Monday, March 25, 2013

Insurrection At Roosevelt Island Community Garden Club - Was Newly Elected President Ousted, What's Going On?

Newly elected Roosevelt Island Garden Club (RIGC) President April Ward reported to the December 2012 Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Common Council of upcoming plans

including a composting programing and reducing the RIGC's multi-year waiting list by opening up additional garden plots.

Ms. Ward added that she was:
...  heading discussions to abolish the wait to join the club then let Members choose from several gardening options, according to the time and skill they have.

To that end, over 60 new beds will be designated along the borders in the garden. Applications will be available in January, so watch the WIRE and this blog. The Wait List for the Interior Plots will remain intact, but people will be able to join the Club and start gardening instead of sitting on a wait list for years. The new Board is embarking on implementing exciting new programs and we are seeking committee leaders for composting and vermicomposting, garden design, education and events and many more....
Over the last few weeks, I have been hearing rumors of turmoil at the RIGC and that some members were seeking Ms. Ward's ouster as President.

A few days before a March 17 RIGC meeting, I received this message written by Ron Schuppert who preceeded Ms. Ward as Garden Club President.
Dear RI Garden Club Members:

Due to the fact that April Ward is not a member, but rather is an Associate Member, according to our by-laws (which takes precedence in all matters), we were unable to elect her to the Presidency of our club. We appreciate the hard work and effort she invested over the past few months and hope she will continue to contribute toward the betterment of the garden club.

According to Robert's Rules Revised which our by-laws require us to follow, when an unqualified party is elected, it is treated the same as a main motion that does not carry. Therefore, April Ward's election to the Presidency is null and void. This is not the same as the office having been "vacated" because in fact, the ascension to the office never took place. The President at the time of the election continues in office until a new election provides a replacement.

Although there has been some discussion about revising our by-laws, they cannot be revised retroactively, therefore, the election that took place back in October cannot stand.

A special meeting of full-members and their families will take place on Sunday, March 17th at 5 PM at the Rivercross Community Room. All current members are invited to attend. This is not a meeting that will include Associate Members. The office of Vice President will be "vacated" and in accordance with the by-laws, a replacement will be appointed by the Executive Committee. Anyone who would like to be considered for the Vice Presidency should notify our Secretary, Karen Lee, as soon as possible.
I asked Mr. Schuppert and Ms. Ward to comment on the situation at the Garden Club and status of its President.

Mr. Schuppert replied:
Due to a misinterpretation of the RIGC bylaws, an invalid election for president was held at last October's membership meeting. We are seeking to correct this with the agreement of the members.


Ron Schuppert, President
Roosevelt Island Garden Club
Ms. Ward replied:
Ron Schuppert and several other members of the Roosevelt Island Garden Club (RIGC) have acted in concert to deprive all other members of the RIGC their right to vote and have acted in violation of RIGC bylaws which go to Roberts Rules of Order and direct any question on an announced election result be decided by the members.

These members wish to continue using the RIGC money for their parties which are often visited by NYPD and Public Safety for various violations,continue to pay their friends for "work" in the garden that members think they are doing as volunteers and keep the status quo of the former President as dictator deciding who gets a plot, whether on the wait list or not or whether plots are given out at all and which projects get done, all by himself instead of having committees of members work on projects.

At the October 2012 meeting of the RIGC, then President Ron Schuppert supported a motion from the floor to allow Associates to vote as well as all the other responsibilities they already carried. (pay dues, meet standards, attend 1 meeting per year, do 3 hours of community service per year).

Objections rose from some that this had to be done by an amendment to the bylaws. Mr. Schuppert emphatically stated that an amendment was not necessary because "this is an interpretation of the bylaws". Members voted overwhelmingly to allow Associates to vote and run for office, thus making their rights and responsibilities the same as Plot gardeners.

Karen Lee had rallied members against Mr. Schuppert's presidency for over two years and enrolled me and Alexis Villafane to run for office and to work with her to get Mr. Schuppert out of the Club, follow rules and make the club respectable again.

I was an Associate Member at the time, ran for President and won by several votes.

Karen Lee won secretary, Alexis Villafane and Ron Schuppert ran unopposed for Treasurer and Vice President. Karen Lee cast the one vote necessary to install each of them. The election results were announced at the meeting, in our Club newsletter, in the Wire

Over the course of last December, January and February, Karen, Alexis and I started to work creating and streamlining systems, organizing papers, interviewing contractors and researching supply sources and costs. I created a division of labor, started creating an "identity package" for the Club which included how members would get responses and how the officers would be known - Professional, Service Oriented, Responsive.

Mr. Schuppert did not help "I'm just going to sit back and watch what you do."

Over the course of January and February, I made it clear that the will of the club members would guide the officers.

The members had already voted overwhelmingly that there was to be no cat feeding in the garden, this would be enforced

There is a 6'height limit for plants; this would be enforced to give adjoining gardens more sun.

No officer would have a debit card until an accounting of all funds from previous years was completed

No member would be paid to do work in the garden, I would organize members to do work

All expenditures under $100 must be approved by me until spread sheets from previous years were completed

All expenditures over $100 must be approved by the Executive Board per the bylaws

All members would be invited to every event that the Club sponsored with purchases of food, give-aways, drinks etc.

There would be no fires of any sort in the garden, per RIOC's regulations.

Trespassers in the garden would be ticketed and removed, per RIOC regulations.

People sleeping in the garden overnight would be ticketed and removed.

Indecent exposure would be reported and ticketed.

Threatening, fights, harassment and hostile behavior would not be allowed.

Gardens Mr. Schuppert had been given to his buddies who had never been on the wait list would be taken away as violations of our bylaws and our agreement with RIOC.

The Club meetings would be run following Roberts Rules of Order, per our Bylaws.

We were bringing the club back to the original purpose: gardening, education and socializing among all members.

Following our bylaws, RIOC regulations and laws was an affront to Mr.Schuppert. He had run the club as a dictator: did not follow our bylaws or Roberts Rules as required. During meetings, he routinely dis-allowed nay-sayers the floor, legitimate complaints were shut down and no debate was allowed, motions were ignored when they challenged his dictatorship. He "cleaned" the minutes of meetings so they did not reflect serious safety issues which had been brought up in the meeting - kids getting burned at night by the bonfires in the burn barrel while drunk adults tended it, kids staying in the garden until well after dark while their parents did drugs and got drunk.

The shed in the back had been fixed up with a bed where people spent the night and were seen by members and the public, exiting with partners early in the morning.

Several members reported hearing "sexual noises" coming from the back pond area.

Many families did not feel safe bringing their children to the garden because of erratic, odd goings on.

Several woman reported feeling "unsafe in the garden" because of sexual remarks made to them or alcohol fueled behavior they had witnessed.

The garden was used for people to go on drug and alcohol "benders", spending consecutive days there, while toilets were locked at dusk. The garden became their toilet as they stumbled around drunk in the dark looking for places to pee or more.

All of this was coming to an end when I was elected.

Abiding by Roberts Rules,the members who had a right to vote at the end of the last meeting in October, must debate and vote on the question at a regular meeting of all the members, not just a select group as Ron, Karen and Marjorie have called for March 17.

Roberts Rules of Order is clear under "Contesting the Announced Results of an Election"

"... Because the voting body itself is the ultimate judge of election disputes, only that body has the authority to resolve them in the absence of a bylaw or special rule of order that specifically grants another body that executive board, even one that is given full power and authority...between meetings of the body that conducted the election, may not entertain a point of order challenging, or direct a recount concerning, the announced election result."

I would like to continue serving the club and will continue to stand for the Club's right to make this decision and choose who they want to represent them.
Mr. Schuppert's status of RIGC President was confirmed at the March 17 meeting.

I spoke to Mr. Schuppert last week about Ms. Ward's allegations. Mr. Schuppert denied Ms. Ward's claim that he:
... acted in concert to deprive all other members of the RIGC their right to vote and have acted in violation of RIGC bylaws...
During our conversation Mr. Schuppert:
  • agreed he did initially support an interpretation of RIGC bylaws to allow Ms. Ward to run for President, but subsequently came to the conclusion that he was incorrect in that interpretation. According to Mr. Schuppert, upon learning that Ms.Ward's election was in violation of RIGC bylaws, he had no choice but to agree that her election was null and void;
  • disputed that newly elected Secretary Karen Lee cast the sole vote for him and Ms. Vilafane. Rather, the existing RIGC Secretary during the October meeting cast the vote;
  • agreed that some of the behavior by RIGC members described by Ms. Ward may have occurred but that he was not aware of it at the time and will make sure it does not happen again;
  • acknowldedged that two individuals not on the waiting list were given garden plots but it was because they had previously done a great deal of work at the garden;
  • acknowledged that two members were paid a small amount for work done at the Garden but it was because they had specific skills that other members did not have and were willing to perform the tasks;
  • emphasized that he supported many of the changes sought by Ms. Ward but that she acted in an abusive and dictatorial manner towards other members of RIGC which resulted in the challenge to her election and
  • stated that the RIGC is a volunteer organization and that members must behave in a reasonable and respectful manner towards each other. According to Mr. Schuppert, Ms Ward did not act in such a manner.
Reported yesterday that there was a fire at the RIGC on Friday night. A shed was burned down and the FDNY is investigating.

UPDATE 2:40 PM - Ms. Ward asserts that she is still the RIGC President stating:
I remain the legal president of the Roosevelt Island Garden Club. Ron's violation based meetings cannot and have not ousted me....


Nick said...

Does anyone know what this means for the cat houses? My pet-deprived kids like to visit them...

Karine Wong said...

You really wonder who's the dictator here ! If I have the choice between spending my week ends in a "Woodstock" kind of place and a North Korean boot camp, I am opting for Peace Love and Barbecues. As for "sexual noises coming from the back pond area"... It could easily be the enormous toads living there or simply means that love is in the air and SO WHAT ! Seriously, can't we just enjoy this place together few hours every week, few months a year ? Life is too short people way too short for that !

YetAnotherRIer said...

And the truth is somewhere in the middle. I wonder if that fire had anything to do with this drama.

A. M. said...

I think the cats are fine outside the garden. My kids visit them too. There are a few gardeners feeding them inside the garden, next to bird feeders. The cats kill some of the birds for fun because they have plenty of food. Members voted not to feed cats in the garden, Ron doesn't care what members want. He serves only himself.

A. M. said...

SO WHAT? Perhaps you like the scent of urine on a hot summer day, digging into the earth to have your fingers sink into cat crap buried there (or is that human...), drunk guys whipping out their penis to pee in someone's plot, smelling pot smoke all weekend, risking our use of the land because Ron lies to RIOC about burning barrels which are illegal, bbqing which we have no permit to do and gives plots to his buddies against our agreement with RIOC and the community. WE CAN LOSE THE GARDEN, that is the so what. Whether you voted for April Ward or not, at least she is taking steps to insure we get to keep the garden.

Karine Wong said...

:). Will answer when I know who A.M is...

CheshireKitty said...

Maybe April should be questioned by the FDNY investigators looking into Friday's fire. It isn't difficult to establish if an accelerant was used and she would have most to gain in the destruction of the property since she could then say that it proves Schuppert is unable to control access to the area, or isn't taking proper steps to ensure fire safety. Alternatively, a fire from a bbq may have ignited flammable material - but it seems unlikely anyone would have been cooking at that hour and on a cold night.

CheshireKitty said...

There's no way to stop domestic cats from attacking birds. This problem exists world-wide independent of how well-fed or cared for domestic cats may be. Totally feral cats rely on hunting to survive. If the cats that frequent an area nearby the community are being fed, then they are semi-domesticated. Although they may still attack birds, it would be unfair to stop feeding them since they are not entirely feral. Remember that cats both domestic and feral provide a valuable service in terms of rat control.

YetAnotherRIer said...

All A.M. said was not to feed the cats near the bird feeders, i.e. OUTSIDE the garden. That's neither unfair to cats nor is it an unreasonable request. In no way did anybody say not to feed cats.

CheshireKitty said...

OK - I see. You're right. They should have the bird & cat feeding areas separated. Otherwise, it is almost like you are attracting the birds to a spot where they may be easy prey as they eat for the cats.

Mickgirl said...

This is a white hot mess both internally (club wise) and external (visually). ANYONE who cleans this up on both accounts should be commended.

RooseveltIslander said...

Here is the RIGC Constitution and Bylaws.

Denise Shull said...

In the meantime...are there any status updates on the unfortunate fire that occurred? If not (presuming they would have been posted), is anyone in a position to offer credible insight into a timetable for such an update? I do feel badly for the people who want to get into their gardens this weekend and be prevented by yellow tape.

RooseveltIslander said...

waiting for report from Fire Marshall. Will let you know as soon as I know.

CheshireKitty said...

She sounds like a real piece of work. The members probably should ban her from full membership after her try at a coup. She can continue to be an associate member - as a penitential task, perhaps symbolic of working to heal the organization she tried to shred.

YetAnotherRIer said...

Maybe a real lawyer should go over the by-laws before we start making up our minds in our usual prejudiced and uninformed ways.

CheshireKitty said...

I don't think the bylaws are so difficult to understand that you would need a real lawyer to interpret them. Under the bylaws, only members get to vote and run in elections. Ward is not a member. She should never have been allowed to run in the last election and non-members should never have been allowed to vote. Thus, the election results are invalid under the bylaws. What's so complicated about that?

Frank Farance said...

YetAnotherRIer, I'm sure you know that by-laws aren't actual laws, that members of clubs (typically) are not lawyers, and that by-laws are intended to be interpreted by Members themselves (as per Roberts Rules).

As I see it, there are two views: Mr. Schuppert's view (i.e., Gardeners are the only Members that participate in the governance provisions, and Associate Gardeners are not considered Members), and Ms. Ward's view (i.e., both Gardeners and Associate Gardeners are Members that participate in the governance provisions).

If you take Mr. Schuppert's view, there are no inconsistencies or contradictions in these provisions in the constitution and by-laws. If you take Ms. Ward's view, there are contradictions because: (1) Members can only have one plot assigned to them, but Associate Gardeners can have more than one plot assigned to them; and (2) to become a Member, one must be on a waiting list and then selected as some point, whereas there is no waiting time for an Associate Gardener.

Thus, Associate Gardeners were not part of the constitution's and by-laws' notion of Membership. (Or to put in more precise terminological language: Associate Gardeners are not within the extension of the concept "Member" as defined in the constitution / by-laws.)

If you have thoughts on a better formal interpretation, please share them with us. Thanks.

PeaceandPlenty said...

From what I've read and witnessed, it doesn't seem as if she is the party attempting a coup. I went with a friend to a meeting the other night and saw absolutely abysmal behavior, most of it caught on tape, and it wasn't coming from her. I've only met one of the parties before so have no stake in it either way, but it is my understanding that she was invited to run for office and did so and won. After she won, she served the club for six months. If the election was improper, why wait that long before declaring it invalid? Six months? Why not call a meeting of everyone, especially associates, PROMPTLY, to explain to them that they should not have been able to vote in the first place and an error was made and sort it out? The "discovery" that improper procedures had been followed occurred after she started cracking down on certain behaviors that I've been hearing people complain about for years, i.e., urinating, bonfires, drunkenness, drugs, trysts, people getting plots without being on the wait list, improprieties with club funds, etc. I wouldn't want my kids seeing any of those things and I can understand being upset about it. How strange that it was only after those behaviors were being curbed that some of the same people engaging in those behaviors "discovered" that the election was invalid and she would have to go. Mysterious I say! Mysterious!

PeaceandPlenty said...

This seems to have blown up into such a mess, not just because of the original misinterpretation of the bylaws, but because of the subsequent mishandling of it. The responsibility for knowing the bylaws rests with the board and after the initial error there was ample time to examine and correct the problem before the lady took office, no? Once she took office, it was another three months before her position was challenged, wasn't it? They could have corrected themselves before she took office, or after three months corrected themselves and then allowed her to finish out her term, since it only lasts one year and she was already a quarter of the way through (am I correct it is one year?). Or found another solution. And wasn't she dumped and the former guy declaring himself president again prior to any discussion with the membership? Out of respect for the members and associates who were about to have their votes invalidated, a meeting with explanation was called for. There were lots of ways this could have been handled to unify and promote peace, but it seems to have been handled so poorly that it has caused a huge schism . I don't blame her for fighting back. The responsibility for this rests squarely on the shoulders of the people who have mishandled it.

PAUL said...

Haha I love this retarded island. Can it get anymore trivial than this? What's the fight over? Compost? Please don't get a life and continue to entertain with even more meaningless overuse of public attention. Brava, all.

Frank Farance said...

PeaceandPlenty, I agree it has blown up into a big mess. In my conversation with Mr. Schuppert, I told him I thought he made a mistake allowing the vote with (now understood) non-members and a non-member candidate. He recognized his mistake, his intent (as explained to me) was to be more inclusive, but he discovered afterwards that his board disagreed with his understanding and, thus, his later explanation of the problem and the invalidation of the election.

As for why it took months? Well there's not much gardening activity from mid October to end of February ... that might be an explanation. Meanwhile, according to their by-laws, February is the time Members select their plots and Ms. Ward was insisting (with strident language) that several Members' plots were in question. In one case, it was a three decade plus member, whose plot Ms. Ward wanted to take away without complaints or explanation. As I understand it, Ms. Ward does not like this person, has complained of assault (without substantiation), has filed criminal charges against this person, yet witnesses say the charges are baseless. In another case, Ms. Ward was telling a Member about her strong knowledge of Roberts Rules, yet Ms. Ward is recommending that the Member ask for the by-laws to be suspended during the resolution of the issue. Anyone who has good knowledge of Roberts Rules knows one cannot suspend the by-laws, even with a unanimous vote. So either Ms. Ward lacks the knowledge of Roberts Rules, or her suggestion on suspension of the by-laws was disingenuous, e.g., the Member who would have come to the meeting making the request would have be denied their request, even though Ms. Ward had suggested that approach.

After I sent out my E-mail containing my opinion on the rules interpretation, Ms. Ward saw me in Trellis, interrupted my conversation with neighbors, and dominated the discussion (essentially) making the point that she never inquired about Roberts Rules (not true) and wanted me to retract my statement that she inquired about it (I reaffirmed my original statement). Really, I had a face to face conversation with her a couple days prior where she interrupted my conversation with a neighbor (a different one) to ask me about Roberts Rules and the garden club, and now she denies that happened. I don't understand her.

Although I am not a member of the club, I can see how some of her tactics can get people upset, e.g., emotions heightened at meetings. Add to that: the fire, its loss, and temporary closure of the club ... which stoked emotions, too. And add to that: Ms. Ward's baseless criminal complaint and upcoming court appearance against a long-term member, and trying to take that person's plot away without explanation or cause. I hope things are resolved soon, and emotions calm down, too. And I hope the garden club can reopen soon: it's April and the weather is great.

PeaceandPlenty said...

From what I have read in emails and seen at the meeting I attended, where both sides spoke, what seems to have happened, is that she was elected in October and began serving as president January 1. She was not notified that the election was invalid until March, after she had already served as president for 3 months. She was not acting as president "temporarily". She had created new programs, held meetings, sent out updates and garden emails, formed committees and recruited people, researched garden equipment, made deals with vendors for supplies, and began enforcing the rules, etc. and was THEN told she was out. Not before that. That's almost six months. They had encouraged her to run for president, voted to change the rules which allowed her to run for office, and then elected her. They then decided later that the vote to change the rules was invalid, and thus, her run for office was invalid and they have admitted this. I wouldn't want to be hired for a job (without pay), put a lot of time and energy into it and then after six months be told that it was a mistake and I wasn't allowed to be there. No one else would either. As for rules enforcement, there are already rules in place and since it is public land under RIOC rule, similar to parks, some of the rules are similar. It seems to have been a case of the fox guarding the henhouse and when that changed there were some unhappy campers.

PeaceandPlenty said...

Yes, I hope it can reopen soon too because the weather is great and I know everyone would like to get gardening again. And while you are right that not much gardening takes place in the winter, planning often does and we can't discount the hard work she must have put in planning her programs. I don't know her personally but have met her, but as for the incident I am aware of, as relayed to me by someone else (so take it for what's it's worth), Ward was actually knocked down -- but the only witness is someone who was intent on removing her before the incident occurred, so would not be expected to back her version of the events up. And I'm not aware of the circumstances of why someone's plot has been attempted to be taken away, but I have seen several unused plots every year when I've visited the garden that are ungardened and/or not paid for by the deadlines imposed in the bylaws, yet not reassigned to those waiting and I've always wondered why. Could that be part of it? It would be helpful to know more, which we probably never will, before determining that actions are baseless. As for the associate issue, part of the confusion is also due to the common vernacular being used. I've heard many, many times associates being referred to as "associate members" and when meetings are announced they are announced as "membership meetings" and they include associates in those meetings, which could lead one to infer that associates are indeed part of the membership. They need to update the bylaws, sort this all out and then get gardening. And, of course, the status quo, of improper behavior needs to come to an end, especially by board members who should be setting a good example and leading the way.

CheshireKitty said...

Frank has written an excellent, even "magisterial" analysis of the GC's governance problems. There is one aspect of the GC situation that none of us are considering, however: The "facts on the ground" - meaning, that Ron actually initially recognized April as the new President, and April in effect "served" as President until the Members rallied to basically take back their organization from April, apparently when April began alienating GC Members by issuing edicts that did not coincide with prevailing culture at the GC. The question is, if April had continued to fulfill her responsibilities in a way that did not alienate members, and continued to be recognized as President by Ron (and no doubt other Members) as President, did this recognition of April by Ron and other Members mean the organization's Bylaws governing who runs and who votes, had been nullified?

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April Ward said...

I hope you are more accurate in your professional life than you are in your gossiping. Over the years, I've read your WIRE letters and RIRA writings and foolishly accrued respect for you. You aren't a member of the Garden and have clearly cozied up to them in some sick, approval seeking behavior: writing lies about me. Many of the specks of truth you built your lies on could only be available from one of the officers present during confidential exec. board meetings. FYI - I had no ability to take anyone's plot away and did not. The board-including Ron and Karen- voted to send a few plots to the Wait List with the condition that the members could address membership, if they chose. There are two people who continue to have plots, who were never on the Wait List. This act alone can put the club in default of our agreement with RIOC, causing closure of the entire garden.

Taking your email address does not equal making a request. Somewhat akin to taking someones phone number and never calling...

Roberts Rules is a big, fat, detailed book and given your claims to authority on it, you know very well we spoke about it and no specific request was made by me for your interpretation. We chatted, you gave me your email address. Your need to trump up credibility by insisting I requested anything of you is weird. Your need to spread vicious lies about me is disgusting.

The criminal complaint against Ann O'Grady for injuring me is very real. She hit me with a door three times after I found her and Ron Schuppert in the shed one night. Baseless? My injured arm, shoulder and neck don't agree.

The same old group now parties in the back of the garden, beer in hand until 7:30pm when security kicks them out, some staggering. I wonder what the new RIOC president will think of this...

Frank Farance said...

Ms. Ward: When you left the meeting in a huff, you promised all the assets (checks, keys, access codes) would be returned by May 6. It is May 7, have you returned everything to the Garden Club?

Ms. Ward, I have written about your stunningly corrosive behavior. For example, if you really cared about the garden club, when you lost the vote (85 to 11), you would have graciously and promptly handed over the corporate assets to the people the members recognize as club President, Secretary, etc.. But instead, you resisted and made it difficult. Something as simple as handing over the password for the E-mail list so the members could communicate ... you claimed there needed to be people taken off the list because they didn't want to hear from Mr. Schuppert or Ms. Lee, which sounded fishy, so I asked: if you've used the E-mail list for official Garden Club business, then why would the list require any changes? That's a deeper question, and with three RIOC Board members present and observing your behavior, my hunch is that the new RIOC President will have a fairly good idea of Who You Are.

You say "FYI - I had no ability to take anyone's plot away and did not", but that's not the claim. You sent E-mails to people suggesting that they would need to Suspend The By-Laws (impossible to do, your knowledge of Roberts Rules is poor) in order to prevent their plots from being taken away, i.e., they received notice from you about a meeting your were holding where you were acting procedurally to take away their plots.

Ms. Ward, you often seem to be factually challenged. On Sunday afternoon/evening, I visited the garden club and snapped some photos. There was absolutely no alcohol. Here's a photo of the back areas late in the day (after 6PM): no party, no alcohol, no staggering, just a bunch of chips, salsa, peanuts, and cookies someone dropped off on the table for all gardeners to share and eat.

That sounds like the spirit many Garden Club members wanted, not a place where they must address you as Madame President (as reported in the NY Times); and where members can grow plants they like, possibly ugly vegetables like kale, and not feel disapproval from Madame President because kale is outside her visual aesthetic.

So your report is: Public Safety kicks drunken Garden Club members out at 7:30 pm, yet does not summons them with the No Alcohol policy, which is clearly posted on the board. Why not let us know which Public Safety officers have made that observation?

Frank Farance said...

Photo of Garden Club and, as reported by Ms. Ward: "The same old group now parties in the back of the garden, beer in hand
until 7:30pm when security kicks them out, some staggering.". Not!

PeaceandPlenty said...

I've been up to the garden a couple of times recently with a friend. While I did not see any containers I could identify as holding alcohol, I did in fact smell it while standing two feet away from a board member. Unmistakeable that this person had been drinking heavily, but whether the drinking technically took place on the garden club premises I could not say.

CheshireKitty said...

I hope the Garden Club holds on. If it's shut down by RIOC, it would just become another few acres RIOC can sell off for development. They should get Bette Midler on the case - she's saved many tiny parks that communities worked on in the LES and elsewhere from development. These parks are simultaneously community art-works, a place to socialize/hang-out in, and gardens to take care of. RIGC seems OK to me - the members made a mistake with turning its direction over to Ward but have since corrected their error.

CheshireKitty said...

If we were going to apply the anti-drinking rule so strictly then the police would have all park users take Breathalyzer tests before walking into a public park. Not only does that not happen, but you see many people drinking at picinic/bbqs in public parks. As long as there's no disorder/rowdiness, the police don't clamp down on this obvious public drinking. The same things happens at outdoor public parks concerts - with folks dragging along bottles of wine along with food.

CheshireKitty said...

It looks like the RIGC may need to sue April to regain control of the assets. If so RIGC will continue to make headlines unfortunately.

CheshireKitty said...

Look April, now you're on the outside, definitively. You are still making the same complaints. Nobody is going to take your word for them unless you can produce evidence. Do you have evidence of the parties, or that Ms. O'Grady actually slammed the door on you? You know, you will need evidence to press charges - maybe multiple people testifying that these things did happen.

As far as Frank's involvement in resolving the procedural problems, and what Frank may know or not know. He does know alot about Robert's so he would be a person the RIGC might turn to for interpretation of the rules. If members shared info with him - so what? Isn't that to be expected in conversations? You yourself discussed the matter with Frank and Frank even graciously gave you his email address in case you wished to follow up with questions. You were the one to initially seek Frank out, April, not the other way around.

Your bitterness now is understandable, but if you are going to get along with and blend back into the RIGC, then you must accept the results of the new election and return the assets to the RIGC officers.

Otherwise, you may be risking a lawsuit or even arrest for what would amount to theft, as long you incorrectly hold onto those assets.