Questions Surround 2016 AU Convention.

February 28, 2017
By

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Unfortunately, this convention will likely be remembered as the worst convention in living memory. Right from the beginning, it was apparent there were problems with the host organization’s ability to organize and manage an event of this magnitude.  This was evident in the failure to recruit and or accept volunteer help, ever- changing contractual terms with vendors, confusion relating to guest speakers and auction donations were abundant, and there were difficulties with collecting entry fees and distributing birds to handlers. It seems as though the most egregious problem was that the 2016 convention (as of this post, 2016 AU Convention website is still active) was awarded to sitting AU Zone Director Kamal Hindi–apparently without the AU verifying whether the hosting organization was capable or even legitimate.

Three months in, red flags were going up everywhere and led to serious concerns being voiced by handlers, breeders, and AU members.  During that time most of the committee members had resigned and all the convention duties fell to Mr. Hindi, the convention chairman. Offers of help by handlers or other area members were reportedly refused by Mr. Hindi, according to Tom Coletti, AU President.

Reports stemming from shipping night for the final race concerned many participants was reported that Mr. Hindi had little to no help and shipping went into the wee hours of the morning. Additionally, there was confusion after the race about an overall winner vs. just section winners and no ‘unofficial’ results were made public. It wasn’t until December 12th, three days after the final race, that the Loft Report published cell phone pictures of the ‘unofficial’ results providing the first opportunity for breeders and handlers to have their first look at results. Final results were posted to the convention site much later.

The auction of donations birds and race winners also apparently had issues.  Many birds did not sell from either auction but were listed as selling on iPigeon.com. Records of birds selling live vs online have not been produced and the real total of each auction is not clear.

At this point, we know the convention seems to have been a complete cluster. After tremendous pressure, the AU national office has intervened on behalf of convention race and auction participants because prize checks for breeders and handlers have either not gone out, are short, and/or are bouncing. Not all those owed money have received it, including monies owed to breeders from the race and donation bird auctions that were held on Ipigeon.com.

Since the AU has now intervened, Mr. Kamal has resigned as the Pacific AU Zone Director and American Racing Pigeon Union (AU) attorneys have formally requested a full accounting of all convention proceeds, receipts, and expenditures. At this time, Mr. Kamal is not cooperating with the AU; all attempts by the Loft Report to contact Mr. Kamal have not been returned.  Karen Clifton, AU Executive Director, has been informing participants that the AU is currently taking legal action against Mr. Kamal.

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Pacific Zone Director position formally held by Kamal Hindi.

 

As of this week, Ms. Clifton, has informed Fred Smeltzer, owner of iPigeon.com, to hold payment for all race and donation bird auctions until the AU notifies him to do so.  Speaking with Mr. Smeltzer today, he assures the Loft Report that all proceeds  iPigeon.com collected from these auction (iPigeon.com only collected payment for those birds bought online with a credit card. Cash or check sales were collected by Mr. Kamal) are accounted for and will be paid in full once he is directed by the AU to release payment(s).

The AU at this time is working to resolve the issues and come to some final conclusion for participants. Any questions about payments owed should be directed to the AU national office.

 

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12 Responses to Questions Surround 2016 AU Convention.

  1. Akzona Loft on February 28, 2017 at 2:34 pm

    The AU Convention has and will always be a great gathering for our national organisation. My self this is a most unfortunate circumstances for the AU and it’s members. I’m sure the AU will get this all resolved and the sooner the better, and move on for the upcoming convention.
    I have attended many AU conventions meeting and making many new friends while attending them, many have been ran with great professionalism.
    In 2002 our three clubs at the time hosted the AU Convention. It takes allot of coronation for everyone involved to put on such a event. We put on a 5 loft race and I might say it was successful. Crazy Al & Joan who put so much into this event, guest speakers from Europe and helping with the 5 lofts to make sure the health was good from the get go and we thank them both.
    I wish all the best in hosting the future AU conventions.

  2. John Vance on February 28, 2017 at 3:35 pm

    You have only just scratched the surface, the repercussions from this are still playing out. The AU board stuck by Kamal, for way to long (I guess, they were being loyal to a fellow Director).

    The 395 Concourse race secretary spoke up at a handler’s meeting hosted by the committee, about whether the convention committee was even eligible under the AU’s own policies and procedures. He was thrown out of the meeting and banned from participating in the convention. His brother, a local police officer spoke up for him and he also was thrown out and banned. There were hard words spoken even cursing, but all of this came about because of Kamal not allowing criticism of how he ran the convention or whether he was even allowed under the AU’s own policies and procedures to host the convention.

    When all the handlers, saw the two bothers thrown out and banned, that pretty much silenced any future discussion about how the committee was handling the convention events.

    Most of the handlers and officers of the clubs, just waited until the race was over before speaking up out of fear of reprisals. However, they had to wait even longer to speak up because their handler checks may well be in jeopardy.

