Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Flores Finale

I had planned on posting a response to Mr. Flores sooner, but then I took my own advice and got a bit more of a life and got out some.

If Mr. Flores choses not to come back, that is his privilege; however, he is still authorized to post here whenever or if ever the mood strikes him.

While I am always pleased to be called intelligent, articulate and clever, I was somewhat vexed by his claim that I ignored his questions or the facts. Given the length to which I went to address his various points, I am hard pressed to see what I ignored. I did decline to repeat responses to repetitious argument, but that hardly seems to fit his description. Oh well.

Mr. Flores leaves the floor because neither of us was likely to be swayed by further discussion. True enough, I suppose, but that ignores the other readers who may actually have been following the discussion. I have had the modest hope that the discussion on this blog would be helpful to lurkers in formulating their opinions.

I am somewhat puzzled by Mr. Flores assertion that there are at least seven lawsuits. I know of six, all of which were discussed by Bill Hall in the litigation update. If Mr. Flores (or anyone else) could advise me of the seventh, I would appreciate it.

Mr. Flores complains that the USCF updates do not include references to the "doctored" evidence, or the alleged bribery. Leaving aside that the allegations are, to put it kindly, overstated (as I have discussed repeatedly), USCF, as a party to the litigation, can hardly be expected to act as an advocate for a person who is suing it. Further, the summary is, just that, a summary and can not be expected to be exhaustive.

Speaking of exhausive, I am currently exhausted and will now call it an evening.

Good night.

Please don't forget to vote for the candidate of your choice.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

USCF Litigation Dialog

First, it should be noted I may have been a fool to accept Mr. Deer's invitation to be a contributor on this blog. I give him props for he is intelligent, articulate and clever. That said, how can one expect to win a fair debate when the host simply ignores the question and/or the facts? Nonetheless, I do appreciate your invitation and generous offer - thank you!

It appears Mr. Deer is willing to dedicate more time to trivial matters and discount the more pressing issues. Thus, the reason for my non-responsiveness to his June 1st post. Furthermore, because it seems we are unable to sway or be swayed, there is little incentive to continue this dialog. Accordingly, I hope to make this my final post here and return to the important projects I have neglected, i.e., chess camp, etc.)

With respect to your June 1, 2009 post, I admit to inadvertently naming Goichberg when I should have referred to Hall, at least, as it relates to the updates. That said, it is clear to me they both want Polgar out; possibly for smiliar and/or different reasons. Accordingly, it does not matter who you associate with the carefully worded updates; whether it is Hall, Goichberg or both. They have both done it, if not in Chess Life and USCF website, then in mail-outs and by other means.

Furthermore, I recognize and admit there are multiple parties involved (I refer to my use of the terms "gang" and "et. al."). My reference to "Goichberg" does not infer he is acting alone, but instead, refers to his role as leader (if not in plotting, at the very least, as head of the organization). Whether they are all on good or speaking terms with one another is irrelevant. Similarly, to portray them all as adversarial to each other or political opponents is misleading (I introduce Lafferty's withdrawn candidacy and subsequent endorsement of Goichberg as proof.). Anyone with an objective mind can clearly see they are all working to oust Polgar and Troung.

Regarding the updates, I submit the sum of some parts do not equate to the sum of the whole. Even those cases where we are receiving updates, they fail to provide critical information, thus, failing to meet the lower standard of the sum of some parts. I have always asserted they were "measured" but that does not mean they are complete nor accurate. Regarding the question of who filed first, we can continue to debate the merits of both sides, or not (I prefer the latter). The fact remains, June comes before August in the calendar and all the debate in the world will not change that. Shall we consider this point a draw and defer to the three different courts where this issue is now being considered?

In my view, Chess Life and the USCF website updates are incomplete and inaccurate because they fail to list all of the lawsuits (I understand there are at least seven suits), and if they are all listed, fail to provide critical information which members have a right to know. For example, they fail to mention the authority by which the two suits (CA and IL) were filed. They fail to mention Polgar and Truong's request and denial for indemnification, its abuse of process and violation of USCF Bylaws in said denial. The updates fail to inform of the alleged doctoring of evidence introduced in filed pleadings and the alleged bribery which may have been presented to the courts.

If, for no other reason, it is inaccurate because it misleads members into believing the four-day week was brought about by the Polgar suit. That is unfair, untrue and propaganda in its truest form. You asked about propaganda so let us begin with Merriam-Webster's definition:
Spreading of ideas, information, or rumor for the purpose of helping or injuring an institution, a cause, or a person; ideas, facts, or allegations spread deliberately to further one's cause or to damage an opposing cause.
Accordingly, the overt and covert actions by Goichberg, et. al., to harm, slander and portray her as the villian is inaccurate, unjust and in fact propaganda. I have received multiple mail-outs by Goichberg, the latest of which contained three full and double-sided pages of propaganda. Due to the length of this post I will only address two points from said mail-out.

