Lynnita Brown Removal from KWVA
Notice of Removal
Request for Ruling
O'Brien Response to Pratt Ruling
Chapter Responses to Brown Removal
Lynnita Brown Response
Jim Ferris Letter
Pratt Legal Opinion
Jerry Lake Letter
Pratt's "Abraham Lincoln" Letter
Feaster Response to Pratt
Questions to Pratt from Brown
Pratt Response to Brown Questions
After-the-fact Council Vote
O'Brien Letter to Grogan
2nd Notice of Removal
Brown Comments on 2nd Removal
Cape Cod & Islands Chapter Action
Newsletter Editorial - Marty O'Brien
"Missing Ballots" Correspondences
On November 28, 2003, illegal KWVA President Harley Coon used what Judge
Advocate Sherman Pratt called, "certain discretionary and implied authority" to remove Lynnita Brown
as an Associate Member of the KWVA, effective January 1, 2004. Mrs. Brown became the first person
ever to be removed from the rolls of the Korean War Veterans Association without a hearing, and
by an "Executive Order" from Harley Coon. No charges were publicly brought against Brown until
three months after Coon's order, and two months after Coon's order to kick her out of the KWVA became
"official" on January 1, 2004.
On February 26, 2004, Coon continued his efforts to get rid of Brown, who is an outspokenly strong
opponent of the Coon administration. On that date, Coon violated KWVA bylaws when he preferred
charges against Brown without notice and due process at an Executive Council meeting in Arlington,
VA (see "After-the-Fact Council Vote"). All Coon supporters on the Executive Council then
also violated KWVA bylaws when they took a vote to remove Brown from KWVA membership. Eight
Coon backers voted in support of the illegal action. Two non-backers did not. At the
same meeting, Council member Warren Wiedhahn also voiced his anger about other Coon opponents on
Don Finch's Ad Hoc, calling them "bastards who should be sued." One by one, Harley Coon and
his council supporters are attempting to eliminate their opponents by illegal removals, name-calling,
and threats of lawsuits.
Brown joined the KWVA as an Associate Member in 1997. Her membership in the national is paid through
2005. She is also an Associate Member in good standing of the CPL Clair Goodblood Chapter in Augusta,
Maine. By single-handedly removing Brown as an Associate Member of the KWVA in his November
28 "executive order", Harley J. Coon became the sole voice of the Korean War Veterans Association,
in effect eliminating the authority of the by-laws of the KWVA, as well as the authority of the
Executive Council that previously governed the KWVA. Coon's removal of Brown was sanctioned
by a legal opinion from retired attorney and Judge Advocate Pratt (see Pratt Ruling, Legal Opinion,
and correspondences on this page), who is a Coon appointee to his position within the KWVA.
Why Harley Coon Does Not Like Lynnita Brown
Harley Coon and Lynnita Brown have been at loggerheads since Brown began to voice her opinions about
perceived improprieties within the KWVA on Don Finch's "KWVA Ad Hoc Yahoo Group" message board as
early as July of 2003.
Escalating problems began to develop between Brown and Coon in September of 2003, when the Korean
War Educator opened the KWVA News page on the KWE website. KWVA News addressed issues heretofore
kept from the members' eyes. The Graybeards magazine, censored by Coon and his close associate
Vincent Krepps, failed to warn the general members of the KWVA of the wrongdoings of the Coon administration.
Brown created the KWVA News page on the KWE to fill the information gap-not only about the Coon
administration wrongdoings, but also about a wealth of other positive and negative events in the
history of the KWVA. KWVA News was additionally created to provide up-to-date information
about the KWVA reunions, council meetings, elections, and chapter news and contacts.
Before the contents of the page were even posted, Krepps (editor of The Graybeards newsletter)
and Harley Coon began to communicate by telephone on ways to retaliate against Mrs. Brown. After
the KWE announced plans to release information about a fraudulent photograph that appeared in
The Graybeards newsletter (May-June 2002), Krepps pulled the Korean War Educator’s two-year,
pre-paid, half-page advertisement from the KWVA’s bi-monthly newsletter. Harley Coon backed Krepps’
decision, stating in an e-mail message to Brown on September 23rd that, "It is not the ad that is
bad. It is the ad that leads to your web site which is harmful to the K.W.V.A. I am recommending
to the Executive Council that you be removed as an Associate member. You will be given a hearing."
This did not happen. Instead, Coon expelled Brown from the KWVA--with support from the KWVA
Judge Advocate, without stating charges, and without a hearing--by an "Executive Order."
Nowhere in the organization's bylaws are there provisions for "implied powers," or "executive
privilege"--neither for ousting Associate Members or Regular Members by "executive order" nor for
The fraudulent photograph that appeared in The Graybeards
magazine was a phony picture of the KWVA national headquarters in Beavercreek. (The building was
the private property of Harley Coon.) The picture was cosmetically-altered for publishing
in The Graybeards for the purpose of deceiving the members of the KWVA. It is now posted
in the "KWVA Headquarters" section of KWVA News,
along with a true picture of the exterior of the "national headquarters." Coon/Krepps announced
in a pre-election issue of The Graybeards that the very small area in the HarCo building
that Coon had set aside for the national headquarters of the KWVA as "donated space". After
the voting was over, however, council minutes appearing in a subsequent issue of The Graybeards
informed KWVA members that the "donated space" actually had a $52,000 charge against it in the budget.
Lynnita Brown and her family were physically present at the HarCo building in July of 2002, and
thus Brown knows without a doubt that the HarCo building pictured in the KWVA newsletter was phony.
She posted this fact on the Korean War Educator, much to the anger of Coon and Krepps, both of whom
must be held accountable for the misleading contents of that and all issues of The Graybeards.
Further aggravating Coon, the KWE’s KWVA News page revealed factual information about Harley Coon’s
insistence on claiming honors he does not deserve, and on his false claims to have been at Nogun-ri
and the Chosin Reservoir while serving in Korea. This material is located in the biographical sketch,
"About Harley Coon" on KWVA News. Information about Coon’s illegal presidency, the illegal
removal of members who oppose him, and a wealth of other documentation about the illegal and unethical
activities that have taken place during Coon’s illegal presidency (see About Harley Coon - Recap
of Harley Coon Administration) appear on the KWVA News page of the Korean War Educator. As a result
of the Korean War Educator publishing this information (obtained through documents found in the
public domain), Coon made threats against the Korean War Educator’s webmaster, Ron Janowski, and
threatened Mrs. Brown with expulsion. He carried out his threat against Brown in November
of 2003 and February of 2004. In the President's Message found in the November/December 2003 issue
of The Graybeards magazine, Coon also urged members of the KWVA "not to contribute one
cent" to the Korean War Educator website, and he made false claims about Brown.
Lynnita Brown considers her actions to be an exercising of her right of Freedom of Speech and an
effort to inform KWVA about wrongdoings within the Coon administration. She also believes
that the members of the KWVA have the right to know what's really going on within their organization
at the national level. Coon, on the other hand, considers Brown's actions to be "attacks on
the KWVA" that should result in Brown's removal from the organization. Through illegal means, he
is currently attempting to do just that.
On November 28, 2003, Coon sent the following letter to Brown by registered mail:
|Notice of Removal
The contents of Harley Coon’s letter to Lynnita Brown, dated November 28,
2003, read as follows:
November 28, 2003
111 E. Houghton St.
Tuscola, IL 61953
Subject: Removal as associate member
This letter is to notify you of your removal from the rolls of the Korean War Veterans
Association as an Associate Member effective January one 2004. Enclosed please find the
amount of the refund due you from your advertizements [sic] in the Graybeard Magazine per
Ad Rate, plus your Associate Membership dues.
This decision is rendered as an Executive Order by the President of the Korean War Veterans
(signed) Harley J. Coon
Korean War Veterans Assoc.
Executive Council Members
Request for Ruling
After Mrs. Brown posted the Notice of Removal on the KWVA Ad Hoc discussion board, Marty O’Brien
of Augusta, Maine, past president of the CPL Clair Goodblood Chapter, KWVA, Augusta, Maine, sent
the following message to Sherman Pratt, Judge Advocate of the KWVA, on December 5, 2003:
"To: Sherm Pratt, Judge Advocate.
From: Marty O'Brien, Adjutant, CPL Clair Goodblood [MOH] Chapter, KWVA,
Lynnita Brown is a paid associate member of the National KWVA and the CPL
Clair Goodblood [MOH] Chapter, KWVA.
This is a request for a ruling on Harley Coon's action to summarily dismiss
Lynnita from the KWVA based on an "Executive Order" from Mr. Coon.
First of all, any order from Mr. Coon must be considered illegal inasmuch as
he was elected illegally to the presidency at the time of the last election.
