Close Window

Recap - Harley J. Coon Administration, KWVA* (*see text note)

Recap - Harley J. Coon Administration, KWVA*

The following is a Recap of Harley Coon's Administration. The Recap was prepared by Associate Member Lynnita Brown, with assistance from several members of the KWVA. Most recent update: 3 April 2004.

(1) Issue: Illegal change of KWVA bylaws. Bylaws were violated for the amendment process (KWVA bylaws changes require that they: (a) be presented to the Chairperson of the Bylaws Committee at least thirty days before the next scheduled meeting of the Executive Council (b) be considered at that meeting [and, presumably, passed] (c) be published in Graybeards, and (d) voted upon at the next annual meeting). Harley Coon violated this process in 2001. The motion to eliminate term limitations for all officers failed by a vote of 6 yes 7 no at the council meeting in Crystal City, VA on July 25, 2001 (see pg. 6, July/August 2001 The Graybeards). Coon ignored the councilís vote, bringing the defeated amendment before the membership for a vote the next day--in direct violation of Article VII, Section 2 of the KWVA bylaw. The Judge Advocate subsequently ruled that Coon had violated the bylaws, and that "there is no bylaws provision for the general membership to consider a bylaw change not first considered and approved by the Council." This was a harmful act against the membership.
(2) Issue: Illegal third term presidency. Harley Coon ran for office a third term, in spite of the Judge Advocateís ruling declaring that a third term presidency was illegal because the KWVA bylaws were changed illegally in July of 2001. Coon has been serving as the illegal president of the KWVA since July 28, 2002. This is a harmful act against the membership.
(3) Issue: Illegal meetings. ALL meetings--quorum or no quorum--conducted by illegal president after 7/28/02 have been illegal. All Coon-conducted meetings are harmful acts against the membership.
(4) Issue: Illegal removal of members. Removal of three members (Pappas, Rittenhouse, Tramonte) from the executive council and/or membership roster were based on trumped up charges. These were harmful acts against members.
(5) Issue: Illegal procedural actions with respect to removal of members. Coon conducted a General Membership meeting (quorum present) on March 24, 2001, at which time illegal president Coon by-passed the procedures mandated in the KWVA by-laws to expel members of the KWVA, as well as to expel members of the Executive Council. Removals, suspensions, and expulsions must be brought before a legal Executive Council meeting for a 2/3 vote PRIOR TO GOING BEFORE THE GENERAL MEMBERSHIP FOR A VOTE. The Executive Council meeting held on March 24, 2001 immediately before the general membership meeting, did not have a quorum present. (Absent at the Tuscola meeting: Magill, Clawson, Settle, Trousdale, Morga, Tramonte, Adams, Rittenhouse). WHEN THERE IS NO QUORUM AT AN EXECUTIVE COUNCIL MEETING, NO BUSINESS CAN BE CONDUCTED. By calling for a vote of two types of expulsion (from membership roster & from executive council) via non-executive council members at a general membership meeting, Coon violated Article II. Section 2.b and Article III. Section 5.a. When Coon violated Article II. Section 2.b and Article III. Section 5.a, he also violated Article III, Section 7.a. In that Article, the President is mandated to perform the functions conferred upon him by the bylaws. Coon failed to do that, and in so doing, he caused harm to two specific members of the KWVA (Rusty Tramonte and Skip Rittenhouse) and harmed the members in general by refusing to comply with the organizationís bylaws.
(6) Issue: Illegal nullification of meeting. Coon nullified the LEGAL meeting held in St. Louis. The special meeting was LEGAL because ALL executive council members were informed in a timely manner (they each RSVPíd by cards that still exist); purpose of meeting was stated; and location and time was provided. (The motions passed in St. Louis placed tight controls on power of KWVA president, but Coon nullified them by declaring the meeting illegal.) Nullifying motions made at a legal meeting was a harmful act against the membership.
(7) Issue: Deceiving the members. A fraudulent photograph was published in the May/June 2002 issue of The Graybeards (see page 4). The photograph was cosmetically doctored to deliberately deceive the 16,000 members of the KWVA, prior to Year 2002 election, into believing that Coon had donated a "first class headquarters" to the organization. The deception, made with the assistance of the editor of The Graybeards, was intended to help Coon get reelected for an illegal third term. It was a harmful act against the membership.
(8) Issue: Use of The Graybeards magazine for illegal electioneering. The Judge Advocateís ruling with respect to the illegal third-term presidency was completely ignored when Harley Coon and his associates used the national KWVA magazine for illegal electioneering By selectively using one-sided material to assist Coon to get reelected for an illegal third-term presidency, and by censoring and/or shutting out any opposing material for use in The Graybeards, both Coon and Krepps prostituted the election process. This caused serious damage to what otherwise should have been a fair and unbiased election process. Once again, the membership of the KWVA was harmed by these actions. (See pp. 4, 7, 21, May/June 2002, The Graybeards.)
(9) Issue: Falsehood by Harley Coon with respect to "Donated space" for a headquarters. The "donated space" was a small area in a building that was owned by Coon, and that housed his company, HarCo Tool Co. (see pg. 4, May/June 2002 issue of The Graybeards). Investigation revealed that apparently the space was not "donated" after the election. A $52,000 charge was made in KWVAís statement of operations under "Main Office, Beavercreek, Ohio" (see pg. 11, November/December 2002, The Graybeards for breakdown of expense). This was an act harmful to members.
(10) Issue: Quartermaster inventory. A questionable Executive Council sale of $143,000 worth of KWVA quartermaster inventory to "one of their own" is associated with this issue. The sale was made to KWVA Director Kenneth Cook (see pg 26, Jan/Feb 2000 The Graybeards). Involved was a failure to notify interested members/public vendors of the availability of the quartermaster inventory as a bulk purchase opportunity. No details of KWVA/Ken Cook sale were provided to the members. In addition, there was a failure of the president and/or council members to respond to inquiries about the terms of sale and/or verify whether or not the KWVA received fair market value for sale of inventory to Cook. (See pg. 29, July/August 1997 issue of The Graybeards). This was an act harmful to members.
(11) Issue: Self-dealing on the executive council. This involves a national officer's (Ken Cook) use of title "KWVA Quartermaster" on his private checking account. And, there is a failure of said national officer to advise customers that his business was a private enterprise separate from national KWVA business. (Further problems with Cook carry over to Issue #12.) Such action constituted a conflict of interest. . This was an act harmful to the members.
(12) Issue: Bounced "KWVA Quartermaster" check to vendor. This involved an insufficient funds check that was written under the name "KWVA Quartermaster" by Ken Cook to vendor Irving Breitbart, a member of the KWVA. The failure of the president and council members to respond to Breitbart and other vendorsí complaints about Cookís bad checks is harmful to the membership.
(13) Issue: Members' funds distributed as "goodwill gifts." This involved a questionable gift to a Dayton, Ohio area local baseball team, as well as to organizations in which the president and executive council members have personal interests. (See Harley Coonís promise of fiscal responsibility to the members, p. 21, May/June 2002, The Graybeards.) The misuse of KWVA funds for purposes not compatible to the goals and objectives spelled out in the KWVA mission statement is an act harmful to the membership.
(14) Issue: "95% audit" of over $600,000 of KWVA cash assets. Investigation has revealed that no full audit of the organizationís books and records has been taken during all of Coon's 5+ years as President, both the legal and illegal years. Poor stewardship of membership dues is a harmful act against the members.
(15) Issue: Slow growth of the National KWVA treasury. Why isnít the KWVAís currently-reported $600,000 treasury growing with added annual dues and fund-raising income? Hypothetical guess for dues income alone (actual figures not reported): 10,000 non-lifetime members x $20.00 = $200,000. Again, poor stewardship of membership dues is a harmful act against the members.
(16) Issue: "Go to Hell" letters from The Graybeards Editor Vincent Krepps. This involves an ongoing, unprofessional practice by Editor Krepps to answer correspondence questioning obvious instances of censorship and bias in the magazine with harsh rhetoric, including several instances directing writers to "Go to Hell!" Verbal abuse of members is an act harmful to the membership.
(17) Issue: Harassment of Life Member John Kronenberger. Coon has made several attempts to remove Kronenberger from the KWVA membership roster for exercising freedom of speech in opposition to actions and practices of the Coon administration. Violation of Freedom of Speech is an act harmful to the membership.
(18) Issue: Breach of an advertising contract. The advertising contract between the KWVA & the Korean War Educator was broken by The Graybeards editor Vincent Krepps due to exercising of freedom of speech by Lynnita Brown, the founder of KWE, in opposition to actions and practices of the Coon administration. Coonís action is harmful to an associate member in good standing of the KWVA who is also an advertiser with the organization.
(19) Issue: Failure to return advertising funds. Advertising funds, with respect to (18) above, were not returned to KWE. A purported refund check from KWVA made to the wrong entity, written in the wrong amount, and was used in an attempt to form a basis for the removal of Lynnita Brown as an associate member of the KWVA. Again, Coonís action is harmful to an associate member in good standing of the KWVA who is also an advertiser with the organization.
(20) Issue: Illegal removal of Associate Member. In November of 2003, Coon sent a letter to Associate Member Lynnita Brown, stating he was removing her as an Associate Member of the KWVA by an "executive order." No charges or opportunity for due process were provided to Mrs. Brown. Her removal was Coon's punishment to Brown for exercising freedom of speech in opposition to actions and practices of the Coon administration. This action by Coon is in violation of the KWVA bylaws, which holds no provision for such an action. It also violates Article II, Section 1, c (qualifications for associate members). Further, it is an act harmful to all members of the KWVA because it sets a precedent for the removal of members by "presidential decree" rather than removal by due process.
(21) Issue: Ill-treatment of the Korean War Educator Foundation. By issuing a recommendation of "no support" for the KWE in the Presidentís Message (pg. 4, November/December 2003 The Graybeards), Harley Coon violated Article 1 (Charter), Third Section, 4, of the KWVA bylaws. This is an act harmful to the members of the KWVA.
(22) Issue: Attempt to rig elections. KWVA Director Don Byers motion that effectively will "rig" all future KWVA elections if passed. It is also a motion that violates Article III, Section 3.D. Passage of the Byers motion would be an act harmful to the members of the KWVA.
(23) Issue: Failure to follow Roberts Rules of Order. This is an offense that has been repeatedly committed by the president and executive council members. This is an act harmful to the members of the KWVA.
(24) Issue: Coon's continued claims of Korean War-related honors not due to him. This is an act that is potentially harmful to the members of the KWVA because it sets the organization up for possible public embarrassment should the false claims of its leaders be revealed to the public.
(25) Issue: Improper use of The Graybeards. Space in The Graybeards magazine, particularly the "President's Message" has repeatedly been used for Coon's self-serving purposes, and/or to denigrate members/opponents (e.g., see pages 4, 16, November/December 2003 The Graybeards; also The Graybeards pages cited in #8). Misuse of The Graybeards is an act harmful to the members.
(26) Issue: Manipulation of Judge Advocate rulings for Coon's self-serving purposes. This is an act harmful to the members.
(27) Issue: Year 2002 Election ballots destroyed with undue speed. (See November/December 2002 The Graybeards, page 7) in an "informal session" of the General Membership in Branson, MO. Thus, no validation or recount possible. This is an act harmful to members.
(28) Issue: Improper recording of minutes. Council members' voting records have repeatedly not been made public as required. Also, at Branson meeting, amount required for quorum changed from 100 to 75 (see page 7, Nov/Dec Graybeards). No business can be conducted in an "informal session" where no quorum of the general membership is present. This is an act harmful to members.
(29) Issue: Treatment of Florida Resolution. The Florida Resolution of July 2003 called for resignation of acting illegal president. Resolution chairman Don Byers recommended council not vote in favor of Resolution because Coon was referred to as the "acting" president. Resolution failed 8 to 2. Byersí recommendation was harmful to Florida KWVA members seeking action by the council to address the illegality of Coonís presidency.
(30) Issue: Failure to follow through on Maison insurance claim. Coon administration dropped the second half of the Maison insurance claim, causing loss of thousands of dollars of insurance money. This was a harmful act against the members.
(31) Issue: St. Louis meeting. Coonís actions as related to St. Louis meeting (October 27-29, 2000): (a) Coon refusal to attend (copy of Coon-signed negative reply postcard in KWE files) Ė (b) Coon conspiracy to sabotage meeting by telling local chapter president to tell his members not to attend. This was a harmful act against the members.
(32) Issue: Failure to abide by approved motion. Coon refused to allow the payment of expenses of those council members attending the February 2001 meeting in Virginia. The minutes show that those expenses had been approved at that meeting, over which Coon himself had presided. This was an act harmful to members of the Executive Council.
(33) Issue: Frivolous expenditure of treasury money. KWVA treasury money was used to pay three expense-paid trips to send Coon to Hawaii during a single year time period. Expenses associated with 50th anniversary hotel expenses have also been questioned. Purportedly, Coon was asked to reimburse the KWVA for the third trip to Hawaii. Questions to consider: (a) Why was the money given to him for the third trip in the first place? (b) Has the Hawaiian reimbursement actually been made yet? (c) How much money (specifically) was spent on 50th anniversary hotel expenses for members in DC this year? (d) Other anniversary DC expenses? (e) Who were the members who benefited from (c) & (d)? What were the specific expenses of (d)? Frivolous expenditure of membersí money is an act harmful to the members of the KWVA.
(34) Issue: Falsifying/padding membership figures. In the May/June 2002 issue of The Graybeards (page 4), Harley Coon claimed that the membership of the KWVA was approaching 18,000. That was false. According to calculations based on KWVA membership figures from the annual Membership Reports, the KWVA is losing approximately 84 members per year under the Harley Coon administration. Since Coon took office, the KWVA has lost 6,668 members. (For further information, see KWVA News - Membership Reports.)
(35) Issue: Improprieties associated with Year 1999 election. (a) In spite of rulings from two KWVA judge advocates (Edward Magill and Sherman Pratt), Coon disallowed the immediate past president of the KWVA to cast a vote on matters associated with the Year 1999 election. Instead, Coon made a crucial tie-breaking vote that he should not have made and that the Executive Council members should not have honored. (b) Publishing error on the part of The Graybeards Editor Vincent Krepps that resulted in the rejection of votes from 259 members of the KWVA in the Year 1999 election. If their votes had been counted, the vote tally for candidates for a council position would have altered the outcome of the election. [KWE Note: Documentation soon to be posted on the KWE's KWVA News - Pratt Rulings section.]
(36) Issue: Malicious intent to harm an associate member of KWVA. On January 7, 2004, Bert Kortegaard website received a post from Harley Coon.  Located at , Coon's post falsely stated that Brown was expelled from the "KWVAML"   Claims in the same Coon's message about being the subject of "character assassination" from Brown were also false.
(37) Issue: Ill treatment of representatives of the Korea Deployment Respect and Recognition Committee (evolved into Korea Defense Veterans Alliance) in 2000, thus alienating thousands of potential members of the KWVA.
(38) Issue: Second illegal attempt to remove Associate Member Lynnita Brown.  Charges were preferred and a vote was taken to remove Brown without notice of hearing and due process on February 26, 2004 at an executive council meeting in Arlington, VA (violation of Article II, Sec. 2.B, KWVA Bylaws). 
(39) Issue: Inappropriate Year 2004 electioneering on the part of Harley Coon, Vincent Krepps, and Jack Edwards. Use of Graybeards for prejudiced, one-sided electioneering by Coon for one candidate over another. Shell game tactics (switching names on endorsed slate of candidates) of Edwards to deceive the voting members of KWVA (see KWE - KWVA News - Election 2004).
(40) Issue: Attempts by Harley Coon and Jack Edwards to discredit members. This includes totally false comments by Coon about certain members of the KWVA claiming former POWs were traitors to their country, as well as Edwards' attempt to discredit Lou Dechert and his CENLA Chapter, Korean War Veterans.
(41) Issue: Executive Council member Warren Wiedhahn's referral to certain KWVA members as "bastards who need to be sued." Wiedhahn's statement was made at the February 2004 Executive Council meeting, and tape recorded by KWVA member Bill Scott.
(42) Majority of executive council members acquiesced to #1-#41. Why? Failure to protect the members of the KWVA from acts harmful to the members of the KWVA is an act of harm itself.

*This RECAP has been reviewed without correction by several members of the Executive Council who received it numerous times in draft form in December 2003/January 2004. The executive council members (Harley Coon, Jim Ferris, Warren Wiedhahn, James Jones, Jack DeLap, Jack Edwards, Bill McSwain, Mike Mahoney, and Dot Schilling Wenzel) received the drafts as members of the KWVA Ad Hoc Yahoo Group, and their input on this document was invited. Please distribute the Recap widely, particularly while campaigning for KWVA reform in the upcoming election. Caveat: The Recap is subject to additions, since nobody knows when the next Coon outrage (historically sanctioned by executive council/judge advocate apathy) will occur. If any information in the various points is found to be inadvertently erroneous, it will be corrected if documentation is supplied. - Lynnita Brown, Founder, Korean War Educator, 111 E. Houghton St., Tuscola, IL 61953; ph. 217-253-4620; e-mail

[IMPORTANT KWE NOTICE: The most recent update of this Recap was made 3 April, 2004, when issues No. 39-41 were added. Also, an error found in Issue #35 was corrected. During the 1999 election, 259 members, not "259 Ex-POW's" as previously stated, were disenfranchised by the Executive Council. The error was discovered by former KWVA president Nick Pappas, and the incorrect information was corrected by Lynnita Brown.]


  Close Window

© 2002 Korean War Educator. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use of material is prohibited. - Contact webmaster with questions or comments related to web site layout.
- Contact Lynnita for Korean War questions or similar informational issues.
- Website address: