Don Schultz to Assume Personal Control of the USCF

by Sam Sloan

According to several highly placed and informed sources, Don Schultz will take personal control of the day to day operations of the United States Chess Federation effective today, Monday, December 9, 1996. His title will be "Director of Operations".

There is wide disagreement as to what this actually means. One informed source (who has asked not to be quoted) says that the policy board has "granted Don no special powers". However, the agreed upon facts seem to be that at a USCF Policy Board meeting on November 17, 1996, the board voted 7-0 for the removal of George Filippone, effective February. This left the USCF without any effective top management. Then, at a teleconference meeting of the Policy Board on December 7, President Schultz proposed that he be made Director of Operations. He also asked that one of his old buddies at IBM named Mark Graffeo, a non-chess player, be hired at a salary of $4,000 per month. These proposals were accepted.

I am personally outraged by this. I attended the USCF Delegates meeting in Seattle in 1966 at which Major Edmund B. Edmundson proposed the new office of USCF "Executive Director" (previously the man in charge had been called the "business manager") and it was clearly explained that under no circumstances would the President and the Executive Director be the same person. Don Schultz has apparently found a loophole in this by calling himself the "Director of Operations".

More than that, it is well known that Don Schultz is financially irresponsible. Don Schultz has never had managerial experience of any kind in his entire life. Don Schultz has never run a toy train. Don Schultz has been an official of ten different state chess federations over the years. None of those ten state chess federations would be happy to welcome him back, as far as I am aware. Most of the 309 delegates who voted for Don Schultz in the August election frankly stated that they knew very little about the man.

The campaign literature which Don Schultz mailed to the delegates gave no information whatever about Don Schultz. It talked about his plans for the future, such as bringing more women into chess, but never said what he had done in the past. It never gave his age, his education or his work experience. Only those of us who know him knew that he worked as an engineer for IBM, until he was bought out in 1989.

Although I was defeated by the overwhelming vote of 309 to 30, several delegates came to me after the election and told me that they voted against me but were still glad that I ran because they were well aware of the sordid record and career of Don Schultz and they felt that my campaign put the delegates and the members on notice as to what kind of a person he really was and that he would be "watched carefully" as a result.

Who is watching Don Schultz now? The only policy board member who is posting anything on the Internet which gives us any information at all is Tom Dorsch. (I am disappointed that Jim Eade, who was active on the Internet until the election, has not posted anything much since.)

It is to be recalled that it was Don Schultz who took all those trips to the beaches of South America and to other exotic locations around the world, flew first class and stayed in expensive hotel suites, running up tens of thousands of dollars in unnecessary bills, all of which were paid for from USCF membership dues. It was Don Schultz who voted for the flawed incentive plans under which the executive compensation of Al Lawrence soared to over $130,000 per year. Now, Don Schultz has obtained the agreement of the policy board to hire one of his old buddies at IBM named Mark Graffeo, a non-chess player, at a salary of $4,000 per month.

If Mark Graffeo is such a great guy, why isn't he still at IBM, which can much better afford to pay his salary than we can? Why can't Don Schultz get it through his thick head that what the USCF needs is to stop spending money, rather than to hire even more expensive consultants?

The problem with Don Schultz is and has always been that he considers the membership dues to be his own personal money, to be spent at his every whim. The two proposed alternatives were Tom Dorsch and Steve Doyle. I have no objections to either Tom Dorsch or Steve Doyle running the day to day operations of the USCF, even though those two political heavyweights are the opposite in personality, style, political views and in just about every other way that I can think of. However, Donald D. Schultz is absolutely objectionable. By the way, Steve Doyle offered to work without salary.

The problem is not merely a question of money. It is to be recalled that in the January, 1988 Chess Life, page 34, Don Schultz stated that we should: "Get rid of Chess Life's ... correspondents [including] David Levy, Raymond Keene, Eric Schiller, Jonathan Tisdall, Larry Parr, David Goodman, Kevin O'Connell, and Garry Kasparov". Note that none of these eight named correspondents any longer write much for Chess Life. In addition, Don Schultz has long baited chess columnist Grandmaster Larry Evans. There has never been much doubt that if Schultz ever got Chess Life under his control, he would kick out Larry Evans, in spite of the fact that Evans, along with Andy Soltis, are the two most popular columnists in Chess Life.

Does anybody share my sense of shock and outrage at the prospect of Don Schultz assuming direct command of the USCF, including control over the bank accounts, or is mine just a lone voice crying in the wilderness?

I have considered bringing some sort of legal action to challenge the legality of the events since last August, including the reported payout of $200,000 to Al Lawrence to get him to leave. (By the way, I have nothing against Al Lawrence. Had I won the election, I would have kept him on as Executive Director. On the other hand, I would not have paid him a dime to leave.)

I am not going to do anything (other than write these diatribes) unless I feel that there is a broad groundswell of support for my ideas. Is there any such support? Remember that I am the person who knows how to do this. In case anyone doubts that I know how to do this, they need only to look up in the lawbooks the case I personally argued before the United States Supreme Court and won 9-0: S.E.C. vs. Samuel H. Sloan, 436 US 103 (1978).

Sam Sloan

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