BOD Attack on Members
BOD Attacks First Amendment
Post Election Update
What they have done
Demands Members Have
Who we are
What You Can Do:
BOD Attack on Member's Concerns
Members of MCRGO,
Many of you recently received an e-mail from MCRGOs Board of Directors which was sent out in response to member questions regarding information posted on this website. Unfortunately the BoD controls all the discussions and forums for discussion with their members and do not tolerate anyone who speaks out against what they are doing. This goes back to when they removed Ross and declared that an Executive Director was no longer needed. There was no member comment and those who complained were either removed from their positions or treated so poorly they quit. Others have raised concerns with the BoD only to be ignored, told they were out of line, or that the BoD will not hear that complaint. Throughout the BoDs response you will see these concerned members referred to as "those who want to destroy MCRGO", "distracters", people "seeking to divide and damage". Many of you have sent the BoD messages only to have your questions ignored while you get a negative response back. You too are now one of those "seeking to destroy MCRGO", just for raising your concerns.
Since the BoD controls the discussion forum that it's members can participate in, we are not given the chance to respond to all of the members and address the statements theyve made. This is unfortunate as many of those statements are incorrect or suspect, and a few are clearly false. We are reposting their letter here. We are members too. We have paid our dues and put our time in. We have raised our concerns only to be ignored or insulted. We will not stand for this behavior from the people who are supposed to be representing us.
The Boards response was to answer all questions proposed on this site in one official response. You will notice that nowhere in the response did the Board address their failures, admit they were on the wrong track, or even suggest they were open to what membes had to say. Instead they told you how things where going to be and it "will be the final time" they do so. What type of response is that from the Board that is supposed to represent the membership, not control them? What you will see is that they really didn't answer any questions and instead used their response to hurl insults at those who question them. This negativity is the well known style that David Felbeck has handled things since he took over. Do we really want negativity to be the number recognized trait of MCRGO?
The BoD letter will be in bold and our will be in standard black text.
Letter from MCRGOs Board of Directors, sent out on November 16, 2002.
To begin with the title "Unauthorized Website Allegations" is nothing but inflammatory rhetoric. Is this Board saying we must first get their permission and then be authorized to question their practices? The BoD answers to the membership but this BoD thinks they control the membership and the members answer to them. Throughout the rest of this response you will see this clearly is their attitude towards the members.
Many allegations have been made over the past months in a direct attack on the members of this Board of Directors by unidentified persons masquerading as concerned members, using a variety of websites designed solely for this purpose. We thank all of the members who have expressed their support and understanding about the allegations.
This is an incorrect and a deliberately misleading attempt to marginalize complaints put forth or questions asked by actual members. No one has attacked any member of MCRGOs BoD personally but many questions have been raised concerning the official conduct of the Board and certain members individually. And those questions have been met with a variety responses, with the main response of being ignored. In some cases members have received an reply stating a direct refusal to answer the questions; however some members have even been told they are out of line for asking the question and that the question will not be considered. When the members have made others aware of this the BoD makes claims such as "anyone who questions the Board cannot be a loyal MCRGO member". The Board members need to stop trying to slander the questioners and start truthfully answering the questions put to them by the members.
Some of you here have sent questions to the BoD. Based on your response you have seen much of what we have seen. Claims that this is the first time they have heard of the issue. Claims that everything is fine with MCRGO and that it's just a couple of mad members who want to destroy MCRGO causing problems. Or in some cases a reply stating that if you want to participate with the Board to email them individually. But did any of you get an honest straight forward answer or just more excuses?
This will be the last time they respond to our questions? Just when did the Board stop representing the members and determine that they would answer only what they feel like answering? We thought the Board answered to the members, not the other way around. If a member asks an honest question, the Board has a duty to respond, even if they feel that they have more important things to do. Its this sort of arrogance and the attitude that members are just a nuisance that has led to much criticism of the Boards conduct and questions about their roles at MCRGO. Who works for who here? Notice that once again the BoD claims that those who are questioning them are distracters and people who want to destroy MCRGO. You can see our questions listed on this site, do they seem geared towards destroying MCRGO?
