Google+ Participate - Coffee Party USA



I am encouraged by the passion exhibited over Coffee Party members and supporters. Even when we do not all agree, we are, in our own way, acting to protect our movement. This is good. 

The Coffee Party Board of Directors has been looking at Viridian Cares, a fundraising project for private non-profits. After preliminary investigation, the board agreed by motion last fall to pursue the project. We signed a contract at that time. Our project plan was not complete and in the process of fleshing out our plan, questions were raised that have yet to be answered. Therefore the project has not been launched. Period.

This foray into non traditional funding is an effort to secure sustainable funding to address past debt and provide adequate resources  to promote exciting local and national actions and campaigns. Today there are some parties challenging the directors for considering this potential project. I, for one, welcome the new interest in this project and are happy to engage in an additional transparent process, so I invite your participation on our website.

This post will be populated with comments and answers to questions as we are able. This may take a few days but I think we will all be stronger for having gone through the process. 

Q:  Has the Viridian project been launched?  

A:  No.  It will come up at the board meeting on May 13th for reappraisal following more research and response from Coffee Party members.

Q:  Has the Coffee Party List been sold or given to a third party?

A:  No.  Our agreement is to honor and maintain your privacy.

Q:  When will the elections happen?

A:  The call for nominations will be sent out on May 15, 2014.  

Q:  When will minutes be available?

A:  Unknown, but as soon as possible.  We wish we had completed them during the leave of absence by the secretary. It was believed at the time the secretary would return and catch up via the recorded calls. The recordings will not be made public, as there was not an agreement in place at the time to do so.  

 Dear Greg

Here are my answers to your questions. Others may answer as well.

First, I do not want you to think the time it has taken to respond means this is not an important conversation. It means I have a life outside Coffee Party. During this whirlwind (the last few days) my husband was rushed to Immediate Care and found to have a serious blood infection that has required IV antibiotics and follow up medical care. I was supposed to be en route to the UNITED WE STAND FESTIVAL (Sponsored by Free And Equal), in Los Angeles, but that was obviously out of the question and arrangements had to be undone. And, it is Mothers’ Day: my mother is terminally ill, my husband’s mother is 100, and my boys lost their dad a year ago so my presence is important as a mother and grandmother - so attention to real people trumped this upset. Did I mention the three migraines I’ve had since this began? :)

Ironically, real life coming first is why I personally worked so hard to cover Eric’s back when Story of America took him away from his duties as president.  I made agendas, ran meetings, tried to fill in the cracks. And, things did not get done. I could not personally have done more than I did. The new secretary can tell you how urgently we wanted our past minutes once he was seated. But in the end, the job of making sure the ship is afloat belongs to the captain, the president in our case. My personal sense of betrayal comes from having worked so hard to help him, only to be thrown under the bus for things done during his watch.

Here are your questions. My answers follow.

  • The failure to hold Annual Board of Director elections in 2013, as required by Coffee Party bylaws,

  • The Coffee Party partnership with Viridian Energy,

  • The alleged financial conflict of interest of board member Cameron Kruger,

  • The removal of DeLann Williams as a board member in January 2014,

  • The removal of Eric Byler as President of Coffee Party USA in April 2014,

  • General lack of transparency and public disclosure of board activities.

Failure to hold Annual Board of Director Elections

We did not fail, and we did not cancel, we postponed and amended the bylaws to move elections to coincide with the fiscal year (from seating directors in January to seating directors in July). This was my motion. It passed unanimously (including Eric). Just like minutes not yet done, the task of editing the bylaw document was sidelined for the new secretary. I did not anticipate how long it would take to fill the position.

There are those on the pages that would have this be a power play. I implore you to consider the question, “Power to do what, exactly?” There is no money here, and there is no fame for any other than the founders. This was an act of practicality.

The Coffee Party partnership with Viridian Energy

Partnership is the wrong word, but I understand what you mean. Viridian Energy has a program called Viridian Cares that is available to private non profits. Viridian Energy does use an MLM marketing strategy (let’s forgo the word pyramid scheme). But Viridian Cares is a fundraiser program more like the credit card or car insurance offers you get from your alma mater or church: you are interested, or you are not. No sales pitches, etc.