Secondly, even if Mr. Coon were the organization's legally elected president,
there are no provisions for dismissal of members by executive order of the
president in the KWVA bylaws.
Please let me know what you think. Marty O'Brien"
Sherman Pratt’s response to O’Brien’s letter was as follows:
"Just in from Florida where daughter had new baby - and am up to buns in both snail and e mails
- but will take quick stab at your inquiry about legality of expulsion action by President Coon.
- without much confidence that my response will be what you are seeking or will meet with your approval
having noted your numerous e-mail messages of late.
I agree with you and some other that here is no express Provision in the bylaws for the president
alone to expel a regular member - whether he has authority to expel an associate member, I think,
is less clear. The president of our association, like most other executive leaders has certain discretionary
and implied authority to act in the interests of an organization - especially when the executive
council is not in session. - in other words, he has implied powers, over and above merely specified
powers. Thus I would stop short of saying that his action you are unhappy with is illegal. In any
event there is a remedy for anyone displeased - they can complain to the executive council and ask
that the action be over ruled and reversed. I don't know of any other forum that is available to
I recognize that you and some others are less than satisfied with the present situation where
you contend, perhaps rightly, that Harley Coon is not the properly and legally elected president....
I have expressed myself on this before and do not desire here and now to pointlessly plow that ground
further I have pointed out to you and others in the past, that I don't know of anything you can
do about it until the next election. I don't see that our own Executive Council is disposed to throw
him out - leaving only an external civil suit as a possible recourse That would be complex, expensive
and time consuming - Before a civil suit could ever be heard I think Harley's term will have ended
and the question of the legality of his term will have become moot.
So for those discontents with his performance or service I think they must simply bite the bullet
and bear with the situation for now. After all, KWVA is not faring too badly. It is financially
solvent to the extreme, has a regularly published newsletter, and an all time high membership. I
don't know where the persistent bickering is getting us, other than discontents letting off stream
- which perhaps has a certain benefit for them. Sorry cannot be more pleasing to you - or others.
The above should not be construed as my endorsement of our president's action in substance. You
only asked for my legal opinion. Whether he was correct in his action is for others to decide. Yours
in comradeship - Sherm Pratt JA (term soon to expire)"
O’Brien Response to Pratt Ruling
"Sherm, with all due respect, this opinion doesn't make any sense whatsoever. It would allow
the president of KWVA to do just about anything he wanted if the president decided that it would
in the interest of the organization. Presidents of corporations are governed by federal and state
law, and by internal by-laws of the organization, and as such are limited by their actions. I suggest
you think this one over seriously and go back to the drawing board.
One more thing, you said that you were sorry that your opinion was
pleasing to me and others. For your information, I resent the implication of
that sentence. I couldn't care one whit whether you think it would be more
pleasing to me or not. My concern is for the good of the whole of KWVA governed by the rule of law."
Chapter Responses to Brown Removal
Harley Coon’s "Executive Order" summarily dismissing Lynnita Brown from the KWVA member roster also
stimulated the drafting of Resolutions in various KWVA chapters. One of the first ones adopted came
from the CENLA 180 CHAPTER, KOREAN WAR VETERANS ASSOCIATION, Leesville, Louisiana, on December 27,
2003. It was followed by Resolutions from the Cpl. Clair Goodblood [MOH] Chapter in Augusta, Maine,
a Resolution from the Crossroads Chapter (Louisiana) of the KWVA, and a Resolution on behalf of
the twenty-plus KWVA chapters in the State of Florida. All of the Passed Resolutions can be
found in their entirety on the Resolutions section of KWVA News on the KWE.
The text of the CENLA Chapter Resolution reads:
|Resolution – Louisiana
WHEREAS reference to ART II, SEC 2B and ART III,
Sec 5 and Sec 7. ART II.2.B and III.5.A clearly
specify the powers enumerated to the Executive
Committee after due process, that is charges
preferred, written notice, and hearing before the
Executive Council; and,
WHEREAS these references are the only provisions
for termination/expulsion in the bylaws is spite
of which Judge Advocate Pratt erroneously quibbled
that there was a loophole for the action by Coon
v. Brown because the latter is an associate rather
than regular member. This argument is specious
since II.2.b provisions extends to members without
WHEREAS the action against Associate Member Brown
violates the bylaws specified and is not binding
upon Associate Member Brown or any other office,
functionary, or element of the KWVA until
provisions of the bylaws are properly adhered to,
be it therefore
CENLA Chapter 180 repudiates the action against
Associate Member Brown by Resolution and refuses
to abide by the ruling until the legal bylaw
provisions are carried out, if such be the case.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED:
CENLA Chapter 180 would advise against application
of the bylaws in the instance of Associate Member
Brown for reasons that may be perceived as
frivolous or spiteful.
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED:
CENLA 180 commends Associate Member Lynnita Brown
and urges other chapters and departments to
consider resolutions of support.
Executed by the Executive Committee, CENLA 180,
the 7th day of December, in the year of the LORD
2003, at Leesville, Louisiana. Louis Dechert
(LR27194), Commander; James Myric k(L027183),
Deputy Commander, Stanley Zachary (R027326),
Adjutant, and Bill Doyle (RO27187), Finance
Commander Lou Dechert
CENLA 180, KOREAN WAR VETERANS
MISSION: Take HILL 2004!
Lynnita Brown Response
Mrs. Brown’s response to Harley Coon’s illegal mandate was posted on the KWVA Ad Hoc Message
Board on December 7, 2003. She stated:
"Looks like Harley Coon will just never quit in his efforts to eliminate his opponents, Skip.
As everyone (except the very dense) can see by his latest arrogancy, the KWVA national dictator
is totally out of control. It should be interesting to see how the KWVA executive council members
handle (or don't handle) the Godfather's latest crazed behavior. Two council members (Gregory and
Camp) have already gone along with Coon's insanity by co-signing a check that includes "dues refund"
money. They should have known better than to try to legitimize Coon's lunacy.
Coon has no regard for the organization's by-laws, having ignored them over and over again. By
his "executive order" to oust yet another member he doesn't like, Coon has shown that, in reality,
the KWVA has no governing rules. All it really has is (1) a dictator who issues commands to and
against those he considers to be his underlings, and (2) some henchmen to carry out his "executive
order" mandates. The KWVA might as well hang up its efforts to get a national charter. History has
shown that not one single dictatorship-governed veteran's organization ever got a national charter
here in the USA. (Move your KWVA national headquarters over to Pyongyang, and you might have a crack
at getting one.)
What needs to be done to resolve this latest nuttiness on the part of the illegitimate president
of the KWVA is to call a special meeting to remove Coon once and for all from his position of out-of-control,
illegitimate power, as well as from the KWVA membership roster. He is a detriment to the organization
as a whole, and he is harmful to the members individually. The executive council simply cannot wait
until the election for a changing of the guard. Having a kook in control for several more months
could not only cause severe damage to the already damaged reputation of the Korean War Veterans
Association, it could also destroy the KWVA's already slim chances for a national charter. Coon
needs to go. His brain is fried. He is a has been.
Furthermore, the attacks against the Korean War Educator need to stop. The KWE should be allowed
to continue advertising in The Graybeards. As most of the Ad Hoc members know, the Korean War Educator
is currently being blocked from advertising in the KWVA magazine as punishment for operating a website
that tells the truth. This is as wrong as wrong can be. Quite honestly, the members of the Korean
War Veterans Association should be grateful that there is someone out there who (finally) is not
out to scam them out of their money, and who is always willing and able to give Korean War veterans
a fair shake in the annals of history. Such persons are few and far between, so those few of us
who do exist should be appreciated, not shafted, by the KWVA.
In addition to resuming the KWE's contract to advertise in The Graybeards, the executive council
needs to send an official letter to me, assuring me that Coon had no authority to issue such a disgraceful
"executive order", and that I remain a member in good standing of the KWVA as per the dues I paid
two years in advance. If the KWVA executive council members are too gutless to do what is right
when it comes to the Korean War Educator Foundation and to Lynnita Brown, then the council members
should at least have the decency to give the Korean War Educator Foundation its full refund in the
amount of $525.00 for the advertising contract breached by Vincent Krepps and Harley Coon, and thus
keep the KWVA out of small claims court. (There is no need to send my dues money back. Coon can't
oust me - period. I know it. You know it. The executive council members know it.)
Harley Coon chose to bypass the KWVA by-laws and by "executive decree" force my removal as an
associate member of the KWVA. By doing so, I have been added to the ranks of those honorable individuals
who were kicked out of the KWVA because they "knew too much" about its wrongdoings--particularly
those of Harley J. Coon, and they took a stand against it. I personally consider Harley Coon to
be one of the biggest phonies who ever hit the big time. As such, to add my name to the growing
roster of ousted KWVA members who had the integrity to oppose him is to add my name to a roll of
honor. The illegal mandates of an illegal president will never rid the KWVA of Lynnita Brown. I'm
staying on as an Associate Member as a show of support for the organization and its members, even
if that support comes in the form of opposition to an administration that has gone amuck. Truth
is on my side -- not on the side of Coon and his flunkies, and I'm going to tell it, come what may."