According to witnesses, one of whom was Neva LaRue, Dykman was called before the Board and told that his position was being eliminated. Perricone had not been hired by MCRGO at that time but LaRue also reported that Chuck Perricone was sitting in his car in the parking lot outside that meeting waiting for Dykman to leave. Its pretty obvious that after all his work in founding and building MCRGO, Dykman was ousted by the Board to make room for Perricone. Notice once again, that any member who wanted answers to the sudden departure of Ross Dykman is called a series of nasty names by the BoD. What constructive purpose did the BoD hope to accomplish by this? Did they want to put the rest the question or were they trying to destroy the character of those questioned the sudden removal of Ross Dykman. This type of negative response is characteristic of that many members and
activists have received, regardless of the questions they have asked. We are sick and tired of the BoD's negative attitude and negative responses. This negativity by the BoD hurts the image of MCRGO.
The results of this election have always been suspect. First, it was improper to limit the voting rights only to those members who drove to the annual meeting and paid to get in. There were only about 400 people there out of the entire membership.
Secondly, it was wrong for the incumbent board members to be re-elected as a group. Members didnt have the opportunity to vote out any one member. They were told to accept or reject them all. Most members did not personally know all the incumbents and were blindly lead to vote for them without any discussion. Third, there have been persistent allegations that Rob Koehler of St. Clair County actually won a seat on the Board that night but that he was arbitrarily replaced as one of the winners by Pat Alzady. Alzady ran the election that night and as the ballots were not available for review by anyone other than Alzady, who announced the results, well never know. Also, the new claim that Rod Collins wife and co-worker counted the ballots has not been heard before. Those two ladies were sitting outside the hall handling the admission of members that night. How could they be there AND in the back counting ballots?
Jerry Jennings, past President of MCRGO, also left under a cloud. He reportedly had difficulty getting along with other Board members and there were some questions regarding his handling of the treasury. He was called before a meeting of the Board at the MCRGO office so that David Felbeck could tell him that the rest of the Board wanted his resignation. However Jennings apparently had been forewarned and showed up at that meeting with his resignation already in hand. He appears not to have left willingly. Its clear that he was purged.
There were also repeated calls from many members for Steve DeFrain to step down from the Board after he became a paid employee of MCRGO in addition to his being a Board member. But DeFrain told members that he didnt want to step down. David Felbeck announced that there was no conflict of interest for a Board member to also be a paid employee of the Board. Then after renewed complaints were heard when DeFrains wife was quietly hired for a job at MCRGO, DeFrain suddenly left the Board and Felbeck announced that he was leaving to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest. No member has yet been able to get the straight story on that. Was there a conflict or not?
There are several apparent falsehoods here. Reportedly none of the original PAC committee members resigned from the PAC. All were summarily removed from the PAC by Board decree. The old PAC was bi-partisan, with one Republican (Cropsey) one Democrat (DeHart) and one Independent (Dykman). They were replaced by three Republicans. Perricone was a former Republican legislator and both Felbeck and Aviles were known to be active in their county Republican parties. Also all actions of the PAC were allegedly supervised by Todd Adkins of the NRA. He was originally listed as the fourth PAC committee member on the MCRGO website but site manager Jim Vass was reportedly told to remove his name because he didnt want his connection to the PAC publicized. Also Dykman was reportedly told to give all PAC surveys to Adkins when he was removednot to any of the other members. Additionally, Dykman stated at the time that all Republican and Democratic
candidates had been sent surveys and the deadline for returns had passed with the majority of them having been returned. PAC Treasurer Dan Wholihan stated at the time that the reason for the delay was that Adkins took the surveys back to Virginia with him and did not send them back in a timely fashion. If we are to believe the Board claims of a delay due to insufficient returns, we have to believe that Dykman and Wholihan both lied.
