The Truth About the KWVA

(Insights into the Korean War Veterans Association, Inc.)

Disclaimer:  KWVA News is not a product of, or endorsed by, the Korean War Veterans Association, Inc.

Most recent update of this page:
October 12, 2008

 

Facts about the national KWVA:

  • Funds in its treasury have significantly dropped during the current administration.

  • There has been no significant increase in membership for several years.

  • At least seven members were expelled during the Louis Dechert administration and eight other members/associate members/non-members came under official investigation.

  • Multiple issues of the official newsletter of the KWVA were used by its editor and supporters of the Louis Dechert administration to attack opponents of the administration during the Year 2008 election.

  • The outcome of a national KWVA election was overturned by the Louis Dechert administration when Dechert opponent Nick Pappas was expelled soon after winning a seat on the national council by a significant margin.  Pappas was replaced by the losing candidate, who was a Dechert supporter.

  • KWVA president Louis Dechert publicly likened those persons who were non-supportive of his administration to "terrorist suicide bombers."  He also compared them to traitors, and called them "Jane Fonda types."  Members of the Dechert administration also publicly referred to Dechert's non-supporters as "piss ants," "space cadets," "brainless buffoons," "idiots," "maggots," and called them other derogatory names.

  • Information about the mental health of a VA patient/KWVA member was distributed over the internet by members of the Dechert administration, and the patient's mental health condition became the subject of their mockery.

  • In an issue of the KWVA's national magazine distributed during the Louis Dechert administration, Dechert urged the membership to "step up and silence" his critics because he deemed their behavior "disruptive" and "unacceptable."  In all, seven pages of the same issue carried negative comments about Louis Dechert's opponents.


List of KWVA Members, Associate Members & Non-Members Investigated, Expelled, and/or Placed on Probation by the Lou Dechert Administration

Lynnita Brown (KWE)
Ken Buckley
Ken Cook (expelled)
Harley Coon (expelled)
Byron Dickerson*
Jack Edwards
Don Ellwood (expelled)
Bob Fuoco (expelled)
John Kronenberger (expelled)
Sheila Kronenberger (expelled)
Nancy Monson
Sam Naomi
Nick Pappas (expelled)
Charles Smith

  • What is the Korean War Veterans Association, Inc. (KWVA)?
  • Pre-MacSwain Administrations
  • Birth of KWVA News
  • Abuse of the KWE

What is the Korean War Veterans Association, Inc. (KWVA)?

The text found in "The Truth About the KWVA" cannot be found on the KWVA website or in the KWVA's official publication, The Graybeards.  It is information generally not shared with the membership.

The Korean War Veterans Association (KWVA) is a national Korean War-related veteran's organization in the United States with a membership of around 10,000 members. Its national headquarters generally changes when a new president is elected.  The current president (2008) is William F. MacSwain of Texas.

On a national level, the KWVA originally began as a social organization for Korean War veterans.  However, it hasn't been very "social" for several years.  It holds a poorly-attended association reunion each year, and publishes a content-controlled quarterly newsletter.  It also maintains a content-controlled website on the internet.  It holds elections for national offices, but voter turn-out is extremely low (less than 1/4 of its members vote), and election results have been overturned by those in power.  Because of recurring accusations of mismanagement and corruption at the national level, there is a huge amount of apathy among its members with regard to its leadership.  New members have joined in recent months and years, but membership has not greatly increased.  Some members were dropped from the membership roster because they died.  Others did not renew their memberships because they are seniors on fixed incomes.  Still other members dropped out of the KWVA in disgust and/or protest of the organization's several-year history of punishing and expelling members who do not support the current administration.

The KWVA recently received a federal charter.  As a result, members can now submit Freedom of Information requests to the federal government to review the organization's financial documents.  According to pre-2008 published financial records, the KWVA has operated at a substantial loss each year since at least 2003.  (The organization's CPA, Boyle Henderson, sent an e-mail message to a KWVA member on October 23, 2006 stating that the organization had a half million dollars at that time.)  Full disclosure of financial information to the membership was not done under the past administrations.


