former ASMP vice president, former MPCA board member;
Steve Sint, former National board member; Vince Streano, former ASMP president;
Steve Umland, former National board member.
Some of these members are also members and charter members of MPCA.
Since you made allegations that my actions might be the result of sour
grapes because of my feelings for New York, let me ask you this: as only
two people on the list above are New Yorkers (Peter B. Kaplan moved to
Delaware), do you think all the other cover letter signers have hidden
agendas? Are they all motivated by sour grapes? Are all these people, who
gave years of their time and effort serving on national and local boards,
anti-ASMP? Many of them had multiple terms of office-much longer than the
three months you've put in. Are they all so against the ASMP National board
that each is grinding an ax? Do they all question the board's motives?
Maybe they do. Maybe you, as an elected officer of your chapter, should
too. Maybe you should call them and talk to them about their position.
Or maybe not. After all, why bother? You support all of National's
decisions, don't you? So why ask?
Because it is your duty. Because it is your right, even though some
will tell you it's not.
The petition we are sponsoring has already been signed by scores of
ASMP members(I might tip the petioner hands by saying hundreds), including
Pulitzer Prize winners and former presidents and officers of the Society.
Are all of them anti-ASMP? Or do you simply dismiss them as being misguided?
It's very convenient for you if you do. Then you don't have to ask the
hard questions-the ones we're asking!
I wouldn't be surprised if National wasn't already compiling paperwork
on me so that I, too, can be brought up on charges. You'll hear of my trial
and conviction and applaud it, along with the other followers of the gospel.
And maybe someday, when they've gone too far for even you, and you start
asking questions, I'll read about your trial.
I ask you to recognize the mushroom theory of government that some
society's leaders practice toward the electorate: keep 'em in the dark,
feed 'em a lot of bullshit and cut 'em off when they start to grow.
My opinion is that Alan Goldstein and Peter B. Kaplan were expelled
because they felt a stronger allegiance to the people who voted for them
than to the ASMP National board. As far as the possibility of ASMP being
held up to ridicule if MPCA fails, people outside of our Society who look
at things in the harsh light of reality already think MPCA is a joke.
In spite of all that, if the ASMP membership supports MPCA after getting
a true picture, then I will support it. Because I am pro- ASMP.
I'll repeat that: I am pro-ASMP. My actions and efforts over the last
15 years should be proof of that.
And speaking of proof of commitment, to the gentleman from Pennsylvania
who called me a bellicose windbag, I want to point out that I gave up a
full day of my time and drove 300-plus miles to give a workshop at his
chapter. I guess this bellicose windbag was welcome that day.
I can be reached at 516/328-7617 if you would like to discuss anything
with me at any time.
Sincerely, Steve Sint
Stanley A. Sholik - Making added comments in support of
Steve Sint - 5/9/96
You said: "The way it is worded, if a member doesn't vote to support MPCA, he
is in effect stating that he doesn't believe in ASMP. Where is it written that to
support ASMP you must also support MPCA?"
Right you are, and therefore one of the the dangers of any of us supporting the
funding petition taking a strong stand against the Board petition.
I asked Margo T. Pinkerton the following :"Since the wording of the referendum
is unclear to me could you clarify please: A YES vote will give the Board carte
blanche to move MPCA forward as it chooses (barring another referendum) and a NO
vote will mean the end of MPCA. Is this correct?"
Her reply was: "While I cannot speak for the rest of the Board, I would
consider a yes vote as support for continuing MPCA and continuing to try to
improve it further. A no vote would mean that the membership does not want ASMP
and its board to continue its effort on behalf of MPCA."
Obviously even the Board is not clear or is unwilling to make public what the
result of the voting would be.
Jay Asquini - Responding To Sint - 5/9/96
copyright 1996 Jay Asquini
Some of you might have seen a recent article
by New York City chapter president Steve Sint entitled "What Is Going
On At National?" It's an ironic title when asked by the man who represents
a chapter of nearly 900 members, but could not himself attend nor could
he find one of those members who could attend the combined chapter presidents'
and national board meeting last weekend.
Had the New York City chapter been represented, perhaps Sint would
have had facts to include in his article instead of the falsehoods he presents
as facts. But then, he would have had to write a much different story.
In a conversation I had with him concerning his misrepresentation of
facts, he brushed away the truth as if it were irrelevant. He explained
to me that in an "opinion piece," as he classified his article,
he is not obligated to stick to the facts.
Case in point: Steve goes to great lengths in his article to paint
"national" as a body intent on concealment in order to advance
MPCA. He asks, "Is the idea of MPCA so weak, is the MPCA idea so flawed,
that it can't be brought out into the open and be examined?" Had the
New York City chapter been represented at the chapter presidents' meeting
they would have known that the national board will bring to the general
membership a referendum vote precisely on this topic before the end of
this June. Had they been in attendance, they would have had a chance to
see the digital link, to access the MPCA files themselves, to listen to
and to learn the facts about MPCA instead of accepting rumors as facts.
Perhaps they too would have joined the 60+ chapter presidents and ASMP
members in attendance who signed a declaration in support of MPCA. Perhaps
it was no accident the New York City chapter was not represented.
A great many misunderstandings about MPCA were corrected at the joint
chapter presidents' and national board meeting. The falsehoods and rumors
being spread around the country were revealed for what they are. In my
conversation with Steve I told him time and again that his facts were wrong.
Not once did he ask to be enlightened.
Sint's article speaks volumes. But I don't think it is the message
he intended to send.
Dick Weisgrau, Executive Director - ASMP - 5/9/96
Regarding your comments posted on May 7 under subject ASMP/MPCA, I'd
like to comment on your thoughts and conclusions.
It is important that I mention that I, like you, was not in the "Executive
Session." However, you feel that the parties removed from the Board
did not have a chance to defend themselves.
Clearly, from the evidence supporting the charges, which I had seen
prior to the Executive Session, there was nothing to defend. The evidence
was tangible and written by those dismissed. It was not a question of if
it was a breach of duty but only a question of the action to be taken in
light of the breaches.
Each removed director had the opportunity to confer and debate in the
Executive Session, just as any director can at any Board Meeting. That
process went on for nearly six hours. I don't see how you can conclude
that the parties had no chance to defend. The fact might be that their
defense was inadequate. Certainly, the evidence was not new to them since
they wrote it.
I cannot comment on your speculation regarding fiduciary responsibility
to members, beyond saying that this "duty" is to the corporation.
The corporation has a duty to its members, defined by law, Constitution,
You seem to focus on MPCA as the reason for the removal. However, the
charges are much broader. Additionally, no one objected to ballot statements,
these are fair grounds to differ. Again, no one has a fiduciary duty to
a member. The obligation to members is carved in the ASMP Constitution
not NY state law.
You seem to think that a "trial" was in order under Robert's
Rules. However, there was no basis for such a "trial." "Trials"
are called for when you expel or otherwise discipline a member. No one
challenged the directors' rights to or status as members of the ASMP. Members
have different rights than directors. Directors are held to a much higher
standard than members. With that standard comes different rules or treatment,
prescribed by law - not ASMP's rules or Robert's.
As an example, you as a member of ASMP, have taken public positions
on ASMP policy and action. If the Board or enough members thought your
actions were a breach of your duty (as a member) to ASMP, the process defined
in our Constitution would take over, and you would be trial under it, not
under Robert's Rules which apply only when ASMP's rules don't deal with
the matter at hand.
By the way, I meant the forgoing as an example not to imply that such
See other MPCA articles from earlier in 1996
in the archives section. They can be found under story: 7
- MPCA in 1996.