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Nick Pappas Suspension from the KWVA

Nick Pappas Suspension

Page Contents
Excerpts, Executive Council Minutes, 3/25/00, Arlington, VA
"Listen Up", March/April 2000 issue, The Graybeards
Letter from Coon to Pappas, 9/26/00
Letter from Coon to Pappas - Notice of Hearing - 4/3/01
Letter from Coon to Pappas - Hearing Reminder - 6/4/01
Twice Reinstated
Pirrello Complaint
Pirrello Motion
Nick Pappas Opinion


Nick Pappas’ suspension as a member of the Board of Directors and the KWVA was actually based on the alleged actions of another person--Stan Myrda, the CPA in charge of the KWVA’s "Maison investigation". John Maison was serving as treasurer and quartermaster of the KWVA when he came under scrutiny for wire and mail fraud a few years ago. In order to audit the financial records for discrepancies and to formulate an insurance claim to recover lost money, Myrda held KWVA financial records in his office in Southern Illinois pending the outcome of the investigation. After he took office as president, and while the investigation was in process, Harley Coon demanded that Myrda turn the records back over to the KWVA. Myrda refused, and Pappas supported him in his refusal to interrupt the ongoing IRS/FBI investigation. Myrda told Coon that he would only return the records when the FBI/IRS investigations were completed and the insurance claim was settled.

Using the financial records he had obtained from Maison’s office in 1997, Myrda was able to prepare a successful claim on behalf of the KWVA to recover a partial settlement in 1998 on the money lost during John Maison’s term as KWVA treasurer. On May 20, 1998, Nick Pappas sent a letter to the insurance company asking for a six month extension while Myrda continued the accounting process. (It is unclear whether or not the succeeding president, Harley Coon, received a reply to Pappas’ letter, and this letter was not brought before those attending the meeting to suspend Pappas on March 25, 2000. Then, in spite of Myrda’s success in obtaining a first settlement from the insurance company, Coon encouraged the KWVA national directors to hire a CPA firm in Ohio to handle KWVA financial affairs, but Pappas contended that the Ohio firm was contracted to handle routine accounting, not the special FBI/IRS investigation of that period of time from 1994 to 1997 when John Maison was treasurer. According to Pappas, to interrupt the proceedings by transferring all of the paperwork to an Ohio accounting firm in the middle of the investigation was not only not cost effective for the KWVA, it would also reflect poorly on the KWVA in the eyes of investigators who might think the KWVA had something to hide and was using delay tactics.

Former KWVA president Nick Pappas left office on July 26, 1998, just two months after the first partial claim had been settled. In the March/April 2000 Graybeards, he was then declared in a newsletter headline to be, "negligent in processing KWVA insurance claims" [see page 14, March/April 2000 The Graybeards]. He was suspended from membership in the Korean War Veterans Association "until all records are returned to the satisfacton of the Executive Council" [see page 15 of the March/April 2000 The Graybeards.] He was reinstated as the immediate past president and member by a majority vote of the board of directors in October of 2000 [see St. Louis Meeting on the KWVA News - Controversies page]; un-reinstated by Harley Coon thereafter on the grounds the October meeting in St. Louis was "illegal" [see documentation below]; reinstated by majority vote of the board of directors on July 25, 2001; and then un-reinstated again the following day in a vote of the membership called by Harley Coon. Pappas remains suspended in 2003, and a cloud of controversy over this yo-yo voting still hangs over the current board.

When the KWVA Board of Directors suspended Pappas on March 20, 2000, the board stated that Pappas’ suspension would not be lifted, "until all records are returned to the satisfaction of the Executive Council." The records, Pappas said, were not in his possession. They were in the possession of another person—CPA Stan Myrda, who had been informed by the FBI/IRS that the records would soon be subpoenaed by federal authorities. At the time, Pappas was running for office. To further pressure Pappas, the board voted to reject all votes cast for Pappas during his time of suspension.

Excerpts, Executive Council Minutes, KWVA, March 25, 2000, Arlington, VA
" National Treasurer Thomas Gregory stated he had received a invoice from CPA Stan Myrda in the amount of 16,867.00 interim bill. Treasurer Gregory then stated he had conversation with insurance company. Treasure Gregory then presented a letter from insurance stating that the case had been closed two years ago. The letter also stated that Mr. Myrda was 16 months late in filing the claim. Treasure Gregory suggested that the KWVA not pay the invoice.

