Hazelwood Lawsuit?

What the Heck? I am sorry I just found this out and am flabbergasted! The lowdown goes like this…

Hazelwood started putting together a whole info and up date bit for the Annual Convention in Minneapolis Feb, 11-15 of 2008. She requested “line item budget, documents and information relating to AMHA employee compensation, financial compensation and reimbursement to Board Members, information about the AMHA Educational Charitable Trust, and information regarding the AMHA’s registry trust.”

Now it gets wierd…

Mike Goebig refused Hazelwood some of the documents including, “executive director employee contracts and any employee records.” Hazelwood upon being a Board Member is entitiled to these records and information.

I continue…

Julie Broadway in an undated letter then sends Hazelwood a confidentiality agreement on the grounds of privacy concerning documents regarding employee compensation and business transactions between directors and the AMHA. The agreement states that basically she will not use this information for anything else but, herself and the information shall not be disclosed to anyone living entity.

Hazelwood told Broadway this was wholly inappropriate and as a Board Member it was her right and duty to be able to see and use these documents the confidentiality agreement null. Mugnier a new Board Member said that Hazelwoods letter was confrontational and insisted upon the confdentiality agreement.

Robert Painter a Board Member in ’07 was also denied the previous information by Goebig. Painter was an¬†Election¬†Inspector Board approved by the AMHA directors. He did win his case and recieved the informaton he sought.

That is basically it or shall I say all that I am willing to search for tonight.

39 Responses to Hazelwood Lawsuit?

  1. Black Eye Beth says:

    To see the complaint document go to the AMHA website News page.

  2. anonymous says:

    If you go to http://www.gomorgans.net you can get all of the exhibits in addition to the lawsuit. It’s an interesting website…they probably should have called it belowlevel.com ;->

  3. Scottfield03 says:

    I just read the ENTIRE lawsuit, line by line, twice. I am just shaking my head. I would very much like to hear the other side of the story. It is so very unfortunate that we are about to be, or rather ARE, in another lawsuit situation. I am not sure where this will all go, but I have such tremendous respect for Cindy, Harry and Mike, that i can’t believe this all went down the way it is presented. I appreciate all of the info available to me. I will surely check out the above recommended website.

  4. stretch says:

    I hope this blog does not turn into venue to rehash this lawsuit. There are plenty of other message boards to do that. Inside/outside — the downside is that more of our minimal funds will have to go for legal fees insted of promoting our precious Morgans.

  5. colwilrin says:

    I am with you stretch, I don’t want to see this turn into another “yahoo chat group that shall not be named.”

    SO…this is a Morgan SHOW blog, and we are just 7 days away from the start of the Grand National.

    Isn’t there something else to talk about?

  6. empressive says:

    This blog will not turn into a rehash Stretch but people do need to know so we can learn and take into evaluation our Board Members next election. I personally had no idea and am glad I do now know as now I can better help this breed that I love.

    I simply cannot understand why such a thing would be hidden from us and went to ALL of YOU HERE to get a better understanding. That is what this place is for a little treasure trove of Morgan wisdom! LOL We love our Morgans then we need to understand its politics and goings-ons.

    Fool me once shame on you fool me twice shame on me. I do not mean to be vindictive or mean guys but if there are no stupid questions and we ask for more people to learn then do not tell me to take this elsewhere when I am simply looking for a straight answer.

    This is probably my money that is paying for this court case and i thought and gave money to promote this breed. Shoot I was just called for the first time in 5 years to help support the regional show in california. I have showed possibly once my own horse in those years and they choose to call me? If they even have to call me to donate more money for a horse show then where do they get of f going to court on money possibly not there?

    This discussion is over thank you for the information on the case and places to check for updates.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I agree with empressive. This is a blog that is here so that Morgan people can share thoughts, information, etc concerning the Morgan breed. I don’t think we should just keep quiet about this, this is important.

