midman

AACA Museum & AACA, What is Going On

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Much continues to be debated here regarding the unfortunate discontinuance of formal relations between the National Club and the AACA Museum including timing issues as well as assertions that an accord could be reached if only the parties would sit down and iron things out in a mature and respectful manner without attorneys.

 

Respectfully, we can tell you that attorneys were not present at the majority of the meetings, but only as an occasional necessity to keep laymen from making missteps on behalf of either organization. It should also be said that a large portion of the content contained in the Letter of Intent was entered into the document by the Club. It was not the sole work of some largesse on the part of the AACA Museum. Additionally, it was voted down only after it was ascertained by legal counsel that the new governing structure as outlined, would have disenfranchised Club members voting rights, with matters of the Club being potentially dictated by non elected representatives. This breaks with the membership based foundation of the Club in force since its inception in 1935.

 

Moving forward the Museum was not accepting of suggestions which it felt did not give them 100% parity or continued total independence from our 81 year old institution and its 60K members, who founded and contributed entirely to its existence and continued success. Clearly the Museum would not exist were it not for that support. You will find additional correspondence below in the form of an email sent by Steve Moskowitz on behalf of the merger committee and Board of Directors in a final attempt at continued discussions. You will also find the Museums response and demands regarding those continued discussions.

 

You should also be aware that despite all the innuendo and statements from some on this forum that your Board of Directors and possibly the Clubs Executive Director had their responsibilities,  ethics, or core beliefs, somehow affected by Ego or other self serving motivations is more than unfair. Negotiations were always seen with your interests as paramount. In fact, when there were formal Board discussions about the possible need to downsize the National Board to accommodate members from the Museum Board, there was NEVER any discussion of who might have to be displaced,..as opposed to some members of the Museum Board who consistently queried  and showed concern about how any merger would affect some of their positions and standing. Its worth of repeating that ALL of the Board Members on the Merger committee including Executive Director Steve Moskowitz agreed to step down and allow others to negotiate an agreement just mere months ago.

 

Even as late as the first week in December, the letter to the membership informing you of the impending situation was held back for several days as two former Museum Presidents attempted to get current Museum leadership to come back to the table...to no avail.

 

The situation we have faced here is not the fault of one Board, any single Board member, or one group of Board members on either side. It is the result of Boards comprised at one time or another by different volunteer members with differing points of view, an unfortunately human trait. The relationship evolved slowly in a manner contrary to long held expectations, as the Museum board evolved from one populated by many former AACA Presidents and deeply committed members heavily involved in the Club to a Board in which the majority of leadership while committed to the Museum and automotive history is not deeply connected with the National Club as volunteers or former officers. Their Boards majority does not recognize your equity real or otherwise. You might ask them about the letter our Regions and Chapters received regarding the many items in the Regions and Chapters room when they decided to pull the plug on that minor recognition of your efforts. No one imagined that their self appointing board member selection process could take the Museum so far from its roots. 

 

Unfortunately, your current Board along with your Executive Director found themselves in the position of having to make decisions which many not be popular in all circles, but which had to be made nonetheless. Your Board has been 100% unanimous in its decisions regarding the Museum. Many of your Board members have spent hundreds of hours and driven hundreds of miles to do whatever was possible to secure the best position in any agreement for the membership of our club. We simply could not continue to wait any longer in light of the last responses from the Museum leadership and the need to care for your librarys priceless artifacts.

 

Please take a moment to contrast what the Museum has done over the years for the club compared to what the club has done for the Museum for its existence. Our Members, Regions and Chapters have always been there for the Museum, but as they have sent cars to be shown at concours and other events across the country, the best they could do to support AACA and its events was to drive a couple cars down the block to show at the Hershey Fall Meet..... 

 

Despite best efforts, it was not meant to be, and for that we are all sorrowful.

 

Respectfully,

Your AACA Board of Directors

 

From: Steve Moskowitz
Sent: Wednesday, October 19, 2016 9:59 AM
To:
'donald' <donald@.net>
Subject: Potential meeting
Importance: High

 

Don, while you were in Cuba we have been working on a ways to see if we can forestall a potential major issue in our support of the AACA Museum.  It has led to several things:

1.      The Museum President has been waiting for a response letter from us based upon his statement that the Museum was not going to negotiate further.  We have told him that no letter will be sent until we had an opportunity to review ideas from a prominent member of the club.

