|Subject:||Scott Lange Letter To AMCA President Richard Spagnolli||Date:||Sat Jan 14 11:55:45 2012|
I received a copy of the original letter from Scott Lange to Richard Spagnoli a few days ago but wanted to be cautious about forwarding it to the Highlands Chapter not knowing if it was legit. This one actually came from Scott himself so I felt it was appropriate to share.
The next Post will be an earlier correspondence from Scott to Richard; it will be labeled as such.
My apologies if you have already received this. After my first attempt I
received many "undeliverable" messages - many due to my error in not
checking my distribution list against a more current list.
From: Scott K. Lange [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Sunday, January 08, 2012 6:08 PM
To: Gary Michalak; Gerald Raino; firstname.lastname@example.org; Jeff Coffman; Michael
Quinn; olddude; pat & jim; Paul Giffin; email@example.com; Steve/Sandee
Dawdy; 'firstname.lastname@example.org'; 'Ken Welty'; 'Lee Lange';
'email@example.com'; 'firstname.lastname@example.org'; 'Carl Fronk';
'email@example.com'; Gary Michalak; 'Gary Campilongo';
'firstname.lastname@example.org'; 'Albee.email@example.com'; 'Allegheny Mtn. Chapter';
'AMCA/Cornerstone Registration'; 'Art Ray'; 'Bear Valoris'; 'Big Sandbar
Chapter'; 'Bill Malmgren'; 'Bill Mosiman'; 'Black Hills Chapter'; 'Blue
Ridge Chapter'; 'Bob Lannue'; 'Caitlin Brown'; 'Carl Carlsen'; 'Catawba
Valley Chapter'; 'Cheif Blackhawk Chapter'; 'Cherokee Chapter'; 'Christopher
Woodsum'; 'Chuck Brumfield'; 'Colonial Chapter'; 'Confederate Chapter'; 'Dan
McCarthy'; 'Dan Sines'; 'Dave Clemons'; 'Dave Wedlake'; 'David Bunnell';
'David Holzerland'; 'David Lloyd'; 'Del Schumacher'; 'Dennis Craig';
'Diamond Chapter'; 'Dick Topness'; 'Dixie Chapter'; 'Don Doody'; 'Don
Doody'; 'Ed Demello'; 'Empire Chapter'; 'European Chapter'; 'Everglades
Chapter'; 'Fort Sutter Chapter'; 'Frank Mason'; 'Fred Metincourt'; 'Gary
Palmer'; 'Gary Vallquist'; 'Gene Nelson'; 'HIghlands Chapter'; 'Hudson
Valley Chapter'; 'Ian Davidson'; 'Ishi Chapter'; 'Jack Raino'; 'James
Stanley'; 'Jeff Kaufman'; 'Jerry Chinn'; 'Jerry Jackson'; 'Jim Moore'; 'Jim
Orcutt'; 'Jim Sullivan'; 'Joe & Ester Palkovich'; 'Joe Shanahan'; 'John &
Marta'; 'John Bath'; 'John Crawford'; 'John Stanley'; 'Karen Davidson';
'Kevin Cobb'; 'Kevin Valentine'; 'Kieth Kalanquin'; 'Lake Erie Chapter';
'Larry Anderson'; 'Larry Russell'; 'Lincoln Heritage Chapter'; 'Los Angeles
Chapter'; 'Mark & Patti Palmer'; 'Matt Olsen'; 'Matt Smith'; 'Maumee Valley
Chapter'; 'Michael Breeding'; 'Michael Taylor'; 'Mike and Shaun Brown';
'Mike Brown'; 'Mike Carter'; 'Mike Kane'; 'Mike Tomas'; 'Morry & Kathy Fox';
'Neshaminy Chapter'; 'Nicholes Hoffman'; 'Norm Gerlich'; 'Northern Rockies
Chapter'; 'Ohio Valley Chapter'; 'Omaha Chapter'; 'Otto Allison'; 'P.J.
