December 05, 2005 - 2200 Hours


All days are not good days--this is not one of the good ones. For virtually all of 2005 a significant portion of our limited national office and leadership resources have been diverted to many unsatisfactory situations that in all probability need not have occurred, had all parties in the past operated within the Bylaws, whichever legal version in effect at the time and for the good of the order for brother and sister veterans. It did not work out that way unfortunately.

This evening I have the unpleasant task to report that two former officers, in contempt of the final chance given to them at the hearing on October 4th, have been expelled in a special, legal, balloting process which has taken place, November 21 – December 2.

You will recall, if you have read the Minutes, the Website, and other resources this past six months, that very serious violations of Federal laws dealing with 501(c)(19) organizations have been alleged. Those in a position to answer questions regarding the violations have refused to do so. On July 27, 2005, at the Arlington, VA meeting your Executive Council (now the Board of Directors) unanimously directed that former officers Harley J. Coon and Kenneth B. Cook cooperate with the KWVA Ethics and Grievance Committee investigation or suffer the consequences. They continued refusing to do so.

They were suspended from membership pending an expulsion hearing scheduled for October 4, 2005 at the National Convention site. They did not cooperate with the E & G investigation nor did they attend the hearing.

The Executive Council proceeded with the scheduled hearing and found Mr. Coon and Mr. Cook guilty of various allegations of misfeasance with little disagreement or discussion. After much discussion regarding sentences, the two were sentenced to written reprimands and lifetime bans from ever holding any office in the KWVA. They were so informed. Notwithstanding, they continued to hold Departmental KWVA offices, in contempt of the Executive Council sentences. They were then given written deadlines to certify that they were in compliance with the sentences. The only response was intemperate wild, written attacks by Mr. Coon. Mr. Cook was silent, but in non-compliance and still issuing instructions as Department President, Department of Illinois.

After the expiration of the last deadline (November 15, 2005) Mr. Coon transmitted the following in contempt of the Board of Directors (Wednesday, November 23, 2005 9:54 PM):

I will hold any office in the K W V A that the Chapter, Department or National elect me to. You can take your ban and stick it where the sun don't shine.
Harley J. Coon Past President 1998-2004.

I immediately extended the deliberations which the Board had expected, and hoped, had satisfactorily concluded on October 4, 2005, since Mr. Coon and Mr. Cook (who has remained silent) had spurned the sentences in contempt of the Board of Directors. A written ballot process was conducted between November 21 and December 2, in accordance with the Bylaws. The balloting was closed at midnight, December 2, 2005. The ballots had been returned to the Secretary who then counted and certified the results and reported them to myself, as President. All of the balloting material was then sent by overnight priority mail to Mr. Jimmy Faircloth, the KWVA Attorney, by the Secretary. Mr. Faircloth again opened the ballots and has certified the results as being:

1VP Adams X   X  
Director Banker X   X  
Director Brodeur X   X  
2VP Dickerson


Director Dauster X   X  
Director Edwards   X   X
Director Ferris X   X  
Director Grogan


Director Mac Swain  X   X  
Director McClain


Director McKinniss


Director Morga X   X  
Director Pirrello   X X  
Director Wiedhahn X     X


8 2 8 2
President Dechert* X     X

*Allowed to vote when written ballots are required; vote not counted in these results.

By a vote of 8 to 2 each (80%), Mr. Coon and Mr. Cook are effectively expelled from the membership of the Korean War Veterans Association, Inc., as certified by the Secretary and the Corporate Attorney.

On November 23 each member of the Board of Directors was provided the web address of a hidden website containing the entire process, November 21 - December 2, 2005. This was for their reference in addition to actual printed materials provided them by certified return receipt mail. Each Director is now free to divulge that website address to any member in good standing requesting it of them.

The Judge Advocate, the Chairman of the Bylaws Committee, and the Chairman of the Ethics and Grievance Committee were consulted and approved each step of this process.

Fellow members and friends, I hope that regardless of provocation, past or present, imagined or real, no one will find it in himself or herself to exult over this sad outcome. It might all have been prevented had every member of the KWVA consistently acted with good grace and followed the Bylaws, whether they agreed with them or not. Elected officers and Directors, at all levels, must take the lead in doing so; it appears that they might not have always done so in the past and so we arrive at this sad point. In the future let us all help each other to avoid the mistakes that led us to this evening.

I personally thank each member who participated in this hard process. They had the duty and Duty is not always easy--but it is always the Duty.

Louis T. Dechert,
National President