CAS case clarification required

Debate directly related to English Chess Federation matters.
Roger de Coverly
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Re: CAS case clarification required

Post by Roger de Coverly » Fri Aug 10, 2012 1:00 am

Mike Gunn wrote:W The board took the decision to proceed in a measured way with full discussion and we took legal advice on the validity of the financial guarantee we had received.
There is a point though that the Board didn't consider with any rigour the likelihood of losing the case on the appointment of Vice Presidents. They established that no financial liability would ensue, but not whether the case had any objective chance of winning.

The allegation made by Kirsan supporters is that the CAS action was a provocation against FIDE to spend its, or the FIDE President's money in defending the case. If that was the objective, the probability of actually winning is less important. To an extent the earlier CAS decision on whether Kirsan was eligible to stand as President, already had CAS supporting the notion that FIDE could do what it liked as long as most, many or a majority of Federations agreed with the actions taken. The appointment of extra Vice Presidents didn't seem to be an issue that many Federations thought was worth fighting over.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: CAS case clarification required

Post by Roger de Coverly » Fri Aug 10, 2012 2:08 am

Carl Hibbard wrote:Whatever your thoughts on this forum would any of this ever have been discovered without it?
The notion that you can comment what you like, when you like, without your comments being deleted, has been around for getting on for twenty years. If you were at a University, probably longer.

In its earlier forms it was the Usenet group rec.games.misc and the compuserve chess forum. Postings to rec.games.chess were preserved by a site called deja-vu later google groups but I suspect the compuserve postings were lost when AOL took over.

Here's the very first TWIC for example

https://groups.google.com/forum/?fromgr ... wfeojLXmEJ[1-25]

Of course open postings lead to trolls and spam. They can also lead to accusations that comments put off sponsors which was an alleged issue between rec.games.chess and the USCF.

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JustinHorton
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Re: CAS case clarification required

Post by JustinHorton » Fri Aug 10, 2012 9:06 am

Just to say thank you to Andrew Farthing for producing the time line. I've not digested it properly yet - we had a guest last night and a three-hour power cut - but I'm just working my way through it now. Questions may follow, I'm afraid.

I concur with Carl's comments above about the forum. One point to make is that other posters' comments are of great help in following documents, and indeed sagas, like this. No one individual sees all the relevant points and thinks of all the right questions to ask.
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Alex McFarlane
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Re: CAS case clarification required

Post by Alex McFarlane » Fri Aug 10, 2012 9:24 am

With the benefit of hindsight this whole episode may not represent the ECF board's finest hour, but from the point of view of process the minor mistakes made by CJ and the lawyers had no overall negative effect. (If the board had voted no then no action would have taken place and so really the facts that CJ signed the power of attorney earlier than he should and the lawyers were a bit trigger happy are of no real consequence). The board took the decision to proceed in a measured way with full discussion and we took legal advice on the validity of the financial guarantee we had received.

If you think we were completely wrong-headed in taking the original decision or that our failure to inform Council merits it, then you should vote us out, but to blame the whole episode on CJ is not fair - we all did this!
Let me see if I understand Mike Gunn’s (and I suppose that of other Board members too) logic.

Everything is OK. CJ started action too early but we were going to do it anyway so everything is fine and we don’t need to reprimand anyone.

Since Andrew Farthing likes analogies here is one.

A child runs across a busy (Swindon) road and makes it safely to the other side. The parents do not reprimand the child or attempt to educate him for the future. This is reported to Social Services. The parents’ defence “It was OK. He didn’t get knocked down and we were going to cross anyway.” That child would be taken into care.

Now let me put a question to each and every Board member. The President broke the ECF Articles by starting legal action before getting Board approval AND financial guarantees in place. This legal action was taken against FIDE because it did not follow its own statutes. The President’s actions were OK because the Board later approved them anyway. Is that really what is being said?

Now, I’m really puzzled. If I’m reading this right it is OK to break ECF rules if others subsequently agree with it but we must take FIDE to court if its President does the same thing. I’m afraid this is total hypocrisy.

Remember it is not the first time the ECF has been embarrassed by precipitous action by Mr De Mooi. One would have hoped, once bitten twice shy. But the current Board seems to be saying “Do what you like, when you like, and we will support you regardless”.

Andrew Farthing has informed me “The Board has conducted its investigation and made a statement. No further action is proposed.”
I for one find that a totally unacceptable (and incredible) stance to take.

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JustinHorton
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Re: CAS case clarification required

Post by JustinHorton » Fri Aug 10, 2012 9:32 am

Alex McFarlane wrote: Remember it is not the first time the ECF has been embarrassed by precipitous action by Mr De Mooi.
Although it was, chronologically. (Provided we ignore the curious case of the Presidential email account, which wasn't terribly important in itself but should have alerted some people to CJ's tendency to act outwith good practice and proper procedures.) All this stuff happened some time before Sheffield.
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Re: CAS case clarification required

Post by Sean Hewitt » Fri Aug 10, 2012 10:25 am

Alex McFarlane wrote:Now let me put a question to each and every Board member. The President broke the ECF Articles by starting legal action before getting Board approval AND financial guarantees in place. This legal action was taken against FIDE because it did not follow its own statutes. The President’s actions were OK because the Board later approved them anyway. Is that really what is being said?

Remember it is not the first time the ECF has been embarrassed by precipitous action by Mr De Mooi. One would have hoped, once bitten twice shy. But the current Board seems to be saying “Do what you like, when you like, and we will support you regardless”.

Andrew Farthing has informed me “The Board has conducted its investigation and made a statement. No further action is proposed.”
I for one find that a totally unacceptable (and incredible) stance to take.
Alex - I think you need to factor in

a) what powers that the board has to take action in this regard
b) that the facts that have been published for all to see in the timeline
c) The AGM is only 8 weeks away
d) All board members are up for re-election at the AGM

It seems to me that council has a perfect opportunity, very shortly, to make it's own mind up. That's how it should be.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: CAS case clarification required

Post by Roger de Coverly » Fri Aug 10, 2012 10:27 am

JustinHorton wrote: Although it was, chronologically.
This was during the period that the ECF President was engaged in securing the funding for the 2011 British. Did this influence members of the Board as a whole not to challenge both the concept and execution of getting involved with Kasparov's legal action?

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Re: CAS case clarification required

Post by Angus French » Fri Aug 10, 2012 10:29 am

JustinHorton wrote:
Alex McFarlane wrote: Remember it is not the first time the ECF has been embarrassed by precipitous action by Mr De Mooi.
Although it was, chronologically. (Provided we ignore the curious case of the Presidential email account, which wasn't terribly important in itself but should have alerted some people to CJ's tendency to act outwith good practice and proper procedures.) All this stuff happened some time before Sheffield.
There was also this from May 2010 - perhaps not a precipitous action in itself but maybe a threat to act precipitously.

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Re: CAS case clarification required

Post by Roger de Coverly » Fri Aug 10, 2012 10:38 am

Angus French wrote: There was also this from May 2010 - perhaps not a precipitous action in itself but maybe a threat to act precipitously.
I though at the time that threatening to resign was over dramatic. It's not as if the then Board had any Kirsan supporters. Perhaps there's a caveat, that publicly declared themselves.

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Re: CAS case clarification required

Post by Andrew Farthing » Fri Aug 10, 2012 10:48 am

Alex McFarlane wrote: (...) The President’s actions were OK because the Board later approved them anyway. Is that really what is being said?

(...) But the current Board seems to be saying “Do what you like, when you like, and we will support you regardless”.
Board statement wrote:Whilst not condoning these premature actions, the Board is satisfied that they did not influence its decision to proceed with legal action or place the ECF at risk had the Board decided against pursuing the CAS appeal.
Roger de Coverly wrote:This was during the period that the ECF President was engaged in securing the funding for the 2011 British. Did this influence members of the Board as a whole not to challenge both the concept and execution of getting involved with Kasparov's legal action?
It certainly didn't influence me, and I don't believe for one second that it influenced any other Board member.

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Re: CAS case clarification required

Post by JustinHorton » Fri Aug 10, 2012 10:49 am

That's a remarkably confident statement. Not least because it raises the question - if the prospect of getting money out of CJ isn't what has induced the Board to forgive him his many sins, what is it that has?
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Re: CAS case clarification required

Post by JustinHorton » Fri Aug 10, 2012 12:17 pm

Perhaps I could add, to the question above, the following:

a. When CJ sought the Board's views on January 12 2011, had he previously discussed the matter with any ECF official?

b. Is there any basis for the "understanding" claimed by CJ and mentioned in the Notes for February 25 other than CJ's own claim? By "basis" I mean - is there any documentation at all, paper or electronic, to support it?

c. If no Board member other than CJ knew, by March 1, that the Power of Attorney had already been signed, when did other Board members become aware of this? Was further surprise expressed when it became known? Have all Board members expressely confirmed that they did not know?

d. Was there any agreement at any time, between any Board members, not to divulge information, in full or in part, to ECF Council? (This would include any legal advice, as has been claimed elsewhere.)

Obviously not all this information may be known to Andrew.
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JustinHorton
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Re: CAS case clarification required

Post by JustinHorton » Fri Aug 10, 2012 12:24 pm

Mike Gunn wrote:Isn't the fact that we did produce the time line document (actually all Andrew's work as usual) an indication of our commitment to try and be transparent?
For what it's worth, I do think that there has been a sizeable improvement in this area, which I hope is a permanent one. Of course one of the effects of greater transparency now can be to demonstrate failings in the same area in the past.

I have to add that greater transparency, and the retention of his post by CJ de Mooi, would be manifest opposites.
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Roger de Coverly
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Re: CAS case clarification required

Post by Roger de Coverly » Fri Aug 10, 2012 12:35 pm

JustinHorton wrote: a. When CJ sought the Board's views on January 12 2011, had he previously discussed the matter with any ECF official?
This all started really with the decision at the Board meeting prior to the October 2010 AGM to sign the letter opposing the appointment of additional VPs. This was made public and documented in the ECF's own published summary reports of Board meetings. Once it became obvious that FIDE were going to reject the complaint ( did anyone really expect them to accept it?), the question of what to do next must have arisen. Presumably Kasparov, White & Case and others were involved at this stage. We don't know whether all the signatories of the original letter were approached, but it is from then that the action reduces to just the ECF and the Georgians. It also goes secret, on the advice of White & Case ? I'm not sure what would have happened if the ECF had announced a threat to go to CAS if FIDE didn't respond on the VP issue. To judge from the eventual Council response, there would have been opposition to the concept, so keeping quiet was necessary if the ECF was to deliver. Given the parlous state of the ECF's finances, it should perhaps have asked for a fee or equivalent reward in exchange for acting as proxy at CAS for Kasparov and his American backers.

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JustinHorton
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Re: CAS case clarification required

Post by JustinHorton » Fri Aug 10, 2012 1:03 pm

The point, unless I'm missing something, is that between October 16 and January 12 there is a gap. At the end of that period CJ approaches the Board, which is presented in the timeline (quite reasonably - it's a précis, not a novel) in standalone fashion, as if the initiative came from CJ alone. I'm curious to know whether that's actually so, since I am guessing he made that approach after discussion with other parties during the October-January period. Who would they have been?
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