Jim Ferris Letter
On December 10, 2003, newly-elected director, James "Jim" Ferris of New York became the
first national KWVA director to publicly express his concern over the high-handed manner in which
President Harley Coon expelled Lynnita Brown from the KWVA. The text of his correspondence
on the subject appears below:
From the office of James E. Ferris, National Director
4311 Lazybrook Circle, Liverpool, New York 13088
December 10, 2003
To: All officers and national directors of the KWVA
The copies I received of the recent letters to Mr. Kronenburger and Lynnita Brown concerning the
removal of Mrs. Brown as an associate member and the expulsion of Mr. Kronenberger disturb me very
I believe you and I were elected to serve the good of the organization. Expelling and removing fellow
members for reasons that obviously are not serious enough to merit this type of action, I feel is
not for the good of the organization.
Mr. Kronenburger and Mrs. Brown have indeed been critics of the present administration, I for one,
have in some case agreed with some of their statements and in some cases have not. I have however
not read or seen anything that they have said or done that is cause for their dismissal. I can,
as an American citizen criticize the President of the United States in any way shape or form as
long as I do not harm him or any one else. I must of course stay within the laws of the land in
my criticisms. I do not see where these people have harmed or broke any laws of our organization.
Criticism in any form is not a crime.
I fear that our President has asked us to do something he cannot do. He wants us to remove these
people as he only has a tie-breaking vote in such matters, he can then as he has done in the past
for example say, " I didn’t remove Mr. Pappas from the roles, the board did. " or " I didn’t do
this or that the membership did". Or " I have no vote in these matters". He has said these things
to me many times.
I don’t see this as our function; if however a person has indeed done harm to the organization or
a member of the organization then I would be the first to vote to expel him or her. We must keep
in mind that Mr. Kronenberger and Mrs. Brown only reach approximately less that one percent of our
membership. I can’t believe that they are a threat to the organization as a whole.
I am asking you to contact Harley and ask him to withdraw these letters to Mr. Kronenberger and
Mrs. Brown. We do not need anymore of this type of thing in our organization. What we need is communication
and dialogue with our members and perhaps the need for letters such as these would not exist.
I am sending a copy of this letter to Harley and I ask him to do the right thing and withdraw these
When I was running for election to the board, Harley sent out letters and emails asking people not
to vote for me because I was a trouble maker.
When I attended my first conference as a Director I don’t believe I acted as a trouble maker. I
believe I acted as I said I would in my resume, using logic, common sense and intelligence.
I did as you recall spend a great deal of time criticizing the third term by law changes that were
made. I felt then and I still feel that a third term at that time was not legal and the bylaws were
not changed appropriately. I don’t feel that this was making trouble merely common sense.
I did as you recall spend a great deal of time criticizing the expulsion of many members of our
organization and asked that they be reinstated unconditionally. I don’t feel that this was making
trouble, merely questioning the legality of this action.
I did as you recall spend a great deal of time criticizing the use of a picture in the Graybeards
showing a National Headquarters that appeared to have a large sign attached to the building. Which
of course it does not. I don’t feel this was trouble making merely simple logic the sign does not
There were other things that I objected to and some you agreed with me on but in no way shape or
form I don’t believe you can label me as a troublemaker.
I am not trying to make trouble now either. I am merely trying to again use common sense, logic
and intelligence and try to impress upon you and Harley that these letters to Mr. Kronenberger and
Mrs. Brown are out of order and should be withdrawn immediately.
If they are not, and a hearing is scheduled for our July meeting, I am asking you as fellow elected
officials to examine the facts closely and vote for what you feel is just and above all what is
good for this organization.
Thank you and I remain for the good of the organization:
Pratt Legal Opinion
On December 11, 2003, Sherman Pratt delivered a second legal opinion on the "Executive Order" to
remove Lynnita Brown as an Associate Member, as well as on the pending action to dismiss another
outspoken KWVA member, John Kronenberger. The text of his opinion follows:
----- Original Message -----
From: sherman w pratt
To: [E-mail addresses removed to prevent spam harvesting]
Sent: Thursday, December 11, 2003 12:40 PM
Subject: Kronenberger-Brown - Legal opinion
The other day I answered an inquiry from a member asking about the legality of letters sent by our
KWVA president to member John Kronenberger and Associate Member Lynnita Brown. The letter to Kronenberger
notified him that a hearing would be held to see if there was just cause to expel him from KWVA.
The letter to Brown informed her that under his executive authority she was being removed from the
rolls of KWVA. The President has told me that letters had been sent repeatedly to both concerning
protracted critical and distasteful statements made by them that he considered disruptive and dangerously
divisive to the KWVA and in some instances containing falsehoods, and that they should cease and
desist in the practice.
I had written in my answer, in essence that I did not find the President's action illegal and that
he may have implied authority to so act, even if there is no express language in the bylaws authorizing
him to take such action. My answer seems to have generated a flood of opposition, some of it respectfully
learned, and civil, some quite the contrary. Some members have attacked me personally which I consider
out of line. One is seldom justified in badmouthing the messenger just because of disapproval of
the message. In law, logic and debate, such attacks are widely considered ad hominem attacks- i.e."at
the person" as defined in my Blacks' law dictionary. In legal practice there is a maxim that if
an advocate does not like the law, then he argues the facts. If he does not like the facts, he argues
the law. If he likes neither then he attacks that scoundrel lower than dirt, his opponent lawyer.
I am not personally offended by any aspersions on my ability as JA, but I do not think they help
in arriving at a just, sensible, and reasonable disposition of this matter. In view of these sometimes
harsh an emotionally strong reactions, however, I consider it may be helpful, or even necessary
to elaborate on my answer in the interests of restoring a degree of tranquility among us Korean
I don't see a need for dwelling further on the letter to Kronenberger. It simply notified him as
provided for in the bylaws that a hearing will be held at a time and place specified to determine
if he shall be expelled from KWVA for "just cause" (bylaws wording). He was told he could have representation
on his behalf. I see no legal deficiency or impediment in that letter The bylaws clearly provide
for such action at the discretion of the President Whether there is in fact just cause is yet to
be determined and I take no position on that. The burden will clearly be on the President or others
to show if there is just cause and the obligation will rest with the Executive Council to decide
from the evidence and facts presented whether the circumstances and evidence constitute just cause
and that expulsion is warranted and will serve the best interests of the KWVA,
The letter to Associate member Brown is more troublesome. I wrote before, in essence that without
considering the merits of the presidents action that I could not find his action concerning the
letter to her to be illegal.... neither did I hold that it was legal. I did point out, to the intense
disagreement of some, that while there might not be an express provision in the bylaws for him to
expel an associate member, that he might be able to do so under implied authority acting as the
chief executive of the association.. I based my implied authority view on a generally accepted principle
in government and in private corporate operations. For example, at the highest level of our national
functions, only The Congress may Constitutionally declare war - yet, without such a declaration,
our presidents have committed our armed forces to combat repeatedly in recent years in the Middle
East in Panama, Grenade, Lebanon and elsewhere. All on the basis of implied or constructive authority.
I also pointed out that under our bylaws an associate member may not be entitled to as high a degree
of due process as regular members. Associates are members not by right, but at the pleasure of the
Association, for persons "that will support the aims of the Association" (Article II, C, of the
bylaws) To me our bylaws are simply not that crystal clear on the rights of an Associate member
to a hearing.. Nevertheless, upon further consideration, I see no fair or practicable reason for
so rigidly applying our bylaw provisions concerning expulsion. The President apparently had concluded
that constant criticisms and repeated harsh attacks on the leadership did not constitute "supporting
the aims of the Association" as envisioned by the bylaws. My legal views are heavily influenced
by what I think a civil court would do if the matter were ever to reach that level, and at this
point I frankly don't know what a civil court would do under these circumstances. I am unaware whether
a court has ever been called on to rule in such a case. Nevertheless. in full fairness and objectivity,
it seems to me the better course of action would be to resolve any uncertainties in favor of the
affected member, and handle the matter as the President has done for Kronenberger, i.e. notification
that the matter will be referred to the Executive Council for final consideration and disposition..
Accordingly, upon further consideration and review as some have requested me to do, I hold to my
view that there is nothing illegal in the letter sent by the President to Associate member Brown.
This is not to say that I view the letter as proper, or necessary, or in the best interests of the
KWVA. But I consider those determinations not to turn not on legal but rather on judgmental or policy
considerations and thus more the responsibility of the Executive Council if it is called on by the
Associate member involved or others to review or consider the matter.