  1. The second sentence of the fourth paragraph from Goichberg's letter reads, "Polgar has long insisted that the USCF investigation of misconduct by Troung be dropped and threatened a lawsuit should this not happen, and finally carried out her threat." Yet Goichberg's public statement issued Nov. 17, 2008 claims, "Ms. Polgar gave no advance warning of the lawsuit."
  2. The second point is derived from a full page with the following heading, "Statement by Randy Bauer". The fifth paragraph reads, "There have been a lot of misrepresentations about the state of the USCF. Susan Polgar's website has been the source of claims about the USCF financial condition that are at best only a partial truth. The USCF has, like many not-for-profit organizations, seen a decline in membership during this very difficult economy - families across the country do not have a as much mony to spend on recreational activities. That said, the USCF has run remarkably close to budget all year long on the revenue side and has held normal expenses in check as well. The single biggest financial issue the USCF has faced - and will continue to face - are lawsuits where the USCF and Susan Polgar are adverse parties."
Why is Bauer's statement important? It is carefully worded so as not to be caught in a lie and thus, his concession, "...are at best only a partial truth." Goichberg and Hall would have you believe all of Polgar's statements and deeds are false and evil. Secondly, he points to the failing economy as a contributing factor to the USCF's financial woes. Finally, and more importantly, Bauer concedes the "single biggest financial issue" are the lawsuits (plural) where "the USCF and Susan Polgar are adverse parties". Polgar's suit is sandwiched by the first and third suits filed by the USCF.

Now let me check the math; the USCF files two suits, Polgar one, and yet she is blamed for the financial woes? That is fuzzy math and logic. The organization's insurance indemnifies the USCF and board against the Polgar suit so the financial woes must have skyrocketed by the hundreds of thousands paid to the USCF's attorney for the suits (plural) they initiated.

As closure to the financial woes issue I submit two USCF forums posts; one made by "Artichoke" and the other by Goichberg:
"artichoke wrote:
Mike, as I said in another thread, we must not show weakness. At this time, to fail to develop a potential winning line of attack because of additional legal expense is penny wise and pound foolish in my opinion. If we can remove this cancerous presence on our EB, a member who is suing the USCF, we should have the operation even if it's more expensive than pain pills.

"chessoffice wrote:
Our lawsuit in Illinois appear a more promising way to remove both Polgar and Truong. A speciall meeting might fail to have a quorum, might fail to pass the desired motion even if there is quorum, and even if the motion passed there would likely be a legal challenge. Also, the suggested motion would not remove Truong. -- Bill Goichberg
I decline the bonus points, indeed all debate points, in exchange for you and others to open your eyes to what is happening. Lest I be accused of the same, I submit I do not agree with everything Polgar says or does. That is NOT reason enough, however, to defame, slander, intimidate, harass and goat her into a lawsuit. That was idiotic. Worst yet, filing the third lawsuit (second by the USCF) really takes the cake. Oh what the heck, the members will buy the BS and pay.

Plogar's courage, grit and determination should be applauded because she truly does have the best interest of the USCF at heart. As a regular member, tournament director and chess organizer, that is important to me and thus, the reason I have weighed in on this tragedy caused by the rogue board.

This post is lengthy enough I will not cover the other points as they are prima facie issues.

For those that truly wish to salvage what is left of the USCF, I challenge you to vote your conscious and be ready to withstand the intimidation and parliamentary maneuvers that will surely follow.

I have not yet received my ballot even though my neighbor received it last week. A coincidence? Possibly.

This political mess has permeated the USCF long before Polgar arrived on the scene and will continue if we allow it. The heavy lifting has been done but Polgar can not do it alone.

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Thank you for your indulgence and for taking action!

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.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Welcome Mr. Flores

First of all, I would like to welcome John Flores (aka MorfeoKnight) as a poster to the blog. He was kind enough to post a response to my critique of his litigation webpage.

He makes numerous points that merit further discussion.  I will start with this post, but will continue with the rest at a later date.  There are two reasons for this:

The discussion is getting sufficiently lengthy that a full discussion would be unwieldy and, perhaps more importantly, I've had a long day and want to get to bed at a decent hour.

My first point was as to the statements in chess life, and by Mr. Goichberg on his own website.  Mr. Flores had the following comments:

Point 1. Goichberg has no choice but to be measured and appear to be fair and forthcoming. However, the record reflects that he has been anything but the opposite and disparaged the opposition to diverge attention from his failure and shortcomings.

Point 2. I do not question Goichberg's posting on his site but rather object to the inappropriate and incompleteness of the updates in Chess Life and the USCF website. I do admit to being called into action after seeing the post on the Chicago Open site. Yes I was aware that he own CCA and he has a right to post on it what he wishes - he receives no opposition from me for having done so. I do, however, passionately object to his use of Chess Life and the USCF website for propaganda.

First of all, I would note that, in his Point 1, Mr. Flores changes the subject from Mr. Hall's statements (links here and here) to Mr. Goichberg. Despite complaints by Mr. Flores and the Fine Folks at ChessDiscussion.com, no one has ever pointed out any specific language in Mr. Hall's Chess Life statements that was unfair. The floor is still open, but the silence, both here and at chess discussion, has been deafening.

Secondly, Mr. Flores, throughout his response, treats all the entities on the opposite side of the litigation from GM Polgar as if they were Bill Goichberg. That just isn't appropriate. There is a wide cast of characters in this litigation, many of whom are not allies of Bill Goichberg. Lafferty and Mottershead are running against Goichberg for the EB.

Finally, for this evening anyway, Mr. Flores makes the claim that the USCF website and Chess Life have printed propaganda for Mr. Goichberg. I would be greatly obliged if Mr. Flores (or anyone else for that matter) can point to anything on the website (other than the forums) or in Chess Life that is "propaganda." Bonus points if you explain why you believe it to be propaganda.