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Will846

Members Attention Needed

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Attention all members.

 

The current BOD wanted to get your input on this situation before we make a final decision on the matter.

 

The Board had this matter brought to them and asked to look into it. I will not mention names.

 

On multiple occasions members and sponsors reached out to the Board asking us to look into a situation where the Board Members where breaking the club rules.

 

Rules Broken:

 

1. Making purchases thru a non sponsor

2. Not providing documentation on

purchases or deposits.

3. Using the club for personal gain.

4. Signing the club up as a Retail Store

 

I looked into this situation and came across an application from a certain Board member to a Wholesaler named Tropical Fish International. The application was listing Northern Valley Reefers as a Retail Store using our non profit EIN number for tax purposes. I contacted Tropical Fish International and asked them about our account and our transactions. After a conversation he agreed to send me the receipts associated with the NVR Bank Card. Their are 3 purchases that he sent me one in which was over $1000. He also agreed that with these purchases if the club where to be audited at tax time we would loose our non profit.

 

After receiving these receipts I looked into the bank account and found their where deposits at the time but they where all during swap times.

 

I reached out to the members involved in this and gave them an opportunity to give me their side of the story. One member was very defensive and felt they did nothing wrong. The other member after further conversation agreed it was not the best choice.

 

I asked for a list of purchases and a transaction history. Which is part of the Boards responsibilities and was told they only used the Wells Fargo Monthly statements.

 

Going back to the receipts. There where purchases for fresh water fish, large coral colonies, Saltwater Fish and a couple of large frag packs which where used for the swap tables. The frag packs where around $200 the rest where personal transactions used for personal tanks.

 

When I asked the members why they used the NVR Card instead of their own their response was the Wholesaler can only charge the card associated to the store. Now in person the Wholesaler allowed them to make purchases on there own card. But not on shipping orders.

 

With all this being said these are the issues:

 

1. I have no documentation from the

members involved on the money being

placed back in the account. I’m sure it was

but their is no documentation on it.

2. There is no documentation for bank

transactions to prove any purchases

3. Items being purchased using the club for

personal gain

4. Signing up NVR as a Retail Store

5. Sponsors dropping us for cutting out the

middle man and going to the cheaper

source.

 

Please ask any questions you may have and how you feel the club should handle this on this thread. I have the receipts and the application just need to do some editing to remove the names before I post.

 

Thanks,

2017 Board

 

 

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These are some very serious offenses. This club could cease to exist because of these acts. The number one thing a BOD member is responsible for is acting for the good of the club. 

 I think these members that were doing things in the club name for their own benefit should be suspended if not banned from the club. They should not be allowed to hold a position on the BOD ever again, they have shown their lack of moral character.

 These acts have harmed the club immensely, we have lost sponsors and have become a club to stay away from. 

 I think action should be taken  help protect the club and start restoring its good name.

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These are some very serious offenses. This club could cease to exist because of these acts. The number one thing a BOD member is responsible for is acting for the good of the club. 
 I think these members that were doing things in the club name for their own benefit should be suspended if not banned from the club. They should not be allowed to hold a position on the BOD ever again, they have shown their lack of moral character.
 These acts have harmed the club immensely, we have lost sponsors and have become a club to stay away from. 
 I think action should be taken  help protect the club and start restoring its good name.
Well said Neil.

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Very shady business, seems like stealing to me. Better get a lawyer and have them figure it all out. Better to spend the money now, than lose it to the IRS in the future. 

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I am one of the prior BOD members Will is speaking about.  I can only address my part so here goes.  As far as the club record keeping I was not a party to the bookkeeping.

TFI was a sponsor.   If they were not a sponsor, then why are they not?  Sponsorship requires a donation.  TFI gave extremely generous donations to the club.  The coral they gave NVR to sell at RAP earned the club a lot of money.  Is TFI nor a sponser because TFI is a wholesaler?  Neptune, Kessel, aqueon, reef nutrition, cobalt, vertex, ecotech and many, many more that donated to the swap are considered sponsors and they do not sell to the public. 

Tom the manager of TFI approached our booth at RAP and offered to give us corals to sell at the NVR booth for the support of the club.  He asked us come to the warehouse and pick up corals to sell.  He offered to sell us additional coral at a very reduced price.  He also offered to let us pick up some coral and fish at wholesale price for ourselves.  This wholesale price was not the price that the club paid.  The club paid under wholesale.  The members had suggested that the club salt the tables with corals to make the swap better.  We saw the opportunity to make members suggestions happen.  So we made arrangements with Tom to order and purchase corals for the upcoming swap and Christmas party.  I also paid for additional coral from TFI for the swap to help out the club financially.

I did purchase coral and fish from TFI.  In my mind at the time I was helping a VERY generous NVR sponsor.  Looking back it may not be seen that way by all.  This was the only wholesale sponsor I did so with.  