I regret that these views may not meet with the approval of some of our members, but I do not view
my functions as a popularity contest, but rather, to the best of my ability, to render opinions
based on sound legal principles likeable to some or not.
Sherm Pratt, Judge Advocate. KWVA
Jerry Lake Letter
On December 20, 2003, executive council member Jerry Lake sent a letter to Harley Coon
calling for his resignation as President of the KWVA for overstepping the bounds of his authority
on more than one occasion. Included in his complaint are references to the attempt by Harley
Coon to illegally remove Mrs. Brown as an Associate Member of the KWVA. The text of his letter follows.
"To: Harley Coon, 1534 Marsetta Dr., Beavercreek, Ohio 45432
Subj: Your letter with reference to Lynnita Brown and John Kronenberger
Ref: You do not have the authority to remove ANY MEMBER from the Organization
Again, you show your lack of interest in the GOOD OF THE ORGANIZATION. ONLY the Board has the suthority
to remove ANY MEMBER of the Organization. A review of the action of both Lynnita Brown and John
Kronenberger I find no justification for considering any action to remove them.
FACT: You ONLY HAVE A TIE-BREAKING VOTE on the Board.
FACT: You do NOT have Executive Privilege with respect to removal of a member.
FACT: Your actions over the past several years has in fact not only divided the Organization but
set us back years in the eyes of the membership.
FACT: Your removal of two Directors at the Tuscola Il. meeting was without authority as well as
your swearing in of two replacements to the board. I therefore call on you to withdraw your letters
to both Ms. Brown and John Kronenberger for the GOOD OF THE ORGANIZATION. I also call for your resignation
from the Organization for conduct unbecoming a member to the Korean War Veterans Association.
FACT:Your message in the Graybeards regarding these two outstanding members was cause for them to
bring charges against you for exactly the claim you have made against them.
Harley Coon, you are a DISGRACE TO THE ORGANIZATION. I look forward to finishing out my term as
a Director in six months.
Jerry J. Lake
cc: National Directors and other interested members"
Pratt's Abraham Lincoln Letter
[This letter was written by KWVA Judge Advocate Sherman Pratt and sent to Jake Feaster, President
of the Florida Department of KWVA, on January 29, 2004. Typographical and grammatical errors
are that of the writer, not the Korean War Educator.]
"This is a response to your very outspoken, harsh, and highly critical e-mail of 8 Jan 04, to
Associate member Lynnita Brown, copied to me and numerous others. You take the strongest objection
to President Coon's letter of Nov 28 to Ms Brown informing her that he was a expelling her from
the KWVA and to my involvement and advice that he as president and under implied powers
could take action to expel Ms Brown. Some other KWVA members, especially Marty O'Brien,
as indicated by their e-mail seem to strongly agree with your position. and criticisms
It seems to me that my actions and involvement in his matter have been grossly misunderstood
and even misrepresented. I think some elaboration and clarification of my involvement
in this matter is warranted, to wit:
Some months or weeks past, President Coon contacted me and said he was most disturbed about
some very aggressive actions, statements and charges of Associate member Lynnita Brown.
He said he considered her activity or statements to be harmful, disruptive, and counter
productive to the best interests of the KWVA and in some respects false. He said he felt that
in the best interests of the Association remedial action should be taken and promptly
by terminating her membership without resorting to a time consuming procedure through
the Executive council.. He asked if I felt he as chief executive had the authority to do so.
After considering he matter carefully, I replied in the affirmative. I said as JA, in
my opinion he could take such action within the scope of his discretionary or implied authority
and powers. I did not suggest that he should do so, only that he could do so if
he concluded the best interests of the association he headed required such action.
I based my opinion mainly on the widespread practice at all levels of our society, in and out
of governmentwherein executive officials have acted decisively in times of urgency
when an action was considered necessary even if not expressly provided for the charters or laws
under which they function. There is no shortage of precedents for this even at the highest
levels of government and certainly under circumstances far more important and critical than
is involved in the operation of a veterans organization.
On January 1st, 1863, following the deadly battle of Antietam on September 17, President
Lincoln issued his emancipation proclamation without any specific or express legislative or
constitutional authority. The proclamation freed slaves in States or areas occupied by
or under the control of the Union Army. It did not abolish slavery generally or elsewhere.
That was not accomplished until the passage of the XIII Amendment well after the end of
the Civil War. In our own times our President has ordered our Armed Forces into conflict
in Panama, Grenada, The Persian Gulf and elsewhere, without any express sanction by the Congress
but presumably under his implied powers since the declaration of war is a power specifically
reserved to the Congress pursuant to Section 8 of Article I of the constitution. I considered
that if our President can take such drastic action as that involving the lives of
our Armed Forces members under implied powers then surely the chief executive of a veterans
organization can take a simple administrative action of expelling a member considered to be
unacceptably troublesome and harmful. I do not expect all our members to agree with me
on this assessment , as you clearly and strongly do not, nevertheless it is the rationale
under which I reached my decision that our president could act as he proposed concerning Member
I pointed out to President Coon that if his action in expelling Brown was accepted, without
opposition or appeal, he would have accomplished his objective and the matter would be closed.
I thought it the most expeditious and effective way to dispose of his trying and stressful
problem. I further pointed out that if member Brown formally objected in writing,
he should then suspend the implementation of the expulsion and refer the matter to the
next meeting of the executive council for its consideration. President Coon knew from previous
experienced that the Council could, after proper notification under Section 2 B of Article
II of the bylaws suspend or expel a member for "just cause" I stressed to him that the burden
of proving just cause to the satisfaction of the council, in this instance, would rest
on the president or such others as he deemed to be knowledgeable of the facts and circumstances.
In view of the opposition to his letter of expulsion it is my understanding that President Coon
will now resort to this course of action and that he has decided to suspend or withdraw his
letter of November 28 and advise Member Brown that he will instead, after due notice to Brown,
refer the matter to the Executive Council for a hearing and decision.
I hope this information will clarify some circumstances surrounding this matter and particularly
my involvement therein. - Sherman Pratt, Judge Adsvocate"
Feaster Response to Pratt
[Following is the text of a letter sent by Jake Feaster, President of the Florida Department
of KWVA, to Sherman Pratt, on Friday, 30 January 2004.]
I could appreciate your analysis below of actions by the "acting president" had his action been
"acting decisively in times of urgency when an action was considered necessary..." Can
you tell me how his expulsion of Lynnita Brown prior to a hearing as provided for in the bylaws
did anything except raise the ire of those who objected to his arbitrary action, much less creating
the appearance of resriction of free speech? It did not stop one iota of her
publication of Coon's irrascible and illegal actions! Not only that, Harley failed to list ONE
statement made by Lynnita that was "in some respects false." He would have been much more within
his rights of bringing her "unacceptable behavior" before the Council as provided for in the
bylaws and let it be acted upon legally. How would stopping her continuance as an official Assocate
Member of KWVA for 7 more months be a "sense of urgency" except stopping her reception of 3
additional issues of the Graybeards magazine? How would his expulsion of Lynnita prevent
"her activity or statements to be harmful, disruptive, and counter productive to the best interests
of the KWVA and in some respects false."? Come on, now! A college freshman would be able to
shoot down those lines of thinking after taking a basic course in logic.
I have been reading your opinions carefully since the one you issued in December 2001 and at
times I detected the emergence of brilliance and then you turn around and shoot yourself in
the foot! You declared Harley in violation of the bylaws when they were illegally changed,
but then declared that you would probably vote for him. This time you stated that the
expulsion probably would qualify if Harley was "acting decisively in times of urgency
when an action was considered necessary..." You knew what he was contemplating which was
in no way "a time of urgency." You could have expressed that in your opinion and saved all a
lot of grief and voluminous emails and resolutions until Lynnita's "questionable"right of membership
was officially acted upon. Of course Harley probably would have considered your opinion as only
"advisory" and gone his merry way of disregarding it as he has so nonchalantly done so in the
past. At least you would have done the job you were appointed to do, instead of trying to placate
Harley in his hell-bent for leather, bull in the china closet solution to what he conjures up
to be a problem for KWVA (which is in reality "his problem!")
I'm sorry to respond so sarcastically to your comments and arguments but somewhere along the
way you have to take a stand against frivolous actions that aren't consistent with the bylaws
or at most don't meet the bounds of common sense!
Lastly, but probably not the last of my comments on Harley's actions, you may want to review
the email addresses in the heading in which I was included when you addressed me with the subject
email. Some of these person's
email addresses have not been valid for some time; others are for persons who have not the slightest
idea of the contents of the email to which you were responding. You left out others who were
included in my original email. How did you decide who to include?
Yours for a better KWVA, Jake Feaster, President
Department of FL KWVA
Brown Questions to Pratt
[The following questions were sent to Sherman Pratt from Lynnita Brown on February 6, 2004 to
clarify remarks that Pratt made in his letter of January 29, 2004 (shown on this page of the
(1) Would you please specify the scope of Harley Coon's "discretionary or implied authority
(a) Under what circumstances can the president of the KWVA veer from the By-laws and take unilateral, punitive action
against individual members of the KWVA based on unspecified charges?
(b) Please cite the specific source upon which you based your opinion that the president of a private, non-profit
organization has "discretionary or implied authority and powers" not necessarily spelled
out in the bylaws.
(c) What are those "discretionary or implied authority and powers", specifically ?
(d) Who determines when and if the KWVA president him or herself has overstepped the bounds of the authority given
to him in the Bylaws, as well as when and if he has overstepped the bounds of any "discretionary
or implied authority and powers" that might exist per your source in (b)?
(e) If a determination is made that the KWVA president has overstepped the bounds of the authority given to him in
the Bylaws, as well as overstepped the "discretionary or implied authority and powers" that
you stated the KWVA president has, what steps should then be taken to deal with a KWVA president
who has overstepped his or her authority?
(f) If that president's term has not yet expired, what is the "cut off" point at which an out-of-control president
should be stopped on his or her course of destruction? (Keep in mind that, when an
out-of-control president's term does finally expire, that out-of-control president remains
as a voting member of the executive council, and thus continues to influence and have an
impact on the mission of the KWVA.)
(2) In a ruling that you made long before Harley Coon began his third term as president of
the KWVA, you stated that the organization's bylaws were changed illegally, and thus Harley
Coon could not legally run for third term president. Do you now believe that the illegal
election that followed on the heels of your ruling somehow negated the illegality of the method
by which the KWVA bylaws were changed, not to mention negated the illegality of the first third-term
president of the KWVA, as well as negated your ruling on the illegal by-laws change? Please
explain your answer.
(3) If an illegal election of an illegal third term president does not negate the illegal method
by which the KWVA bylaws were changed, in your opinion is Harley Coon (who is currently sitting
as the president of the KWVA during an illegal third term made possible by an illegal bylaws
change) sitting legally or illegally?
(4) If Harley Coon is sitting as the illegal president of the KWVA, how can business (any)
that he and/or the executive council have conducted while he is the illegal president be
(5) If Harley Coon became the illegal president of the KWVA by an illegal bylaws change,
how can he have any legal authority whatsoever , including "discretionary or implied authority
(6) Regarding paragraph three of your letter to Jake Feaster, you mentioned that Coon had
contacted you stating he was disturbed about "some very aggressive actions, statements and
charges of Associate member Lynnita Brown." You further stated, "He said he considered
her activity or statements to be harmful, disruptive, and counter productive to the best
interests of the KWVA and in some respects false."
(a) What specific "very aggressive actions, statements and charges" did Coon claim I had made?
(b) Did you personally investigate those charges to determine whether they might or might not be true?
(c) If you investigated Coon's complaint against me, how did you determine the accuracy and fairness
of Coon's accusation?
(d) Why did you not question me personally to determine whether or not Coon's claims were fair and reasonable
charges? (There are two sides to every story. Have you bothered to listen to
(e) Harley Coon told you that he considered statements that I had made to be "in some respects false".
If my statements were, by Coon's own admission, only false "in some respects", that would
surely mean that "in other respects" they were true. Again, did you attempt to determine
the validity of any of the "false" statements that Coon claimed I had made? Please
(7) On what basis did you determine that an Associate Member of the KWVA could be treated
differently than any other type of member of the KWVA? Please site the source upon
which you based that determination.
(8) Does your determination in (7) mean that no Associate Member whatsoever of the KWVA
has the right to due process, and that all "trying and stressful problems" in the form of
Associate Members who oppose a particular president, and whom that particular president
does not like, can then justifiably be "disposed of" at the whim of that president through
the use of his or her "discretionary or implied authority and powers"?
(9) What, specifically, is "just cause" for expelling a member of the KWVA?
(10) Would any of the following be considered "just cause" for expelling a member of the
(a) illegally changing the KWVA bylaws
(b) illegally running for an illegal term of office
(c) publishing a fraudulent
photograph in The Graybeards with intent to
deceive members at election time
(d) conducting meetings illegally
(e) illegally suspending and/or expelling members
(f) illegal nullification of legally called meetings
(g) use of Graybeards for
illegal electioneering and other self-serving
(h) self-dealing on the executive council
(i) fiduciary mismanagement of KWVA fund
(j) openly cursing members
(k) harassment of members who speak their mind peaceably and freely
(l) breach of contract
(m) theft of funds from advertisers/members
(n) attempts to rig elections
(o) claiming war honors neither earned nor deserved
(p) manipulation of judge advocate rulings for self-serving purposes
(q) conspiracy to sabotage legally-called meetings
(r) failure to carry out council motions
(s) padding membership figures
in an attempt to misrepresent
(t) slander/defamation of character
You mentioned in your letter to Feaster that you did not suggest that Coon "should" take
action against me using his "discretionary or implied authority and powers". Instead,
you only told him that, in your opinion, he "could" take such action against me. Harley
Coon took your "could" advice, following through on his determination to punish me for not
falling in line with his very foolish administration by sending me a registered letter stating
that I am expelled from the KWVA by "executive order" as of January 1, 2004. In order
to determine the recourse I should take with regards to Coon's action, I would like to read
your responses to the above questions. Sherm, I encourage you to respond to the questions
by number so that I will clearly understand your answers and be able to keep them in the
context in which they were presented to me.
As you are aware, I am adamantly opposed to the Harley Coon administration. I strongly
disagree with those who think that his past and current outrageous actions should just be
shirked off since the 2004 election is so near. I think Coon has caused great harm
to the members of the KWVA, and I think he will go down in KWVA history as the organization's
most disgraceful leader. I have made no secret of my personal opinion of Harley Coon's
harmful and self-serving actions. Others may follow the illegal third-term KWVA president
without question, falling in behind him like dumb sheep. I, however, will not.
I refuse to condone a phony--most particularly a phony who has repeatedly scammed, betrayed,
and mislead his fellow veterans. I make no apologies for my strong opposition to the
glory-seeking, illegal KWVA president whom I consider to be a self-centered con artist.
Lynnita Jean Brown
Founder, Korean War Educator
Pratt Response to Brown Questions
[Following is Sherman Pratt's response to Lynnita Brown, written on February 6, 2004.]
----- Original Message -----
From: "sherman w pratt" < firstname.lastname@example.org >
To: < email@example.com >
Sent: Friday, February 06, 2004 5:01 PM
Subject: Re: Expulsion
This will acknowledge receipt of your e-mail. I regret I cannot reply in the detail it
deserves due to physical limitations. My stroke last year has left me with partial left
side paralysis to include left hand and fingers. So cannot type in length or correctly.
Short answer to most of your questions that essentially ask for direction to turn for remedies
for actions you so strongly object to is (1) the KWVA Executive Council or (2) Civil litigation.
The EC does not seem disposed to do anything in the matter - and civil litigation as I have
repeatedly pointed out would be costly, complex and complicated with multi jurisdictions
and time consuming.
I also point out when ever I can that I think the only practical recourse and remedy for the
complaints you have is time. In only a few weeks Harley Coon's term will expire and with
new leadership KWVA can move on.
I can spend no more time just now on this matter with you. Sorry. This not to say that
I do not aggree with some of what you have to say, but the Republic will not collapse if all
KWVA's short comings are not immediately overcome. Take heart and be patient. I note your well
articulated opinion of President Coon which of course you are entitled to have. But I
also note that there are many, perhaps a majority on the Council, that do not feel as you do..
I realize this not what you want to hear form me, but is the best I can do a this time. - Sherm
After-the-fact Council Vote
At an Executive Council meeting held in Arlington, Virginia, on February 26, 2004, the KWVA's
illegal president Harley Coon preferred formal charges against Associate Member Lynnita Brown
(A021105), and took a council vote to remove her from the membership roster some three months
after he had already expelled her by "executive order" (November 28, 2003). As mentioned
earlier on this page, the KWVA's Judge Advocate Sherman Pratt immediately upheld Coon's arbitrary
decision to remove Brown, stating nearly a month after Brown's removal (late January 2004) that
Coon had "implied powers" to treat Associate Members differently than the bylaws mandate. Coon
followed up on his presidential expulsion of Brown by calling for an after-the-fact vote from
council members on February 26 to remove Lynnita Brown from the KWVA.
