☛ What is the Truth? 6-26-13
FOLLOWING NCHA CONVENTION …
WHAT IS THE TRUTH?
An editorial by Glory Ann Kurtz
June 26, 2013
Even though I was unable to attend the Convention in Fort Worth due to a vehicle malfunction, I heard positive things and negative things that were brought up during the Convention from several individuals. The NCHA has a new Vice President in Jo Ellard with 1,890 votes; however, only 2,585 of the membership chose to vote. Barbara Brooks, Franklin, Tenn., was installed as President and Bruce Richerson, Alexandria, La., moved up to President Elect. (Richerson took the place of Mike Rutherford, who resigned earlier this year).
New members to the Executive Committee included Kathy Daughn, Gonzales, Texas, for Region 7 and Charlie Israel, Birmingham, Ala., for Region 5. Re-elected were Chuck Smith, Canal Winchester, Ohio, Region 4; Matt Gaines, Weatherford, Texas, Region 8 and Bill Riddle, Ringling, Okla., for the at-large director position.
Also, the NCHA claims that around 300 officers, directors, members and their families attended the Convention. The new Executive Director Jim Bret Campbell gave a talk saying, “He and the NCHA staff were going to be committed to not only ensuring that members and directors received more and better communication, but that they would constantly be reminded of the qualities of the cutting horse sport that make it one of the most enviable equine sports in the world.”
There were also many committee meetings and a membership meeting where decisions were made; however, directors and members should be reminded that no decisions decided at the convention will become a rule until they go through an upcoming Executive Committee meeting. With basically the same Executive Committee in power, I don’t expect any radical changes.
Several directors or members made charges against me during the convention, saying I was lying and propagating rumors. Therefore, as I have in the past, in the future I will continue to furnish links to documents that prove all the important facts that I am claiming. If you are at all interested in reading the truth, please click on these links and make up your own mind whether I am telling the truth.
NCHA V GLORY ANN KURTZ:
It was unfortunate that James Morris Jr. of the Goins Law firm had to bring up the cancellation of my membership and the lawsuit against me at the convention. I feel bad that this ill-thought-out lawsuit cost the membership money. (I previously linked to the lawsuit on this site; however, if anyone wants a copy of it, I will be happy to make sure you get a copy, along with all my requests and their responses) I was simply requesting some financial information, they said I needed to sign a confidentiality agreement, I said no and they sued me. It later came out that the reason for the suit was to confirm a confidentiality agreement ruled by a Tarrant County judge in the Gaughan case. The Tarrant County Court has a special book of rules (that I received in the lawsuit records), including the fact that if a Tarrant County Judge makes a ruling and another plaintiff in a lawsuit challenges that ruling, the lawsuit automatically must go back to that same judge that made the ruling.
Since I saw my chances of persuading the judge to change a ruling he previously made as rather dim, I looked for another reason for this ridiculous lawsuit. I found it in the Gaughan Protective Order or Confidentiality Agreement included in my lawsuit. It says that the NCHA may designate materials as “confidential” and they cannot be reproduced, disclosed or disseminated to anyone other than those designated and must be kept by the Plaintiff’s counsel. And the NCHA reserves the right to seek further protection of confidential documents. This can be challenged; however, it has to go back to the court for determination of confidentiality.
Click for NCHA Confidentiality Agreement>>
The cost of doing that would be prohibitive! Since I’m in the disseminating and disclosure-of-facts business, I realized that their main purpose of suing me was to shut down www.allaboutcutting.com. Since I no longer needed the documents I had requested, (I found my answers elsewhere), I cancelled my requests. Although they claimed at the Convention that they had won the lawsuit, the letter they sent to the Court showed a different story: since I no longer wanted information, they had no case.
Click for NCHA non-suit letter to the Court>>
I cancelled my membership because I realized that being a member was a hindrance for me rather than an asset. I don’t show and have no horses that will be shown in NCHA competition. Also, if I should ever decide the need for a lawsuit, I would be burdened by the fact that I would have to file suit in Tarrant County. Does anyone know of a single case that was won by a Plaintiff against the NCHA in Tarrant County? (The Whitmire case was won at the Appellate level and the NCHA chose to not take it to the Supreme Court. The Gaughan case was not lost at the Supreme Court level as the NCHA has led members to believe – it was refused by the Supreme Court).
Besides that, if the NCHA is “supposedly” transparent, how come they are hiding behind the Goins law firm and a Tarrant County Courthouse?
I am simply a journalist – writing about the great people and events in this industry, but I will also carry on as somewhat of a “watchdog” journalist. I will continue in my quest to bring to the attention of the directors and members, by way of linking my articles to evidence, what the real truth is, and you can make up your own mind.
THE METF MONEY
At the convention, it was announced that the money owed them from the state was over $4 million. I checked out the latest Trust Fund Approvals that are dated May 2, 2013, on the State Comptroller’s website and saw that $4,385,321 has not yet been funded by the State. The money includes $2,505,739 for the 2012 NCHA Futurity, $1,038,212 for the 2013 Super Stakes that was just completed and $841,370 for the 2013 Summer Spectacular, which has not yet been held.
However, what they failed to mention was the $2,483,867 that has not yet been paid, but is “in process.” They included the 2012 Super Stakes for $1,140,024 and the 2012 Summer Spectacular for $1,343,843 – a total of $2,483,867. This tells me that $6,869,188 has not yet been received from the state – unless they received it after May 2.
Click for Texas Trust Fund approvals through May 2, 2013>>
In the meantime, the Texas Legislature has put new rules into place. The following is taken out of an article in the Fort Worth Star Telegram:
Senate Bill 1678 makes several changes, such as preventing the state comptroller from prepaying for events and requiring that major events receiving money from the trust add at least $1 million in new taxes for Texas.
