trimacar

Letter from the "aaca" museum

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I'm sure more information is forth coming so let the kettle boil till then. When it comes to legal maters all the facts are best held back until the time is right. 

The Club is on solid ground due to the actions by others.

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There are usually three sides to every story - one side, the other side and the truth.   Not saying that anyone is purposely misleading the other but somewhere between all the innuendos from each side there is a middle ground.  Guess that will be found in court or more than likely,  behind closed doors among a bunch of lawyers.  

 

Bob

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I still don't understand how you can have the Antique Automobile Club of America Museum, on all their signage and paper work BUT, they aren't affiliated with the Antique Automobile Club of America.  Doesn't the Club have a copyright to the name. It's like having the New York Botanical Garden, located in Denver. If the Museum is not part if the A.A.C.A, they should not be able to use the name. It's kind of like false advertising. I read the letter several times and I keep coming back to the "several hundred thousand dollar" legal fees, really?

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15 minutes ago, 46 woodie said:

I still don't understand how you can have the Antique Automobile Club of America Museum, on all their signage and paper work BUT, they aren't affiliated with the Antique Automobile Club of America.  Doesn't the Club have a copyright to the name. It's like having the New York Botanical Garden, located in Denver. If the Museum is not part if the A.A.C.A, they should not be able to use the name. It's kind of like false advertising. I read the letter several times and I keep coming back to the "several hundred thousand dollar" legal fees, really?


It's because of the good nature and intent in which the museum was founded, and without getting into actual politics too much, a byproduct of the 16th amendment of the constitution... It's not as simple as supposing you or I simply decided to start selling licence plates with AACA on (which would be easy since lets be honest, the club really does a poor job of merchandising). The museum was created to be a side legal entity of the club and eventually merged. So permission was granted, intentionally so, for the museum to carry the AACA name, just like the AACA Library. The lack of formal association is new and I don't pretend to know the legal president there. I'm certainly no lawyer though, so I won't pretend my ideas of common sense matter much.

Edited by Frantz (see edit history)
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16 minutes ago, Frantz said:

I don't pretend to know the legal president there. I'm certainly no lawyer

er, precedent...

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haha, yes thanks! I'm too young not to be shamefully dependent on squiggly red lines under my errors.

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3 hours ago, Frantz said:

I just know that the museum is still a great place and serves a great mission.

Well, I sure would have agreed with you a little over a year ago.

 

Now, I believe that the millions of dollars donated to the museum have swelled not only the asset column of same, but also the egos of the some, or many, of the members of the museum board of directors.  I'm using lower case on purpose, by the way, referencing the bod, out of little respect.  I'm not privy to all the comings and goings of the AACA Club, but at some point, the museum got away from the main goal, and from any control whatsoever from the Club, and non-car people were put on the museum bod.  Once the board of directors started talking money and not hobby nor history, all was lost. 

 

Again, I know life is complicated, but keeping the goals of the museum and club in sync should have been a huge goal, a primary objective, yet somehow, the focus slipped away...

 

I believe you'll soon start to see an "adjustment" in the assets, and some of the really nice "assets" will be monetarily adjusted.  Umm, that means, sold.  When the Gene Becker Model 66 Pierce goes up for sale, a half million dollar "asset"
to the museum board, then you know my prediction is correct, and it will probably happen.  He drove that car to decades of Pierce meets all over the country, drove, not trailered, and he and his wife surely thought they were doing the right thing contributing to the AACA.  Very sad.....

 

There are examples of antique car museums, separate from the marque club for the same reasons the AACA Club state, yet they are successful and aligned with the desires and needs of the marque clubs.  What a shame this museum went awry....

Edited by trimacar (see edit history)
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The name may be in a legal quagmire (hope I spelled it correctly) but the use of the mailing list has to be illegal, unlawful, immoral and fattening!  

Dave S 

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I'm not sure what legal Presidents are in play here either, but I wouldn't be surprised if the museum said they were given permission to use the name in exchange for giving Club members free admission, something they in fact say they continue to do. And they would say since they have not breached, permission to use the name should continue.

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I mean, they shared a mailing list for many years. You'd really have to blame the club for sharing the info against your permission, but back when the club did share such info, no one would have raised an eye to that, because we were all one.

I've not seen such evidence that the BOD of the museum is looking for some cash grab. I've not seen a change in the museum before or after the falling out. As I said, I'm a bit taken aback by the airing of laundry via public letter, though I've always felt the decision seemed to be made in a defensive stance to ensure their perspective was heard. 

