3 -- LAB Reform's message to LAB Board


Note:  We sent the message below to all twelve members of the LAB board on Dec. 17, 2005.  We have not yet received a reply from the board nor have we received an acceptable reply from Michael Greehan.  However, we are not making the Press Release publicly available so long as there is no further escalation.

A new threat to the League and its reputation

Board members have told us they are concerned about damage to the reputation of the League from information given on the LAB Reform web site.  We have even been accused of harming the League.  However, we are actually the reporters --- not the creators of bad news.  The damage has actually been caused by inappropriate behavior by certain League officials.

Now there is a new development that could be even more embarrassing to the League as well as certain persons affiliated with the League.

Much more embarrassment for the League
Three members of LAB Reform (Hoffman, Oswald, Schubert) have been threatened with a potential lawsuit by an attorney named Randall T. Greehan that alleges we have made defamatory statements about Michael Greehan.  This claim is completely false.  The information we have provided on LAB Reform is, to the best of our knowledge, entirely truthful or it is our reasonable opinion based on truthful information.  Indeed some of this information was written by Mr. Greehan himself. You can see the letter that makes these unfounded claims at http://www.labreform.org/greehan.pdf.

If legal action is actually initiated, we will vigorously defend ourselves from all malicious charges.  In addition, if the conditions below are not followed, we will widely publicize this blatant attempt to suppress reasonable dissent.  Can you imagine the damage to the League that would be created by a press release about this?  "LAB President Mike Greehan threatens to sue generous League donor."

If we end up in court, we will have very embarrassing questions to be answered by certain LAB officials under oath.  We are very likely to publicize any information discovered this way, causing further embarrassment to the League.

A partial solution
We have not publicized this latest outrage or the attached news release -- yet.  We have not posted the link above on any web page.  We are willing to continue to refrain from doing so only provided the following conditions are met:
  1. The threat of legal action against us must be promptly retracted.  We must receive a letter from Michael Greehan no later than Dec. 31, 2005.  This letter must acknowledge that articles published by LAB Reform and Messrs. Hoffman, Oswald and Schubert are reasonable expressions of free speech and hence not libelous and that Mr. Greehan will take no legal action against us over this matter.
  2. In the letter mentioned above, Mr. Greehan will promise to reimburse us by Jan. 31, 2006 for legal expenses caused by his threat of legal action.
  3. The Board must send us a memo by Dec. 31, 2005 guaranteeing that the following measures will be taken:
    1. Everyone who requests to appear on the ballot for the 2006 Board election will be listed on the ballot as a candidate.
    2. The Board will pledge to us that there will be NO interference in this election by any Board member, any LAB employee or anyone acting on behalf of LAB.
    3. Reasonable ballot security will be employed, including requiring the membership number and signature. Ballots without such features will not be counted.
    4. Observers appointed by LAB reform will have a reasonable opportunity to observe the opening and counting of the ballots and will have the opportunity to inspect and challenge any ballots.
    5. The election page and the election website will list every candidate fairly and without favoritism. A link will be provided for every candidate who requests one to the candidate's site. This fact will be mentioned prominently on the ballot.
    6. Any candidate using the League's mailing list to promoting his/her candidacy must first notify all competing candidates and provide them with the same mailing list two weeks before the mailing is sent. This will replace the present rules regarding the League mailing list that provide an unfair advantage to the Board's favorite candidates.
    7. False and misleading statements (described below) that were published in the LAB board minutes of March 19, 2005 will be corrected by Jan. 31, 2006.

The false and misleading statements in the minutes that are mentioned above include (1) the assertion that LAB Reform has made libelous statements and (2) the erroneous assertion that LAB Reform has failed to uphold its share of the agreement reached at the Jasper Rally in September 2004.  In fact, it is the LAB Board that has failed to fully comply with this agreement.

LAB Reform agreed to remove the most contentious material from our site that (1) urged members not to "donate a dime" to the League, (2) "the League of American Bicyclists has ceased to exist as a membership organization" and (3) that called for resignations of several Board members who had interfered in the 2003 election.  In fact, these materials were removed as soon as we returned from the Rally on 9/6/04 and they have not reappeared since.

On the other hand, the Board has not fully lived up to its side of this agreement of 9/4/04 at which they agreed to:

  1. Appoint Michael Abrams to the open seat at the October, 2004 Board meeting. However, someone else was appointed to that seat. Michael was not appointed until nearly six months later when Brenda Pulley left the Board.
  2. Chris (or his designee(s)) agreed to obtain membership feedback on the 2003 bylaws changes, and propose improvements to the election procedures. One improvement would be the availability of the membership list for a one-time use. In fact, there has been no "feedback" about the bylaws changes and the membership list availability strongly favors Board candidates.
  3. The current ad-hoc "LAB Comm" committee chaired by Preston Tyree was to become a permanent committee called something like "Member Advisory Committee". In fact, this committee has not functioned at all.
A further solution

The Board can eliminate most of the embarrassment to the League by the damage caused by inappropriate Board actions in 2003.  These inappropriate actions, in addition to the election scandal, include adding a fifth appointed Board seat and the sneak attack on members' rights created by the October, 2003 bylaws amendments.  Once these problems are eliminated, LAB Reform will remove its criticism of these actions because the criticism will no longer be valid.

Finally, if you want to see LAB Reform disappear completely, then resolve our grievances over governance, advocacy, safety and rights to the road.  In short, act in a way that shows loyalty to the members.

Fred Oswald
Bill Hoffman
John Schubert

attachment: Press Release

Note:  We are not making the Press Release publicly available so long as there is no further escalation.



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