  1. President Coon stated he felt the membership had been cheated in relations to the records. Mr. Pappas strongly objected to the statement and requested that it become part of the minutes. President Coon then stated that some action should be taken. President Coon called a ten minute recess for the board members to read the letters. Meeting reconvened.
  2. Dorothy Schilling then asked for a motion to accept that part of the financial report. Motion made by Director Bill Van Ort. Second by Director Morga. After discussion motion passed.
  3. Director Grygier made a motion "To suspend Past President Nick Pappas from the organization until all records are returned to satisfaction of the executive council. Director Morga second motion. Discussion followed. Mr. Pappas denied receiving a letter from Mr. Ray who represented the insurance company. There was much discussion but the letter from insurance provided the answers. A roll call vote was asked for by Mr. Pappas. Voting for the motion Grygier, Morga, Schilling, Van Ort, Jones and Edwards. Voting against the motion Rittenhouse, Clawson, Danielson and Magill. Motion carried.
  4. Motion by director Van Ort, second by Director Edwards "not to pay CPA Myrda the invoices of $16,800.00 plus the $217.00 interest." After discussion the motion passed 8 yea 1 nay and 1 abstained.
  5. Motion by Director Danielson to give permission to Treasurer Gregory to negotiate a settlement with CPA Mydra o retrieve records and get a accounting of the expenses to pay Mr. Myrda." Motion passed 8 yea, 1 abstained.
  6. President Coon asked for a motion to accept all of treasurers report. Motion to accept total financial report by Director Van Ort second by Director Danielson. Motion passed.
  7. President Coon asked for a motion to accept Director James Kerr’s resignation from the board of directors. Motion by Director Gryier [sic] second by Director Edwards to "accept Director Kerr resignation." Discussion that two board members wanted their vote counted. Absentees or proxie [sic] cannot be counted. Motion passed.
  8. Motion to seat Ted Trousdale on board of directors for unexpired term. Motion by Director Edwards second by Director Jones. Motion passed. President Coon gave oath of office to Director Trousdale.

Meeting Reconvened at 1:30 p.m.

17. Motion by Director Edwards second by Director Trousdale to suspend Nick Pappas from the board and all board activities and that suspension would not affect his membership in the KWVA. Motion defeated 2 yea. 7 nays and 2 abstained. *** See Director Grygier original motion W/O amendments to suspend Nick Pappas***

18. Motion by Director Danielson second by Director Edwards to let Nick Pappas resume and ballot remain in the Graybeard. President Coon passed the gavel to 1st VP Magill and remained silent during the debate. The motion was amended that any votes received while suspended would not be counted. Motion passed 7 yea, 3 nay and 1 abstained.

20. Motion by Director Schilling second by Director Grygier "To place statement in Graybeard that Nick Pappas is suspended from KWVA for failure to take positive action to secure in effect to recover all documents from CPA Myrda and the votes for Mr. Pappas will not be counted if suspension was not lifted prior to election. Motion passed 11 ayes 0 nays.

"Listen Up", March/April 2000 issue, The Graybeards, page 14:

"Past President Pappas Found negligent in processing KWVA insurance claim"

"In 1997, the KWVA filed a claim with the Federal Insurance Company claiming employee theft. In a review of the claim proceedures [sic] it was determined that KWVA Past President Nick Pappas and CPA Stan Myrda ignored insurance claim instructions reslting in partial denial of the claim. Letters confirming this neglegence [sic] are reproduced below and can be summarized as follows:

A letter dated March 8, 2000, addressed to Mr. Thomas J. Gregory, Treasurer, confirms telephone conversation concerning KWVA insurance claim. The letter states that both Nick Pappas and CPA Stan Myrda were negligent in processing the insurance claim. Part of this claim was filed 18 months too late, and consequently denied.

A letter dated February 21, 1997 addressed to Mr. Stan Myrda from Greg Ray claims adjuster outlines the time frame and procedure to the complete insurance claim. Mr. Myrda answered 18 months later. Insurance claim denied.

A letter dated June 3, 1998 addressed to Mr. Pappas from Greg Ray, the insurance adjuster conforms partial release of $131,879.19. The letter states an extension until September 3, 1998. The letter asks for FBI information.

In conclusion, the letters in this packet confirm that Mr. Pappas and Mr. Myrda ignored insurance claim instructions."

[Korean War Educator Note: See also Maison Incident - February 21, 1997 Letter from Greg Ray, Bond Claim Attorney to Stan Myrda CPA; May 20, 1998, Letter from Nick Pappas to Mr. Ray, in which Pappas told the insurance company, "Closing our claim with the Federal Insurance Company will not preclude the KWVA from pursuing other legal avenues, if so required"; June 3, 1998 Letter from Mr. Ray to Pappas; and June 17, 1998 Letter from Nick Pappas to Mr. Ray. The packet of letters which Mr. Ray forwarded to Thomas Gregory apparently did not include that letter dated June 17, 1998, in which Pappas told the insurance company, "The KWVA does not concur with your "arbitrary" 90 day limit set by reference (a) to close your files. As you know, our CPA, Stan Myrda, is a sole practitioner who cannot devote full time to our affairs. He has worked diligently on the subject claim and continues to do so. We are unable to afford the luxury of full-time CPAs. Our request for 180 days as set forth in reference (b) for Mr. Myrda to complete the subject matter is entirely reasonable, considering the circumstances."]

Letter from Harley Coon to Nicholas Pappas, Sept. 26, 2000:
Certified Mail #7000-0600-0025-9098-7467

Re: Your Letter Dated September 19, 2000 requesting hearing
Nicholas J. Pappas
209 Country Club Dr.
Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971

Mr. Nicholas Pappas:

This letter will acknowledge receipt of your request dated September 19, 2000. As you know a Motion made by Ed Grygier stated as follows "To suspend past president Nicholas J. Pappas from this organization until all records are returned to the satisfaction of the executive council." Second by P.G. "Bob" Morga. The council voted to suspend your membership by a vote of 6 yes 4 against which is 2/3 vote. I did not vote.

