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  WINDY CITY TIMES

LETTERS House of lies
2017-02-15

This article shared 340 times since Wed Feb 15, 2017
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An open letter to Donald Trump:

How on earth can you be my president when you continually lie to me?

I am sick and tired of your mindless mendacity. Your latest fib is to blame Chicago's violence on "undocumented immigrants." This is a ludicrous lie. You said recently that terrorists are "pouring" into our country—another ridiculous untruth. You have no shame. And with their smiling silence, your new cabinet members are all now complicit with these lies.

Now I repeat: How can you be my president when your word is unreliable, deceptive, distracting and hurtful? I cannot trust you. And I need to have some measure of trust in the person I respect as my president. As of this date you are not my president. At best, you are a "so-called" president—your words.

Martin Deppe

Chicago

Clearing the air on CMSA

[Note: The following letter that Windy City Times obtained was sent to the members of the Chicago Metropolitan Sports Association ( CMSA ) following this publication's report about misappropriation of funds connected to the organization.]

Members:

We have received several inquiries over the last week regarding reports in the Windy City Times that a former commissioner misappropriated funds from CMSA. The media accounts are partially accurate, but also contain some inaccuracies and omit some relevant details. We wish to be as open and transparent as we can with our members about this situation, as the reports relate to claims of misconduct in connection with the use of CMSA funds, and those funds come from our members. At the same time, some of the details are sensitive and could still become the subject of future legal action. With that in mind, we are going to describe the circumstances and answer whatever questions we can in this statement, and ask you to understand that there are some specifics we cannot fully share at this time.

Last year, while making an inquiry with a vendor, CMSA became aware of and concerned about a former commissioner's actions related to financial reimbursements. Specifically, CMSA found that a number of reimbursements submitted to CMSA by the former commissioner could not be reconciled with the vendor's records. CMSA then inquired of several other vendors whose invoices had been submitted by the former commissioner for reimbursement, and found similar discrepancies. Put simply, the invoices submitted for reimbursement did not match the vendors' records, raising serious concerns about misappropriation of CMSA funds. The board of directors promptly engaged experienced counsel and undertook a thorough investigation. Through this investigation, the board discovered unverified reimbursements to the former commissioner totaling approximately $33,000.

The board promptly commenced disciplinary proceedings against the former commissioner. Additionally, with the advice of its counsel, the board contemplated various options, including criminal charges and a civil lawsuit. The former commissioner was given notice of a disciplinary hearing and was advised that he could, if he chose, hire his own attorney to represent him in connection with this matter. The former commissioner chose to be represented by an attorney, and CMSA and the former commissioner then engaged in discussions to determine whether the dispute could be resolved without undertaking the time and expense of a civil lawsuit. At all times, the board was guided by two core objectives: ( 1 ) full reimbursement must be made to CMSA for any and all amounts ( plus interest ) that had been misappropriated from the organization; and ( 2 ) any misconduct by the former commissioner involving misappropriation of funds would require the most serious and severe disciplinary action, with or without a settlement.

The board and the former commissioner were ultimately able to reach a settlement agreement. To be clear, this agreement does not represent a second chance or a reprieve of any kind. The former commissioner must repay the entire amount owed to CMSA, plus interest. To date, the former commissioner is still making payments. Should the former commissioner default on payments, the entire amount ( including interest ) will be immediately due, and the settlement agreement includes security interests and enforcement mechanisms that would facilitate much quicker enforcement than CMSA could have obtained if it had been required to file a lawsuit from the outset. The agreement also includes a lifetime ban from all CMSA activities, including permanent removal from the CMSA Hall of Fame. The agreement has no effect on possible criminal charges against the former commissioner.

While CMSA already had significant safeguards in place at the time of the unverified reimbursements, needless to say this situation has required the organization to re-evaluate these safeguards and controls. The CMSA board has since enacted new, more stringent safeguards. For example, the board lowered the reimbursement threshold triggering a requirement for specific board approval prior to purchase, and also now requires purchases exceeding a certain amount to be paid to the vendor directly by the CMSA treasurer. CMSA will continue to evaluate its financial safeguards regularly going forward as part of its annual review process.

CMSA is an all-volunteer league that has been run successfully by volunteers for decades to provide a safe and inclusive environment for LGBTQ athletes. CMSA and the board of directors take the trust and best interests of its membership very seriously and expect CMSA's officers and commissioners to carry out their responsibilities ethically and responsibly. The board of directors hopes that this isolated and unfortunate situation will not detract from the dedicated and honest efforts of the numerous volunteers who have helped make CMSA one of the largest and most successful LGBTQ athletic organizations in the country.

Please direct all inquiries to me at president@chicagomsa.org .

Thank you,

CMSA President

Michael Erwin

Earlier coverage at the link: www.windycitymediagroup.com/lgbt/CMSA-president-provides-update-on-the-situation/58063.html .


This article shared 340 times since Wed Feb 15, 2017
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