Index No. 2004-7739
Appellate Case: 2005-3754
Beatriz Marinello, Tim Hanke, Stephen Shutt,
Elizabeth Shaughnessy, Randy Bauer, Bill Goichberg,
Kenneth M. Chadwell and United States Chess Federation,
STATE OF NEW YORK )
COUNTY OF ORANGE )
Beatriz Marinello, being duly sworn, deposes and says:
1. I am currently the president of the Executive Board of the United States of America Chess Federation ("USCF"). Since January 2, 2005 I have also served as acting Chief Operating Officer, as a volunteer and without pay. Since the departure of William Goichberg on December 31, 2004 there has been no Executive Director, although USCF expects to fill the position shortly.
2. The USCF is a not-for-profit corporation chartered under the laws of the State of Illinois, devoted to promoting chess through scholastic and educational activities, tournaments and competitive play. Until February 2005 USCF's headquarters were in New Windsor, New York. Since February 2005 USCF's principal offices and headquarters have been in Crossville, Tennessee. For the time being, our ChessLife Magazine staff has remained in New Windsor.
3. USCF has approximately 92,000 members. It is governed pursuant to written By-Laws, which are posted at our internet website at www.uschess.org, a copy of which is annexed as Ex. "D" hereto. As set forth in the By-Laws, the members meet each year in August. They elect delegates, who formulate policy for USCF. The members also elect the Executive Board, which is responsible for overseeing the finances and the management of the organization. The Executive Boards consists of seven directors elected to four year terms. (See Ex. ?gD?h, Articles IV, V and VII.
4. Audited financial statements and minutes are regularly posted on the USCF website for all to see.
5. I have read Mr. Sloan?fs allegations and they are untrue. As set forth in the affidavit of Dr. Leroy Dubeck, annexed to our opposing papers in the court below (attached under Ex. "B" hereto). USCF's Executive Board and the delegates, after full debate and disclosure to and among the delegates and members voted at the August 2002 annual delegates' meeting in New Jersey to restructure its operations and relocate out of New York State due to the high cost of doing business there.
6. The USCF's Annual Delegates' Meeting for 2003 was held August 9 - 10, in Los Angeles, California. The minutes of the meeting were posted on the USCF website and remain available for anyone to review and download. A copy is annexed hereto as Ex. "F". On page 4 is the recording of the approval of the budget for the move to Crossville, Tennessee. On pages 6 and 7 the Board president John McCrary reported to the delegates and members that, thanks to outsourcing and other measures, USCF had realized savings of $250,000 but that the financial situation remained critical, and therefore the "best scenario" was to sell the New Windsor building and complete the move to Crossville, in order to reduce costs and enable USCF to continue providing member services. Vice president of finance Frank Camaratta explained the anticipated benefits of relocating to Crossville. He estimated the cost to construct the new building at $500,000 (Ex. "F", pages 9-10). On page 12 of the 2003 minutes, Frank Camaratta moved that the budget for the move to Crossville be adopted. It was noted the building has traditionally been viewed as a USCF Life Member asset (under the auspices of USCF's Life Member Asset Committee), and that the proceeds of the sale would be necessary to pay for the relocation and ultimately the construction of the new building. On motion by Frank Camaratta, the delegates voted to adopt the ?gplanning budget for the Crossville move?h. (Id. At 12).
7. By outsourcing our retail merchandise sales department and other functions we have been able to regain a sound financial footing and refocus on our core mission. As a result, sales staff has been downsized, and the large building and warehouse in New Windsor became superfluous. As also set forth in Dr. Dubeck's affidavit and the president's report to the delegates in August 2003, several alternate sites were considered, but Crossville, Tennessee proved to be the sounder choice, whether or not Mr. Sloan agrees. The Board also reaffirmed its decision to move to Crossville in October 2004, as set forth in our minutes and newsletter, annexed to our opposing papers in the court below. If Mr. Sloan's request to freeze the proceeds of the building sale were granted, it would paralyze USCF's ability to secure and pay for the construction of the new building.
8. The sale of the New Windsor building took place in September 2004. The proceeds, approximately $500,000, were placed in USCF's KeyBank accounts. The funds have always been properly accounted for. The USCF's LMA Committee has authorized the investment of the proceeds, in part in certificates of deposit and in part in money market accounts. Neither I, nor Mr. Hanke, nor anyone else to my knowledge has withdrawn, misused or misappropriated any of these funds.
9. I receive no salary or wages as volunteer acting COO. My travel, lodging, meals and business expenses are reimbursed by USCF upon submittal of receipts and other documentation. Our accountants and auditors have never suggested that I submitted any improper reimbursement requests.
10. From Mid-October to Mid-November 2004 I was in Spain, and was not served with any copy of Mr. Sloan?fs November order to show cause, affidavit and petition. I first saw a copy on Mr. Sloan?fs website, www.samsloan.com, in late November, and I also believe that I received a copy from our counsel. Until January 20005 I worked and resided in Florida. Only two or three occasions did I visit our New York office in 2004, and I believe that our vice-president of finance, Tim Hanke, also visited our New Windsor office on one or two occasions in 2004. We allowed correspondence to be sent to us "c/o" (care of) USCF at its New Windsor office for convenience.
11. I have never taken any funds from USCF for personal purposes. Our finances are verified and controlled by USCF's accounting department, headed by Chief Financial Officer Grant Perks, a certified public accountant, now based in Crossville, Tennessee.
12. All personnel layoffs have been approved by the Executive Board for sound fiscal reasons.
13. Mr. Sloan's allegation that the cost to construct the new building in Crossville would be only $360,000 is not accurate. Our estimates for the total costs, including "soft costs" such as architectural and legal fees, have ranged from approximately $500,000 to $600,000. At the August 2003 Annual Delegates Meeting USFC's vice president Frank Camaratta estimated at least $500,000 as the cost to construct the new building. (Ex. "F", at 10).
14. Mr. Sloan's statement as a candidate for the Board is being published in the May 2005 edition of ChessLife Magazine. His statement was not received until late February 2005, approximately two weeks beyond the deadline for the April 2005 issue. (A copy of the approved proof sheets for the May 2005 ChessLife Magazine containing Mr. Sloan's statement is annexed hereto as Ex. "G").
15. I am not aware of Mr. Hanke?fs alleged disappearance. I have spoken to him regularly. He remains an officer, and member, of USCF in good standing.
16. Elizabeth Shaughnessy is an Executive Board member, elected in August 2004 to fill a vacancy. She is an architect who has generously volunteered her time to oversee our paid architect in Tennessee. Mrs. Shaughnessy does not receive compensation for her services.
17. Mr. Sloan?fs claim that he did not receive any board information (?gBINFOS?h) is nonsensical. If any such practice existed, it was discontinued years ago or otherwise followed sporadically, at best. I myself never received any "BINFOS" when I ran for the Board.
18. I respectfully suggest that the proper forum for Mr. Sloan to air his grievances is at our annual meeting and election in August 2005, and not the courts. It is ironic that Mr. Sloan should complain about the expenditure of USCF funds, while forcing the organization to expend thousands of dollars to defend itself in frivolous litigation.
Sworn to before me this
28th day of April, 2005.
CHERYL R. CHURNEY
Notary Public, State of New York
Qualified in Orange County
Commission Expires December 18, 2005
RIDER, WEINER & FRANKEL, P.C.
P O. BOX 2280 NEWBURGH. N. Y 12550 (845) 562-9100
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