I'd just like folks to take time to get a bigger perspective. To be blunt, part of that too young to know how to spell real well without a computer also means I think I'll be outliving most current club members. So all this sorta drama will eventually pass to my generation, if I'm lucky enough to have EITHER the club OR museum still around when I'm your age. You donate to these organizations because you believe in their cause and want future generations to have them. I get the anger of feeling your hard earned time and money was placed somewhere and has been hijacked, but in the process, the mission statement of neither organization really changed, just the relationships between them. And that's the real shame of it all to me. I hope we still can legally have private antique car ownership, and the legal ability to tour with them on public roads. At the same time, each great car in a museum isn't in private ownership, and isn't seen on tours. So aside from a tax gain, isn't it a wee bit of huge ego that goes to such donations too? I mean, for a nice car, I'll set up a 501c3 and take care of your pre war classics and promise to drive them all over (and park in the antique only parking at the museum)! I guess I just want folks to knock the fighting off and come together as a hobby. This one seems like some major personal differences and the mission is hurt by it.

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11 hours ago, mike6024 said:

I'm not sure what legal Presidents are in play here either, but I wouldn't be surprised if the museum said they were given permission to use the name in exchange for giving Club members free admission, something they in fact say they continue to do. And they would say since they have not breached, permission to use the name should continue.

Not so.  They were loaned use of the initials as part of the "goodwill" thought to be present and the overall plan for the museum property, totally paid for by members of the AACA club, to fully become part of the overall club organization once the club had C3 status.  That status took a number of years to become a reality.  By that time, the bod of the museum had changed. 

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Our response is planned to go out today.  Please read it carefully.  Doug you are truly a good guy.  I know that to be a fact.  If you enjoy being a volunteer at the museum then that is great.  Continue to do so.  Your club is not telling anyone not to support the museum if that is their choice, your club is not writing disparaging comments about others and your club is simply trying to fix a very real problem.

 

If I come on this forum with a new name, Doug G. Frantz , and start posting and saying things and people think you and I are one in the same is that acceptable?  Think about it.  Should people not know, as a public trust, who an organization is really or not?

 

Doug, back when the museum was allowed to share our mailing list they were asked to get our permission first.  They never had blanket permission.

 

Anyway, hopefully common sense will prevail and this all can get resolved so we all can get back to enjoying the hobby.  That is what your board wishes!!

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16 hours ago, Bob Hill said:

There are usually three sides to every story - one side, the other side and the truth.   Not saying that anyone is purposely misleading the other but somewhere between all the innuendos from each side there is a middle ground.  Guess that will be found in court or more than likely,  behind closed doors among a bunch of lawyers.  

 

Bob

 

Lawyers are infamous for obscuring the "truth".  The only ones who win in a situation like we have here between the museum and The Club, are the lawyers themselves.  It's too bad that it became necessary to involve the lawyers.

 

Cheers,

Grog

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The museum wants to continue to use the AACA in their name because they get free benefit from it.  It gives them free advertising and the legitimacy that goes along with being associated with the AACA, even though they maneuvered themselves away organizationally from the AACA.   Most people don't know what's going on here.  Someone looking to go to a nice car museum in the area and finds the "AACA Museum" listed will certainly think it to be prestigious and worth going to due to the implied association with a widely recognized club.  I'd bet that even the majority of the donors who gave their cars to be preserved by the AACA don't realize the maneuvers made by the museum board.  If the AACA were removed from their name, some of those donors might start to think that they gave their cars under false pretenses, and that's part of the "assets" the museum board is trying to protect.  

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4 hours ago, Steve Moskowitz said:

Our response is planned to go out today.  Please read it carefully.  Doug you are truly a good guy.  I know that to be a fact.  If you enjoy being a volunteer at the museum then that is great.  Continue to do so.  Your club is not telling anyone not to support the museum if that is their choice, your club is not writing disparaging comments about others and your club is simply trying to fix a very real problem.

 

If I come on this forum with a new name, Doug G. Frantz , and start posting and saying things and people think you and I are one in the same is that acceptable?  Think about it.  Should people not know, as a public trust, who an organization is really or not?

 

Doug, back when the museum was allowed to share our mailing list they were asked to get our permission first.  They never had blanket permission.

 

Anyway, hopefully common sense will prevail and this all can get resolved so we all can get back to enjoying the hobby.  That is what your board wishes!!


Steve you're correct here! I did state I'm not sure why they feel the need for the public airing quite the way they are. As you know I try to give time to the club (both regionally and nationally) as well as the museum because I believe in the overall mission, and EVERYONE (well almost everyone) has be a pleasure to spend my time with. Even in mistakes and poor judgement there can be good intention, and that is what I was trying to pull out of all this. Personal attacks on personal attacks certainly don't help the cause. I have nothing to gain with either side being right or wrong, but I, and everyone else who cares, has much to lose with the fight occurring.

I'll add this too, because I think it's important. Any publicity is good publicity. I talk to far more "outsiders" at the museum than at the club. I get to talk about the club and it's judging system at times through the gallery tour process.Without a specific question, I see no value to highlight the separation when talking to guests. Most other volunteers I know are club members too and while I can't actually speak for the club, the museum, or the volunteers, I feel it's safe to say we're generally ambassadors to the hobby and the passion of antique automobiles and freely promote both organizations. I'll skirt whatever I feel I can to promote unity.

Edit note: I think I misread the original post by Steve, I was speaking to the idea that they were basically putting you out on the carpet by name in the letter, and telling me what you said, where I'd rather get such details from yourself and if you choose to share it. I believe you were directly referring to the issue of the use of the name, and I'm frankly a bit more torn here. I do think you're correct, but I don't think it's actually bad for the club, if the mission is continuing to be the same as founded and intended by the club.

Edited by Frantz (see edit history)
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Thank you for the well-thought-out and informative reply.  A lot of work and forethought went into the email.

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Steve, I tried to give you a ‘Like’ and a ‘Thanks’ but it only lets us give one. So thank you and the rest of the board. I like the response and feel it is very well written. 

Keep up the good work you are appreciated. Don’t let the turkeys get you down. 

Have fun. 

Dave S 

Edited by SC38DLS (see edit history)

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The letter has this quote: "Therefore, the Museum cannot agree to allowing the Club to advertise its displays and attempt to divert customers away from the Museum. "   I really hope that there is no agreement in place that limits the real AACA from having its own museum if it wants to!   If the Museum wants to be the AACA's museum it should have merged back in instead of declaring its independence.

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Extra!  Extra! Read all about it, get your First Edition!  Excellent response, Steve, and the absurdity of the museum trying to tell the Club not to exhibit certain cars is beyond belief.  I don't think there's any way in the world that could be enforced, any more than an arcade telling the local IHOP not to put a claw machine in the lobby.

 

I personally think a better name for the museum would help them attract the general public visiting the Hershey area, as AACA really means nothing to the huge majority of the world.  Does having that name mean they confuse enough people to keep getting donations from people thinking they're helping the Club?

 

There can be only two things driving the bod of the museum to be behaving like little children, that's either egos or greed.  I hope in the end there's a peaceful  end to this, although in the back of my mind I'd like to see the bod of the museum get their comeuppance....

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AACA's March 27 letter to us (Posting #66) states that

the museum has made "recent legal filings which seek

to vest in the Museum, rather than in the Club, the

exclusive rights to use marks such as AACA."

[first paragraph of letter]

 

Can some AACA officer provide more explanation?

If true, that would be the most ungrateful and selfish theft--

the museum wanting themselves to have exclusive right to the 

letters "AACA"?  Other organizations, such as the

American Association of Certified Appraisers, and

the Asian American Civic Association, might even take issue

with that affrontery.

 

I have friends involved at both the club and the museum,

but I want untrammeled justice and truth.

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I think the AACA Club should open it's own "AACA Museum"!!!!!  :D

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Donate about 6 mill it willget it done,What about the great folks who donated cars to the museum and gone,our cars.im done till I know where the money goes

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OK, if I am allowed a few personal thoughts.  Please understand that I have not seen anyone at AACA relish this mess.  We are sick of having to answer letters to OUR members over issues that they really do not want to be involved in.  Members want to ENJOY the hobby and not deal with these messy deals.  Sadly we felt forced to defend our reputation.

 

John, the part in the letter you referred to is a legal issue and none of us will be "trying" these matters in public.  Those words were written by our counsel and at the appropriate time they will be made known to all unless the gods shine upon us, we settle this whole issue simply and both the museum and the club can go forward doing what they need to do.

 

I promised the board when they hired me that I would be active on our forums and I have done my best to answer you "guys" as much as possible.  Out of necessity I may have to say little in the near future but I thank all of you on behalf of our board for your support. 

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1 hour ago, trimacar said:

Does having that name mean they confuse enough people to keep getting donations from people thinking they're helping the Club?

 

BINGO !!!!!   You Trimacar have won the Grand Prize for your assessment!  Let me go back to my statement:  "Having their cake and eating it too".  

Edited by AJFord54 (see edit history)

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