First this "error" was called an oversight and members told the PAC committee would have to review Bisbee's record. Now they are claiming it was an error in transcription". This seems suspicious in light of the fact that Chuck Perricone has strongly lobbied MCRGO two years prior to get the organization to endorse Bisbee. Bisbee was one of the three most anti-gun republicans at the end of the 1997-1998 legislative session but he was also a friend of Perricone, who was at that time a sitting legislator. Perricone was reported to have asked MCRGO to endorse Bisbee and the PAC committee unanimously voted not to do so unless Bisbee would give the organization just one pro-gun vote. Bisbee refused to do that and did not get the endorsement. This year however, as soon as Perricone was placed on the PAC committee, he received the endorsement. And he would have stayed endorsed had not PAC Treasurer Dan
Wholihan objected and alerted the membership. David Aviles at first attempted to defend Bisbees endorsement by claiming that Bisbee was good on the gun issue. Only when other members publicly posted Bisbees record on the MCRGO website did the organization retract the endorsement. Its evident that Bisbees ties to Perricone got him endorsed and but for Dan Wholihan and other outraged members, he would have kept the endorsement. And this was NOT an isolated case. Anti-gun John Stewart, another Perricone crony, saw the endorsement for his pro-gun opponent retracted as soon as Perricone got on the PAC. And former state rep. and recently convicted drunk driver Terry Gieger was given the endorsement that had already been promised to Rep. Patty Birkholz, allegedly because of Perricone. There are just too many anecdotal reports of Perricones malfeasance regarding the PAC for them to be ignored.
Again the BoD is telling the members they "will not address" their errors. If members have questions they deserve answers but if the BoD openly admits they have made an error then the members definitely deserve full and complete answers. But, this BoD doesn't think you do.
During the court case over 2000 PA 381 (the current concealed carry law), she wrote an opinion stating that the appropriations added to the bill did not protect it from referendum. She also stated the following in her written opinion:
Claiming that Judge Weaver "voted" against concealed carry is thus shown to be inaccurate and misleading. Judges do not vote on a case, they issue opinions based on their understanding of the law. Judge Weaver has been a strong opponent of "legislating from the bench", wherein judges do not follow the law, but interpret the law according to their own biases. She refuses to do this, instead relying on a strict constitutionalist stance. While we disagreed with her opinion in this instance, we also recognize that Judge Weaver and Judge Robert Young are both able, intelligent, qualified and staunch supporters of Michigan's constitutionally guaranteed right to keep and bear arms. They both deserved and received MCRGO's endorsement.
Weaver sided with the minority on the court against MCRGO and our CCW law despite the State Constitution being very clear on the issue of appropriations. Her decision, if it had been supported by one more Justice, would have nullified our CCW law and undid all the years of work we did. She can say whatever she likes about the merits of the concealed weapons act. She still took a position which would have completely illuminated it and for that she cannot be rewarded with an endorsement! But again, this was reputed to have been part of a promise that Perricone made to the Republican party. We cant know if that report was true or not, but its clear that a Justice who tried to sink our concealed weapons law got our groups endorsement and thats just plain wrong. You dont reward people who hurt your cause no matter why they say they did it.
Laura Toy was not a supporter of the CCW law as it was voted on. She supported some of the amendments which would have severely weakened the law. But she was a Republican in a close race and the Board gave her quite a bit of support. Neva LaRue, MCRGO Chapter Chair from Lapeer, publicly campaigned for Toy and stated that she was doing so in order to elect the best REPUBLICAN. More importantly, other than an endorsement, the Board did nothing to help DeHart. Had MCRGOs BoD mobilized the members in that district to fight for DeHart, that close race might well have gone to our friend Eileen. But they did NOTHING to help Eileen and Eileen DeHarts qualifications dwarfed Toys.
Wrong. It was a deviation from the normal practice where MCRGO picked one candidate determined to be the best and stuck with that candidate exclusively. This wishy-washy theyre all good position only makes MCRGO look indecisive and dilutes the effectiveness and value of the endorsement.
Why is Dykmans salary being discussed in graphic detail all of a sudden? Other than being the former Executive Director he is not even part of this. Since the BoD is so open about publicly displaying the amount paid to the employees why are we not being given Steve DeFrains salary details, Debbie DeFrains salary details, Rod Collins salary details, or solid details about New Era Consulting? This is a whitewash and an attempt to appear like the BoD is giving full disclosure when all theyre telling us is how much they paid Ross Dykman and not how much they are paying the people who are here now. This public display of salary information is also blatantly disrespectful to Dykman, the man who founded MCRGO in the first place. How many licensed attorneys do you know that will work full time plus nights and weekends for only $31,000 or $45,000 a year? MCRGO had a great thing going but this BoD through it away.
Compare that to what we pay New Era for the services of Deb Shields on a full-time basis, and Chuck Perricone on a part-time basis. We do not pay expenses - our contract is for a flat yearly fee, paid monthly, for a period of 2 years. That fee is $50,000 per year. Additionally, we have the right to end the contract prior to the 2 years with a 30 day notice, so does New Era.