Phillips'; 'Pat Williams'; 'Paul Bennett'; 'Paul Brodie'; 'Paul Edwards';
'Paul Wright'; 'Perkiomen Chapter'; 'Peter Gagan'; 'Peter Mafleiu'; 'Phantom
Canyon Chapter'; 'Prairie Chapter'; 'Preus'; 'Raymond Dhue'; 'Red Fred
Johansen'; 'Reed Rothchild'; 'Richard Bombard'; 'Richard Gray'; 'Rick
Najera'; 'Rick Ostrander'; 'Rick Schunk'; 'Rick Smith'; 'River Valley
Chapter'; 'Robert Garrett'; 'Robin Markey'; 'Rocky Halter'; 'Ron and Sandy
Dahlen'; 'Ron McBryan'; 'Ross Peaty'; 'Russ Allan'; 'Scott Hall'; 'Scott
Lange'; 'Seaboard Chapter'; 'Shaun Brown'; 'So. California Chapter'; 'Steve
Slocombe'; 'Steve White'; 'Sunflower Chapter'; 'Sunshine Chapter'; 'Terry
Wright'; 'Thomas Deem'; 'Tom & Nancy Foote'; 'Tom Hookin'; 'Trudi
Johnson-Richards'; 'Two Rivers Chapter'; 'Vaughn Smith'; 'Viking Chapter';
'Vince Martinico'; 'Washington Vintage Motorcyclists Chapter';
'West_Side_Cycle'; 'WrongWay (Tim&Jill Lien)'; 'Yankee Chapter'; 'Yerba
Buena Chapter'; 'Ziggy'
Subject: FW: AMCA Articles of Incorporation and By Laws
Dear fellow AMCA members and Chapter representatives,
Like most of you, the reason I joined the Club is because I have a passion
for old motorcycles. I've had zero interest in politics, and as long as the
Club seemed to be in the hands of good leadership, I didn't care what
happened at the top. Sadly, that has changed. This message is to ask each
of you to put down your wrenches for a moment and look at something serious
that is happening in our organization. We need to have an open dialogue.
The minutes in the Winter edition of "The Antique Motorcycle" included a
section regarding the revocation of Charles Finney's membership. At the
time he was the President of the Chief Blackhawk Chapter. Long aware of the
Chief Blackhawk Chapter's standard of excellence, it seemed strange to me
that the events described in the magazine could have actually occurred.
This concerned me, so I took the time to learn what really happened. I
found that the official description of events were grossly and maliciously
mistated. I concluded that by printing an account that was clearly false,
the BOD had abused its power and in so doing they had defamed Mr. Finney in
Today, I received a copy of the just released "Policies and Procedures"
manual. It was timely, as the one question I had remaining was "What is the
standard within our organization for expelling a member?" Americans expect
due process in matters that can significantly impact our lives. It is our
culture. Did the Board do the right thing, and did they have the right to
In short, the BOD has absolute power in the AMCA. There is not a single
provision in our by-laws that establish any right of members or Chapters to
object to or challenge Board decisions, nor any provision that allows the
input of members in the selection of the Board or Officers. This structure
relies exclusively on the trustworthiness of the Board to do the right
thing, but provides no safeguards if that trust is broken. If a President
can stuff the Board with other members that will defer to his wishes, the
President can gain complete control over the Club and its assets. Yes,
these same by-laws have been in place for many years. By and large, we've
had good leaders, whose leadership met the degree of trust we placed in
them. However, these days the Club has substantial assets, mostly derived
from membership dues and income the AMCA derives from Chapter sponsored
events. A good system of controls provides for checks and balances to
assure those assets are not misdirected or improperly used. Today, the BOD
polices itself, we have no such controls. The Board has the power to do
whatever it wants.
So, in answer to my questions above, yes, the Board has the right and power
to expel Mr. Finney, along with anyone else they decide they don't like.
They didn't even have to give the reason they gave in Mr. Finney's case -
which was simply that he "violated the philosophy of the Club". Was it the
right thing to do? I've seen much more egregious behavior than Mr. Finney's
that did not result in expulsion. And, the written justification of the
act, as contained in the magazine, was a lie. In my opinion, Mr. Finney's
summary expulsion was inconsistent with past situations, outright
vindictive, and a poor example of leadership.
Believing our leadership made a mistake, I wrote to Mr. Spagnolli and the
Board and voiced my concerns. I requested that they admit their mistake and
reinstate Mr. Finney as soon as possible. That was a couple of weeks back
and I still haven't received a single written response from anyone on the
Board. I know several others have expressed their objections as well and
there is much talk around the country about what is going on with our
leadership. I think the time has arrived where we need to address this. We
need to add Board and officer accountability and provisions for member input
into our organization's articles of incorporation, by-laws, and official
policies and procedures.
Please find below a direct message I sent earlier today to the President and
Board. Note that I'm not just making trouble, I am proposing a solution to
fix the problem. My comments are constructive and offered in the best
interests of our Club. They are not political. My suggestion may not be
the best, but it is one way to approach the matter. I think it is important
that we - the members - come together to find a solution that provides
greater accountability and balance than we have today. Power at the top
rarely consents to sharing of power, so we will have to do this from the
bottom up. For that to happen, our members need to know what the issue is,
and to begin discussing it among fellow members. Once a consensus is
reached, we need to distill it down to an action plan and make the changes
that are needed. It is my sincere hope that the Board takes note of what
the members decide on this matter, and acts pragmatically to embrace the
changes that will assure responsiveness of the leadership to its members
well into the future. Please, as a fellow enthusiast, I ask that all of you
takes steps to initiate and facilitate the dialogue that needs to occur
across our Club membership.