2.      We are willing to attempt one last ditch effort to try and resolve our mutual issues.

3.      Our committee, with the exception of Tom G will forego this negotiation.  That means Tom Cox, Don Barlup and myself will not be in attendance.  We will be selecting people who we feel can best represent our membership and they may be non-board members. Ultimately a delegation of volunteers including  major long time financial supporters of the Museum, and a retired Federal Judge accomplished in arbitration were suggested and accepted by the National AACA Merger committee to make a final attempt at reconciliation between the two sides.  We would hope that you can convince your board to make some changes in its committee as well.  We do not expect it to be as drastic a change as we have made.  We have made this unprecedented move to ensure that no personalities affect the outcome of the discussions. 

4.      We strongly suggest that Richie attends this meeting

5.      We will have out attorney present only to address any issues of non-profit law

6.      The people we will have asked to represent us have asked for a letter of indemnification from any future legal action or to be called as witnesses, etc. from both parties.  

7.       Jim S and Bill M I believe may be in attendance as interested parties

8.      The meeting can be held at the AACA Museum

Hope the trip was wonderful. 

Steve Moskowitz

Antique Automobile Club of America

Executive Director

aaca1@aaca.org

717-534-1910 office

717-350-5484 cell

 

Below you will find the response from the Museum Board with our response/explanation in red. You will notice the deprecating posture taken and lack of direct response by the Museum Board President Henry W. Hank Hollowel the Third . This attitude has been unfortunately all too common from those in leadership on the Museums Board of Directors who have taken many opportunities to denigrate those involved on the National Merger committee including one email sent to a Board Member in which firing our Executive Director "Headquarters Employee"  was apparently a pre-requisite to any solution. This arrogant behavior extended to the non unanimous removal by the Museum Board of your appointed representative to that body, AACA Executive VP Tom Cox. This was an obvious case of shooting the messenger. Tom represented not his personal opinions but those of the Board and the Merger Committee representing you. Its worthy of  mention that the Museum Board was well aware at the time that Tom had been chosen by the National Board to represent them again as President in 2017. Consequently, this action further poisoned the atmosphere at a time when the Club continued to reach out for solutions. This action not only conveyed where the Museum Board stands on the Club but also continued the denigration by Museum Leadership of our Board, President Bob Parrish, and others from the National Club. Below is the excerpt from their bylaws under which they removed him. Not only do they appoint themselves to their Board positions, but can remove anyone for any arbitrary reason they deem fit at any time.

2.6.2. The Museum Board may also, by majority vote, declare vacant the office of a Director for any other proper cause determined a majority vote of the Museum Board

 

From: Dennis Beck [mailto:dbeck@aacamuseum.org]
Sent: Tuesday, October 25, 2016 12:17 PM
To: Steve Moskowitz <
aaca1@aaca.org>
Subject: Museum Board's Response

 

Hello Steve,

 

This e-mail replies to the series of recent e-mails you sent to Don.

 

Yesterday afternoon, the Board of Directors held a meeting and reviewed your proposal.   At the conclusion of the meeting, the Board directed me to provide you with their decision:

 

The Board is willing to meet with the group of mutual supporters of both organizations to discuss this matter further, provided that the Club first rescinds its vote to “de-fund” the Museum, and agrees to (i) restore admission to Museum as a benefit of Club membership, (ii) restore the option to contribute to the Museum on future renewals/new member forms, and (iii) provide the same level of support to the Museum during 2017 as it did in 2016. As you can see the Museum Board, under the leadership of its President Henry W. Hank Hollowel  the Third, demands we give them the 80K dues sharing for 2017 as well as “provide the same level of support” which would include all additional revenue streams including solicitation of our membership etc... ALL PRIOR to and for the privilege of sitting down with us to discuss additional scenarios which might allow the two organizations to move forward together rather than apart. We would like to cite here that despite some erroneous suggestions by the Museum that the club owes them further dues sharing, the National Club owes nothing. They were paid as it went. That notwithstanding, the initial agreement allowed for discontinuance of the dues sharing at any time. It was accepted by both parties. Also, as previously mentioned in other posts,  the Museum in recent statements has consistently stated the 80K +_ given annually by the club was not a donation but payment for our members access to the Museum etc., but by their own records they indicate that only 884 members came through their gate at no charge this past year which at full admission only amounts to slightly under 11K,...either this was a good will donation of support or the worst business deal in history. You decide.