Will, you never asked me to show you how I returned the money back to the account.  I thought you had the information.  The money was immediately sent to the club by PAYPAL.  I have access to those records if you want to see it.  I was not aware that PAYPAL did not keep those records for the club.  I have access to all my PAYPAL transactions since I began using it.

As far as sponsors dropping us for cutting out the middleman.  I was not aware of any that dropped us for buying coral from TFI if any did I am sorry.   I honestly did not have contact with the local venders as other board members had relationships with them, my concentration was on national vendors, Retailers and wholesale makers and suppliers of Marine equipment.

I can make a suggestion that we do what BAR does with the finances and post it on the forums.  I think they do it every other month.

I post my apology to all that feel I hurt the club.  My sincerest apology.  Any of you that know me know how important NVR is to me.  I did my best to serve the club and continue to do so from outside the BOD and if I hurt it I am sorry.

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Kim I’ll start from the top and work my way down.

1. You asked why TFI is not a sponsor?

Answer: Did you or any other Board member ask them to be? I did ask them when I came across their info and spoke to Brian. Brian is the guy that took over for Tom. I spoke to Brian over the phone and after a long conversation he agreed that the purchases being made could hurt our non profit license.

A Non Profit Organization is not allowed to make purchases with intent to sell for a profit. You can make purchases for a raffle but not to resell. That would make you a vendor.

On the sponsorship, TFI wanted nothing to do with that. They where affraid they would look bad to their customers in our area that they provide coral and fish too.

2. How you Repaid the club for your purchases. This should all be listed in the clubs finances.

3. Club Finances are open to all members. Anyone can request to see where the club sits financially and a report with transactions in detail. This is all in the bylaws. And it states the Board must have this file in place to hand over to the future Board or if requested by any member of this club.

4. Sponsors dropping us and you working on a national level.

We are a Local Reef Club. Why are you working on a national level? I believe as a Board member we should always deal local. Do I make purchases online? Sure. But building relationships with our local sponsors is how we get new members.

When your new to the hobby what’s the first thing you do? You hit up the LFS. If the sponsors are not happy do you think their going to point the new hobbyist our way?


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As I said in the original post. These are the Receipts and application submitted with the name whited out. I have the original. a2480bfeb893f300629915bcc13bcd06.jpg1009d24c6c26ba046e301316cebed7df.jpg2cd11f8ee999befc257aa5ee5db0fab4.jpg4dadab4f62bbb1755a794c2b6cfadd72.jpg96ccd3e22b528d90ee34ad53018d48e1.jpg


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There is another point I feel is important to share.  Ive been in the hobby for over a decate in the sacramento area and have had long healty relationships with many of our sponsors.  When I joined NVR as a BOD member this past year and made my routine visits to purchase corals or fish, converstaions would arise about my involvement with NVR in which I was excited about.  Unfortunatly, the converstaions were painful with stories of the clubs past BOD members utilizing NVR for personal gain.  From the club asking for large donated gift cards for raffles only to show up later and utilizing it them selfs, mind you this was donated and not bought.  To a BOD member registering NVR in a raffle intended for retailers at RAP for a Hawaiin vacation and winning.  A vacation that was intended for retailers as a thank you.  Its not hard understand why RAP does not allow club booths now. I wont share what sponsors this came from as I value those relathionships, NVR and this hobby as a whole. Its just sad others havent.  

Edited by NittyGritty

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I also heard something about a BOD member entering and winning a raffle for a trip to Hawaii. I heard this was for show payed vendors and not clubs that were given a free booth. Any explanation for this?

how many of these receipts were for actual club purchase and how many and for who exactly were these other purchases?

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The BOD is not prohibited from purchasing raffle tickets.  As such we have the same chance as any other member to win a particular prize.  I do not believe there is anyway to prove that any one member won anyone prize except in the memory of those whom attended.

When I won the trip.  The winning raffle ticket was in my hotel room (which I always paid for) in an envelope with my name on it.  So if it was not meant for me I was unaware. 

The majority of the additional purchases were made by me.  Yes I spent $9 on freshwater fish.  I sent the club over $1459 to the PAYPAL account.  The corals for the club were approximately $664.00.  Buy I paid for a portion of the Christmas corals for the Christmas party.

I was not secretive about what I was doing.  Anyone whom viewed my tanks I showed off the pieces I bought.  I am sorry that is now causing drama to the club.

Edited by Kim Pattison

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Well... this is all sad to see. I had noticed some things that weren’t adding up and then started hearing things that fit what I was seeing. I’m not sure how much my input counts since I don’t currently have a tank or a contributing membership but would like to have more answers, Hawaii, proof of reimbursement to the club for personal purchases, etc. 

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12 minutes ago, Kim Pattison said:

The BOD is not prohibited from purchasing raffle tickets.  As such we have the same chance as any other member to win a particular prize.  I do not believe there is anyway to prove that any one member won anyone prize except in the memory of those whom attended.

