By JOSEPH G. LARIOSA
(© 2018 Journal GlobaLinks)
CHICAGO (JGL) – The Filipino American Council of Greater Chicago (FACGC) was reeling under twin massive scandals – the suspension of
the law license of its long-time President Alfonso S. Bascos for drafting a Power of Attorney and a pour-over will and trust for the first time that would have benefitted himself and the FACGC, instead of referring his client to a estate planning lawyer, and the its Board's indiscretion to entrust $10,000 in cash to an unknown volunteer (Angela C. Arevalo-Eads) without securing a bond who was supposed to distribute the money to victims of Supertyphoon Haiyan (Yolanda) but returned to Chicago empty-handed of list of names who received the donations – when Mr. Bascos decided to cede the FACGC chairmanship to Chicago area civic leader, Jerry B. Clarito.
Mr. Clarito's surprise and low-key announcement of his involvement in the FACGC affairs was buried in the inside page of a community newspaper. Nevertheless, it was a welcome treat and breath of fresh air in the community in search of a leader to be trusted.
As Mr. Clarito gingerly accepted the controversial position, he forgot that before he could put the house in order, he was due to take a much-needed one month vacation to the Philippines.
JERRY B. CLARITO (JGL Photo by Manny Zambrano)
Meanwhile, his friend introduced Jerry to a total stranger who turned out to be Elaine Campos Lehman, who just lost her job at a local Chicago university, and was willing to help FACGC in updating its financial records and perhaps obtain “grants” from donors.
So, Jerry invited Ms. Lehman to attend “an FACC leadership retreat on Jan. 15, 2017 to discuss fundraising and fiduciary duties” without Jerry doing some background investigation of his new protege.
JERRY COMMITS A BLUNDER
Then, Jerry left for the Philippines.
Less than two weeks later, on Jan. 27, 2017, after mesmerising the members of the Board of Trustees of the FACGC with her smarts, they were so impressed the Board offered her the volunteer, uncompensated and unheard-of position as Executive Director. The Board did not even tell Elaine that she would be under probation for less than six months before it makes the position permanent.
When Ms. Lehman found out that the FACGC was in shambles, namely its registration papers had supposedly expired and it is behind financial reporting requirements, she used these confidential information against the Board as a leverage to her own personal advantage by securing the lock and key of the home of the FACGC – the Rizal Center – which she has now turned into her own private residence. Ms. Lehman privately told any potential Board of Trustee whom she does not trust to leave the Board. Instead of publicly protesting the violations of their constitutional term limits that end on June 2018, each Trustee left quietly.
When Jerry returned to Chicago, he could not believed what he was hearing. But he could only say he was also trying to find out what was really happening.
ELAINE CAMPOS LEHMAN (JGL Photo by JOSEPH G. LARIOSA)
When Jerry realized his mistake in trusting Lehman too soon, it was already too late. Lehman, who came to the arms of the FACGC at its most vulnerable period of time, had already gained the full trust and confidence of FACGC President Rufino Crisostomo, who stood by Lehman until his death more than two weeks ago.
TODAY IS MOMENT OF TRUTH
Today, Judge Sofia H. Hall will make a ruling whether Ms. Lehman and her husband, Ari Lehman, should either prolong their stay or vacate the Rizal Center after Jerry's Filipino American lawyer Arcadio “Jun” Joaquin, Jr. asked for summary judgment against Lehman and Lehman's own, FACGC Board headed by former FACC President Alex Gonzales.
Among others, when the late Dr. Crisostomo as chair ceded his FACGC chairmanship to Mr. Gonzales under a "rotation" procedure, Mr. Joaquin said, “the manner of succeeding to the chairmanship of the Board by rotation is not provided for by the organization’s Constitution and Bylaws.”
ATTY. ARCADIO "JUN" JOAQUIN, JR. (JGL Photo by JOSEPH G. LARIOSA)
Mr. Joaquin added, in “Board Status and Composition” and when Lehman's Board passed several motions like, “On motion (without naming the Board member who made the motion) duly made (without identifying who made the motion), seconded (without identifying who seconded) and unanimously approved (without identifying who approved), the Board agreed to operate with the minimum number of directors mandated by State of Illinois, three (3), and not more than eight (8) members of the Board of Directors. On motion duly made, seconded, and unanimously approved, the Board agreed to amend the Constitution Art. ll.2: Composition as follows: “The Board of Directors shall be composed of between nine and 14 members (from the original 21).”
CLARITO WANTS TO DECLARE LEHMAN'S ACTS NULL & VOID
According to the FACGC-Clarito faction, when Lehman revised the FACGC Constitution in 2017, it violated the May 2016 FACGC Constitution and asked Judge Hall to declare all the following acts of Defendants Lehman and Gonzales null and void:
For terming out or shortening the terms of office of the trustees. Lehman's lawyer, Jonathan Strauss, however, argues trustees who were termed out were not removed as trustees but they “resigned.”
The adoption of Consolidated Constitution and Bylaws;
For forming FACGC Board Gonzales chair; and
For declaring FACGC Clarito as splinter group in violation of the FACGC Constitution adopted last May 20, 2016, the Illinois Non For Profit Act of 1986 and Roberts Rules of Order. Clarito claims to have the majority of the 2016 21 trustees, while Lehman's group had only three (Crisostomo, Alfred Barranco and Caesar Yabut); And
5. Defendants' failure to establish that the Clarito faction that appointed Lehman as Executive Director has no power to terminate her services. Defendants denied that the board that appointed her was the same board that terminated her services.
Mr. Joaquin said if Judge Hall denies his motion for summary judgment, he will either appeal or call for a full-blown trial of the case.
Atty. JJ added after the case is over, all interested parties should submit themselves to an election, not selection. Elaine Lehman can run for the Board if she so wishes.
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