    The AU board out of loyalty, I guess, decided to stick by Kamal’s version of what was happening, and there just was no oversight from any club or combine. And like I said, no one wanted the same outcome as the 395 concourse race secretary and is brother received, when they asked the hard questions. So, opposition was silenced and a bad situation just got worse.

    But don’t think, that it all stopped with the convention. Kamal and one of his committee members who was also president of the 395 concourse, and a race secretary, who was under a cloud of suspicion concerning possible manipulating of her club’s race results (according the the 395 race secretary). She was also, I am told one of the race secretaries who calculated the convention race’s results, and she took 1st, 2nd, 7th, 8th and 9th and most of the money in her section). These three managed to get the 395 race secretary suspended by the AU.

    People are so pissed at the AU’s handling of the race secretary’s situation that one club is not flying this OB season, in protest. The driver who hauls the concourse’s birds, refuses to haul the birds anymore, the guy who allowed the concourse to use his building for meetings, told them not to come back, some concourse members are starting a new club to fly with the other combine, etc.

    So, like I said, the fallout from the convention, is not confined to the convention, but has spilt over into the 395 concourse and will affect racing in the area for years.

    I and many others, have petitioned the AU with our letters and emails, asking that they vacate their suspension of the 395 race secretary, and re-open the complaint against him, only this time giving “equal” weight to those who spoke in his defense and only equal weight to those; Kamal, Byrd (fellow convention committee member) and Stork (supposedly one of the people who calculated the convention race results).

    With the new information the AU now has about the convention committee, there seems to be at least enough questions, to reopen the case and re-interview the witnesses (or interview additional witnesses), with the understanding that there may have been some motivation by Kamal, Byrd and Stork, not known to the investigator when he made his earlier recommendation of “probation”, to the AU board.

    Just one person’s opinion.

  3. Don Lowe on February 28, 2017 at 5:25 pm

    I bought a bird in the auction. I paid for it. I got the bird. It is bull shit they are not paying the Guests from Europe. The AU allowed this shit show to happen they should buck up. The AU proclaims to be the leaders of our sport in the USA. The European’s that the convention charman bring in for the auction exspect that it is going to be a first rate event. After all it is run under the Banner AU convention. The AU should pay off the European guest pronto and hope to be properly reimbursed. It totally unfair to hold back their money while the AU cleans up its mess.If they would have done their due diligence this would not have happened. They very fact that Kamal is not cooperating is very disturbing. How could the rest of the AU board been so fooled. This is a black eye on our National organization.

  4. Tom Fremont on March 1, 2017 at 12:40 am

    Perhaps with future Conventions…the AU should be more involved with a distinct “Oversight Committee” that plays a larger role in the pre-convention planning, the On-Site convention itself, and the post convention payouts. Personally I thought this years Convention was a disgrace and an embarrassment… I entered five birds and the communication sucked !! To this day I still have no idea how my pigeons did. It makes me very hesitant to enter birds into future conventions until I’m assured that there will be many improvements. I would ask the AU to consider what I said and initiate an oversight committee. Tom Fremont ….

  5. RONALD C WHITMER on March 1, 2017 at 3:15 pm

    John my brother and I were thrown out for questioning who the members of the convention committee were. Interestingly Kamal Hindi repeatedly stated “what did it matter” when asked who the members were. Only later after we were thrown out as handlers for asking did Kamal admit the committee consisted of Kamal and his wife, Kamals brother Redwon (Joe) Hindi his wife and Mike bird. All members of this committee should receive equal punishment for what has occurred by the AU!

  6. RONALD C WHITMER on March 2, 2017 at 5:49 pm

    Just a further update, It is being rumored that Mike Byrd the Co Chair and acting co race secretary for the 2016 AU Race is telling everyone he washed his hands of any involvement with the 2016 AU race. In part this was how he was able to convince enough 395 clubs to vote him in as the current race secretary. Funny that this is occurring after he obtained a brand new Dodge Ram truck that he drove to the convention race in and that is still sitting in his driveway. The other co race secretaries were Kamal Hindi and Martha Delgado Stork (aka Ramos). In the past as race secretaries the race secretary(s) had to maintain copies of all race data for at least one. Interesting that I am hearing that the AU Board cannot obtain any back files for the Race from Hindi as that information may be in Byrd’s or Storks possession. As I stated before all the players to include all acting race secretaries and convention committee members should be held equally responsible for this fiasco.

  7. C.L. GAGE on March 3, 2017 at 11:42 am

    IT WILL ALL GET SWEPT UNDER THE RUG. AU HAS ALWAYS OPERATED UNDER A CLOUD OF SECRECY. THEY SHOULD HAVE BEEN ON TOP OF THIS FROM THE BEGINNING AND THIS COULD NOT HAVE HAPPENED. THEY SHOULD BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE UNTIL THEY STRAIGHTEN IT OUT
    WITH HOST CLUB ETC.

  8. RONALD C WHITMER on March 6, 2017 at 2:46 pm

    Hi Gage, part of the problem was that there was no home club responsible for overseeing the AU race. Hindi is in fact a “salesman” in his private life. Hindi sold a bill of goods to the Board and they ran with it because of the last minute change due to out breaks last year on the east coast. The problem comes in that there was no oversight of any kind and as a board member himself he was able to steer any serious inquiries other directions other than towards himself, other members of the 2016 AU race committee and race secretaries.It wasn’t enough for him to throw my brother and I out as handlers, he had to try and discredit us as well(especially my brother as he caught Stork red handed manipulating EBSS Data. This was why the above mentioned Stork (read earlier posts) filed a bogus AU complaint. A complaint that Hindi controlled at least in part and that if the AU does the right thing will be totally overturned against my brother. There are other remedies available as well but as yet my brother dosn’t want to go there (I.E. sue the current AU board over improprieties concerning the ruling against him). Of course this will end up being just one of many lawsuits over the 2016 AU race.

    Gage you are right about one thing however the entire AU board should be held responsible for the lack of oversight on the 2016 race. Not just the 2016 AU Chairman (Hindi) his family, Mike Byrd and the co race secretary Martha Delgado Stork. Perhaps the easiest way to remedy this is to remember this race when it comes time for the AU Board member to be reelected.

  9. Roland Gutierrez on March 14, 2017 at 9:32 am

    I don’t know why the AU is complaining. They had a perfectly good Pacific zone director in Bill Barger and ran him off so Kamal Hindi could take over and do the convention. Which Kamal did for the AU. Had the AU done a better job of overseeing their convention, this situation would not exist.

  10. Roland Gutierrez on March 14, 2017 at 10:05 am

    Just got off the phone with Jelle. He tells me that neither he nor his uncle Walter Roziers have been paid for their birds that were auctioned off at the convention. Also I was appalled when Jelle told me that he was not only out the money for his birds but also $275 registration fee. Are you kidding me! The speaker travels half way around the world to do a seminar for you and you charge him a registration fee. Jelle said it was his understanding that the AU has taken over and sorting things out. I hope they will work expeditiously to resolve this problem. This whole thing is making the US pigeon organization look bad.

  11. RONALD C WHITMER on March 19, 2017 at 2:10 am

    To Everyone:

    Especially those who participated in the 2016 AU race ether as a breeder or handler.

    I recently received a notice from someone claiming to be a Lawyer here in Southern California that claims to have been retained by Kamal Hindi. Basically I am being threatened for bringing out the truth about what was going on regarding the 2016 AU race and Hindi’s involvement in said race. I suspect at this time there is somewhere between $350,000 to $500,000 that is unaccounted for from this race. As of this time the exact number is unknown as Hindi has refused to summit any financial documentation to the AU home office for revue as required by the Host of a convention race. Understand everything I have stated to date can be proven!

    I was threatened that if I do not cease and desist my comments and in the future send any comments directly to this Lawyer that I could be sued for liable. Considering that what Hindi and others have done to my brother and I pales in comparison to what Hindi and his compatriots engaged in against us…. Well I don’t scare.

    I suspect that Hindi is now using this Lawyer to engage in intimidation of anyone who has said or says anything he does not like in the future. I also suspect that anyone he owes money to is having their winning with held unless they sign away their rights to sue Hindi and the 2016 race committee. Essentially they are engaging with threatening anyone with a lawsuit who has information regarding the actions of Kamal Hindi, his brother Redone (Joe) Hindi, Mike Byrd, Martha Delgado Stork (AKA Ramos) or any other member of the 2016 race committee who may be called as witness against him as part of numerous AU complaints.

    As I said to this lawyer I welcome his lawsuit as my brother and I will counter sue over the
    actions of Hindi and company.

    Everyone (handlers and breeders) if you are staying quite in the hopes of receiving your promised payouts, well you need to read the front cover of the March 15th edition of the Racing Pigeon Digest. I suspect your living a pipe dream if you think you will ever receive payment in full from this race by those involved.

    In conclusion my question is simple; who else among you, especially the handlers and breeders have received similar threats of a lawsuit if you talk to anyone other than Hindi’s lawyer regarding what you are owed?

    If you have been threatened in this manor or similar manor, I would suggested several courses of action;
    1)contact your local police and request a criminal report be completed regarding the threats.
    2)Yes it does not rise to the level of terrorist threats but it is a threat non the less and should
    be documented as such.
    3)file a complaint with the AU home office, this will require you to pay a 50.00 fee to get the complaint heard. However the more similar complaints against Hindi and company, the less likely the AU will cut a deal with him to make this all go away.

    Lastly please send me a report number from your local police department (listing department, date and report number) along with copies of your face page for your AU Complaint. You can send this information to whitmer1rc@live.com. I am compiling this information for two reasons, first the AU should be filing a criminal complaint against Hindi and company for grand theft and embezzlement and these actions by Hindi will only support such a criminal filing. The second reason is for the possibility of filing a class action lawsuit against Hindi and the entire 2016 race committee.

  12. BFL on March 23, 2017 at 11:39 am

    Time to drain the swamp!!

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