This post is mine. For background as to why I originally resigned, see this post.
The actual statement written by Mark Freeman is the next post.
The FANACO Board (the Board behind the ConCom) dissolved November 30. In technicality, the Board had already ceased to exist, as its own bylaws required a minimum of five members. (See the bylaws here; we’ll come back to that.) Yes, the bylaws end suddenly; a complete set of bylaws apparently does not exist.
However, because a new board was to be formed, we all thought things were good. That group met the 14th of December and constituted a new board. Those folks were good, competent people.
It’s worth nothing that while I was at the meeting, I was not a member of that board, and in fact insisted that I not be.
The new board needed to get the PO Box key and official paperwork done so that the task of putting a convention together could actually get started. Nine months is a tall order for a convention; but technically doable.
The assets and legal documents of FANACO (and therefore the convention) were in the possession of Jan Province. She insisted that there was no need to change the agent of record. The key to the PO Box is (was?) in the possession of Dennis Palmer.
Both of these individuals were part of the problems handling sexual harassment that originally caused me to resign.
When the president of the new Board, Mark Freeman, sent an e-mail to Dennis asking for the key to the PO Box, he reportedly called another member of the board and threatened a lawsuit. His wife, Sharon Palmer (yes, “He was guilty of being OLD… We banned the guy for FIVE YEARS for an unacceptable level of social cluelessness.” that person) reportedly suggested the new board make a “bid” for legitimacy to the Con-Com.
When the president of the new Board, Mark Freeman, arranged to meet with Jan Province to get her to sign the paperwork to change the agent of record, she first insisted there was no rush, then he recieved a threatening e-mail from a lawyer claiming that contacting her in any way would be considered “harassment” and that there would be no new board.
At which point, all the new people who wanted to be part of the new board, who wanted to see Context survive and thrive, realized that they couldn’t fight a (frivolous) lawsuit and simultaneously prepare a convention.
Context is dead.
Thank Jan Province and Dennis Palmer.
Because there have been insufficient members (and the Board was dissolved), it’s arguable that the corporation FANACO ceased to exist back in November. Which according to the bylaws, means that the assets have to be dispersed to another non-profit.
It is worth noting that Dennis Palmer – again, one of the individuals who was part of the problems caused me to resign originally – are on the Board of SOLAE, which is the parent organization of MARCon. (As is Becca Testerman. If you are unaware, she posted something that I never did – the name of the person who harassed folks at Context 27, and her close relationship to him. If you’re on FB, the post is publicly viewable. Screencap if you’re not.)
Ms. Province should go with the default option and give whatever funds
remain in the FANACO coffers (after refunding pre-registrations) to the
Columbus Zoo instead of SOLAE. The conflict of interest is palpable.
Further, MARCon may wish to examine that relationship with SOLAE. Given Jan and Dennis’ reaction here, I would wonder what would happen if next time the harasser was the husband of someone on the Board instead of just a volunteer.
I know I’d be worried.
Dennis Palmer was removed from the Ohio LinuxFest, another Columbus-based conference, for basically not doing his job and for taking credit for other people's work. The final straw was when he sat at the registration desk and told a racist joke. He was supposed to be the security chair that year.
He did not take his removal well. He threw a tantrum. He threatened to sue. He claimed he was going to report the organization to the IRS for failure to follow 501c3 rules. There was nothing to sue over – he had no idea what the bylaws were – and there were no 501c3 violations.
I'm no longer with that org, either, but by my own choice. I was never a board member of that org, thank deities. I've long wondered how MarCon survives with Palmer around.
I'm the blogger who started it all. Here's my current take on the sitch.
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