  8. Scottfield03 says:

    So, is this a new lawsuit, or rehashing of the old one, or what? The way it was presented to me via another private email is that this is a new deal, new problem. Can someone who is up-to-date and informed put this is very simple, very objective terms? :-)

  9. Cal says:

    Basically, Marjorie requested information that she legally had the right to view. She was denied this information because she would not sign a document of confidentiality which stated that she wouldn’t show it to anyone else.
    She is only trying to be informed, as a board director it is vital that she be informed so that she can vote effectively. Other directors are withholding information and making excuses why she cannot view the information that she legally has the right to. This only makes those directors seem more suspicious.
    In one count of the lawsuit, there was also something to do with voting and how votes were found cast by dead AMHA members.

  10. Anonymous says:

    First, Bob Painter did not win his lawsuit – it was dismissed by the judge.

    Second, the only “dead person” voting was an instance of a woman mistakenly using her departed husbands ballot *instead* of hers, not in addition to.

    Third, it is incumbant upon AMHA to protect the personnel and personal info of all employees. IOW, they legally have to protect the information. I can’t legally give you so mauch as the phone numbers of my employees, let alone their payment package. Why would Ms Hazelwood refuse to sign a confidentiality agreement? Does she intend to disseminate that information and doesn’t want to get caught up in a loophole?

    Given the history of certain members inclusing Ms Hazelwood, it is reasonable to assume that any information given to her, will be disseminated. If she did that, it would open up AMHA to privacy litigation from the employees. If Ms Hazelwood wants the info, she needs to sign. If she has no plans on any untoward use of the information, she should have absolutley no reason to refuse to sign the document.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I have to disagree with the above anonymous post. I believe that Marjorie Hazelwood has the complete right to view the requested information without having to sign an agreement. Whether or not she intends to disclose the information to other individuals is irrelevant. It is her right, especially as a board director to see the information. If other directors are permitted to view it, why is she not? Marjorie’s questions are legitimate and there is no reason for secrecy. What you imply is that the intent of getting the information was to undermine the AMHA. Why would she do that? Why would a member and board director do that? That is not her intent.
    The ENTIRE board manages the association, not just a select few.

  12. Sarah says:

    Bob Painter’s case was not dismissed, the court gave him access to the documents he wanted.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Yes, Painter’s suit was dismissed. Look it up if you need to, the PDF copy of the judges order is probably still on the AMHA site. If not, I bet someone in Shelburne could fax you a copy.

    Ms Hazelwood probably does have the right to VIEW the information. She does not have the right to obtain copies and/or disseminate the information. It doesn’t really matter *what* Ms Hazelwood’s intentions are as per the documents…however it it AMHA’s LEGAL RESPONSIBILITY to protect certain information, i.e. employment/ee records. It is my understanding the other Directors have signed the confidentiality agreement, and therefore have access to the information. If Ms Hazelwood wants access to the info, she needs to sign the agreement just like everyone else.

    Again, if she has nothing to hide, no ulterior motives, what is the problem with signing the agreement?

  14. Sarah says:

    What’s wrong with standing up for your rights

  15. Greenfield97 says:

    I have to agree with Sarah & others- Ms. Hazelwood has the right to see the information she requested without having to sign an agreement. And the things pertaining to employees that you say the AMHA is legally bound to protect, they are things that the board should be voting on and knowing about anyway.
    Also, we are addressing only one of the issues in the Hazelwood lawsuit. This is not the only count against the defendant. There are several issues. What about the fact that we have a director who has served for 27 years which violates the AMHA bylaws. Or the impermissable compensation that was provided to certain board members. There’s also the fact that there were flaws in the election process that when addressed, were ignored by those in power who would benefit from those flaws. There is also the business of the charitable trust. This was a tax exempt trust who’s funds could not commingle with AMHA funds. The board made an agreement with the IRS to abide by this and later violated this agreement by commingling the two funds.