The following council members cast votes during Coon's second effort to remove Brown from the
membership roster: Jack Edwards (Coonite), Mike Mahoney (Coonite - appointed by Coon),
Jim Jones (Coonite), Dorothy Wenzel (Coonite - past Coon appointee), Joe Pirrello (Coonite),
Stan Grogan (most recent Coon appointee), Warren Wiedhahn (Coonite - past Coon appointee), Jim
Ferris, Bill McSwain, and Larry McKinniss (Coonite - appointed by Coon twice). Absent
were: Ken Cook (Coonite - appointed by Coon), Don Byers (Coonite), Jack DeLap (Coonite), and
Jerry Lake. Including Harley Coon, there were 11 voting members present at the Executive
Council in Arlington.
The charges preferred against Brown by Coon were: making false statements; negative actions
against the KWVA, distributing misinformation, and character assassination. The vote to
remove Lynnita Brown as an Associate Member after she had already been expelled from the
KWVA two months earlier by Coon's executive order was 8 Yes, 2 No. Voting Yes were:
Edwards, Mahoney, Jones, Wenzel, Pirrello, McKinniss, Grogan, Weidhahn. Voting No were:
Ferris and McSwain. Mrs. Brown received no notice that such a vote would take place at
the February 26, 2004 meeting. This violated Article II, Section 2 (Membership Procedures),
B of the KWVA Bylaws.
Brown has never received notice from the KWVA Executive Council as to what the specific "just
cause" charges against her are. The charges mentioned in the above paragraph were reported
to the Korean War Educator by Bill Scott, a member of the KWVA who was the sole non-council
member to sit in on the Executive Council meeting in February 2004 in Arlington. Scott
tape-recorded the meeting, but the tape is not yet available. As more information on the
Executive Council meeting becomes known, it will be posted on this page of the Korean War Educator.
Until then, Mrs. Brown commented, "Have Coon and his Coonite flunkies gotten away with this
flagrant violation of the KWVA bylaws? I hardly think so. Watch what happens next."
O'Brien Letter to Grogan (2/29/04)
Dear Appointed Director Stanley J. Grogan:
I was one of many people who voted for you for Director in the last election.
I was very impressed with your credentials as published in The Graybeards. I thought that as
a former officer and a person of considerable intelligence
that you would be a welcome addition to the National KWVA to help steer that
organization on the right path. How wrong I was! I am told that you are one of the gang of 8
who voted to illegally expel Lynnita at the February 26 mid-winter meeting at Arlington.
As an intelligent person, how could you not see that the action that took
place was illegal per the National KWVA Bylaws? Art. II, Section 2B of the KWVA Bylaws
clearly and explicitly states that the Executive Council may expel a member only "for just cause
after an appropriate hearing. Such decision to be voted upon at the next general membership
Were you not told that Lynnita did not receive due notice and process? That
she did not receive a letter of notification outlining the specific charges against her? That
she was not afforded a hearing with/without counsel to defend herself? Furthermore,
did you not know that under the Bylaws that she cannot be removed under any circumstance until
there is a vote of the general membership at the next general membership meeting. In any event,
it is the EC who must furnish such letter according to the Bylaws - the Executive Council and
only the Executive Council, period!
As I see it, you have cast an illegal vote for an illegal action. I truly am sorry that you
have thrown in your hat with Coon and his Coolies.
You should know better.
Marty O'Brien, Life Member KWVA, LR12697
Past Member, Burton-Goode-Sargent Chapter, KWVA,
Bangor, Maine, 1993-1997
[builders of Maine Korean War Memorial, 1995, Bangor, Maine]
Founder/Past Commander/Presently Adjutant
CPL Clair Goodblood [MOH] Chapter, KWVA,
Augusta, Maine, 1997 to date
[builders of CPL Clair Goodblood Medal of Honor Memorial, 1998, Burnham,
Maine, and sponsors of Goodblood Hall, Camp Red Cloud, Korea]
2nd Notice of Removal
On February 28, 2004, Howard Camp, who is the Coon-appointed secretary of the KWVA, sent a Notice
of Removal to Lynnita Brown. The letter followed three months after Coon sent the first
Notice of Removal letter to her after he had expelled her by "executive order." The text
of the Camp letter follows:
"Subject: Removal as associate member
This letter is to notify you of your removal for just cause from the rolls of the Korean War
Veterans Association as an Associate Member. This action was taken at the Executive Council
Meeting held at Arlington, Virginia on February 26 2004.
This decision was rendered by a vote of 8 yeas - 2 nays - 4 absent by the Executive Council
of the Korean War Veterans Association.
Howard W. Camp
Korean War Veterans Association
Executive Council Members
Brown Comments on 2nd Removal
Lynnita Brown made the following statement regarding her second removal from the KWVA:
"Apparently Coon felt it necessary to shoot me twice to make sure I was really dead. It
obviously isn't working. In spite of Coon's smear campaign against the Korean War Educator
and his repeated attempts to get rid of me as an opponent, I'm still here. I remain vocally
opposed to Harley Coon and his flunkies, and I remain firmly in support of the efforts of the
Take Hill 2004 candidates running in this year's election to rid the KWVA of Coon and his Coonite
followers. I believe that Coon and Company are systematically destroying the reputation
of this fine organization through their illegal and unethical conduct. It's time for the
members of the KWVA to unite in opposition to the Coon regime and bring honesty and integrity
back to the national leadership of the Korean War Veterans Association."
Brown continued, "As for my removal from the membership roster, it is just as illegal as the
removal actions taken against Nick Pappas, Skip Rittenhouse, and Rusty Tramonte, as well as
the threats of removal made against John Kronenberger. Harley Coon came by his position
as third-term president of the Korean War Veterans Association by illegally manipulating the
organization's bylaws. He is an outlaw president who then used his ill-gotten leadership
position to appoint friends and supporters to lesser positions of power within the KWVA so he
could have dictatorial control over the organization and its treasury. Collectively, this
band of bad boys (and one former Coon appointee who is female) has held the KWVA hostage since
2002, when the illegal election took place. Because he came by his position illegally,
I do not recognize Harley Coon as the true president of the Korean War Veterans Association.
As such, I contend that neither he nor his flunkies have the authority to remove me as an Associate
Member. My dues are paid in full through 2005. I have no intention of dropping either
my membership in or my support for the KWVA simply because its illegal president is trying to
railroad me out of his way. He has trampled over a lot of people in his efforts to obtain
fame and glory, but I'm not about to let him trample over me."
Cape Cod & Islands Chapter Action
On March 9, 2004, the Cape Cod and Islands Chapter of the KWVA met at the VFW Post
in Hyannis, Massachetts, for its monthly meeting. Thirty-six members were present and
all officers were present. In the course of discussing new business, member Stan Jones
made a motion that the chapter make Lynnita Brown an honorary member of their chapter.
Brown had been removed as an associate member from the KWVA by Harley Coon and members of the
Executive Council. The membership approved the motion, and Brown now receives a complimentary
copy of the chapter newsletter.
When the announcement of Brown's approval as an honorary member of the Cape Cod & Islands Chapter
was posted on Don Finch's KWVA Ad Hoc Message Group, Marty O'Brien of the Cpl. Clair Goodblood
(MOH) Chapter in Augusta, Maine (Lynnita's local chapter), responded:
" WAY TO GO CAPE & ISLANDS!!! Don't forget all, Lynnita is still a member of the KWVA, it will
take the vote of the general membership to boot her out and THAT JUST AIN'T GONNA HOPPEN!
In any event, Lynnita will remain a valued member of our Goodblood Chapter for as long as we
are in existence and as long as she wants to hook up with us! BRAVO to Don Duquette, Tom O'Connor
and all of our friends on the cape!"
Newsletter Editorial - Marty O'Brien
Following is an editorial written by Marty O’Brien that appeared on page three of the March
2004 edition of the newsletter of the Cpl Clair Goodblood (MOH) Chapter, KWVA. Lynnita Brown
has been an Associate Member of that Chapter for several years.
"On February 26, at the mid-winter National KWVA meeting in Arlington, VA, Associate Member
Lynnita J. Brown was removed by the Executive Council as a member of the national organization
by a vote of 8-2, subject to a vote of the general membership at the next general membership
The chapter resolution sent to the directors last December condemning the ouster apparently
had little effect on most of the council members.
The sacking was clearly a spiteful action engineered by National President Harley J. Coon to
punish Lynnita for exercising her First Amendment RIGHT on a number of occasions to criticize
Mr. Coon. First she was hung, then they court-martialed her! Lynnita is the fourth or fifth
KWVA member to be targeted for removal from the KWVA rolls by Harley Coon for personal reasons.
The lynching was crudely done. Although she is a paid member through 2005, Lynnita was never
informed of the pending action nor did she receive a list of charges. Nor was she invited to
appear in her own defense at the meeting. Clearly a violation of Art. II-2-B of the National
Bylaws which requires an "appropriate hearing."
Nowadays, in the KWVA, when President Coon says "jump." Eight of the council members say, "How
Notwithstanding the illegal action of the President and the Executive Council, Lynnita will
remain as a valued member of our chapter in good standing, regardless.
This story is not over yet. We expect the general membership to come down on the side of Lynnita.
Stay tuned! Just remember to vote for reform this year! – Marty O’Brien"
"Missing Ballots" Correspondences
Brown to Dechert
MacGill to Brown
Brown to MacGill
Pratt to Brown
Brown to Pratt
In May of 2004, a series of correspondences about the illegal removal of Lynnita Brown as an
associate member of the KWVA circulated over the internet. The correspondences are worthy
of review because they show the mentality of the KWVA Judge Advocate with regards to the Coon-initiated
attempt to rid himself of yet another person on the growing list of opponents to his administration.
As a point of clarification, the veteran named Dick MacGill served under Sherman Pratt in times
of war, presumably World War II.
As part of a larger correspondence to Sherman Pratt on a wide variety of issues, Louis Dechert,
candidate for President of the KWVA, made this comment: "
"Sherman, I understand many of your problems, and
urge that you in fact do what you so
assert you are doing: just fade away in the last weeks of this disgraceful Coon era. I know
of no one, other than perhaps Ms. Brown-- and you certainly wronged her--who has INITIATED
attacks or slurs on you since your erroneous Brown rulings. All this conflict comes as you
initiate communications about matters that are no longer refutable
(viz the Barker revelations), for reasons that I do not understand. In view of your record,
military service, age and health problems neither I nor others
like to engage in conflict with you. BUT, you put the messages up there they will be answered.
And they will not stop just because you do not appreciate the tone or manner in which some of
us express ourselves."
Brown to Dechert
When Lynnita Brown received a copy of Dechert's correspondence to Pratt, she wrote to Dechert
(whom she fully supports as candidate for KWVA president):
"Lou, I did not initiate an "attack" on Sherman Pratt. The fact that I spoke
up in protest of being treated unfairly by Coon and his flunkies (including Pratt) does not
constitute an attack. With his ruling that an associate member does not necessarily have
the right to be protected by KWVA bylaws, Pratt treated me like some sort of lesser being in
the KWVA, and I think that he was very, very wrong to do so. I hold him directly responsible
as one of the willing participants in Coon's attempt to illegally remove me as a member. I think
Sherman Pratt has been extremely unprofessional in his role as the JA of the KWVA because of
his favoritism toward Coon. All too often, Pratt has supported Coon's unethical
conduct by trying to justify it, and that fact is blatantly reflected in his rulings.
In the eyes of many of his men, Sherman Pratt is considered to be a highly respected war hero,
and I'm sure that he well deserves such esteem from them. However, based on his rulings
that support Coon's efforts to get rid of me, as well as comments he has made to me in correspondences,
my opinion of Sherman Pratt is not as high as is that of his fellow veterans. To me, Pratt
will always be just another Coonite who did not serve his fellow KWVA members well when he turned
a blind eye to Coon's many shenanigans.
Dechert replied to Brown's message with this short comment: "Lynnita - I have no argument
with your characterization at all."
MacGill to Brown
While Dechert had no argument with Brown's statements regarding Pratt's involvement in her illegal
removal from the KWVA, veteran Dick MacGill did. Not a member of the KWVA and not even
aware of who Harley Coon is, MacGill sent the following letter to Lynnita Brown on May 13:
"Lady, you're right. A lot of Sherm Pratt's "men" violently object to some broad making cracks
about his being unprofessional and a flunky for some Coon guy. He's a genuine class act. But
judging by your correspondence, you and this Lou guy have trouble with this concept. Knock off
the email vilification of my old C.O."
Brown to MacGill
In response to MacGill's letter, Lynnita Brown wrote:
"And if I don't knock it off? What then, Dick MacGill?
Until you read the contents of this page,
please do not pass judgment on me. Get the facts first before telling me to "knock
it off". Sherman Pratt has done me a huge injustice by siding with Harley Coon (About Harley Coon)
on a completely dishonorable act against me. If my objections to Coon and Pratt's
conduct in this matter bother you, I am sorry. However, I did not pick this dilemma.
Coon and Pratt dumped it on me. With all due respect, sir, if you don't know anything more
about Harley Coon other than the fact that he is "some Coon guy", you don't know enough
about the situation to have an objection to my comments. I am well aware of Sherman
Pratt's reputation as a genuine class act, and at one point in time I, too, had the highest
regard for him. Unfortunately, that is no longer the case. Why? Because
Sherman has chosen to be supportive of the current president of the KWVA--ruled to be
the illegal president by Sherman Pratt himself because Coon violated the bylaws to worm
into an illegal third term as KWVA president. Coon is about as far removed from
a "genuine class act" as any veteran can possibly get. Sherman Pratt knows full well that
what Harley Coon did to me was way, way out of line--yet he ultimately backed Coon in this
harmful act against me. The result is that an honest man is now backing a self-serving
man. Very sad. I predict that before this KWVA mess is over, you are going to
see Coon's name in syndicated columns, and nothing positive will be attached to it.
When the truth about him is publicly revealed and he is punished for his wrongdoings, I
will (gladly) "knock it off." I take no pleasure in being mistreated by the likes
of Harley Coon, and I take no pleasure in being treated like a second class citizen by Sherman
Pratt. - Lynnita Brown, Founder, Korean War Educator (www.koreanwar-educator.org)"
Pratt to Brown
On May 19, Sherman Pratt sent the following letter to Lynnita Brown:
"Ms Brown -
I have received your letter of May 13th to Dick MacGill concerning your
recent expulsion from KWVA that you copied to me.
Since you mention me by name throughout in a most derogatory, critical
and incorrect manner I feel I must respond to set the record straight and
in another attempt to clarify certain points to you. I have little
illusion that I will be successful. You are perhaps familiar with the old
adage that there are none so blind as those who will not see - or so deaf
as those who will not hear.
I hope that saw does not apply to you. I recently have avoided
communicating further with you. We had agreed, I thought, that our views
on your conduct and expulsion are widely different and apparently
irreconcilable and that further communication between us would be
You write, among other things, that you have been harmed and "dumped" on
by President Coon (and myself?) in a "completely dishonorable act " and
that I have"chosen to be supportive of the current president of KWVA" and
that I "ultimately backed Coon in this harmful act against me" and I have
thus treated you like "a second class citizen". I do not consider that I
have "backed" or "supported President Coon in his action to expel you.
You or others may incorrectly draw that inference because I did not
actively or expressly oppose him. But I must point out the fallacy of any
such inference. Just because I do not oppose the president, does not
necessarily mean that I support him. You do not indicate whether you
have also considered if it may be you as an Associate member that has
caused yourself harm by the things you wrote or said that President Coon
considered was disruptive, untrue and harmful to the KWVA.
It is my wish that you better understand the very limited and indecisive
involvement that I had in your expulsion from the KWVA. I did not take
that action, nor did I recommend it, or urge it, or even fully sanction
it. I simply, and only, as I was obligated to do, rendered a legal
opinion when asked by President Coon if he had he authority to expel a
member when he concluded as the chief executive that the member was
acting in a way clearly harmful to the KWVA. I told him I felt he could
take such action, under his broad discretionary authority as the chief
executive to act in the best interests of that Association on urgent
matters when the executive council was not in session and unable to act
on the matter. This was admittedly a close call and one that some,
including you, have taken strong exceptions to, correctly or not.. I felt
it would have been far more difficult, and legally assailable to hold
that a CEO did not have such authority. Suppose someone was found to be
running away with Association money or property or an officer was
slandering a fellow KWVA member would the CEO be barred from taking
prompt remedial action without waiting for the next meeting of the
Executive Council. I think not. And I know of no reasonable legal basis
for holding that he could not do so. There is no shortage of precedents
in our society, in and out of government all the way up to the president
where actions normally falling on the legislative branch are taken by the
executive when the legislative branch is not in session and cannot act.
An example if the interim appointment of Federal Judges or senior
So I advised President Coon that he could act to expel you as an interim
action but that he should refer the matter to the executive counsel for
review or confirmation at the first opportunity,-- its next regular
meeting - which he did, and as you know . The EC supported his action by
an overwhelming, if not unanimous vote.. I told him you should be
informed of your right to appear on your own behalf. I understand he so
advised you but I did not see you at that meeting on February 26 here in
Arlington. Thus the complaint made by you or others that the President
had no authority to act on his own in expelling you with out involvement
by the Executive Counsel became moot and irrelevant. The matter was in
due course considered by the Counsel as provided in the bylaws.
Additionally, I can point out that you still have an opportunity to
request reinstatement. Article II, Section 2 D, of the bylaws provides
that upon written request signed by a terminated former member and filed
with the secretary, the Executive Council, by a two-thirds vote of the
members present, may reinstate such former member to membership on such
terms as the counsel may deem fit and proper. I would not presume to
predict what action in that event the counsel would take.. I imagine it
would turn on what you had to say in your own behalf, or what response
you made to the accusations if any, made against you.
I have not and do not now take any position on the merits of your
expulsion, i.e. whether or to what extent your actions were harmful to
the KWVA. I have seen your remarks in my e-mails over time and I could
not see that some were very helpful, respectful or beneficial to KWVA's
best interests. On the contrary I thought some to be quite divisive,
disruptive, unnecessarily contentious and disrespectful to the KWVA or
its leadership. You have been, to put it somewhat charitable quite
outspoken. But weighing the harm of your actions or comments was not and
is not within the scope of my responsibility as Judge Advocate. Those
functions belonged to the Executive in consultation with Executive
I hope this additional and final message from me to you will clarify for
you my limited role in the expulsion action that you apparently so
Inasmuch as your messages are often copied to others, I will also copy
this response to others that I assume have received your complaints.
I wish you well. Perhaps someday we can be on a more cordial relationship
and work in unison for the benefit of the KWVA and its Korean War veteran
members. - Sincerely, Sherman Pratt, JA"
Brown to Pratt
Lynnita Brown's reply to Sherman Pratt is as follows:
"As the judge advocate of the KWVA, it is
your advice that the council and members seek to help determine the correct course of action
when controversial issues arise. You keep justifying your behavior in my illegal expulsion
from the KWVA by saying that you did not tell Coon that he "should" attempt to expel me,
but rather that he "could" expel me by executive order. On this, you and I will forever
disagree. Coon cannot expel me by an "executive order" because no such order exists
within the governing rules of the KWVA—neither real nor implied. Unfortunately, Sherman,
you played right into Harley Coon's hands, furthering the dishonorable actions of the illegal
president of the KWVA by telling him that he "could" expel me by executive order if he was
so inclined. Then, your infamous "Abraham Lincoln" letter attempted to justify Coon’s use
of nebulous "executive powers" by making a comparison between Coon’s authority and that
of the President of the United States. Ridiculous.
Neither you nor anyone associated with the executive council of the KWVA has had the
decency to tell me just exactly what I specifically said or did that so "urgently" called
for my illegal removal from the KWVA by the first "executive order" in the history of the
KWVA. As far as I can determine, the only thing that I actually did was to voice my opinion
against Harley Coon's illegal administration--an administration that months earlier you
had ruled yourself to be illegal. It was a sad day for the members of the KWVA when Coon
and his flunkies showed that those within the ranks who are "outspoken" can be kicked
out if they don’t go along with the current administration. "It’s either my way or the
highway" is obviously the new rule of thumb for the leaders of the Korean War Veterans Association.
Dare to oppose your leaders and you will be removed from the membership roster—without notice
and without due process. Please tell me, Sherman. Just exactly for what did your fellow
veterans suffer, bleed, and die in Korea? Was it not to preserve freedom—including the freedom
to speak openly without fear of recrimination?
Harley Coon keeps saying that the things that I have said in opposition to his illegal
administration are "lies, all lies." Yet, neither he nor any of his council flunkies (including
you as the judge advocate) have ever stated what those "lies, all lies" specifically are.
Do you know why the specifics have not been forthcoming, Sherman? It is because Lynnita
Brown does not deal in lies. I never have--ever. I deal only in truths. Period.
I am, indeed, a very outspoken woman, and I make no apology to anyone for that. Revealing
the truth about the Coon administration was long overdue. Like John Kronenberger and many
other members who oppose the Coonite administration of the KWVA, I refuse to keep my head
buried in the sand while Harley Coon commits one harmful act after another against the members
of the KWVA. The home truths that I have aired so publicly have obviously rubbed Coon and
his flunkies the wrong way, but I could care less. Unlike those individuals who back his
illegal administration, my loyalty is not now and never has been to Harley Coon. My loyalty
is to Korean War veterans, including those who are members of the KWVA. It is not "harmful"
to KWVA members to provide them with the cold, hard facts about the illegal president of
the KWVA and various members of the council (e.g., Cook and Edwards) who have acted less
than honorably during their tenures on the council.
Interestingly, I am not the only person who has voiced opinions in protest of Coon's
illegal administration, yet I am the only one who was kicked out by "executive order." You
and I know that my so-called expulsion from the KWVA had nothing to do with any "harmful
act" that I have actually committed against the membership. The plain, honest truth (and
you very well know it) is that my Coon-initiated expulsion from the KWVA was for
one reason alone: I dared to repeatedly, vocally, and publicly voice my disgust for Harley
Coon's illegal and unethical conduct as president/illegal president of the KWVA. I have
repeatedly and unabashedly stated another alarming home truth as well, and that is: Coon
has gotten away with all of his shenanigans because his "flunkies" on the council have let
him get away with them. Furthermore, I do not mince any words while voicing my low opinion
of Coon and his minions. Coon and his flunkies don’t like my attitude toward them. For this
(and only this), Coon and his hence men have tried to kick me out of the KWVA. It is their
little way of getting even with the opposition.
Contrary to what you stated in your letter, I received no notice from anyone about
the nature of the so-called "charges" against me that Coon, his flunkies, and/or you apparently
felt warranted my expulsion (either illegally by Coon or illegally by the council) from
the KWVA. I received no notice from anyone of my "right to appear before the council." Their
attempt to kick me out of the KWVA was done in true kangaroo court fashion.
You need to be aware that my dues in the KWVA are pre-paid two years in advance. The
KWVA owes copies of The Graybeards to me, and so far owes me several months additional membership
time (not to mention several hundred dollars to the Korean War Educator for its Krepps-pulled
advertising). Under no circumstances will I seek "reinstatement" in the KWVA. My Coonite
removal was not legal in the first place. I am a bona fide associate member of the KWVA
(still), so there is no need for me to seek "reinstatement". I remain a member in good standing
of the KWVA whether Coon and his flunkies like it or not. I will not now or ever
give the executive council of the KWVA a helping hand in trying to make what can only be
termed a dishonorable act on their part somehow a legal and honorable one. They got themselves
into this sorry mess. Now it is up to them alone to get themselves out of it.
You are trying to make excuses for the inexcusable, Sherman. You are trying to justify
the facilitating role that you played in Coon’s game to get rid of yet another person who
opposed him. However, there is no justification for it. Whether you choose to admit
this or not is immaterial to me. You are a man whom I once held in high regard, but that
changed when you participated in what will always be one of the most infamous, dishonorable
actions in the history of the KWVA. You are aware that there are many members of the KWVA
who have taken exception to your support of my illegal removal from the KWVA. Consequently,
I believe that your most recent letter to me is a failed attempt on your part to distance
yourself from a mess that you directly helped to create.
The Korean War Educator website will remain ever supportive of the KWVA, believing
strongly in the purposes for which it was founded. However, the KWE will also continue to
vocally protest the illegal and unethical actions of Harley Coon and those within his illegal
administration who willingly served, and are still serving, as pawns in his game of deceit
against the members of the Korean War Veterans Association. No matter how much you try to
minimize your role in my illegal oust, the fact remains that your ruling directly egged
Coon on in his efforts to try to eliminate me from the membership roster of the KWVA. That
fact will never change. You can try to sweep this mess under the rug all you want to, but
the lump is forever going to show. The conduct of Harley Coon, Vincent Krepps, and several
council members has been dishonorable beyond belief on more than one occasion, further emphasizing
the great need to clean house during this election. I hope the members of the KWVA wise
up to Coon and his flunkies, and give them the boot they deserve.
I think you have put your eggs in the wrong basket when it comes to your obvious support
of the illegal president of the KWVA, but that is your business. You are certainly
old enough to make your own determination as to what is proper or improper behavior on the
part of the leader(s) of a national veteran’s organization. I realize that you will say
this letter is "verbose" and that I reinforce "the old adage that there are none so blind
as those who will not see - or so deaf as those who will not hear." I assure you, however,
that, with respect to Harley Coon and his flunkies, my blinders and earplugs were taken
off long ago. I see them for exactly what they are: a disgrace to Korean War veterans.
Lastly, while I cannot foresee much cordiality between the two of us until you have
publicly apologized to me for the role you played in my illegal removal from the KWVA, I
do wish you well, too, Sherman. Never have I forgotten for a moment that you are one of
the veterans who fought for the freedom I enjoy today. The attainment and retention of freedom
is not an easy victory. That is why I refuse to let tyrants like Harley Coon take away that
which is so precious to me. My personal freedom was secured through far too many sacrifices
made by far too many veterans. Consequently, I will not
allow it to be jeopardized by bullies like Coon and his flunkies. Woe to anyone who tries
to take any form of my freedom away from me. I will never let them. – Semper Fidelis, Lynnita