Your questions here do not specifically include wanting to see the application we signed in order to be evaluated for eligibility for the program (this is our only “contract”), but this link takes you to the form I completed. As a matter of fact, I recommend those curious about the program check out

The alleged financial conflict of interest of board member Cameron Kruger

Cameron, our director for Development (fundraising), brought Viridian to us. We did some preliminary checking, and eventually unanimously passed a motion to go forward. That was when I signed the application referenced above. I know you did not ask this specifically either, but there has been a ruckus about this document being “withheld” from Eric. If Eric believes this is true, I do not know why he thinks it is true. I think he was so busy that things were just not sinking in. However, I did not post the doc in the agenda, something I now know to do in the future, so any of us who are distracted during the call will have a place to look.

Back to the question. We knew enough to not have Cameron sign us up, but it was not until later, when we were asking for advice from the Viridian legal department, did we realize that our having been signed up by anyone related to anyone on the board could be a conflict of interest. That is when I dug out the bylaws. We spent a lot of time discussing what to do. (At some point here the bylaws lightbulb clicked on for Eric.) Long story short, we followed the process as we understood it, determined that Cameron did have a conflict of interest, but that it was not materially significant, meaning the amount of money he or his father would make would not amount to much.

Remember, those who make money in a legitimate MLM business, do so both by selling services and by building a business network. The Viridian Cares program is only about offering services. It does not promote business building. Coffee Party would make a few dollars per month per customer as long as they remain a customer (it varies between electricity, natural gas and solar). We were hoping to build a sustainable income that would support our internet overhead ($700+/month). That is about 250 customers. For us it would be wonderful, a great stabilization for the fact that some months have high numbers of memberships up for renewal and some months have low numbers of members up for renewal.

Cameron’s dad signed us up. If we met our goal, he would receive about $75/month from Viridian. And Cameron, four “levels” above us, would receive significantly less. This is not big money in the arena of fiduciary responsibility, especially since it is not Coffee Party money, it is Viridian money. Someone had to sign us up. Someone was going to get that money. And as Eric has told you, he did consider this amount of money significant.

Frankly, I wish he had considered $75 significant when money was being spent on the Enough is Enough rally in October 2011. The rally went way over budget, costing over $90K, and we are still paying it off today. As I posted a few days ago, “This foray into non traditional funding is an effort to secure sustainable funding to address past debt and provide adequate resources to promote exciting local and national actions and campaigns.”

It would be naive to say that no one who sees this offer would explore the business side of Viridian, but it was not our focus, and it was not included in our project goals.

The removal of DeLann Williams as a board member in January 2014

I am very uncomfortable discussing this here because I do not want to embarrass anyone or open wounds. On Facebook, Del has accused me of orchestrating her removal. I did not make the motion or lobby for it to be made. Once on the floor, I did share why I felt I had to vote yes to remove, not that I wanted to vote yes. I will try to be “generic” but accurate.

Del told us she had done something on her own that would have put board members in personal jeopardy because our Directors and Officers Insurance would not have covered any subsequent liability: she acted outside her scope as a director, she had not been empowered by the board to do this thing, and the person on the receiving end of her action was considering legal options. Had we not acted we could have legally implicated as individuals, putting our own money at risk. In the removal process (outlined in the bylaws and followed) Del admitted she had not done the thing she had claimed to do. For me, it made things worse, not better. My years as a  business owner, employer, and member of other boards have taught me that lying in a context like this is a threat, as bad or worse than what she lied about.

I know there must be lawyers reading this, and you may have options. Frankly, I wish we had a volunteer lawyer or lawyer board member all the time. My intent was not to punish Del. My intent was to remove corporate liability from Coffee Party and personal liability (for failure to act) from myself and the other board members. We did not make a big deal about her removal out of respect. And yes, if we had had minutes, the action would have been recorded and available for others to see.

The removal of Eric Byler as President of Coffee Party USA in April 2014

Again, this is very difficult to discuss because it has become so personal. Frankly, I don’t think details are important here because Eric had talked about stepping down as president and remaining a director at large prior to this. I think he could see he did not have the time for the president’s job, and that his strongest contribution was as a part of Be The Media. When this did finally come to the floor, he voted to remove himself. (He should not have voted at all, but he did.) So I am a little surprised that anyone is concerned, especially Eric.

This was not the first time the board had discussed Eric’s role on the board. Even before Story of America was taking so much of his time, a plan was proposed to name Eric and Annabel as Founding Directors, with perpetual voting seats on the board. This would have removed Eric from the duties of president, a role that is as much crossing Ts as it is leadership, and opened the position to someone more interested in being an executive officer in a private non profit corporation. The offer was declined.

General lack of transparency and public disclosure of board activities

This feels like a “when did you stop beating your wife” question, but I will do my best.

Obviously, the lack of minutes was a communication breakdown. As the first elected secretary, I created a blog just for minutes and posted fairly promptly (there were occasional time/real life challenges). John Cashon followed suit until he became ill. At first he thought he would return, then after months of waiting, he had to resign. The reality of this breakdown is about as far from a conspiracy as one can get. It is the story of an overworked, unpaid, unstaffed, vacancy plagued, grassroots board of directors.

The unacceptable gap in minutes is general knowledge, as is our promise to approve a correction schedule at the next meeting (this coming Tuesday). BTW, three people are working on past minutes as I type, so the wait won’t be long. I was spared minutes because I am writing to you! Thanks!

Other matters of transparency fall to the communicator in chief: our president until 10 days or so ago, Eric is the keeper of relations with our members and supporters. None of us ever wanted to make our challenges the things that define us, so pointing fingers in great detail now seems abusive. Is it enough to say transparency is the president’s job?

Another element of transparency that I had not considered in detail until at the keyboard today is just how much communication used to happen to and through our volunteers. Our volunteer network is smaller these days, too small to serve as a conduit to Coffee Party as a whole as it did in the past.

So the current efforts to rebuild our volunteer base (championed by Debilyn) will serve us in even more ways than anticipated. With more volunteers, directors will not have to serve as work group chairs (double duty for those of you who know), and no special teams will be comprised of only board members. Add in the communication variable, and we have a very nice result in deed.

It would be wrong to address transparency and communication without addressing the Coffee Party National Organizers Team Facebook page. This is a logical conduit for transparency and communication within Coffee Party. But it is not succeeding in that role right now. I am going to speak for myself, so if I make you angry, remember it is Jeanene who is making you angry, not the board.

First I want to acknowledge the many page members who bring the movement to life “on the pages and in the streets”. There are many amazing people and many great groups from all across America represented there. And, some on that page make it impossible to have a meaningful conversation. I am not talking about those who ask the hard questions. I am talking about those who come looking for a fight.

Many criticize board members for not frequenting the page. I am one of those board members. Every time I try to get involved (long before this dust up) my presence is a lightning rod for upset. It can’t just be what I post or what I say: statistically it is impossible for everything I say to be upsetting. Something besides my personal “failure to communicate” (however real) is at play here. If my post is nonthreatening, I get “why are you wasting our time?” and if it is intended to spark debate I get comments aimed at me instead of the topic. Sheesh. Why would I use this page? Our core values do not include “take abuse for the cause”.

I think page members need to define their goals and objectives and design their group membership and rules of the road accordingly.  I have no desire to control this page, but if it is to be a tool for transparency, it cannot continue to be a dangerous place for me to post and comment. It needs to regulate itself for civility and reason. When it does, I’ll be there. Again, this is Jeanene speaking. I am not speaking for the board. Be angry at me if you disapprove of my comment.

BTW, of the 20 people who joined the page Thursday, Friday and Saturday, only a few are Coffee Party members. I don’t know if you all care about membership per se, but I get all the “free consulting” I can handle on the Join the Coffee Party Movement page where the vast majority of those who comment are not members.

I hope this has helped a little. Like my answers or not, they are my answers as of Mothers’ Day evening 2014. When I know more I will do better, to paraphrase Maya Angelou. If there are more questions, I am happy to answer. I will, however, ignore accusations. There has been enough of that already.

As we old hippie chicks like to say, if I can’t dance to it, it’s not my revolution (Emma Goldman).

And as I like to say,


Jeanene Louden

Treasurer of the Board of Directors




Do you like this post?

Showing 26 reactions

followed this page 2014-07-07 19:00:52 -0400
commented 2014-05-13 15:41:38 -0400 · Flag
In response to Jeanene’s post about" flaming" exchanges on the Facebook page, we should be aware of the fact that some particularly disruptive and inflammatory remarks might very well be the work of “ideological saboteurs” who would like to see nothing more than The Coffee Party outreach and movement efforts become bogged down in defensiveness, recriminations, and other distractions. There are certain viewpoints that are so clearly meant to disrupt meaningful discussion, and which are so clearly beyond reason or persuasion, that they must simply be ignored, or even removed and blocked by the page administrator.