In accordance with the by-laws Article II Section 2 Membershp Procedures B. Termination of Membership: The Executive Council, by a 2/3 vote of those in attendance, may suspend or expel a member for just cause after an appreciate hearing. Such Decision to be voted upon at the next general membership meeting.

You did not comply with the Executive council’s motion and did not request a hearing at the general membership meeting. The Council decision on the Motion stands.

I have decided to give you a chance at the next General Membership meeting to plead your case. You are scheduled on the agenda at 10:30 to 11:00 a.m. The meeting date July 26, 2001. The place the Arlington National Sheraton Hotel. You may have representation. This will be at your expense. The Judge Advocate has ruled that you did have a hearing on March 25, 2000. You will remain under suspension pending the outcome of the membership vote. You will be notified of any changes.

(signed) Harley J. Coon, President
Korean War Veterans Association

cc: Executive Council

Letter from Harley Coon to Nick Pappas - Notice of Hearing, April 3, 2001:
Re: Nick Pappas, Suspended KWVA

Dear Mr. Pappas:

As you know, your membership in the KWVA has been in a suspended status following Executive Board action taken at the meeting of March 25, 2000. The purpose of this letter is to officially notify and inform you that the matter of determining what future action on this matter is needed will be made at a hearing before the Executive Council on July 25 @ 10:00 a.m. at the Crown Plaza Hotel, 1489 Jefferson Davis Highway, Arlington, Virginia. You are invited to attend both meetings to present any information you desire on your behalf;

It is expected that the Council will determine:

  1. Whether your membership suspension should be terminated.
  2. Whether it should be continued.
  3. Whether you should be expelled from the KWVA for good cause shown pursuant Article III Section 5, A of the KWVA By-Laws.

In reaching an appropriate decision in this matter, the Executive Council is expected to take into consideration the following:

A. Whether or not you participated in, or condoned, endorsed, a calculated and deliberate decision made by certain Council meetings in a meeting at the Quality Inn in Arlington, VA. On the morning of February 25, 2001. Not attend the scheduled and announced Executive Council meeting in Tuscola, IL on March 24, 2001 that resulted in the inability of the Council to carry out its duties, functions and conduct necessary and routine business because of al ack of a quorum. A Council member has executed a sworn affidavit charging that you did so participate and were so involved.

B. Whether you did deliberately and by calculation wrongfully withheld, or cause to be wrongfully withheld, Association documents or records following your term as KWVA President that were needed and necessary to file insurance claims in excess of $100,000.00 to recover losses from theft or otherwise that occurred during your term of office.

C. Whether you did order, instruct, prompt, encourage or otherwise influence the former KWVA financial advisor Stan Myrda to not surrender and forward Association documents or records in his possession after he had been released from service and after he had been repeatedly requested by the KWVA President to return all KWVA records and documents to the KWVA Treasurer.

D. The extent to which you were responsible as KWVA President, through mismanagement, misfeasance, negligence, derelictin, default, misconduct or otherwise, for the theft, loss, waste, or depletion of KWVA funds in the amount of approximately $250,000.00 during the term of your administration.

E. The question of unauthorized telephone charges to the KWVA in excess of $2,000.00 after you left office.

(signed) Harley J. Coon, President
Copies Executive Council Members

Letter from Harley Coon to Nick Pappas - Hearing Reminder, June 4, 2001:

Dear Mr. Pappas:

This letter is to remind you herewith that the KWVA Executive Council will consider the matter of your status with the KWVA as explained in my letter (copy enclosed) at its meeting at 10:00 a.m. hours, on Wednesday July 25, 2001, at the Crown Plaza Hotel, 1489 Jefferson Davis Highway in Crystal City, Arlington, VA 22202. You will absorb all your expense.

(signed) Harley J. Coon, President
Korean War Veterans Association, Inc.
Inc [sic]: March 30, 2001 letter

cc: Jude Advocate Sherm Pratt

Twice Reinstated
At a specially-called Executive Council meeting held on October 27-29, 2000, in St. Louis, Missouri, Nick Pappas was reinstated by the board of directors after they reconsidered the propriety of suspending Past President Pappas. The reconsideration was Issue #11 on the stated agenda of the special meeting. After a preesntation by Pappas, and discussion by the board, Motion #11 was brought before the board by Rusty Tramonte and seconded by John settle. The motion stated, "Nicholas J. Pappas be reinstated as a KWVA member in good standing and as a member of the Executive Council with voting privileges." Vote: Yes - 7; No - 1 (Joe Pirrillo); Abstain - 1 (Richard Danielson). Motion carried. Pappas’s reinstatement, however, was short-lived.