When I won the trip.  The winning raffle ticket was in my hotel room (which I always paid for) in an envelope with my name on it.  So if it was not meant for me I was unaware. 

The majority of the additional purchases were made by me.  Yes I spent $9 on freshwater fish.  I sent the club over $1459 to the PAYPAL account.  The corals for the club were approximately $664.00.  Buy I paid for a portion of the Christmas corals for the Christmas party.

I was not secretive about what I was doing.  Anyone whom viewed my tanks I showed off the pieces I bought.  I am sorry that is now causing drama to the club.

Im just sharing the feedback and overall feeling I recieved.  I do believe the gift card was given to the club then spent by the same member, therefore having the sponsor feel taken advantage of.  Thats thier point of view, not mine.  I recently won a gift card during our BBQ and traded it to another reefer as I was too concerned to spend it being a member of the current BOD, and the club paid for it.  Again, Im just sharing my experiences.  

Its all about impression and presenting the club in the right manor.  Ive seen issues arise in clubs where BOD members win raffles they host, including grand prizes.

Edited by NittyGritty

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To add to the Hawaii vacation. This is what We heard from a sponsor and another vendor that was at the show. RAP put together a raffle for the paid Vendors as a token of their appreciation. From what the vendors told us it’s something all vendors get excited about.

Somehow Kim got into the Raffle using the NVR booth as her raffle entrance. And she won.

Vendors where pissed that a non paying booth won. In their words NVR stole from their family.

Even if this was open to all booths it should not be one persons prize. It was a raffle for the booth not individual.


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Wow is all I can say

 

As a previous BOD member I could never imagine doing this.... This is hurtful to the club.

 

In my opinion any member involved or knowing of this should be banned. 

Also to "try" and rebuild relationships with sponsors I think an apology letter should be sent out to the sponsors for previous BOD actions.

 

 

 

 

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Wow is all I can say
 
As a previous BOD member I could never imagine doing this.... This is hurtful to the club.
 
In my opinion any member involved or knowing of this should be banned. 
Also to "try" and rebuild relationships with sponsors I think an apology letter should be sent out to the sponsors for previous BOD actions.
 
 
 
 

The current BOD has been working hard on our relationships with the sponsors. Kinda hitting up each one, one by one and hearing their side to the story and what we can do to fix our relationships. Not an easy task.


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1 minute ago, Will846 said:


The current BOD has been working hard on our relationships with the sponsors. Kinda hitting up each one, one by one and hearing their side to the story and what we can do to fix our relationships. Not an easy task.


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Yea it will take a lot of work and time to rebuild

 

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3 minutes ago, sante210 said:

Wow is all I can say

 

As a previous BOD member I could never imagine doing this.... This is hurtful to the club.

 

In my opinion any member involved or knowing of this should be banned. 

Also to "try" and rebuild relationships with sponsors I think an apology letter should be sent out to the sponsors for previous BOD actions.

 

 

 

 

We have already apologized and clarified that these experiences are not what we are about.   We really had no choice to keep the relationships going. 

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I am trying to upload my PAYPAL statement it says it is to large.  Anyone have an ideas?  I am doing my best to be open and honest.  I am devastated that I may have hurt the club.  Not sure what you would have me do.  I am more that willing to write a letter or to appear before them and apologize to any sponsors that were offended by may actions.  I have apologized repeatedly in this thread and have tried to answer everyones concerns.  

edit:

I will be contacting the local store and such and apologizing for what happened.

Edited by Kim Pattison

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I’m sorry, I’m trying to paint a car and process all this but another question. Why was NVR used to establish a retail account and who or what was it specifically intended to benefit?

Edited by planecrazy

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The account was originally created so we could order coral for the swap and Christmas party.  The original idea was to save the club money for these events.  Tom the previous manager of TFI asked us to it so he could send corals.  Tom was aware of our status as a non profit.  I do know now that the new manager would not have done this.

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The account was originally created so we could order coral for the swap and Christmas party.  The original idea was to save the club money for these events.  Tom the previous manager of TFI asked us to it so he could send corals.  Tom was aware of our status as a non profit.  I do know now that the new manager would not have done this.


If he was ok with you being a club why would they make you fill out an application listing NVR as a store?

I asked them this question and it was to cover their own business. All they needed was a signed document with the EIN number for tax reasons and their covered.


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Tom approached us at the NVR RAP booth.  Not sure how he could think we were anything except a club. 

I am sorry I was not a party to the actual discussion so I cannot answer that question.  I am not sure why it was done that way.  Not sure which one of the answers would have been better?

Retail__ Service__ wholesale___ Online___?

Edited by Kim Pattison

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Kim, thank you for coming to the table and answering these questions with as much transparency as you can. I know you could have chosen to just be quiet. It’s to bad the other individual has chosen to let you take all the heat by yourself. I would really like to hear from them as well. 

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