  16. Greenfield97 says:

    And I also forgot that we currently have 7 people on the board who are not eligible to be! Again, when this was brought up, it was completely ignored. Also elections which did not have enough voters to make the results valid, went through anyway even though they violated the election laws and AMHA bylaws

  17. colwilrin says:

    Please remember that anyone can accuse a party of anything in a complaint. A complaint needs no substantiation. Just because it is claimed, does not mean it is so. That is why there is a “discovery process” that takes months, even years to discover all the facts.

    At the stage this suit is in, we only have accusations of one side. Thus, it is impossible to make an informed decision. Until the AMHA has the opportunity to answer, and discovery is completed…all conclusions are meer conjecture.

    SO…when is everyone flying into OKC?

  18. jdenzel says:

    Okay, I am going to step in here and say that yes, Ms. Hazelwood, as a board member is entitled to the information. However, due to HIPPA (you know those forms you sign in doctor’s offices?) the board must protect personal information on their employees.

  19. missie045 says:

    I totally agree that it is very sad that the very few funds that we have are now going into something like this. I really think that there is a dire need for some new direction from some individuals involved in the breed outside of the obvious faces. Business and marketing is different than running. Being an advocate for the breed and knowing how to grow the breed for the better of the breed are also 2 different attributes.

  20. Anonymous says:

    I agree, we need to get the “elite”, “inside”, select few out of power and get people in who are really concerned with the breed. People who will not use their position just to benefit themselves and their friends

  21. Anonymous says:

    It is highly possible that I am missing something. I can’t help but wonder: If Ms. Hazelwood feels that she needs this information to perform her duties as a board member and that is truly the ONLY reason she needs the information, why wouldn’t she just sign the confidentiality agreement? I would assume that being a board member would allow one access to information that the rest of the world doesn’t need to know; however, I would also assume that information is confidential.

    How many of you would like your personnel file shared with the world??

  22. Anonymous says:

    It’s not like the information she requested really puts all this super-personal information about employees out in the open. Some of the things that they required an agreement for had nothing to do with individual employees, but with the organization as a whole. Specifically why the AMHA is hemorrhaging money and losing members left & right.

  23. Dawn Fire says:

    I guess I still don’t understand why she can’t keep the information confidential. If her intent truly is to make decisions in her role as a director, she should not need to share the information she is obtaining.

  24. colwilrin says:

    Dawn,

    I agree. Given her track record of allowing information to be published on Go Morgans, the AMHA was justified in fearing global publication of any and all papers in her possession. Go Morgans is a site open to anyone who is able to “google” “morgan horse”. Access to the documents on that site is not restricted to AMHA members only.

    Some of the documents Ms. Hazelwood requested contained information that would be considered “confidential” in any corporation.

    How would any of us feel if our salaries and performance appraisals were published on an open website? I hope that my employer would protect me from that circumstance.

    As for the other documents that do not contain personnel information, I feel that they should not be on a public site either. In light of the state of the economy, people have far less expendible cash. If they do have enough to spend it on a horse, they would be turned away from our breed if they wandered into such information.

    Whatever documents Ms. Hazelwood seeks should be kept within the view of the membership only. Does she have a right to view the documents she requests? Yes, to view…not publish or disseminate to non-AMHA members.

  25. valiant farm says:

    Dawn & Colwilrin:

    I like to look at things on the strategic side…Tactically there might be enough in the document to create an argument that a judge might address. Right or wrong, this could lead to a favorable decison on their claim to unseat 12 directors. Chaos within the AMHA will likely follow. Then what? Is this a play for control of the registry, control of the judges standards committee, the magazine??

    All very unerving thoughts in my mind. Where do you think this is going to take us?

  26. Jan L says:

    I think the bottom line for most of us as supporters of the Morgan breed, is that we need to work together to be constructive. This lawsuit, and others of similar nature, are financially draining, destructive and serve as a distraction to our time and energy to promote the Morgan horse. We, as voting members, need to pay close attention to the motives and intent of people who run for the Board. Cindy Mugnier and Mike Goebig, my hats off to you and thanks for taking on this seemingly thankless job!

  27. jyn says:

    I agree . She should sign the confidentially agreement . They really should run a tight ship up there. Too many people running personal agendas trying to misuse imformation. I am behind the AMHA powers that be on this one hundred percent.

  28. Anonymous says:

    I’ve noticed that most of you are only addressing one part of the lawsuit. That was not the only part. Someone else on here has already listed those parts so I won’t repeat them again but they support the case against Mugnier & Goebig.
    Our organization has been grossly mismanaged and someone is only taking steps to fix it.

  29. Chris Nerland says:

    Re above criticism of “elite” Since when did “elite” become a pejorative? I like to be defended by elite military, operated upon by elite surgeons and yes, governed by elite people.

  30. Susan Overstreet says:

    Chris:

    There was a really interesting television discussion on this very topic the other day. It was comparing Obama’s “elite” background and demeanor with the “common man” approach theoretically being utilized by McCain/Palin. I am with you 100% in wondering how the term became a perjorative.

    Frankly, I will just be thrilled when the consonant “g” comes back into vogue and we no longer have to endure politicians “thinkin, actin, feelin, goin, speakin”, so forth and so on and on.

    Susan

  31. Chris Nerland says:

    I am disheartened that just when it looked like the breed was taking a new direction with the new logo (which I like!) and motto, which any morgan owner can attest to, we again get sidetracked with a lawsuit brought by a board member. These suits are bleeding the AMHA dry, and may eventually bankrupt it. The HIPAA regs do limit severely what can be revealed to third persons (I am an insurance specialist). The AMHA was within its rights and certainly would have conferred with counsel before taking such a stance. I know this is a horse-show site (and a very good one, too) so perhaps we should start a separate thread or site if we want to discuss this suit.

  32. Susan Overstreet says:

    Chris:

    Not sure if the lawsuit is something folks here want to discuss so if Beth wants to give guidance on it, will be happy to follow it. It is being discussed pretty actively on Morgans but as you might suspect, with a fair amount of venom.

  33. SJL says:

    This is not bleeding the AMHA dry because if you read the whole lawsuit you would see that the prosecutors are demanding NO money whatsoever. What’s bleeding it dry is the mismanagement it’s suffering. As a result of that we have a continual loss of membership which again, results in loss of money. Mismanagement will make this organization go bankrupt, not the lawsuit.

  34. Susan Overstreet says:

    I think the cost issue is more related to the very large expense of litigation and the cost of indemnifying the BOD and officers.

    Susan

  35. waddie says:

    Having been in public office for 12 years at one time, I can say that I agree that Ms Hazelwood should sign the confidentially agreement. Once she allowed the information to become public; lawsuits would abound, there is no way it would not happen. She could cause more trouble for herself and the club than most of you realize; we have too many lawyers looking for easy money these days. However, if there are other problem, which were mentioned,that is another matter. They should be cleared up promptly by AMHA if they truly do exist.

  36. jay says:

    i think what is being missed that there is a difference between a confidentiality agreement and a non-disclosure one. the one that she was told to sign would have prevented her from using the information ‘IN ANY MANNER’. should could not discuss it with another board member, an attorney, an accountant or anyone. that is different then a non-disclosure would have restricted the use to only those that ‘pertain to the business of the corporation’.

    take as an example the fact that a board member was compensated in direct violation of NYS law. If she found other instances, she would not be allowed to execute her fiduciary obligations to try and recover those funds.

    jay

  37. Black Eye Beth says:

    Did anybody get a letter in the mail regarding this issue from Ms. Hazelwood? Just wondered.

  38. susan overstreet says:

    Beth:

    I talked to a number of people who received it, although I did not. I guess it was theoretically supposed to go to the general membership. It was not as well written as some of the web postings, so not sure her attorney(s) were engaged, don’t know.

    I have not heard a status on any of this for a few weeks, so both sides may just be going through due diligence at this point.

    Susan

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