It also limits the number of events eligible for reimbursement and prevents funds from being used for routine maintenance or stadium construction.
And it places a cap of 5 percent of total costs on reimbursements for structural improvements to a private facility. That cap does not apply to public facilities, such as those that professional sporting teams lease.
Rep. Jason Isaac, R-Dripping Springs, has said the House opposed requiring a state audit because it would just be an added cost. And he said the venues receiving funds are posted online, opening the process to public scrutiny.
“Our constituents can see this stuff online,” he has told the media. “They are going to be much harder … than the state auditor is going to be.”
(Wendy) Davis said she isn’t giving up on an audit.
Sen. Robert Deuell, R-Greenville, has said he will continue to look into ways to audit the fund, potentially through an interim study by the Senate Committee on Economic Development.
Davis, (who tried to get an audit into the new rules, and plans to work on that to happen in the near future), said: “There are some communities reaping huge windfalls from that fund. I would remind everyone that all of the CPRIT awards were always posted online.
“Simply to put online an award that’s given — without any examination of the decision-making as to whether the award was valid — that’s no comfort to taxpayers that wise decisions are being made.”
Click for chart on evolution of METF money>>
JIM SHORT, LOBBYIST
Several members at the Convention told me that the NCHA lobbyist Jim Short got up and gave a heart-wrenching talk about how all the members need to stick together so that the NCHA continues to get the Major Events Trust Fund money from the State of Texas. Short was obviously very passionate about the Trust Fund money and some of his words were rather mumbled, but he said something about $4,000.
I’m sure that Jim Short’s part in the Major Events Trust Fund money has been explained to the members, but during past conventions, Terry Strange, the chairman of the Finance Committee, mentioned how hard Short worked for the NCHA to get them state money – for very little pay. Then when some Executive Committee members said he was now called a “consultant,” rather than a “lobbyist,” I decided to check his activities out.
One of the most puzzling aspects of my lawsuit is that I made to same request to the NCHA regarding Short’s income from the NCHA. The NCHA treated it as “confidential” whereas the State of Texas treats it as “public information” because he’s a lobbyist. One lesson learned should be that when an association receives state taxpayer funds, they need to be as transparent as the government.
I had been told by an undisclosed source that Short, who has won some of NCHA’s METF funds as an Amateur Champion of a Triple Crown Event, was receiving $6,250 per month from the Texas Events PAC, which is the Political Action Committee run by the NCHA Executive Committee. The PAC was set up for political purposes to reward those in high places for favors – such as receiving money from the Major Events Trust Fund. I was also told by an “insider” that Short was receiving an equal amount from the NCHA. I was also told that since the METF Funds are put in the General Fund, along with membership fees and all other money, he was more than likely also being paid by the METF Funds to the tune of $150,000.
I typed “Texas Events PAC” into Google and came up with the following link that revealed most of what I wanted to know.
Click for Texas Events PAC information>>
Listed were all the major contributors to the PAC, most of it coming from the $100 or $75 charge for each horse that owners entered into the Open and Non-Pro Division of the Triple Crown Events. Glade Knight led the list with $5,210 for six contributions, followed by David McDavid with $4,775 for four contributions and on down the line.
But the interesting part was who was getting the contributed funds. For the most part, individual members of the legislature for both parties received $500, $1,000 or sometimes event $2,500. However, for December, you will note that Jim Short tops the December list with $6,250 for fundraising, followed by the same amount for November. Others receiving the larger checks included Susan Combs, the Texas State Comptroller who is the main person who determines who gets Texas Trust Fund money, $15,000, and Texas Governor Rick Perry, $10,000.
However, if you want to see Total Contributions or Expenditures for the year, go to the bottom chart entitled “Summaries,” and see each month’s contributions and Expenditures. For 2012, you will find that State Comptroller Susan Combs and Lt. Governor David Dewhurst (who is also an NCHA member and has won METF money as an Amateur Champion), both received $30,000 in 2012 for their campaign chests. Joe Straus, Speaker Of the House, picked up $25,000 and Governor Rick Perry received $15,000. Jim Short received $4,000 for January, February and March and $6,250 for April through December for a grand total for the year of $68,250. For 2013 he is scheduled to received $6,250 each month for a total of $75,000.
Click for Short’s 2012 income from PAC>>
But what about the other $75,000 from the NCHA? For that I went to the Texas Ethics Commission website going to the 2013 Lobby List with Concerns (Employers and Clients) sorted by the lobbyist name. Going to Part IV- (N-S) printed on June 24, 2013, I found Jim Short’s name, telephone number, address and a list of all of his clients, including the compensation.
The report shows that Short has eight clients, with the National Cutting Horse Association being the largest, with compensation being from $150,000 – $199,999.99 from 1/28/2013 through 12/31/2013. Looks to me like he’s planning on a raise.
Click for lobbyist compensation from Texas Ethics Commission>>
I guess that settles the question of how much money he gets from the NCHA as a lobbyist – an additional $75,000. The only question that remains is, “Is he really also a consultant for the NCHA, as the Executive Committee insists, and is he receiving an additional paycheck for that?” Either way he would be one of NCHA’s highest-paid individuals. I’m not saying he’s not worth it – I’m just asking what the big secret is when the information is available on the internet – and it’s a big enough secret to file a lawsuit?
But the big, overall question is, “Why is everything a big secret with the NCHA? So much so that they have to hide behind a law firm and a county court house?”
Editor’s note: Please note that the above is an editorial, which is an opinion piece of the author.