The membership of The Coffee Party must also strive to identify its own political biases and to return to a more inclusive consideration of the fundamental issues of governance that are of concern to all citizens, regardless of party affiliation. While certain policies are identified with particular parties and ideologies, major questions, such as the corrupting influence of money in politics, is of concern across the political spectrum to a majority of the electorate. I believe The Coffee Party should return to addressing these fundamental, nonpartisan concerns and avoid the distractions and unproductive debates that always attend arguments about social policy matters. (Studies consistently show that political affiliation is “hard wired” into a person’s mental framework, anyway, and are best addressed in the compromises of a working representative government.)

I believe restoration of a truly representative form of democracy is the most important issue facing Americans today. As we have seen in the recent past, no other business can be addressed until the corrupting influence of money and special interests is dealt with, and it is to those issues which The Coffee Party should return its concentration.
commented 2014-05-12 20:42:55 -0400 · Flag
  • All members will receive an e-mail about election***
    In regards to your e-mail capture rate… For whatever reason by some time in 2013, Neither of my 2 email accounts previously registered with were recognized by your system nor have I received anything from CP members with the exception of blogtalkradio announcements which obviously have nothing to do with the coffeepartyusa system. If my inquiry about the issues went unanswered, then I am sure I am not alone. This concerns me as not only a sustaining dues paying founding member, but also as a general member of the CP who feels that other members were also deleted from the system and will have no idea that there is a call for elections. Who knows how much sorely needed revenue has been lost due to this systemic breakdown.
commented 2014-05-12 18:20:13 -0400 · Flag
Jonathan and others having asked a question about elections!

In October 23, 2013, the board amended the bylaws to seat new members in July (fiscal year) rather than January (calendar year). I have posted the bylaw as they exist at

The amendments made that day are not yet edited into the document. So I have also shared the content of the email I sent to Lynda Park (Board Development Work Group Chair and conductor of elections) and Eric Byler (President) shortly after the meeting.

The bylaws also explain how vacancies between elections are filled.

The current election schedule proposed to the board and up for approval tomorrow has the election cycle begin May 15 and end in the seating of new directors in July.

All members will receive an email about elections. You must be a member to run, and you must be a member to vote.

We have about a 15% open rate on emails we send out, so watch for a subject like COFFEE PARTY ELECTIONS.

Elections are conducted by the Board Development Work Group. A new chair is being recruited now.

Let me know if there is something else I can provide.
Thanks for all you do,

PS – I do not know who introduced “bartering with the membership list” into the narrative (I know it was not you), but the database was never in jeopardy. At best this is someone’s misunderstanding of the outcome of a conversation; at worst it is flame baiting.
commented 2014-05-12 17:28:10 -0400 · Flag
Hey, everyone who wanted to see the Bylaws! Here they are! They have not been edited to include the amendments from October, but a copy of the email conveying the changes to Lynda Park (Board Development Work Group Chair) and Eric Byler (President) is included. I hope this helps. Thanks for all you do, Jeanene
commented 2014-05-12 12:53:05 -0400 · Flag
Jeanene, I’m also sorry to hear about your husband and hope he recovers well.

I recognize that you and the rest of the board are all volunteers working, as best you see it, to advance the mission of the Coffee Party. So are the rest of us.

I am delighted to see both Jeanene and Annabel call for a break in this discussion until we have more facts.

But, in the meantime, I think there IS a discussion it is important to have now. It is related to the topic of a recent Coffee Party Radio Program “What Is the Coffee Party Really About?” That is a good question but very few people participated. A few people replied to the “PARTICIPATE” post in that vein but it quickly moved to the specifics of recent events.

I think this is a good time for all of us to reaffirm why we think the Coffee Party is important. What our vision of it is and how we think it can best be moved forward.

I am hoping there will be many people commenting. I would like to keep this from being a discussion among a small number of people. I would also like to keep this from being a discussion of what the board has, or has not done. As Jeanene and Annabel have both requested, let’s wait on that for more information.

So, please comment on:
Why is the Coffee Party Important to You? What Do You Think It Should Be Doing? What Have You Done Related to the Coffee Party?
I would like this to draw a large number of different commenters and not become a back-and-forth discussion between a few. So, I’d like to stipulate that no one can comment until at least 10 other people have since their last post.

Note: I’ve tried to post a conversation along these lines on the “Join the Coffee Party” page but for some reason it doesn’t appear.
commented 2014-05-11 23:46:10 -0400 · Flag
Hey, Paul Perrone. There is no covering of tracks. The Viridian site was live as a test for web linking. “Not launched” meant no promotion, so no one ever knew to go there. Because of Eric’s resignation, people knew to look. We disabled the site so no one could sign up. This is just being responsible, not being deceptive.
commented 2014-05-11 16:58:05 -0400 · Flag
I agree with what Annabel posted on the Organizer National Team page: “I would like for everyone to be patient with me (Annabel) and the Board until this Wednesday, May 14. They are meeting on Tuesday evening to discuss submitted minutes. Let’s talk on Wednesday after we’ve had a chance to hear from the board after they meet.

There will be a time when we can discuss what the Coffee Party is, what it ought to be, our bad or good experiences with the Coffee Party, and who is really to blame for the failures or successes.
Right now, the time is to focus on whether or not bylaws and laws were broken. Put on your thinking caps. Let’s gather evidence and think together instead of shouting and getting in our two cents without actually having much evidence to work with."

This is not a time for blaming or bad-mouthing anyone. It’s about determining the best way to proceed with how the Coffee Party can move forward and live up to our tenets of civility, inclusiveness, engagement and a solution-oriented dialogue to help restore democracy to the system.

I know that I, for one, have occasionally let my ideological positions cloud my commitment to civility & open-mindedness in a few CP threads. Maybe, after the board meeting & a review of the minute & election issues – concerned CP members might want to have a conference call to have a level-headed discussion on our take on the situation.
commented 2014-05-11 00:08:09 -0400 · Flag
the source of this issue is the lack of minutes, the lack of elections, AND the lack of communications from the Board to keep people in the loop. I am open to positive discussion and to hearing all points of view on this, and trying to reach a beneficial positive resolution. However, I simply wanted to point out that that is the real basis for the broader issue here.
commented 2014-05-10 22:11:55 -0400 · Flag
Very sad to see how the Coffee Party has taken on so many of the traits it portends to abhor. I was a very early member. Active locally and briefly tried to contribute on a national level. Was even at the Louisville convention. But many of us could see the organization moving toward an ego- driven, self-serving clique; original mission was lost. I had high hopes but the Coffee Party is headed toward self-imposed and well-deserved oblivion.
commented 2014-05-10 17:56:20 -0400 · Flag
My letter of resignation:
commented 2014-05-10 17:09:17 -0400 · Flag
Jeanne Louden, to follow up with what Tony Weil stated, I too am requesting a copy of the minutes for inspection, as per the bylaws, and I think a “reasonable time” would be within 7 business days. From what I understand about organizations, the entirety of the board is responsible for maintaining minutes, and the responsibility does not merely fall upon the Secretary alone.
Thank you in advance.
commented 2014-05-10 16:21:29 -0400 · Flag
I’m a dues paying member, I have nothing to say on the matter…period, until the minutes are released for review.
commented 2014-05-10 15:51:06 -0400 · Flag
As a dues paying member, I am requesting a copy of the minutes per the CP bylaws.
“Section 6. Books and Records to be Kept. The Organization shall keep at its principal office in the District of Columbia minutes of the proceedings of the members and of meetings of the Board of Directors. All such minutes may be inspected by any member having voting rights, or his agent or attorney, for any proper purpose at any reasonable time.”
commented 2014-05-10 14:49:03 -0400 · Flag
Gregory from the bylaws, “(iv) If a more advantageous transaction or arrangement is not reasonably possible under circumstances not producing a conflict of interest, the Board shall determine by a majority vote of the disinterested directors whether the transaction or arrangement is the Organization’s best interest, for its own benefit, and whether it is fair and reasonable. In conformity with the above determination it shall make its decision as to whether to enter into the transaction or

Looking at this part of the bylaws, it appears the BOD is acting appropriately. Conflict of interest is not always so cut and dry.

Mike, as for whether or not “bartering for membership” ever occurred, the only references I’ve seen to that are not from reliable sources. IOW – rumors. the BOD has tried to clarify that several times now. Nothing I have seen leads me to believe that our membership information was ever at risk.
commented 2014-05-10 14:38:20 -0400 · Flag
As I posted before, there are other issues here. What happened to the 2013 board elections? Why did they not occur? What is going on with them? How has this been communicated to the members?

Has there been, or will there be, a call for nominations?

I believe that some current board members were removed and others added since that time. How has this taken place? What was the procedure for finding interim board members?

I certainly get a great deal of e-mail so it is possible that I have missed such messages. Could you please let me know when communications have been sent to the Coffee Party USA members regarding elections or board matters?
commented 2014-05-10 13:59:01 -0400 · Flag
Does this Organization run on AD POPULEM ARGUMENTS or FACTS? Because the people making some of these statements are contextualizing hearsay, Rhetoric, and untruths. Facts have been stated. I will reaffirm some of them now.

1) The Viridian Residual Fundraising Program –

Watch this video to understand how it works.

2) 100’s of NON-PROFITS including Churches, Little League Teams and Television Stations have been a part of this Program. It is 100% Legal, The Coffee Party DOES NOT Give its database to the company, and participation is voluntary.

3) The Program is not in effect. No one has signed up, no one has become an associate and the Program was Voted on UNANIMOUSLY INCLUDING ERIC BYLER to move forward on the preparations and planning for this program. No one has been made aware of it because a painter does not reveal his painting till its finished. The Project design and planning had not been finished. We were planning on trying to launch on Earth Day, but that was too short of a timeline.

4) There has been heated debates about this. But the facts are that Coffee Party through this program makes 3 dollars per meter per month. Multiply that times 10000 and that turns into 30000 per month that can be disseminated down to chapters and events without asking the Membership for it.

5) Our mission in this is to ensure the longevity of the Coffee Party. This is the reason the board has been so adamant to work so hard on it. We are looking to make sure that the Coffee Party is successful without having to continue to fundraise from its membership into infinitum.

6) The Board has not NOR EVER WILL Disclose anyone’s Personal Information without the consent of its membership. We are not insane! The Majority of the Board own their own companies and we understand privacy rights. The assertion that we have done so is not only a COMPLETE AND FLAT OUT MISTRUTH, but an accusation that we should not take lightly. This is detestable, and I personally do not take such an accusation lightly.

7) Eric Byler is not a bad man. Eric Byler is an Amazing Film Director. I consider him a personal friend and he considers me one as well, and in Fact I love him for what he does and the brilliance that he has as a director and a story teller. It is not an easy talent to develop. But What Eric Byler is not, is a Business man. Its not a fault of his, it is just not a strength of his. I promise you I would not want to go into a movie making competition with him. So the same is true here. He has not really looked at this to understand it and this unfortunate turn of events is true for those who are attacking this program without asking anyone else who has been a part of it, or anyone who has worked on the design of this one. I am sorry this has caused a rift amongst many of us, but there is nothing wrong with this program. The best ending to this story will be for us to get together as one Coffee Party and work towards the betterment of this program and if at the end it is still not to everyone’s liking, we can then say we tried everything we could to ensure its success.

Who would like to discuss this ending with Civility and Reason?

commented 2014-05-10 13:32:17 -0400 · Flag
Lets ensure one thing…. COFFEE PARTY USA DOES NOT PAY ME NOR ANYONE IN IT’S LINE OF SPONSORSHIP. I DO NOT GET PAID BY THIS ORGANIZATION. If Eric Byler Continues to refuse to learn this fact I will be forced to ensure that this is documented for the records, so ONE MORE TIME MY FRIEND.


YES or NO?
commented 2014-05-10 12:32:08 -0400 · Flag
Tony from what I am hearing, no personal information has been shared.
commented 2014-05-10 12:29:36 -0400 · Flag
I would also like to find out what the status of the board elections is. They were supposed to take place in November 2013, I believe. Why did they not occur? What is going on with them? How has this been communicated to the members?

Has there been, or will there be, a call for nominations?

I believe that some current board members were removed and others added since that time. How has this taken place? What was the procedure for finding interim board members?
commented 2014-05-10 12:15:44 -0400 · Flag
I find it confusing at best to believe that Eric did not stay abreast of this issue and was surprised by several points. First and foremost, as President, it should have been Eric’s responsibility to keep up with what was happening. To say that he was unaware of certain details is, IMO, no excuse. Staying abreast of the details of this type of project is the responsibility of all the leadership.

As for Veridian, it appears from posts on the closed FB page that due diligence was carefully done. In this day and age, it’s important that the CP find funding sources. Funding has been an issue for the CP for awhile. If we are going to be a game changer in the future, we need to have a core source of income. If this helps, and if it also contributes to green energy, then I think it’s worth considering.
followed this page 2014-05-10 11:35:01 -0400
commented 2014-05-10 11:23:11 -0400 · Flag
Robert Settle, in light of the fact that the project has apparently been launched, I will be tendering my resignation from the board of directors today.
commented 2014-05-10 00:33:35 -0400 · Flag
During our board meeting of April 29, 2014, I voted against this project. Moments earlier, I voted against a motion declaring that there is not a significant conflict of interest for the Director who brought this project to Coffee Party. This is nothing personal against that Director, but it is my conscience.

As a former president of the board of directors, and as a founding member, I recommend full disclosure be afforded to our members and to the public.

I have and will continue to ask my fellow Directors to post minutes from our meetings as soon as possible. Only full disclosure will clear up the confusion and allow us to move forward.
commented 2014-05-09 21:54:14 -0400 · Flag
Here are the comments that I have added to a Facebook thread that erupted this morning, and is unfortunately closed to the public. I hope that will change, because my comments really need to be read in context, but here they are out of context:


Viridian is the elephant, and it has now poked its head out of our incredibly insular board room.

My hope is that my voice on this matter will be expressed in the minutes. Last month, I spent days listening to recorded meetings and typing them up. I think it’s best for everyone involved if the board decides to approve these minutes, and releases them to the public.

There is deep disagreement between me and the majority of the board on this Viridian question. Rather than having you read conflicting characterizations of what happened while the shades were drawn, I think it’s best if you, and all the members, read what people actually said during Board meetings.

On April 29, I submitted minutes for approval for meetings held on Jan 8, Jan 26, Feb. 4, Feb, 18, March 4, and March 18. (Vince Lamb, who came on in April as our replacement Secretary, will be responsible for minutes for April 2014 and the final months of 2013). The Board has said they need time to read the minutes before approving them. The next meeting is May 13.

In my view, the answers to your questions — why no minutes? why no elections? why is Eric no longer president? — all lead back to Viridian, and the minutes will bear this out if they are released without redaction. I am eager for some transparency after all this time. I apologize for not typing up minutes sooner. This is one of my many failings as president.

Comment 2:

It is true that Cameron brought each of the Directors into the Viridian sales teams circle. I thought it sounded great until I learned about the conflict of interest problems that Del is alluding to.

From that point on, it’s been a pitched battle.

Truth be told, I supported the Iraq invasion. I am a military officer’s son. I respect my dad. He told me the war was necessary to respond to 9/11. Then, I learned more, and I changed my mind. I got into political activism in part because I felt guilty for being so wrong in 2002.

When new information becomes available, people should be allowed to change their minds. But my insistence on following the bylaws with regard to conflict of interest was treated as some form of heresy punishable by removal from the board.

Comment 3:

I’m sorry Jeanene, I wanted to allow you and the other Viridian supporters to be the ones to come forward and explain this. But with Cameron pounding the keyboard all day, I feel I have to speak.

Greg Scott Cassel, to answer your question, there is a contract. I was stunned to learn of its existence on April 28, 2014 during a phone conference meeting that I had called with the Coffee Party’s attorney. I saw the contract for first time on Wednesday morning (by this time I had been removed as president). I was even more stunned when I read the contract, which was signed in October of 2013.

If I had seen this contract before it was signed, I would have figured out the conflict of interest problem and raised it then. What really bothers me about this whole process is that the existence of this contract and the nature of a certain Director’s financial interest was hidden from me for months. It was presented in various forms and fashions that were partially true but partially false, and all of them were so confusing that I often wondered if I was just too dumb to understand what my friends were saying. I didn’t get the full story until April 28: we have a Director, his father, and two others in the CP circle who stand to benefit from this deal.

Cameron is right about one thing. I missed almost all of his Viridian/Coffee Party meetings. He’s right also when he says that, to this day I still don’t understand how the money flows and why and where, and, more importantly, I don’t understand how the board could have voted that there is no significant conflict of interest.

There was fierce resistance to following the bylaws and even taking this vote. It took me 3 months to get this vote. But as the minutes from April 29 will show, the board voted that there is no significant conflict of interest to have Cameron and his father benefit financially from this deal. I was the only vote against this conclusion. Vince Lamb and Cameron Kruger abstained. Justin Brown was absent.

After this vote, Cameron returned to the call and made a motion to reaffirm the Viridian deal. The vote passed with all in agreement except me opposed, with Justin Brown absent.

Later in the same meeting Egberto Willies called to have me removed from the board. This followed after I asked Egberto to answer for his failure to disclose a financial interest of his own, but it was not the first time he had called to have me removed. On April 22 I introduced a motion via Big Marker designed to reach consensus on the meaning of our bylaws with regard to conflict of interest. Egberto called to have me removed 15 minutes later.

After some discussion, it was decided that it was better to remove me as president and allow me time to decide whether or not to resign from the board.

Comment 4:

Del, I have been assured that Cameron is the only Director who is also a Viridian sales associate. He abstained from the vote on whether or not this is a conflict of interest, in accordance with the bylaws.

Comment 5: I had a problem with it Del. The next meeting after the one that removed you was a meeting ABOUT Conflict of Interest and it was called by me.

At that time, I did not know the full story. I had no idea there was a contract or that four people were already locked in to financially benefit from the deal, all of whom presented a conflict of interest (in my view) when presented to me separately. It was not until April 28 that I realized all four were in line to benefit.

It was only after listening to and transcribing the recorded calls that I was able to piece it all together.

It was tested out on me in different combinations. First it was that a social media company would financially benefit. The deal was that these two guys that Cameron introduced to us would consult with us on social media. (continued)

Comment 6:

They were very expensive if we wanted to pay them in cash. So, instead, Cameron suggested that we pay them by having them benefit from the exploitation of the Coffee Party database as our Viridian sales associate sponsors. I objected to this, as the minutes will show, because it created a conflict of interest. Cameron relented. When I spoke to the social media company they said they would accept the $500 we’d given them and not require the Viridian thing in order to help us.

The next proposal I got from Cameron was that his father would be our sponsor. I also objected to this, even though Cameron said that his father would donate a portion of the money he made to Coffee Party. As the minutes will show, I was not trying to accuse anyone of acting inappropriately, but, I felt that the appearances would be problematic, and that our bylaws required us to take action based on that alone.

Cameron never pulled back from this arrangement. And the struggle over whether or not to follow our bylaws and vote on this dragged on for weeks. During this time, Cameron maintained that he was also going to benefit financially, but that he was entering the pyramid under the Coffee Party, and thus the conflict of interest was mitigated.

On April 26, during our call with the Coffee Party attorney, I learned that Cameron too was above Coffee Party on the pyramid. This was news to Dan Aronson as well, who confidently explained to our attorney that Cameron was below us in the pyramid, only to be corrected by Jeanene and Cameron. I was surprised but not shocked that the story had changed once again.

By this time I’d listened to all the calls since Jan 8 when Conflict of Interest was actually raised by Jeanene. On Jan. 26, in the special meeting that I called, Jeanene Dan, and Cameron said they wanted to follow the bylaws and do what was right. Dan even said that he wanted to go beyond what the bylaws required so there wouldn’t even be a whiff of stink — meaning corruption.

But somehow, between Jan 26 and April 29 it turned into a power struggle in which the majority of the board was so dead set against following our conflict of interest policy that I was receiving threats that I’d be removed if I persisted.

The minutes will explain how all of this happened. I hope that they can be released as official minutes sanctioned by the board. None have suggested that they have anything to hide, at least not when the meetings were in session. So I’ll expect the minutes to be posted after our May 13 meeting. Then all of this (and many other inaccurate assertions I don’t have time to contradict) will become clear.
commented 2014-05-09 20:57:56 -0400 · Flag
Thanks for your question, Greg. I’ll have to get someone who knows more about law to give you the “non binding” v “not launched” clarification. But I can tell you that the contract does not require anything be done, only that if something is done, we follow the rules. I have no qualms about releasing the contract as long as the board agrees. I do not anticipate any problem getting that agreement. I can also share that the contract is currently being reviewed by a lawyer, so waiting until we have his opinion might be more useful. The board meets next Tuesday. I hope we have the legal opinion and the vote to release the contract then. Jeanene

Coffee Party USA
Connecting communities to reclaim our Government for the people.

Listen to internet radio with Coffee Party USA on Blog Talk Radio