To the AU Membership – AU 2016 Convention Update

September 5, 2017
By

 

AU Capture White

Convention Update

To the AU Membership:

We would like to thank those of you who have reached out to the AU regarding the 2016 convention. We know that many of you have questions, and we would like to provide a brief update regarding the status of the AU’s investigation, which is ongoing, and attempts to obtain satisfactory information. As you are or may be aware, earlier this year and not long after the 2016 convention concluded, the AU embarked on a focused effort to obtain full disclosure from the convention chairperson, which included a request for a detailed accounting and supporting documents. That did not occur to the satisfaction of the AU.

  • For the last several decades, the annual AU convention has been managed by local hosts, primarily as a means for the AU membership to come together as race enthusiasts and for the local hosts to raise monies for their respective clubs. The AU does not benefit financially from the convention since the purpose of the convention is to foster camaraderie among those who enjoy the sport of pigeon racing. The AU bylaws allow local AU organizations, such as clubs and combines to submit an application to be selected as a convention host. The duties for the host include, among other things, (and still includes) primary responsibility for securing an appropriate venue for the convention, managing the collection and verification of convention registrations, coordinating activities for flyers and managing payout distribution to race entrants and race handlers. The list of responsibilities and requirements for a convention host are extensive and explicit, and make clear to the host or hosts that they are responsible for running all aspects of the convention under the terms of the contract and in accordance with the AU.
  • Shortly after it became apparent that there were concerns regarding the 2016 convention, the AU board and executive director sought information from the host chairperson to obtain answers. When no satisfactory response was forthcoming, the AU consulted its existing legal counsel, as well as retained special legal counsel in California, AMERICAN RACING PIGEON UNION, INC.P.O. BOX 18465 OKLAHOMA CITY, OK 73154-0465 PH: 405-848-5801 FAX: 405-848-5888 to proactively investigate[s] this matter. The AU, through its counsel, reached out to the attorney for the host chairperson and demanded a detailed accounting. As the AU has previously informed you, what the AU received from the host chairperson was minimally responsive and failed to address the AU concerns or meet the AU’s expectations of the information that it had requested. Neither the host chairperson nor his attorney responded to our follow up requests for further and adequate information.
  • On or around the time the AU was attempting to obtain information from the 2016 host chairperson, the AU learned that a law enforcement investigation had been initiated regarding the 2016 convention. As with many law enforcement investigations, including those concerning financial issues, such an inquiry can take a particularly long time for the investigation to reach a conclusion. In fact, even though the AU understands that the law enforcement investigation was initiated earlier this year, the AU has not been advised that the law enforcement inquiry has concluded. Just like many of you, the AU in no way wishes to encroach on this law enforcement investigation especially since this investigation may assist the AU in bringing any possible wrongdoers to justice. Accordingly, while the law enforcement investigation is underway, and until the AU obtains notification that the law enforcement investigation has reached its final conclusion, the AU will await the outcome of the criminal investigation as we believe that it is in the best interest of the membership to do so. The AU wishes to avoid taking an action that may ultimately hamper the AU’s ability to get to the bottom of what occurred regarding the 2016 convention by encroaching on the law enforcement investigation that was opened regarding the 2016 convention.
  • Along these same lines, approximately two months ago, the AU was contacted by a law firm that indicated that it represented some “participants” of the 2016 convention. Similar to the AU’s concern about the apparent pending criminal investigation, the possibility of civil litigation also prevents the AU from providing detailed information at this time.

While criminal consequences can be quite serious and necessitate clear proof of wrongdoing, civil litigation also has significant consequences. While the AU recognizes that it is a source off restoration for the AU, it’s Board and most critically, the membership, the AU worked hard to obtain satisfactory information regarding the 2016 convention from the host chairperson. We are hopeful that the AU membership understands that limitations that have now been placed on the AU due to these apparent ongoing criminal investigation and civil litigation matter of which the AU has been made aware of. Once these matters have concluded the AU can make more information available with the membership. Until that time, the AU has now been placed in a position where it must respect the seriousness of the pending criminal and civil matters and to ensure that it does not take steps to jeopardize either. Like you, the AU hopes for a quick resolution but ensuring that the resolution is a proper one must be foremost. Just as the criminal investigation must take its course, which may be longer than some may desire, it is far better for the AU membership that the AU act with a determined level headedness that will ensure the longevity of our great organization and stay focused on its mission.

Generations of pigeon racing enthusiast of all ages have enjoyed our sport, and the AU is proud that it has been on the forefront of bringing our community together to do so. The AU is committed to ensuring that what occurred in 2016 does not happen again and that the unfortunate events remain an anomaly.

As the AU and the membership await the conclusion of the criminal investigation and the possible civil matter, the AU asks for your continued patience in light of these issues since we know that most of you share in the mission of the organization. Again, it is the AU’s belief that while obtaining quick answers is desirable; getting the proper result is always preferred.

AU 1

AU 2AU 3

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4 Responses to To the AU Membership – AU 2016 Convention Update

  1. Asswipe on September 5, 2017 at 5:13 pm

    Wow, just trying to jerk us around again, Get ride of two officer in the AU Tom “No good for nothing” Coletti and Karen Clifton.

  2. John Vance on September 5, 2017 at 9:05 pm

    First of all, it is not the AU that the members have a problem with it is the AU board, who gave the convention to an inexperienced un-elected brand new AU Director, with no real experience in the sport, who appointed his wife, brother, his brother’s wife and his best friend as the Convention Committee, and then took the money.

    Even when the board was warned in February of 2016 that Kamal Hindi did not have an Affiliate Organization sponsoring him and as such could not host the convention, the board still did nothing, protecting their fellow board member at the expense of hundreds of breeders and handlers who for lack of AU board accountability resulted in about $200,000 in unpaid capital prizes.

    There is no criminal investigation and there is no civil case either. But the AU Board sure wants you to think there are. The local California police did take complaints, months ago, from unpaid convention handlers, with the 395 concourse, but the police decided months ago not to go forward with an investigation. This is all just “smoke blowing” by the board that is under immense pressure, because it did not award the convention to an AU affiliate organization as required by AU Policy 300, Any excuse they can come up with, is all they have.

    So, 16+ months after Steve Whitmer (the Whistle Blower) challenged AU Zone Director Kamal Hindi, as not being authorized by an AU Affiliate Organization, to host a convention; we find that approx. $200,000 is still missing, the AU board has not disciplined a single 2016 AU Convention Committee member, neither Kamal, his wife, his brother, the wife of his brother or his best friend. Also,the AU board, has not disciplined nor even investigated, the two convention race secretaries for violating AU race rules and “not” flying the convention race according to AU race rules (According to Mark Karges, and many handlers who were present at the basketing). However, we do see that the only person the AU has gone after, is Steve Whitmer (the Whistle Blower), whom they succeeded in expelling from the AU. Well, at least they have their priorities straight.

    The sky is not falling, there is no civil case, there is no criminal case. But it makes a good story and is a good excuse for the AU board to not doing anything.

    The thing is the board violated the AU contract and gave the convention to someone who should not have been let within 50 miles of that money, and guess what, he walked away with the money. Who could have seen that? Maybe the handlers back in February of 2016 (10 months before the convention) that warned the board and especially President Tom Coletti, that there was no oversight organization (club, combine or concourse) in authority over Kamal Hindi, his wife, his brother, his brother’s wife and his best friend. But those handlers were ignored and all the money went bye bye!!!

  3. Ron Whitmer on September 5, 2017 at 9:17 pm

    So we get more of the same from the AU home office, it is everybody else’s fault that we have been able to do nothing. Which is absolutely un true, as every member of the 2016 Convention committee and race committee’s should have been placed at a minimum on suspension pending the outcome of a full and complete investigation. As thins sit right now the 2 year limitation for the AU to penalize someone for wrong doing will be long past before they lift a finger. Or a new board will be in place and state what occurred happened during the last boards tenure so they do not have to lift a finger. point is again everyone will point the finger at someone else and nothing will ever be done to those who apparently took (stole) approximately $200,000 in capital prizes and calcutta moneys that should have been paid out. Instead the only people who have been penalized are the ones who first raised the red flag saying there was a problem. GREAT GOING GUYS, HOW ABOUT YOU ACTUALLY TAKE ACTION AND DO SOMETHING!

  4. John Vance on September 8, 2017 at 6:08 pm

    I wonder how much it cost the board to send out that letter. I know that Ron Whitmer, would have split the postage with the AU board, if they would have put the recall petition (of Tom Coletti, Jay Holder and Ron Pairan) in the envelope.

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