So the BoD replaced a full time director and lawyer with a full time secretary and a part time consultant? Is it no wonder that MCRGO has declined so rapidly? Just what was the BoD thinking when they decided this.
While were on the subject of new Era, how did Perricone get picked for this job? Who else was considered? Was the job bid out to anyone else or did Perricone get a no-bid exclusive offer on his own terms? Rumor has it that Perricone was brought in by Todd Adkins and David Felbeck despite warnings from several legislators that Perricone is not respected or liked and that MCRGOs reputation and ability to work with the legislature would be significantly compromised if Perricone were brought on.
If its not a vacation, why was it being held at a posh resort way up north where none of the Board members live? Why cannot the meeting take place at the MCRGO office in the conference room or at a local hotel conference room? If even one Board member (David Aviles) cannot afford to go, why doesnt the Board have this meeting locally and spare the members the expense of paying his way? And just who is paying Chuck Perricones way? This sounds like another freebie, just like the recent CCW class that MCRGO gave Perricone, his wife, and Deb Shields for free. Recently we learned that the Board scrapped the idea of holding it up north and decided to have it at a very nice hotel in Lansing. Why the sudden change? Perhaps the guilt of what they were doing finally sank in after many members complained to the about it.
Absent here is any discussion of who the members will be allowed to vote for. The Board of Directors recently changed the bylaws to create a committee which will determine who may or may not run for the Board seats. This lends itself to abuse. How do we know that friends of the Board will not be the only ones approved? Will anyone who has ever questioned the Board be barred from appearing on the ballot? A fair way is to allow members to get on the ballot by presenting petitions with the signatures of a fixed number of other members. Using a committee as a screening process to block undesirables is hardly fair or open and with the questions swirling around this current Board, we need as much fairness and openness as we can get. Allowing the Board to set up a committee which will work behind closed doors is not acceptable. The Board will claim that there will be no abuse, but why are they in favor of a process where that claim can be made instead of a process that is 100% open with results that cannot be disputed by either side? We are calling on the Board to have open fair elections with no committee and handled by an independent third party. That's what Step 1 of our site is all about. If you haven't read it please do.
This is just propaganda designed to marginalize any critics of the Board, no matter how valid the criticisms. To allege that some unnamed people stole the database is ludicrous. MCRGO has been giving out the names, addresses and e-mail info of its members for some time now. Many of you have gotten mailings from candidates running for office where the candidates themselves appealed to you as MCRGO members. How do you think that happened? The Republican Party undoubtedly has every members name, address, phone and e-mail by now and they have this because the Board of Directors has given this information to several candidates for office. Many of us have gotten the mailers so theres no denying it.
But again, just because some of us dislike or question the actions of the Board of Directors, that does NOT make us bad members. It actually makes us damned good members, because it shows that we want to see our organization on the best possible path, and if thats not the path that the current BoD has put our organization on, then we have a right and a duty to bring it up for discussion and call for change if they wont hear us. Many of us have tried to talk to the Board members by e-mail, phone or in person and weve been rebuffed. So now were taking our case to the rest of the members and were leaving it to our fellow members to decide if our questions deserve answers or not. If you think they do, then demand that a Board member answer. But to claim that because we dont blindly follow David Felbecks lead that were trying to destroy MCRGO is just plain wrong and its conduct that is unacceptable from any elected official at MCRGO. Are we disloyal citizens for questioning or criticizing Jennifer Granholm? Were we bad citizens trying to destroy America when we criticized Bill Clinton? Of course not. So why is it that were not allowed to question or criticize David Felbeck and his administration?
Anyone who says that members should be censored or who implies that members who complain about the actions of the Board are unfit members is unworthy of a position of leadership in this or any other organization and you have to look no farther than the bottom of the Boards announcement to see just who thinks that way: The Board of Directors
The negativity of the Bod is not acceptable. Many have tried to change it but that does not look possible any more. Our only chance to get a postive BoD for MCRGO is in the next election, which the BoD controls with their "election committee" and refuses to change. You must contact the Board of Directors today and demand fair and open elections handled by a third party with no "nominating committee" just petitions signed by other members: