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Deception - Phony HQ Picture

"Headquarters" (Coon-owned Harco building, Beavercreek, OH)


Full credit for this photograph goes to The Graybeards
 


The "real" Building photo:
taken by Dale H. Brown, C-1-7 Korea 1951-52


About the above photographs

These two photographs depict the same building. In 2002 and until recently, the building (located at 4120 Industrial Lane, Beavercreek, Ohio) was owned by Harley Coon, National President of the Korean War Veterans Association. It is also the building said to house the "national headquarters" of the KWVA until the property was sold to new owners this year.

The picture at top--the one with the blue marquee at the top--was published on page 4 of the May/June 2002 issue of the Graybeards magazine, just prior to the 2002 KWVA election. The photo was accompanied by these words as label text: "Korean War Veterans National Headquarters, 4120 Industrial Lane, Beavercreek, OH." Under and next to this picture were published three other pictures purporting to be interior views of the "headquarters." At the bottom of page 4, italicized words stated, "Space and everything noted is donated by Harley Coon, National President, for use of KWVA. Photos requested by the Editor, The Graybeards to show our members we are a 1st class association."

Immediately after the May/June issue of The Graybeards arrived in members’ homes, Mrs. John (Sheila) Kronenberger of Belleville, Illinois, noticed something peculiar about the photograph of the so-called headquarters building. The top half of the flag pole in front of the building appeared to be suspended in air. On closer examination, it was obvious that the photograph had been altered. The blue marquee at the top of the building was not a real feature of the building. Instead, it had been pasted onto the picture to cosmetically alter the appearance of the building. Immediately, thereafter, e-mail messages about the fraudulent picture began to be distributed over the Internet. "The picture is a phony," the e-mail message said. The Kronenbergers arranged for a KWVA member in Ohio to drive over to Beavercreek and take photographs of the building's exterior.

Coincidentally, Lynnita Brown, founder of the Korean War Educator, was planning a trip to the East Coast with her family about that same time. Her family made a detour to Beavercreek, Ohio, so Mrs. Brown could see for herself whether or not the e-mail message was true. She did not want to believe that leaders of a "1st class association" would scam their members by publishing a fake picture in their national magazine. Sadly for the members of the KWVA, Mrs. Brown found the KWVA national headquarters to be housed in an outdated, shabby block building, located in an unkempt industrial park on the edge of Beavercreek. There was no beautiful sign to identify the building. Instead, there was a small sign that read "HARCO" above the doorway. There were two huge trash dumpsters by the front door. The interior of the building was stark and unattractive, as well as very small and crowded. Mrs. Brown said that she thought it was cheap-looking. "It was a place not fit to bring dignitaries, and definitely not '1st class' by any stretch of the imagination," she said. Her husband photographed the exterior of the building while Mrs. Brown's mother, Jean Aldridge, served as witness to the photographing, and while Lynnita Brown spoke with Harley Coon inside.

In fairness to the other KWVA directors, perhaps they had never visited Beavercreek and were unaware of the photo deception. Mrs. Brown believes that any director of the KWVA who had been to Beavercreek personally, and then turned a blind eye to the fact that a fake picture had been published in Graybeards, is just as guilty of perpetuating the deception of the members of the Korean War Veterans Association as the person responsible for deliberately publishing the phony picture (just before election time, no less) in the first place. "Over 16,000 members were duped by a fraudulent photograph in The Graybeards that was distributed nationwide," Brown said. "Most members of the Korean War Veterans Association are still unaware of the fact that they were deceived by a falsified photograph that was not a true picture of their national headquarters."


Rent, Utilities, Insurance and More

A listing of the expenses associated with the main office, Beavercreek, Ohio, was printed in the November/December 2002 issue of Graybeards magazine. The expenses were listed as follows:

  • Telephone - $5,000.00
  • Office Supplies - $6,000.00
  • Insurance - $12,000.00
  • Accounting - $5,000.00
  • Legal Fees - $2,500.00
  • Labor - $1,500.00
  • Postage - $3,000.00
  • Bank Charges NOVA - $500.00
  • Travel Fund - $10,000.00
  • Repairs & Maintenance - $3,500.00
  • Utilities - $1,500.00
  • Rent - $1,500.00

TOTAL - $52,000.00

Since the May/June 2002 issue of The Graybeards states that "space and everything noted is donated by Harley Coon, National President, for use of KWVA," many members are at a loss to understand why rent, utilities, repairs and maintenance, and insurance expenses were then listed on the itemized expense account for the Main Office, Beavercreek, Ohio.

Issue No. 1 of "The Ferret," an informational flyer that is an outgrowth of the KWVA Ad Hoc Discussion Group on the Internet, states this concern as well. Editor Ken Buckley said, "Being told we had a national HQ with everything being donated by Harley Coon sounded too good to be true. But then we saw the expenses for operation of the office in Beavercreek, Ohio, and the whole picture changed. A rent payment of $1,500 indicates it was not a free rent. Additional expenses including repairs, telephone bill, office supplies, insurance, and labor all adding up to $52,000 a year." Buckley further noted that the "headquarters building," with the real name "HarCo" (Harley Coon), has since been sold. "Now we operate out of a PO Box," he said.

Some members believe that rent was not charged to the KWVA until the new owners who purchased the building began to demand it. This, however, is definitely a false rumor. Speaking on behalf of the three partners who now own the former HarCo building in Beavercreek, Doug Miller (a veteran of the Vietnam War who served with the 3rd Marine Division), managing partner of the Beavercreek Commerce Center (P.O. Box 340370. Beavercreek, OH 45432), told Lynnita Brown of the Korean War Educator that his company has never charged rent or anything else to the Korean War Veterans Association. "In fact," he said, "one of the stipulations in the buy-out of Harley Coon's building was that the Korean War Veterans Association had to be completely vacated from the building before the sale could be final. The area they left was in poor condition. You should have seen the trash we hauled out of there when we took possession of the building. It was a mess. We had to do a lot of fixing up and painting of the walls." As of September 5, that portion of the building that had been used by Korean War veterans had not yet been rented out. Miller also told the Korean War Educator that there was no marquee at the top of the building, either before or at the time (some 90 days prior to Lynnita Brown's phone call) that his company purchased the building. He further told the Korean War Educator that the space that once housed the Korean War Veterans Association at 4120 Industrial Lane in Beavercreek, Ohio, was by no means "first class."

The issue of the altered KWVA Headquarters photograph has been discussed in depth on the KWVA Ad Hoc Discussion Group on the Internet. [See Dissenting Voices - KWVA Ad Hoc Group.] Because Lynnita Brown of the Korean War Educator actually visited the headquarters building in Beavercreek and saw for herself that the photograph in the Graybeards was fraudulent, she strongly voices her opinion about what she considers to be a lack of integrity on the part of the person(s) responsible for publishing the photograph in The Graybeards, and thus deceived the membership of the KWVA. Her voice of protest on the KWVA Ad Hoc Group was not received well by the editor of The Graybeards magazine, Vincent Krepps.

On September 23, 2003, the advertisement for the Korean War Educator (pre-paid two years in advance) was pulled from The Graybeards magazine by Krepps. He sent the following message to Mrs. Brown:

Lynnita,

It is with regret I am sorry for the need to inform you that your Korean War Educator Ad as shown in May-June and July-August issues due to your letter below and what I have read today on your web page will not be printed in September-October issue nor any future issue.

You will be refunded the remaining funds paid for 2 years except the amount of $215 for the 2 printings. Along with the above your web page will be removed from the KWVA web page. Please remove ours from yours. Your actions are hurtful to the Korean War Veterans Assn. and all its valued veterans and members. If you have any questions contact President Harley Coon. I have made him aware of this e-mail being sent to you by phone. - Vincent A. Krepps
Editor, The Graybeards


Response:

From: "Lynnita Jean Brown" <lynnita@koreanwar-educator.org>
Date: Mon Sep 22, 2003 8:34 am
Subject: I take that back

There is one instance when the Korean War Educator's new KWVA News page goes one step further than just stating the facts. One accusation is made outright:

A fraudulent picture of the headquarters was deliberately published in the Graybeards to deceive the members of the Korean War Veterans Association.

Whoever did it knew just exactly what they/he were doing, and they/he also knew that the membership in general would likely be deceived by the photograph. The timing for the deception couldn't have been more perfect, since it was done right before the votes were to be cast in the annual election.

Those who played any role whatsoever in that deliberate deception do not deserve to remain in their/his leadership position within the KWVA. The publishing of that photograph definitely showed a lack of integrity on the part of the person(s) who requested and/or allowed it to be published.

Whoever did it needs to immediately step down. The board needs to make the deception publicly known to the membership via the Graybeards magazine. If the guilty person(s) refuse to use what little integrity they/he might have left in their/his body to willingly step down, the board of directors of the KWVA should FOLLOW THE RULES set forth in its governing policies to rid this fine organization of the perpetrators of this crime against the members. There should be an official motion. There should be an official second. There should be discussion. There should be a vote. Members of the KWVA need to then be publicly informed as to which way the various directors voted on the motion that dealt with this CRIME against the members of the Korean War Veterans Association.

In addition, any member of the board of directors who did not officially condemn and officially reprimand the conduct of the person(s) who published that fraudulent photograph immediately after the deception took place needs to take a hard look at him and her in the mirror. They need to question themselves on whether their own actions in this sordid incident were in the best interest of the KWVA -- or in the best interests of themselves. It is my personal opinion that any national director who turned a blind eye to this fraudulent activity is not working for the best interests of the members of the Korean War Veterans Association.

The sad truth is, people who find it fairly easy to get away with one fraudulent deed sometimes go for another one - and another one - and another one. For the board of directors to not condemn the deception is tantamount to giving the deceiver(s) the green light to do it again.

I'm not wrong on this, Harley. I am dead right. - Lynnita Brown

Lynnita Brown, Associate Member KWVA, Founder Korean War Educator, 111 E. Houghton St., Tuscola, IL 61953; ph. 217-253-4620


Readers of this page on the Korean War Educator can view messages from KWVA members about the fraudulent photograph and other KWVA-related issues by joining the KWVA Ad Hoc Group. [See Dissenting Voices section, KWVA News page, Korean War Educator.] The national KWVA treasurer (Thomas J. Gregory of Kettering, Ohio), in a telephone conversation with Mrs. Brown on September 27, 2003, told Brown that the publishing of the phony headquarters picture in The Graybeards was 'no big deal.' Mrs. Brown disagrees. "I believe that to deliberately set out to deceive the members of the KWVA is a VERY BIG deal," she quoted for the KWVA News page. "Whoever is responsible for the deception should be held accountable."


KWVA Headquarters Today

According to a letter from Harley Coon on June 22, 2004, the address of the KWVA National Headquarters is the President's decision.  While membership is being handled by Nancy Monson through her home address in Arlington, Virginia, the true "headquarters" of the KWVA is located at 1534 Marsetta Drive, Beavercreek, Ohio.


1534 Marsetta Dr
Beavercreek OH


Close-up of the door

(Click for a larger view)

A member of the KWVA, who is also a member of the Korean War Educator, sent the following letter and photographs to the KWE:

"On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to look up the National Headquarters of the KWVA.  With some knowledge of the Dayton area, I found the site without any difficulty.  It is located in a mixed neighborhood, residential and business, and is not particularly impressive.


The Sign
(Click for a larger view)

If it had not been for the sign at the street, I might have driven right past the building.  It is one story, of white brick construction as is shown by the enclosed photos.  The KWVA name is not on the building or on the door.  The door was locked (at about four o'clock in the afternoon).  The unit was previously occupied by an attorney whose name is still visible on the door.  Nothing of the office was visible through the door glass, just a small entry with little of the interior visible.  The window to the right of the entry door also did not present a view of the office; there was no furniture visible.

The black-top parking area obviously had not been given any maintenance for some time as it was cracked with grass/weeds growing through the cracks.

All in all, the building did not recommend itself as the national headquarters of any type of organization.

These photos are presented at the risk of being drummed out of the organization."

 

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