Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Continuing the Flores Dialog


Mr. Flores made the claim that USCF sued Polgar before Polgar sued USCF. I responded with a chronology showing who was made a party to the lawsuit when. I further propounded the proposition that who sued who first was the important issue, compared to the relative merits of the claims.

Mr. Flores simply dismisses my comments as "semantics and legalese." If I had moved my e pawn two squares on its first move, one wonders if he would accuse me of being a rules lawyer. Seriously, I have no idea what he is talking about. This ain't rocket science.

Mr. Flores completely ignores my comment about the dispute being of minimal importance. (Hi there boys and girls, can you say "Red Herring?" Sure you can.)

Mr. Flores goes into a lengthy anti-Goichberg diatribe, that really doesn't have a ton of relevance to the issue at hand. I like a good anti-Goichberg diatribe as well as the next man: I supported Tom Dorsch. However, I am not going to let personalities overcome the evidence. I would also point out that Mr. Flores is trying to pretend that Goichberg is the only actor here. (Not so much.)

1. For his first paragraph, Mr. Flores quotes a portion of the USCF's complaint in December of 2008, and tries to infer that it has some relevance to what USCF knew in July of 2008. I have to admit that the logic escapes me.

2. For his second point, Mr. Flores points out that he doesn't believe Mr. Goichberg's claimed surprise at the August 08 lawsuit was real, given the cease and desist letter from Polgar's attorney. Perhaps he shouldn't have been surprised, but people get surprised all the time by things that seem obvious in retrospect. Furthermore, even if Goichberg was being disingenuous on that point, that doesn't mean that other acts done by the USCF were undertaken in bad faith.

3. Flores then quotes a pleading from Gregory Alexander regarding the investigation of the Fake Sam Sloan matter by Mottershead. Although Flores's post leaves the impression that the words were spoken by Alexander, the quote was actually from Brian Mottershead. The quote indicates that Hall and Goichberg were aware of, and encouraged, Mottershead's investigation.

So what?

A USCF volunteer discovers that a USCF EB member may be behind anonymous posts on the internet which could cause USCF serious legal trouble. The volunteer isn't supposed to tell the ED and the President? The ED and President are supposed to ignore the information? Mr. Flores completely fails to appreciate the astronomical potential liabilities that could arise if the a board member was posting the kind of defamatory, offensive, and otherwise repulsive screed that the FSS was posting on a regular basis. Had Hall and Goichberg stuck their heads in the sand, the resulting legal nightmare would have dwarfed the current litigation. To ignore Mottershead's findings would have been the height of irresponsibility. To criticize Goichberg and Hall for acting on the information presented to them is like criticizing a fireman for damaging a burning building while fighting a fire.

4. Mr. Flores's point 4 is that he doesn't trust Goichberg. Mr. Flores seems to be under the delusion that Goichberg completely controls the EB. Again, he is pretending that all the actors who have opposed Polgar are mere puppets on Goichberg's strings. Not so much. If Goichberg really controlled the USCF, the organization would never have moved to Tennessee. Goichberg fought very hard against the move, and publicly criticized the decision after it had been made. The remaining board members (which included Randy Bauer) won that fight.

Next Point: Polgar's $1 settlement offer is illusory.

I pointed out that Ms. Polgar's $1 settlement offer to USCF is illusory because it does not include the officers and directors. (It's like offering to settle with me, but continuing to sue my wife -- my house is at risk either way.)

Mr. Flores's response to this is as follows:

The offer of the settlement is public record and I believe remains on the table still today. The fact he is hiding behind his fiduciary duty to the members is crap - the members he has failed and whose privacy he allegedly violated?!

In response:

a. The fact that the offer is public record does not make it any less illusory. In fact, the fact that offer was made publicly is consistent with my point that the "offer" is worthless grandstanding.

b. A corporate officer's right to indemnification has nothing to do with his fiduciary duties. You are confusing your concepts here.

c. Goichberg's alleged invasions of privacy (and I'd have to guess what you are talking about here) don't have anything to do with the issue under discussion -- whether the settlement offer is illusory.

Next Point: The redacted document does not exonerate Polgar or Alexander.

In my post, I explained in some detail why the redacted document doesn't prove what Mr. Flores and others claim it proves. Mr. Flores's response is to repeat his original statement, which is the debating equivalent of sticking your fingers in your ears and loudly proclaiming LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA.

If you have a critique of my points -- fine, but I am not going to bother to further rebut regurgitated statements that completely ignore the points I made.

Last point addressing my original posts: In order for their to be a bribe, there needs to be a quid pro quo -- which there wasn't.

In addressing the allegations of bribery, I was pointed out the lack of quid pro quo. Mr. Flores goes into the definition of bribery, which includes the requirement of a quid pro quo. See the repeated phrase "as a consideration for". I pointed out that evidence of a quid pro quo was lacking. Indeed, the quoted emails stated that "You wouldn't owe Bill anything." Mr. Flores ignored my point.

Mr. Flores brings up a number of additional subjects.

Much has been made about the fiduciary duty of Polgar and Truong - what about the fiduciary duty of the remaining board members?

All EB members have fiduciary duties. What's your point?

With declining numbers and already busted budgets can we afford settlements of $25 million, one million or attorney's fees of half or three-quarters of million? Putting aside the California and Texas cases, was the Illinois case wise and necessary? I submit it is beneficial to the attorneys but not the membership for whom the entire executive board has an obligation to uphold.

We can't afford the legal fees. Then again, what is the price of inaction. If Paul Truong is, in fact, the FSS, and he continues to spew his garbage while a board member, then the USCF faced massive potential liabilities. Having lawyers is very expensive. Not having lawyers when you need them is very, very, very expensive.

Actually, in a previous post, I gave an evaluation of the relative wisdom of the various actions here.

What about violations of the open meetings act? Most states have procedures governing the conduct of public meetings and consider it a violation of those laws if two or more members meet (and it does not have to be in person) to discuss official business. How may violations of the this law were there?

Open meetings acts apply only to governmental entities. USCF is not a governmental entity, it is a not-for-profit corporation. Those laws have no application to USCF.

Is the intimidation and threat of lawsuits against delegates in their upcoming meeting an exercise or violation of their fiduciary duties?

First of all, I thought the claim that that particular forum post was a threat of litigation was exaggerated and silly. Also, the person who made the post has no official office with USCF whatsoever.

Was the "meeting" to discuss the creation of the Chairmanship for Polgar a violation? I submit it was all a charade to get Polgar and Truong to go along for the good of the USCF while they were "developing" a scheme for her demise long before she took office.

Violaton of what? Open meetings laws? They don't apply? The remainder of this paragraph is, in my opinion, wild conjecture.

Would the demise of the USCF benefit or damage the Continental Chess Association?
USCF's demise would probably hurt the CCA. If Bill Goichberg were really wanting to destroy the USCF, he could easily have done so early in this decade. USCF was completely broke, and the only reason they didn't have to declare bankruptcy was that Bill Goichberg prepaid for a bunch of advertising, which gave USCF the cash to keep the doors open.

Apologies to all readers for the unwieldy length of this post. Mr. Flores, if you have additional points you wish to make, I would welcome further commentary. For that matter, anyone is welcome to chip in.

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