John's Open Letters Vol. 1 #1
First, I would like to introduce myself. My name is John Kronenberger, Life Member LR17020. I am a member of the Imjin Chapter, 95, Southern Illinois. Some of you met me and I've had the pleasure to talk to many of you on the phone.
I am concerned about what I have read in the Graybeard and information received from conversations about what is happening to some of our Officers in the K.W.V.A. For several years I have noticed there is dissension in the ranks of the K.W.V.A. I have met or talked to Pres. Harley Coon, Previous Pres. Nick Pappas, Jerry Lake, Skip Rittenhouse, James F. Jones, Kenneth B. Cook, John M. Settle, Howard W. Camp, Thomas J. Gregory, Ed Markart, Tom Clauson, Editor Vince Krepps, Blair Cross, J. Norbert Reiner and Sherman Pratt. Plus many of our regular members across this country.
My reasons for contacting some of you were to help the performance of my duties as an Officer of the Imjin Chapter and for the betterment of the K.W.V.A. I have devoted thousands of hours, much money and worked seven days a week over long periods of time for the good and welfare of Veterans, especially Korean War Veterans.
My more recent concern was the conflicting statements given to me as the Imjin Chapter Treasurer and the Officers of our Chapter by Pres. Harley Coon and Sherman Pratt, legal advisor of the K.W.V.A. The subject in question was the right for me to be audited each and every month. Mr. Coon's and Mr. Pratt's remarks about the legality of being audited every month was and I quote, "No they can't do that," unquote. Then when the Chapter President called Mr. Coon and Mr. Pratt the statement to the Chapter President was, "You can do anything you want but you will be required to do it every month or you will be in violation."
I took this very personal because I was not audited for three years, even though I asked to be audited, and then when I finally was, I was given a plaque for my good services and told my audit was satisfactory but will be burdened with a monthly audit. I refused to be so treated by our Chapter Officers that was a direct result of the official statements by President Coon and his legal advisor Sherman Pratt. A complete monthly financial report of our Treasury was given each and every month for over three years and that should have been sufficient. They were always approved, and filed for audit.
I resigned my Treasurer's office as well as Chapter Historian, Membership Chairman, and my wife who is an Associate member quit being our Newsletter Editor. All of these actions, on our part were as a direct result of the conflicting official statements given by President Coon and his legal advisor. This is not a proper way to lead the K.W.V.A.
I had initially thought of putting this information in the Graybeard but I was told not even the Directors are allowed to put articles of official business in it without prior approval by President Coon. I felt certain he would not approve of my personal open letter either. My experience has been that the Editor had the final say-so whether to approve or censor articles of interest in newspapers and magazines. I hope we still call it a Free Press. I think the Graybeard is great but it's just what is left out for the consideration of all the members that has bothered me.
I have always conducted my official business according to the By-Laws of K.W.V.A., Imjin Chapter and Robert's Rules of Order. Every official is required to live by the rules.
Another worry is why so many of our dedicated officers are being kicked out of the K.W.V.A. Even our Ex-President was suspended from the K.W.V.A. based on unfounded charges. Mr. Maison was elected to be Treasurer by a motion from then-Director Harley Coon. Mr. Pappas was the presiding President of the K.W.V.A. at that time. Mr. Pappas cannot be held accountable for the actions of others because he only votes to break a tie vote and at that time it was believed Maison was a good choice for National Treasurer. We all learned differently. Mr. Maison was a con artist who had "everybody" fooled and it appears he got his just due for his unjust deeds.
To be accused as Mr. Pappas was, in my mind, was with unfounded accusations and without proof. There was only hearsay.
If this is the way the K.W.V.A. does business then nobody is safe in the K.W.V.A. as an office holder or otherwise. I have known other countries where this type of justice is the rule and I wouldn't want to visit or live there.
In my opinion this does not make for a good Veterans organization. I have always believed in right over wrong and I am hoping justice will prevail in the long run.
To refer to the July/Aug 2001 issue of the Graybeard on page 17, Law Suit 1: I have received several calls that the bills submitted by some of the Directors and others are not being paid. I was under the impression this was part of our By-Laws and as long as it was for officially required business (meetings) that the officers would be reimbursed for their travel expenses. Naturally any bill submitted that was or appeared to be excessive should be reviewed by the Financial Committee. These people do not have an unlimited source of funds and should be paid. This does not appear to be right.
It is nice to read the Financial Report given by Mr. Gregory in the Graybeard but the increase to our Treasury should not be at the expense of our Directors.
Mr. Myrda was chosen, approved, and attempted to clear up the mess as the result of Mr. Maison.
Law Suit 2: Apparently the Director filing the Complaint feels aggrieved by what he feels was an improper and unjust act on the part of the actions of the K.W.V.A. Again this issue will be played out in Court.
As an ex-officer in a national union I have always thought the Directors advised, voted on important issues, and informed the members of the goings-on within the organization. They have a large voice in the official operations of the K.W.V.A. and at the present they are not allowed to be heard because they have been censored from doing so. In all my years I have never been a part of an organization that conducted business this way, especially a great Veterans Organization such as ours. Again, I am aghast at this breach of faith towards our elected Directors.
I have no knowledge of what the future holds for the Korean War Veterans Association but I pray it will be in the best interests of all of the Veterans of the Korean War. This is the reason I am a member.
I am proud to have served sixteen months in Korea, through six campaigns that I was later told I was in, and I thank God for allowing me to come home without any injuries or emotional problems. May God bless all the Veterans and their families who helped to see that people will be free wherever they are.
Please acknowledge receiving this letter and your personal opinion would be greatly appreciated.
Freedom is not free, and it never was.
Respectfully, John Kronenberger