Pre-MacSwain Administrations

Because of "terrorist suicide bomber" comments made by past KWVA President Lou Dechert, a number of KWVA members filed a formal complaint with the federal government about the organization.

The KWVA has a history of corruption within its governing body, originally known as the "executive council" but later changed to "board of directors."  The change took place at the executive council meeting in 2005, was voted on and passed in the membership meeting in 2005.  The administrations of Nick Pappas and Harley Coon were investigated for irregularities.  The Lou Dechert administration that followed the Coon administration had an intolerance for those who disagreed with Dechert and his methods of leadership, and McCarthy-like efforts were actively conducted to identify and purge the organization of the most vocal of these dissenters.  As a result, several members were charged with various "violations" as the KWVA president continued his systematic purging efforts.  "Spy/snitch" e-mail messages from KWVA elected officials were distributed on the internet in an effort to locate Dechert administration critics to determine whether those critics should ultimately be purged from the KWVA membership roster.  Some of Dechert's associates accused veterans of "not being man enough" to name names in the spy/snitch efforts.  Internet websites that mentioned KWVA activities were closely monitored by KWVA national leaders for negative references to the organization.  Persons making negative references about the Louis Dechert Administration were frequently brought up on charges that resulted in some form of punishment from the KWVA national leaders.

As touched on previously, the KWVA's national elections have been a sham.  In election year 2006, the dues of two members were paid in full, yet ordered held up for processing.  They were purportedly held by direct orders from two Dechert appointees, thus causing both members to "not be eligible" to be candidates in the election.  Past president Harley Coon used the KWVA website to tout his virtues as president and used KWVA treasury money for direct campaign mailings to members prior to the election.  Candidates were forbidden to access the mail lists, but Coon himself did, and so did pro-Coon candidates.  A similar occurrence took place in the year 2006 election when non-Dechert supporters were denied access to the membership mailing list to electioneer.  During two KWVA elections, Dechert (as Coon did when he held the KWVA presidency) campaigned on his own administration's behalf on the organization's website, writing a review of his own administration and posting it there.  Unfortunately, he left out some things that very well might have caused members to cast their votes against him.  Dechert used the Graybeards (which is mailed to every member of the KWVA) to then tout his own virtues as president to the members.  Although Dechert was re-elected by a slim margin, most of the others on his slate of candidates failed in their bid for election.  To counter the losses, the Louis Dechert Administration orchestrated removal efforts to expel from the membership successful non-Dechert candidates who were voted into office.  Three were charged with crimes not made public to the membership.  One winning candidate was expelled "for cause."  One winning candidate resigned under the threat of expulsion.  One winning candidate was placed on "probation" and tentatively remains on the board.  There was a written "spy on him" request in effect from Dechert.  Adding to the purging efforts to cleanse the KWVA of non-Dechert members, at least two persons (a husband and wife) who assisted in the anti-Dechert mailing campaign were expelled from the membership rolls after the election.  Going by "the book", the Dechert administration then appointed the candidates receiving the next highest vote (losing candidates who lost the election by a wide margin, but who were Dechert supporters) to fill the "vacancies."

KWVA member Bob Fuoco summed up his opinion of KWVA elections during the Lou Dechert administration this way:

"When members cast their votes for the office of KWVA President, they are not doing something that will directly determine the outcome of the election.  Instead, they are voicing their opinion to a body of men known as "Mr. Dechert's Slate," who later cast the votes that really count and make sure that all opposition is either censored, forced to resign or just plain kicked out of the organization (along with their wife). Any proposal presented by the "Slate" will automatically have the one-sided vote to win. This is not a Democratic Way."