On December 5, 2000, President Harley Coon sent a notification letter to Pappas stating that the meeting was illegal and therefore Pappas was still suspended. The letter said,

December 5, 2000
Re: Pappas suspension, St. Louis, MO

Nicholas J. Pappas
209 Country Club Dr.
Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971

Dear Mr. Pappas:

I have received the mintues of the St. Louis meeting of some Executive Board members that I understand you attended. Among other things, as reflected in these "minutes" the group agreed that your suspension should be terminated and that you should be returned to the Executive Board as a member with voting privigles [sic].

The Judge Advocate has ruled that the subject meeting, in his opinion, did not meter [sic] the requirements of the ByLaws for a special meeting of the KWVA. The meeting was therefor [sic] illegal. Therefore your membership status has not changed. You are still suspend [sic] from the KWVA. There is no provision in the amended 2000 ByLaws for a past president to be a member of the Executive Board based merely on his or her status as a past president.

As I have previously advised you, You are scheduled for a hearing before the Executive Board and the General Membership on July 26, 2001 at 10:30 am till 11:00 am. At the Crown Plaza Hotel in Crystal City. (A change by the reunion committee from my last letter stating the reunion wuold be at the Sheraton Hotel in Arlington, VA) The Reunion Committee had to change the reunion location.

You will be given a chance to be heard. I as President of KWVA will chair the hearing. Until and unless the General Membership changes your status you are not permitted any benefits of KWVA.

If you have any other questions please call me.

(signed) Harley J. Coon, President
Korean War Veterans Association, Inc.
cc: Executive Members

Pirrello Complaint

National KWVA director Joseph Pirrello of Staten Island, New York, decided to further secure Past President Pappas’s suspension from the KWVA by filing a request to the board for yet another charge to be brought against Nick Pappas. On March 21, 2001, he submitted the following notarized request:

  1. I Joseph Pirrello do hereby request an additional charge be brought against past President Nick Pappas at his hearing scheduled to be held at the July 2001 reunion and that Mr. Pappas be so notified. I allege that Mr. Pappas while under suspension did continue to interfere with the orderly business of the Executive Board in that he conspired with Mr. Tramonte and others to prevent a quorum of the Executive Board. He thus prevented the Executive Board from conducting business of which he no longer belongs as per the by-laws as revised July 2000.
  2. I hearby state what [sic] Mr. Pappas be charged under Section 2B of the above said by-laws and that appropriate action be taken after said hearing.
  3. I charge that Mr. Trasmonte did in consort with Mr. Pappas conspire with others to prevent the Executive Board from obtaining a quorum to preclude the Executive Board from conducting lawful business.
  4. I further allege that Mr. Tramonte was in violation of Section 3, Subsection 1D of the by-laws with his sworn statement that he would attend all called meetings of the Executive Council. Mr. Tramonte did compoud said violation by encouraging others to do the same.
  5. I find no reasons for Mr. Pappas’ or Mr. Tramonte’s actions other than to disrupt or nullify the meetings held by the Board of Directors of the K.W.V.A. I therefore request that they be requested to justify their actions at a hearing held before the K.W.V.A. as stated in the by-laws in Section 2, Subsection B and the appropriate disciplinary action be taken if warranted.

Pirrello Motion

On July 25, 2001, the board of directors of the KWVA met in Arlington, Virginia, at which time Director Joe Pirrello made a motion, seconded by Ken Cook, to "table the motion of Mr. Nicholas J. Pappas be reinstated as a KWVA member until the dully constituted hearing at the annual meeting in July."

The vote was as follows on the Pirrello motion: Yea - Director James Jones, Director Ken Cook, Director Joe Pirrello. Nay - director Tom Clawson, Director Richard Danielson, Director John Settle, Director Ted Trousdale, Director Bob Morga, Director Rusty Tramonte, Director Dick Adams, Director Skip Rittenhouse.

The Nick Pappas Opinion
Harley Coon believes that Nick Pappas remains a suspended member of the Korean War Veterans Association. Nick Pappas sees it differently. Some board members said that Nick needs to send a letter to the national secretary requesting to be readmitted. They would put his request on the agenda and consider the motion. However, Pappas points out that the proceedings to suspend him in the first place were extremely flawed, and that he was (according to the 1997 by-laws) reinstated by Council vote on July 25, 2001. The general membership vote called by President Coon the next day was not in keeping with the organization’s by-laws. On August 15, 2003, in an e-mail message to numerous Korean War veterans and interested parties, Pappas explained his position regarding the suspension and reinstatement as follows [verbatim text]:

"A. KWVA Bylaws, Amended:001, July 27, 1997. (Sept/Dec. 1997
Graybeards, pages 29-34):

Article II, Section 9, Termination, "The Executive Council by
AFFIRMATIVE vote of two-thirds of ALL members of the Council may suspend
or expel a member for cause after an APPROPRIATE hearing and by a
majority vote of those present at any regularly CONSTITUTED hearing.

Article III, Section 5I: "Executive Council; The National
Executive Council shall consist of 18 members. Five Officers, Pres, 2
V.P.s, Secty, Treas. Immediate Past Pres. and 12 Directors." Only the
President, 2 V.P.s and 12 Directors can vote.

There was NO "affirmative" ACTION taken or regularly "constituted"
hearing when I was suspended by the Council at the March 20, 2000
Council Meeting. Motion: "To suspend Past President Nicholas J. Pappas
from this organization until all records are returned to the
satisfaction of the Executive Council. Seconded......Motion passed by a
vote of 6 YES, 4 NO. Motion carried." (Mar/Apr 2000 Graybeards, page 15).

B. KWVA Bylaws Amended: 001, July 27, 2000: May/Jun 2000 Graybeards:

Article II Section 2B: Termination: "The Executive Council by a
two-thirds vote of those in attendance may suspend or expel a member for
just cause after an appropriate hearing. Such decision to be voted upon
at next General Membership Meeting. Etc." Does not apply to July 26,
2000, meeting therefore no action to have a hearing.

Section 2C: Reinstatement; "Upon written request signed by a
former member and filed by 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 Council may deem fit and proper."

Article IV, Section 6: "At a General Meeting one hundred (100)
members in good standing and in ATTENDANCE shall constitute a quorum."

C. "May/Jun 2001 Graybeards Reunion Agenda, page 11, Scheduled HEARING: 2:30 pm, July 26, 2001, at General Membership Meeting."

D. "Jul/Aug 2001 Graybeards: July 25, 2001, Council Meeting, page 6:

At 10:10 President Harley Coon excused himself from the HEARING on Nick
Pappas. President Coon passed the gavel to J.A. Sherm Pratt to conduct the hearing of suspended Nick Pappas. MOTION: By J. Jones Jr. seconded
by Grygier to consider all charges filed by against Nick Pappas at this time. After a discussion a roll call vote, 7 YES, 6 NO."

"1:15 pm Meeting RECONVENED for the Pappas Hearing. Pappas
proceeded to present his case on the charges against him and on his
suspension. After much discussion, Morga made the following motion.

Motion: By Morga, 2nd by Adams to REINSTATE Pappas to the KWVA
membership and censored from running for office for 4 years if Pappas agrees. Roll Call: 9 YES, 3 NO, 1 Abstention."

Same Issue, July 26, 2001, General Membership Meeting, page 7: "Motion
by Norm Bentle, 2nd by Andy Combs: To SUSPEND Nick Pappas indefinitely
from the KWVA for just cause. Final vote: 57 YES, 10 NO, 2 Abstentions." 69 VOTES cast?

E. Lets summarize the above facts:

(1) I was NOT aware Coon was going to conduct a KANGAROO court at the 3/20/00 Council Meeting. No member of the Council warned me so I
could PREPARE a defense for it by presenting the "same" information considered at my 7/25/01 Hearing by the Council. Suggest check out the
insurance letters/dates in the Mar/Apr 2000 Graybeards, pages 14-15, that were "supposedly" the basis for my suspension. Coon assumed the
Presidency on 7/27/98, hence those published problems were his responsibility.

(2) The 1997 Bylaws read ONLY the Executive Council has the
" authority to suspend/expel a member, NOT the General Membership. The
2000 Bylaws read the Executive Council may suspend/expel a member etc.,
but to be VOTED on at the next General Membership Meeting?"

(3) The 1997 (Article II Section II) and 2000 Bylaws read ONLY the
Executive Council has the "authority" to REINSTATE a member, NOT the General Membership.

I was suspended under the 1997 Bylaws, had a "FAIR" hearing under the
2000 Bylaws before the Executive Council on July 25, 2001, as "DICTATED"
by President Coon instead of July 26, 2001, at the General Membership Meeting as "originally" scheduled. The Council REINSTATED me with
conditions as per the Bylaws. Conditions I would have "acquiesced" to
THEN, if Coon's goons had NOT "re-suspended" me at the General
Membership Meeting of July 26, 2001, with NO hearing, no knowledge of
the facts or a QUORUM. This action in legal circles is called DOUBLE

Based upon the above facts, the REQUISITES of the KWVA Bylaws have been
" met" concerning my case. Theretofore, I have NO intention of HUMILIATING myself by writing to the KWVA Secretary requesting
" reinstatement" as determined by the Council at the 2003 Reunion meetings. Results would be the same "bullshit" but a different day as
long as Coon and his henchmen control the Council. The next move is up to the Council or the membership.

Consequently, I consider myself a REINSTATED member of the KWVA and
" intend" to run for an ELECTIVE Council Office in 2004. Coon's and the
General Membership's July 26, 2001, actions "invalidated" the CONDITIONS
the Council placed on my reinstatement are "similar" to the reasons Coon
was able to run for a 3rd Term Presidency in 2002.

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Oreste "Rusty" Tramonte Removal
Rusty Tramonte is a former national director of the Korean War Veterans Association. In 2001, he was expelled from the KWVA at a meeting held in Tuscola, Illinois on March 24, 2001. The basis for his expulsion, was that he purportedly stated he would not attend the March 24, 2001 Board and General Membership meeting, and that he urged and encouraged other board members to also not attend. Tramonte was not expelled by the board of directors. There was no quorum on March 24, so President Harley Coon brought the matter to a vote before the membership rather than the board.

Excerpts, Tuscola Meeting Minutes, March 24, 2001, Tramonte Removal:
General Membership Meeting, Tuscola, IL March 24, 2001, 10:45 a.m.

"President Coon called the General Membership meeting to order. Sergeant of Arms, Jack Edwards reported that 121 members signed in and all credentials were checked. 10 states were represented. Executive Council present, President Coon, 2nd Vice President Grygier, Appointed Officers Secretary Camp, Treasurer Gregory, Judge Advocate Pratt, Chaplin Sharp. Directors present - Danielson, Schilling, Jones, Cook, Pirrello.

Because there was a lack of a quorum for the Executive Council, the issues that required approval was [sic] forwarded to the General Membership for final disposition…. President Coon asked Sergeant of Arms Jack Edwards if Director Oreste Tramonte was present for his hearing. Sergeant of Arms reported that Director Tramonte or representative were not present. President Coon asked Director Pirrello to read the sworn charges against Director Tramonte. In violation of said by-laws Article III Section 3, Paragraph C, subsection D3. Exhibit A Attached. After a motion by Reginald Rawls membership #LR 10954 from New York and seconded to expel Oreste Tramonte from the KWVA. President Coon asked anyone to make any statement either in favor of or against the charges.

National Director Danielson questioned the process used. President Coon then asked those in favor of the motion to stand. After those standing were seated President Coon asked those against the motion to stand. One stood up. Mr. Danielson stated that he abstained. The vote was 119 yes, 1 no, and one abstained. Motion carried…."

[KWE Note: See also Nick Pappas Suspension - Joseph Pirrello letter, March 21, 2001, because Pirrello also carries charges against Rusty Tramonte.]

Notice of Expulsion:
National KWVA Headquarters
Harley J. Coon, President
4120 Industrial Lane
Beavercreek, OH 45430

March 27, 2001

Oreste "Rusty" Tramonte
P.O. Box 43
Marshfield, MA 02050

Re: Expelled

Be advised that your membership in the Korean War Veterans Association was terminated at an appropriate general membership meeting of the Association in Tuscola, Illinois on March 24, 2001 after a showing of just cause. Any membership cards issued to you, or other evidence of membership in the KWVA, should be promptly forwarded and returned to the KWVA Secretary for appropriate disposition.

The above action was taken on the basis of sworn charges filed and furnished to you in a timely manner by certified mail, and elaborated on in testimony at the hearing, that you did participate in unacceptable conduct for an association member, and especially an Executive Board member, that seriously jeopardized and impeded the ability of he organization to effectively function and carry on its operations, to wit:

That at an unofficial and apparently impromptu gathering with certain other KWVA members following the KWVA Special Executive Board meeting on February 23, 2001, and perhaps at other times, you did state that you, contrary to the requirements of the ByLaws and in a statement you signed when appying to run for the office of Director, would not attend the upcoming Board and General Membership meeting in March and further, that you urged and encouraged others [sic] Board members present also not to attend said announced meeting.

Following those actions by uou, and probably as a consequence of them, when the Executive Board met on March 24, 2001, it did not have enough members present to constitute a quorum and was thus unable to carry out its usual, routine and necessary functions and duties.

You were duly advised of these complaints against you by certified mail and extended an opportunity to appear and present information on your behalf. You did not appear at the meeting nor were you found by a search to be present anywhere nearby. Whereupon, at the above March 24, 2001 meetiing, the assembled membership in a duly constituted and formal general meeting, after hearing the description of the circumstances involved, by a vote of 119 yes to 1 no, and 1 abstained, adopted the said motion that your described conduct constituted just cause for the termination of your membership in this organization. Accordingly, your membership was then and there terminated.

We regret that this action was found to be necessary and we extend our gratitude to you for your otherwise helpful past services in the KWVA.

(signed) Harley J. Coon, President
Copy: Executive Council

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C.J. "Skip" Rittenhouse Removal

C.J. "Skip" Rittenhouse is one of the original veterans (member #00022) who founded the KWVA in 1985. He was elected as a member of the Board of Directors in 1997. One year later, the current president, Harley Coon, took over. Rittenhouse was removed from office in March of 2001 under the charge of having a "poor attendance record". His removal took place by vote of the general membership on March 24, 2001, in Tuscola, Illinois.

An excerpt from the minutes of the General Membership Meeting, March 24, 2001, states, "The question of C.J. Rittenhouse missing scheduled meetings was addressed. A motion by Jerry Quinn #R) 25720 from Illinois to remove C.J. Rittenhouse from the Executive Council for violation of the by-laws Article III section 3, paragraph C subsection D. Seciond was made. President Coon then asked for discussion. Judge Advocate Pratt explained the Article III. A vote was taken 120 yes in favor of motion to remove C.J. Rittenhouse from office. National Director Danielson abstained. A motion by George Pempek LR08739, President Department of Illinois that Larry McKinniss Membership #RO15874 be appointed to fill the vacant seat of C.J. Rittenhouse for the remaining two (2) years and that George Bingham Membership #LP00178 be appointed to fill the unexpired term of one (1) year of Oreste Tramonte. President Coon asked for discussion. There being none a vote was taken. Vote 120 yes and director Danielson voted no. President Coon then administered the oath of office to Larry McKinniss and George Bingham. The General Membership was adjourned at 12:15 p.m. CST."

According to Skip Rittenhouse, during the three years that he served on the board, he had missed two non-consecutive meetings due to personal business within his community. For example, on the meeting date on July 27, 1998, Rittenhouse (state president of the KWVA at the time) was a speaker in Piqua, Ohio on July 27. "All other meetings were attended at my own expense," Rittenhouse told the Korean War Educator, "including St. Louis. I gave written notice more than 30 days in advance that I would not attend the meeting in Tuscola, Illinois. I paid all my expenses to every meeting but one." Because a quorum was not present in Tuscola, bylaws forbade the board to conduct any official business. Coon, however, proceeded with the removal of Rittenhouse on the absentee charge.

Rittenhouse letter to members of Executive Council, March 28, 2001:
To: Members of the executive council
And other interested parties

From Skip Rittenhouse

Today I rejected a piece of registered mail from the president of the KWVA. This action was based on the presumption that it was my notice of having been dismissed as a director by a vote of the group which assembled in Tuscola IL. Recently.

I am led to believe that there was no meeting of the directors because of a lack of a quorum and I know that a month earlier, the membership meeting set for that date was adjudged by the judge advocate to be "illegal" due to a lack of proper notice to non-chapter affiliated members.

The dismissal I am told was based on my poor attendance. I cite the following:

  • July 1997 Albuquerque, NM present (sworn in)
  • Nov 1997 Tysons Corner, VA present
  • March 1998 Tysons Corner VA present
  • July 1998 Arlington, VA absent
  • Nov 1998 Absecon City NJ present
  • April 1999 Mobile, AL present
  • Sept 1999 Mobile, AL present
  • Jan 2000 Orlando FL cancelled (see note 1)
  • March 2000 Arlington, VA present
  • July 2000 Arlington, VA absent

End of first term (two absences)

Oct 2000 St Louis, MO present (see note 2)
Feb 2001 Arlington, VA present
March 2001 Tuscola, IL no meeting (quorum lacking)

Note 1 Orlando meeting was arranged but president persuaded 2 directors to withdraw support. I had arranged meeting and would have attended.

Note 2 President did not attend, nine directors did.

Do you feel that this attendance is so poor as to warrant dismissal? It might be worth noting that except for the March 2000 meeting, all directors paid all their own expenses to attend each meeting.

I treat the authority of the Tuscola "social gathering" with the same contempt that the president displays for the St. Louis meeting which nine bona fide directors attended. (This total exceeded the quorum demand of the by-laws.)

I feel it is time for the executive council to demonstrate some testicular fortitude and take a more active role in the governance of the KWVA.

About Skip Rittenhouse - His Words
I always considered myself the consummate citizen soldier. At no time did I lose sight of the day when I would return to Ohio State and finish the last year of my degree. Having said that, I also feel I served enthusiastically and tried to do my best while in the service.

Upon induction into the Army in September 1952, I took my basic and tech training at Aberdeen Proving Ground. I was sent overseas in June of 1953, where I was assigned to the 707 Ordnance Battalion of the 7th Infantry Division. The armament section attached to the service company of the 32nd regiment, and was as far forward as ordnance went. I earned combat pay by going up to the line every day before the cease-fire. I was only there for a month before the shooting stopped, but it was quite a month. In my platoon, three men received Bronze Stars and one a Silver Star. All of the awards were for valor during the July "Battle for Pork Chop Hill".

I came home, finished my degree, went to work, and like so many of us of the Silent Generation, put Korea in the back of my mind--that is, until I saw an article complete with picture of a K-vet at Arlington Cemetery laying a flower on a grave. The article stated that there would be a wreath placed on the Tomb of the Unknown from the Korean War two days from that time. In that moment, I decided that I had to be there.

After the ceremony, I was approached by Stan Hadden, who asked if I was going back to the hotel. I knew nothing about that, but did go, and met the others who had assembled. There was no KWVA at that time--only a yellow legal pad for us to sign in. I suspect that Stan's name was on the 15th line and mine was on the 22nd, hence our membership numbers.

I attended the second year, but missed the 1987 session. At about that time, personal tragedy caused me to put all other things out of my mind until the birth of my first grandchild in October 1994. Then is when I seemed to come back to life, and I attended a state meeting that month. That is when I first met our president-for-life, Harley J. Coon. He had to be pointed out to me. Later, he presided over the meeting. I think he asked me if I wanted to start a chapter in Columbus. At any rate, he was a big help in my forming the Central Ohio Chapter of the KWVA.

Since I had entered the service from Cincinnati, I thought I should start a chapter there too. Again, Harley Coon was right there to assist in any way he could. After that, he and I formed chapters in Portsmouth, Marion, Toledo, Youngstown, Akron, Mansfield, Logan, and Findlay. The last three were pretty much my doing.

When he announced for the national presidency, I asked him if he was going to relinquish the state chair. If he was, I desired the job. He never replied, but at a national meeting, a third party told me if I wanted the job I had better campaign for it, because Harley did not want me to win. The vote was by chapter representation, and "my" chapters were loyal to me, so I won by one vote. Upon hearing that his man (our current national secretary) had lost, Coon put down the gavel, and deserted the chair. I had to close the meeting, even though I was not to take office until the first of the next month.

In 1996, I wanted to run for director, but since Coon was on the ballot, I deferred one year. After my election to the state office, our relationship turned chilly and grew worse. After Harley became president and he ousted treasurer Jim Martin at his first meeting, we became implacable enemies. I thought the move was underhanded. Jim Martin had been Pappas's right hand as the two of them dug us out of the hole Maison had put us in. That was the first of many times I would oppose him. This ardent opposition is what made me so touchy when Stan Hadden accused the board (presumably including me) of allowing this mess to happen. I yield to no one in my opposition to this man, and I think I know him far better than most.

Letter from Judge Advocate Sherman Pratt to Lynnita Brown:
When Sherman Pratt was asked by Lynnita Brown whether or not he had made some sort of ruling on the removal of Skip Rittenhouse as a director of the KWVA, Pratt replied, "Lynnita - No ruling on Skip removal from council - not called on to do so. I was a bit troubled by the procedure followed - and wrote him a letter reminding him that he could request reconsideration--but received no reply. I think he was quite bitter about the whole matter. He was removed mainly on charges by Harley that he had missed meetings - but I thought the
evidence was somewhat blurred. My relations with him I felt had been cordial enough - and I bore him no ill will. a bit outspoken and perhaps abrasive chap in the view of some - but dedicated and well meaning. - Sherm"

Voicing His Opinion - Rittenhouse Speaks Out:
September 16, 2003 -

"The St. Louis meeting in October 2000 absolved all those who attended of any responsibility for anything that followed. The meeting of the nine directors (plus Pappas) did what they were supposed to do. Meticulous minutes were taken and made available to the publication. (These minutes are available on request. Every vote of every director is recorded.) So when anyone starts pointing fingers they should point at those who invalidated (that’s a word?) this meeting which clearly indicates that the directors did move to curb executive power at this LEGAL meeting."

September 17, 2003 -

"I missed the July 1998 meeting (I did attend Western Ohio Chapter festivities that day, which can be verified). I missed the July 2000 meeting. I gave written notice more than 30 days in advance that I would not attend the Tuscola meeting. This meeting never took place because of no quorum. All other meetings were attended at my own expense including St. Louis 2000. President did not.

Let me say this as clearly as I can. Anyone who claims I missed any other meetings is telling a lie."

September 26, 2003 -

"I always smile when I hear our fearless leader cite some source of righteousness such as ‘the membership’, ‘the directors’ or ‘the by-laws.’ Of the three, it is always the one which agrees with him that is correct. In the too many meetings of his which I have attended I have never noticed his having any respect for, or even a working knowledge of, what parliamentary procedure is all about. Has anyone ever attended a meeting at which he called for new business? When he gets to his last agenda item he gives the signal and one of his stoo – oops I mean one of the directors calls for adjournment.

To me the most flagrant violation was the time I made a Motion of Priviledge which was duly seconded. He swept it aside by saying the matter would be covered later. The matter involved filling a vacant director’s seat. The parliamentarian never blinked. Get out your Robert’s Rules of Order and look up what it says about a privileged motion which involves procedure.

His dismissal of a judge advocate’s ruling as mere advice is a case in point. When the J/A (as parliamentarian) rules he (the J/A) is not exercising his own personal power, he is telling the executive that he is violating the by-laws he swore to follow. This is not advice. In a well-run organization it is law. The parliamentarian has been remiss in not pointing this out.

It is my opinion that the KWVA more closely resembles a street gang than a democratic entity."

September 27, 2003 - (In response to the KWE’s question: Skip, were there particular reasons why you couldn't attend the July 1998 and July 2000 meetings in Arlington? (I know you don't have to justify why not. Just curious. - LB) -

"In both cases I had personal business which demanded I stay in town. In 1998 I was able to be a speaker in Piqua, Ohio on July 27 (I was state president at the time and have a video of it) and get back the same day. So on that date I was serving without really going out of town.

In any case I was not absent three times and the absences were two years apart. On top of that, shouldn’t a founding member be cut a little slack?

The only way I can come up with three consecutive would be to figure that maybe my attending meetings he didn’t attend (Oct 2000), didn’t call (Feb 2001) and not attending a third that did not receive a quorum (March 2001) adds up to three consecutive meetings. If you put the actual absence of July 2000 in front of those three it makes four."

September 27, 2003 -

"Just a few months later [refering to the Tuscola meeting] Pratt told Kuhn that the director’s meeting in Tuscola could not be expanded to include a membership meeting because the notice had not been published in the magazine and thus the membership at large was not notified. That’s not an allegation. It’s a fact.

See what I mean about the selective use of authority? The St. Louis meeting was not valid because of an alleged failure to notify and the Tuscola meeting was—even though the failure to notify is actual."

Nick Pappas Removal

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