 

If the meeting is to include less than the full Museum Board, the Museum Board President will appoint a committee to participate in the meeting, which may well be the same committee as before. Yet one more imperious bit of posturing from the Museum Board which did nothing to assist with negotiations, as opposed to the Board members on the Club side who were willing to step down without condition.

 

The meeting should occur after the first of the year, with one option being during the week of the Annual Meeting in Philadelphia.  The setting of the meeting date as well as the offer to meet in Philadelphia appears to be engineered  to allow them to conduct their annual appeal to our membership for donations as well as collect donations from the auction, our Regions, and Chapters etc at Philly IN ADDITION to the 80K dues sharing they would receive as part of their demands…all without regard o the outcome of further discussions at the meeting,...perhaps taking their cues from Cuba Gooding Jr. who once said  in the movie Jerry Maguire "Show me the money".

 

The Museum’s willingness to engage in further meetings should not be construed as an agreement to all the conditions you stated in your e-mail to Don.   For example, if either party will be represented by counsel, then both parties should.   Also, our Board has not agreed to any indemnification provision . In perhaps one of the most imperious decisions by the Museum leadership, they refused to indemnify these third party volunteers from potential litigation as a result of their voluntary service/ involvement. To not do so is the height of arrogance, a total lack of good will, and a refusal to act in good faith.

 

Tom Cox, in his e-mail to me, asked that we extend professional courtesy to the Club’s Executive Committee and full Board by letting them know the outcome of these discussions as soon as possible.  Accordingly, please communicate this decision to the Executive Committee and to the full Board of the Club.

 

Per the Board’s request, all future communications from you should be directed through me.   Thank you for your attention.

 

Best regards,

 

Dennis

Dennis Beck

Accounting Manager

AACA Museum Inc

161 Museum Drive |Hershey, PA 17033 

Web: aacamuseum.org | Tele: 717-566-7100 x107

 

NOTE: This e-mail is from the AACA Museum and is intended solely for the use of the individual(s) to whom it is addressed.  If you believe you received this e-mail in error, please notify the sender immediately, delete the e-mail from your computer and do not copy or disclose it to anyone else.  If you properly received this e-mail because of your relationship to, or contacts with, the AACA Museum, please maintain its contents in confidence in order to preserve any rights of confidentiality that may apply.

Edited by AACA National Board (see edit history)
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I would say, per the above email from the Museum, that the Museum has no desire to sit down and talk without imposing very restrictive conditions.  It is my opinion that, barring any subsequent conciliatory gestures from the Museum, no further attempts to discuss the separation of the two legal entities should be made (on the part of the Club).

 

Just my opinion,

Grog

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7 hours ago, Joe in Canada said:

I am getting old and all the other car guys are also getting old. The new millennium generation has a sparse interest in antique cars so our membership may be dropping in the next ten years. I do not think the club should take on expanding into a separate auto museum at the present. I would think a new headquarters and a library that could hold a couple of dozen cars for display and a gas station set up in the corner would be sufficient. Then in the future if things look bright and rosy they could add a museum. This way the library could reduce the car display as room needed. This will in time see how well the club is doing after this expansion if it could build and carry a museum. The club could also build a large storage facility in the meantime to store future display's.       

I actually agree with you on the *possibility* of adding a museum later vs right from the get go to clarify my earlier post.  Buying land that can accommodate a museum in the future would be important, where that might be 10 or 20 years from now (new museum).  Understood on many being retired...some of us, like me, still have a ways to go before retirement, so also looking at the future here :)

 

I predict that without the support of AACA, the existing museum will not be in existence 10 years from now.  Donations will dry up (read cars), and AACA members will donate to other museums with a solid foundation, such as Gilmore.   I mentioned Busses and Tucker earlier as I believe they will "hang on" until the end, even if the current museum is not amicable to compromise on what cars they will focus on as they slowly bleed money.  Sadly, the currently BoD may sell off cars to pay for staff if they start losing money.

Chuck

 

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Having been through the first go-round with the museum.  I think the club is better off letting that sleeping dog lie, and just move on with a new headquarters and library building, ignore the current museum, and not go into that quagmire again in the future.  A small museum as part of the new headquarters and library that represents ONLY the history of AACA itself I would support.  A generalized museum like the monster we created in the late 1990s is not what I imagined it would become at the time.  We asked for items my family donated to the Regions room back, and Mr. Bliemaster of the Museum never even answered our email letter.  How high handed can those people be?

Edited by Dynaflash8 (see edit history)
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After reading the above volley of letters, sounds like it is time to move on and focus attention on the library and all of its assets. 

 

The library is of the greatest service to the membership of the club than any car museum could ever be.

 

Also as noted above if a piece of property large enough could be purchased for possible future expansion (be it library or car display) that would be the best scenario.

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I'd like to thank the AACA management team for proving my past predictions of them stone walling the membership here on the forum incorrect. It's both encouraging and enlightening to have them trust us.....................Bob Beck

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2 minutes ago, Bhigdog said:

I'd like to thank the AACA management team for proving my past predictions of them stone walling the membership here on the forum incorrect. It's both encouraging and enlightening to have them trust us.....................Bob Beck

 

What are you talking about Bob?

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In some of my early posts I predicted that the AACA would not be forth coming with information on the "situation" and would simply stone wall forum members. I was wrong and am admitting it. Simple as that........................Bob

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It would be interesting to know who the un-elected museum overseers are and how they came to hold such a position. What is their financial connection to the museum? Are they big donors? Do they receive a stipend or other monetary support? How does the money flow when someone rents the museum for a wedding reception or retirement party or other event? Does someone rent the space directly from the museum or is there a middleman? Do these un-elected overseers hold any contracts with the museum such as janitorial services, security services, gift shop?  Inquiring minds want to know. 

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15 minutes ago, Restorer32 said:

It would be interesting to know who the un-elected museum overseers are and how they came to hold such a position. What is their financial connection to the museum? Are they big donors? Do they receive a stipend or other monetary support? How does the money flow when someone rents the museum for a wedding reception or retirement party or other event? Does someone rent the space directly from the museum or is there a middleman? Do these un-elected overseers hold any contracts with the museum such as janitorial services, security services, gift shop?  Inquiring minds want to know. 

The third party or overseers to which you refer was part of the proposed governance structure of the Letter of Intent to merge the two entities. Of course, as you know, the club Board voted that down.

There is no third party oversight at the Museum. Additionally, the Museum Board is not elected by the Museum Membership, but are selected and appointed by their own nominations committee comprised of Museum Board members. In essence they appoint themselves and are beholding only to themselves as a practical matter. The Museum has members, but they have no voting power unlike the membership of AACA which has voting power. This was a major sticking point in negotiations as your National AACA Board did not wish to diminish your voting powers.

Edited by TomCox (see edit history)
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I know I likely won't get answers to my questions above. Just substitute "self appointed Board Members" for 'un-elected overseers". The effect is the same. AACA has run well for 80+ years. That says a lot in my mind.

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I got a chuckle out of the post I missed about the dastardly removal of items from the museum by Chris Ritter as instructed by me. First, Chris is an innocent party to this. He went to ensure that the library materials were handled correctly. What was removed from the cases? First MY PERSONAL items that had been on display for years and for a variety of reasons I wanted them back (they were not donated but at one time in the Library display case that was removed by the museum).  Secondly the library materials on display since we no longer had a full case dedicated to the Library.  Third, AACA materials that also had been on display that we wanted back (also that once were in a large dedicated display).  At least one or two item that were on display never came back to us.

 

Yes, we accidently took region materials that were not ours but the minute they got back to our building we notified the museum and returned immediately.

 

Much ado about nothing and I will let you determine the motivation and maturity of that sign continuing to be there. 

 

Bob, you admit you were wrong!  The sky is falling!  I think I can cancel my cardiologist appointment as I now know that my heart is ok.  I totally recovered from the shock! :)  Just kidding you, you are fair when presented the facts..most of the time!!!  :) 

 

Larry, I can promise you that the Library will continue to grow and to be the best FREE resource to the world's car community. We have great plans for the future and the leadership of the Library under Chris is as solid as can be. 

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5 minutes ago, Steve Moskowitz said:

 

 

Bob, you admit you were wrong!  The sky is falling!  I think I can cancel my cardiologist appointment as I now know that my heart is ok.  I totally recovered from the shock! :)  Just kidding you, you are fair when presented the facts..most of the time!!!  :) 

 

 

I will get in on this too, because as I read Bob's post, I just knew he was picking on me again. Bob loves to do that, you know? :rolleyes:

 

Anyway, Bob and I had a couple PM's and he admitted that he did mean he was WRONG. OK Bob, I apologize too.

It's been a few tough weeks since December 15th when all of this started.

 

Looking forward to the year-2017.

 

Wayne

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11 minutes ago, R W Burgess said:

Just kidding you, you are fair when presented the facts..most of the time

 

Most of the time?.....A lot depends on whose "facts" are being presented and whose ox is being gored at the time.

 

Anyway, as I said to Wayne in a PM, AACA management is to be commended for resisting the impulse to simply lock this thread and say " you'll read all about it in the magazine". My early impression was that is what would happen. I was gladly mistaken.

AACA management seems to have realized, along the way, that being open and forth coming is the best course for all concerned. I agree.

You have openly presented your case on a public forum. It seems to me, and I believe to most others, the Club is correct in it's decision.

Hopefully the club will use this thread as a template for  future free and open discussions on the forum.

I rest my case.................Bob

 

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None of this sounds like 'good' news on any front.

 

I just looked at a survey of 'things people collect,' top three were coins, comic books and stamps!

Cars came in at #12.

Soooo haven't found a new hobby just yet.

:(

 

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7 minutes ago, AC Fuhrman said:

 

Cars came in at #12.

Soooo haven't found a new hobby just yet.

:(

 

Andy, I would say that cost is the major factor in having cars listed as number 12. The purchase price is generally the smallest part of having an antique car. In my case I generally double the investment costs of my cars while keeping them usable. Oh, and I have no time for any other hobbies. :-)

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Time will tell.........but if things don't happen to go well for the AACA Museum as time unfolds, maybe the the land and building it occupies will become available.  Who knows what might happen then.

 

Note to "oldcarfud" and his interest in the brass era Model B Ford that has been on display at the AACA Museum with the other "letter series" Fords.  There's no need to gather your dollars as the AACA Museum never owned those Fords.  Moreover, those Fords will sometime in the not too distant future reappear in another Museum.

Edited by Timothy Kelly (see edit history)

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1 hour ago, R W Burgess said:

Andy, I would say that cost is the major factor in having cars listed as number 12. The purchase price is generally the smallest part of having an antique car. In my case I generally double the investment costs of my cars while keeping them usable. Oh, and I have no time for any other hobbies. :-)

 

The last time that I checked unless you own a trailer queen... You drive them then the cycle is 1. Drive them, 2. they break, 3. fix it. 4. return to 1 and repeat the sequence as long as ownership is retained and you drive it.

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1 hour ago, Larry Schramm said:

 

The last time that I checked unless you own a trailer queen... You drive them then the cycle is 1. Drive them, 2. they break, 3. fix it. 4. return to 1 and repeat the sequence as long as ownership is retained and you drive it.

 

2 hours ago, R W Burgess said:

Andy, I would say that cost is the major factor in having cars listed as number 12. The purchase price is generally the smallest part of having an antique car. In my case I generally double the investment costs of my cars while keeping them usable. Oh, and I have no time for any other hobbies. :-)

 

I'll never leave - what I was getting at was this Club/Museum issue has taken some of the joy out of it for me - at least temporarily! I care deeply about both and support both. It's like a family fight. 

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Guess some people have nothing else to do this time of the year (was 80F here today, had the AC on).

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Looks like everything is out in the open and clearly shows the direction we're going. The only thing left to do now is get it in the Magazine for the entire Club to see where we stand, and why.

 

Good job to our Club's Board of Directors, Thanks!

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Just received a 3 page, both sides, letter from the museum BOD's telling their side of the story complete with links to correspondences with the AACA club. Can't help but wonder: What's the point of paying to draft and send 30,000 letters if it's a done deal?.......................Bob

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1 hour ago, Bhigdog said:

 Can't help but wonder: What's the point of paying to draft and send 30,000 letters if it's a done deal?.......................Bob

 

Unless the Museum changed dramatically their position in favor of what the Club was trying to accomplish, I have to agree with you totally. We need to move on and do it on our own. I've lost faith that the Museum will help the Club in any way that we can protect the Club and control our expenses with the relocation and expansion of the  HQ and Library.

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I hope they will post it on their website.

We have heard the AACA's position, and it makes sense;

but in 450 postings we really haven't heard much

of the museum's thinking.

 

Just as in a marriage separation, it helps to be sympathetic to both sides---

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