The KWVA national leadership as a collective body under Lou Dechert had a less than satisfactory record with regards to its relationship with the general membership of the KWVA.  Some general members who express their disapproval of certain actions or inactions at the national level are cursed and ridiculed by various members of the national board.  For example, in a letter to member Sam Naomi dated January 7, 2006, national director Warren Wiedhahn (2005-2008) referred to unnamed persons on Naomi's e-mail CC list as "deceitful, slippery, self-serving bastards."  Wiedhahn has openly used the "bastards" term at board meetings to describe members he does not personally like. (On a side note, Wiedhahn's travel agency has accessed the KWVA mailing list to solicit KWVA members to do business with his company.) In a widely distributed e-mail message in October of 2006, the Dechert-appointed Judge Advocate (who determines those members next to be brought up on charges) referred to some anti-Dechert members as "maggots."

Dechert can also be faulted for failing to foster a good relationship between national headquarters and the membership.  He, too, wrote derogatory remarks about various members of the organization who expressed disappointment in his administrative decisions, and he periodically requested that his appointed "Ethics & Grievance Committee" review and make recommendations regarding ridding the organization of non-Dechert supporters.  He mixed politics and religion in The Graybeards, which offended many members of the KWVA.

It has been reported that some chapters of the KWVA removed the "Inc." off of their titles in order to distance themselves from the national leadership.  Some state departments of the KWVA thumb their noses at decisions rendered by the national board of directors.  For example, the Illinois Department of the KWVA continued to be led by a member of the KWVA who was removed from national membership for misconduct.  That department is now considered by the national as an inactive department.  Other independent state departments of KWVA refuse to even join the national KWVA because of the controversies, scandals, and problems that abound therein.  Some have threatened to withdraw from the national in protest of the Dechert administration.

Quarterly meetings are no longer held so that board members and general members can attend them, even though several board members tried to call for them.  A quorum of Dechert supporters on the board refused to allow such meetings, so secrecy surrounded many out-of-meeting decisions made by the Dechert administration.  Persons sentenced by the Dechert Administration to "probation" can now be expelled without a meeting.  When in-person meetings are held, guards stand at the ready to remove attendees at the president's request.  (Dechert was usually advised by an attorney at the meetings.)

Dechert's administration removed two members (including the newly elected second vice president, Nick Pappas, one of Dechert's most vocal and tenacious opponents), placed another newly-elected non-Dechert board member on probation, and caused yet another non-Dechert board member to choose between expulsion, probation, or resignation.  That board member resigned in disgust.  KWVA life member and anti-Dechert activist John Kronenberger was expelled.  So was his wife and KWVA associate member Sheila Kronenberger.  Board members and others were asked in a widely-distributed e-mail message to monitor the words and actions of non-Dechert board members Dickerson and Doyle and report any findings that might lead to an Ethics and Grievance Committee investigation and/or expulsion of either one of them.  In all, 13 members and associate members of the KWVA came under investigation during the Lou Dechert Administration.

Dechert and one of his staunchest supporters, Jeff Brodeur, founded (announced December 2004) a like Korea veterans organization, and there was concern among many that there is not only conflict of interest issues, but that wheels are also in motion for the possible transfer of KWVA money into the Dechert/Brodeur organization should the KWVA go under--by chance or deliberately.

Requests for funding to assist the Korean War Educator with its efforts to educate the public about the Korean War fell on deaf ears in the leadership of the KWVA many years ago.  The request to assist this tremendous resource about the Korean War was not only denied and ridiculed by the then president, he also announced in the KWVA magazine that members should not support the website.  That request for non-support remains in effect.  (The KWVA did, however, fund a baseball team in the then president's local community.)  So too, requests for funding for the Korean War Project failed.  The Korean War Project was the first significant Korean War-related website on the internet.  It used its pages to help veterans unite with other veterans and to encourage family members of the Korean War Missing in Action to participate in the government's DNA program.  The KWP closed in Year 2006 after a disagreement with the KWVA president Lou Dechert, but later reopened.

In contrast to the seemingly constant turmoil at the national level, on a local level, many of the organization's chapters are involved in a host of worthy projects to educate the public about the Korean War and to advocate for the well-being of veterans.  They have raised funds for local war memorials, given programs to local school children, helped out victims of local disasters, assisted the homeless, etc.  Dedicated chapter members generally do these excellent, worth-while projects on a shoestring budget, with little or no assistance from the national office of the KWVA.


