To all PLP membership and friends of PLP,
I am shocked and saddened by the letter you may have received or read dated August 17, 2016 by the Rogue Board.
All of you are aware that, I am one of the Founders of Public Lands for the People (PLP) along with Barry Wetherby and Jerry Hobbs. I have also been one of the biggest supporters with my time, donations and direct funding. Many of you have seen me at the shows along with working with many of you.
I have considered all of the signers on that letter to be both friends, clients and professional competitors in the mining business for my entire career of 35 years. In the past they have given of their time, talent and in some cases their money in the support of miner's rights. We have all worked together. I thank them all for their service.
The letter that they signed neglects many important facts and long time friendships to accuse me and the other well meaning members of stealing from the organization that I started. I resent the implication and I'll fight the allegations.
First of all, Here are some of the Facts: At our board meeting on January 13, 2016. Walt wanted to step down from PLP President and become the Southern California Representative of MMAC to raise money. At the February board meeting, Walt requested a 30% commission for all the money he raises for MMAC using PLP’s, 501C-3 status. The Secretary Treasurer asked him to submit a letter to the BOD, for what he wanted to do. The board did not like the idea of 30%. We are a volunteer, non-profit organization. Walt sent a email February 17th., resigning permanently from the board of PLP, unless we agreed to his demands. He became very upset with that request and stormed out of the board meeting. Later in February, I received two phone calls from Walt, Ron, and Jerry asking me to help eliminate Guy, Scott and Barry Wetherby in which I stated,” I will have no part in the removal of these Board Members. Jerry Shodall resigned on the board meeting of February 10th., effective March 1rst. The Officers were also refusing to update the bylaws at that point as we were non compliant and haven’t been since 1997. Shortly thereafter, Guy Nesbitt and Scott Warner resigned due to the excessive bullying and harassment by Walt Wegner and Jerry Shodall.
At the Vegas gold show in February, I travelled to Vegas to attend the show with two volunteers to work at the P.L.P. booth and was informed that we were was not needed by Jerry Shodall. I felt that P.L.P. suffered financially at that show with only two working the booth.
Without proper membership notification, on March 2nd, a predetermined election was held by the BOD, and Walt was elected to the PLP Treasurer. Later, we found out the purpose of the election was to stack the board so the officers would have total control. On June 6th, I received an official PLP letter from Ron, the President, Walt and Jerry demanding a mandatory meeting with me, to strip me of my voting rights. At this meeting only Ron showed up and stated, “he did not want me to feel that the other two were ganging up on me” so he came alone at the restaurant where we met. I told Ron, “That I wanted to discuss this with Walt and Jerry personally. When I called Jerry he just cursed me out and he said, he wanted me off of the board.
The new Officers and some BOD members had conspired against us, to strip us of our authority and dignity. A ‘tribunal’ was held on June 30th for Barry Wetherby, a founder of PLP, with the three accusers, acting as judges and three others members on the phone, two of them were part of MMAC. We were told, “they had the votes to suspend or remove us at will” and Jerry Shodall stated, “we are not a democracy and the three officers run PLP and make the rules”. Barry Wetherby stated we are a democracy and the Board runs PLP for the membership. On July 14th, Barry, Ray, Duane and myself resigned, to avoid personal liability and legal action for the way the officers were acting.
It is well known, we have had a PLP membership meeting at Keene Engineering for over 15 years. This meeting has been held on the 3rd. Thursday of the month and gets a general membership attendance of between 55 to 65 and sometimes more.
At our regular scheduled third Thursday meeting on July 21, (our once a year, Grand Raffle was scheduled to be held but was changed one week prior to be held at GPAA Headquarters in Temecula. Many members that usually attend this raffle were unaware of the raffle date change and had been changed 1 week before.
All of the signers of the August 17th letter have attended a general meeting, at one time or another. As President, Walt Wegner attended to give the PLP ‘pitch’ for over a year. Monthly membership meeting is open to all members and non- members and interested like, GPAA, PCSC, Taft Prospectors and other mining clubs.
We informed the members of recent actions taken by the rogue BOD of PLP. We told the members that the rogue BOD had withheld critical information and was not sharing the financial information about PLP’s relationship with the Minerals and Mining Advisory Council (MMAC) and potential problems with our 501-(C)3 status.
The Officers and some of the BOD members also conspired against us, to strip us of our authority and dignity.
We resigned in mass on July 14 to escape possible personal liability from their actions.
We told members that based on our experience we must remove the present BOD and Officers to preserve PLP's 501(C) 3 status. This was done according to the 1997 bylaws and in compliance with the State of California's nonprofit corporations. New elections were then held.
We informed the general membership, based on our experience, we must remove the Rogue Board and its Officers in order to preserve the tax exempt 501C(3) status. The general membership made a motion to remove the Rogue board and Officers with
cause. It was seconded and voted on. A unanimous vote upheld the motion to remove.
This was done according to the 1997 bylaws and in compliance with the State of California Corporate Codes 5222.
New election were held per the PLP bylaws.
The new BOD and Officers are planning to continue defense of outdoors users and stop supporting MMAC. MMAC jeopardizes our 501c(3) status. We believe MMAC is a great cause and hope the best for them as a separate entity.
Legal notifications were given which resulted in changing the officers names on the account and then, their legal council refiled with the State over our filing which, resulted in the bank freezing the account initiated by the bank itself. Walt had nothing to do with freezing the account.
We offered two options to settle the dispute but for unknown reason they do not want to settle
We offered through legal counsel to end the BOD dispute and to fund the formation of an entity they can, run and support the MMAC activities. We hope that they still do that and leave PLP. Circumstances are changing daily and we found out,legally we cannot support MMAC without compromising P.L.P.s 501C3 status and future.
With the PLP members support, PLP encourages the formation of an MMAC entity which is separate from PLP. That is what we are fighting for and will continue to insist upon, regardless of the BOD dispute outcome. All actions needs to stop to move forward in the direction of our Mission Statement.
The PLP organization needs to vote a new BOD and new Officers, as required by to our bylaws. We thank you for hearing our side.
Hopefully in our future, we can get together with all of the groups as a united front to save Prospecting and Mining in the United States. We thank you for patience and your understanding as we ar looking to move forward in the future.
(Pro Tem) Vice President