I am a nobody in this Club - but I've shown the courage to speak out and
challenge the mistreatment of Charles Finney. I also ask you to join me in
demanding his reinstatement. After what he has been through, we should make
him an honorary Club member for life, if he will still have us. We are not
such a big organization that we should all lose our consciences and look the
other way when something like this happens. Let's join together to fix the
mistake that was made, and to make the fixes we need to make sure our Club
reflects who we are and the reasons we joined.
From: Scott K. Lange [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Sunday, January 08, 2012 3:48 PM
Cc: 'email@example.com'; 'firstname.lastname@example.org'; 'email@example.com';
'LMHarley@truvista.net'; 'firstname.lastname@example.org'; 'email@example.com'
Subject: AMCA Articles of Incorporation and By Laws
Dear Mr. Spagnolli,
After reading the recently released articles of incorporation and by laws, I
understand why you and other members of the BOD have ignored my
communications. (Your failure to acknowledge or respond, by the way, is a
violation of the Club policies.) You and the board have absolutely no
accountability but unto yourselves. I find that amazing. It may have
worked in the past, but I think it is time our organization has gotten big
enough that we change things.
Why? Because an organizational structure that has *zero* accountability to
those it governs opens the organization up to a totalitarian regime. Under
the by-laws, it is quite easy to stack the Board with members who will defer
to the President on all matters. When that occurs, there is no provision
for removal or change of regime. The only option is for members to quit or
to wait for the rulers to die of old age.
Without accountability, the BOD has total control of the organization. It
can expel members without cause and there is no manner of challenge. Should
you be challenged, you can ignore it with impunity. If someone sues, you
are fully indemnified by the club, and that is backed by Directors and
Officers Liability insurance. Now that is cozy. Whatever you say goes.
It is possible for such an organization to exist, but it would be
necessarily built on trust. After the lies you printed about Mr. Finney, do
you think you are worthy of trust? There is a good many in this club who
don't think you are. To me, that's a problem. Technically, there is
nothing stopping you and the BOD from making a decision to wind down the
organization and distribute the assets among the directors or anyone else
the BOD selects. If you were sued by the club as a result, you can tender
to the insurer knowing you are indemnified if insurance coverage is limited
or denied. To the extent that you have made the local chapters
sub-organizations of the Club, there is an argument that you could even raid
their assets before winding down.
I understand you are an attorney. That means you are smart enough to
understand what I am saying. You also know the validity of it. I'm sorry,
I don't think many in the Club will want to be serfs in an organization
where you are the Lords with absolute control, including who can be a
member of the Club. My apologies, but in this structure, you might as well
be Saddam Hussein or Joseph Stalin. Anytime anyone disagrees with you, you
can simply crush them with lies and expel them.
I've now had an opportunity to read a number of communications involving the
Finney matter. You guys have messed thing up even worse than I had thought.
You have created the very files necessary to have the lack of accountability
issue resonate across our entire membership. Before it was just about your
abuse of power involving Mr. Finney. Now the story is you can do that to
anyone - and much more - and it isn't abuse because you have ABSOLUTE POWER.
No doubt you will all be reviewing the manual to see what reasons you can
come up with to run me out. As you all see it, to challenge your authority
and to make articulate comments as to why our club more closely resembles
the Kremlin than the Constitution, is probably an offense. Of course, you
won't allow this on the AMCA forum, because you will label it political.
Well, technically it isn't, but I doubt you care. Nor do I. I like a
challenge. Last year I sent FEMA packing, and today I perfected my writ of
mandate compelling one of our poor counties to follow the law. Dealing with
your situation will be a piece of cake in comparison.
I am acting in the best interests of AMCA. Our articles of incorporation
and by laws are flawed and they need to be changed to provide for member
input and leadership accountability. I request that the BOD appoint an
independent committee selected at random from among club members to address
this issue. That process should allow for independent counsel advice
regarding the issues of accountability and should strive to make our by laws
comparable to other comparable associations in this country. The changes
proposed by the committee shall be subject to a vote of the membership and
not made a matter of BOD approval, except to the extent that as members each
member of the BOD shall have one vote. I am happy to volunteer to lead this
committee and I can assure you we will have our work done promptly.
If you reject this suggestion, let me know why. If I don't hear from you,
I'm going to start a digital storm. If the only way the members can get
your attention is to withhold their dues, then that is a possibility. Sure,
you've stacked up resources to weather the storm, but it will have been a
pyrrhic victory. Is the concept of leadership accountability so radical we
should have to explode the club to achieve it?
Time to start a dialogue boys and girls. I appreciate the comments and
support from the un-named traitors among you, but I would like to see
something official and written in response to my writings.
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