Birth of KWVA News

The "KWVA News" page was created on the Korean War Educator website in the year 2003 to meet a particular need of the members of the Korean War Veterans Association. That member need was to be kept informed about the doings and wrongdoings of the illegal administration of Harley Coon.  Furthermore, the good being done by the local chapters of KWVA was being overshadowed by the corruption at the national level, so KWVA News advertised the many positive accomplishments of the Korean War Veterans Association at the local level.

Coon and his Coonite followers kept tight control over all means of communication with the membership, including The Graybeards, the organization's official magazine, as well as the KWVA website.  At the time, the truth about the real state of the KWVA was being kept from the membership.  Outright falsehoods were printed in its official newsletter, and the Coonite editor of that magazine sometimes responded to members' questions with, "Go to Hell."  Members' opinions could not be expressed if they did not reflect the opinions of Harley Coon.  Those who were particularly vocal in stating opposing opinions were either immediately removed (or threatened with removal) as members and associate members of the KWVA, ridiculed, and/or publicly trashed and insulted by Coonites.

KWVA truths publicized on the Korean War Educator were particularly a sore subject for Harley Coon (see "About Harley Coon" and "Harley Coon Administration" at left) and his Coonites.  This was so much so that both Harley Coon and the Coonites on the Executive Council participated in illegal and unethical actions to attempt to remove Lynnita Brown, creator and text editor of the Korean War Educator and KWVA News, as an associate member of the KWVA.  They called for her removal from the KWVA twice--once by "emergency" executive order issued by Coon, and the other by an illegal council vote.  The Korean War Educator's pre-paid advertisement was pulled from the Graybeards, proper reimbursement was not given to the KWE, and Harley Coon began a campaign of lies and slander against Brown that is yet to end as of this date.

A strong campaign against Coon and his Coonites was conducted for the Year 2004 election.  KWVA News followed both sides of the campaign and published campaign activities of the presidential candidates on its web pages. The end result was that control of the KWVA was seized from the Coonites by a wide margin of votes.  Louis Dechert of Louisiana is nearing the end of his second term at the helm of the Korean War Veterans Association.  Dechert supporters won the Year 2008 election and many of their opponents believe the organization is now on self-destruct.

Still Linked

All of the subjects that appear at the left of this message are still linked and will be permanently visible to those who seek knowledge about the illegal presidency of Harley Coon.  It is the hope of the Korean War Educator that the information found within the links will be a permanent reminder to the KWVA and to other veterans organizations that bylaws are created for a reason.  That reason is to specify the terms and guidelines for law and order within a particular group.  To ignore and/or violate bylaws--or for KWVA national officials to twist them for self-serving purposes--can only be a prelude to disaster.  Such a disaster befell the Korean War Veterans Association when a minority ignored the wishes of a majority, and the membership at large was too apathetic and too uninformed to do anything to stop the lawlessness. Unfortunately, the election of two Coonites to the Executive Council during the Year 2005 election did not bode well for the future of the KWVA.  Turmoil within the organization still continues.

The Introduction at left is original to the KWVA page, as is the text on the other links at left. - Lynnita Brown, Founder, KWE


KWVA Abuse of the KWE

Several of the leaders of the KWVA executive council tried to cause financial and reputation harm to the Korean War Educator website in the years 2003 and 2004.  This effort was led by the KWVA's illegal president, Harley Coon.  His yes men on the council were known as "Coonites," and they participated in Coon's efforts to cause harm to the KWE and its founder, Lynnita Brown.  The events surrounding this issue are detailed on the "About Harley Coon" link at left.

Although the KWVA had a change in some of the leaders within the council following its Year 2004 annual election, the organization's governing body has never held itself accountable for the damage its past (and some of its present) leaders tried to cause the Korean War Educator and Mrs. Brown. Acting as official representatives of the Korean War Veterans Association, those leaders used KWVA treasury money, KWVA mail lists, and the KWVA official publication to effect damage to the Korean War Educator.  The general membership of the KWVA remains uninformed of those attempts because the current president has chosen not to publicize them "for the good of the order."

 

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