September 19, 2012

100 Day USACA Plan to Nowhere

So here is the 100 day plan published with much fanfare on the USACA website on May 19th - now over a 100 days back.

Report Card:


1. THE SEARCH FOR THE CEO

Nothing - F

2. THE GOVERNANCE MODEL

Nothing - F

3. COMPLIANCE MANAGEMENT

Nothing - F

4. YOUTH DEVELOPMENT

Not much - D

5. WOMENS DEVELOPMENT AND KEY FIRST STEP

Nothing - F

6. ESPN RELATIONSHIP

Nothing - F

7. ADMINISTRATIVE MANAGEMENT

Nothing - F

Overall Grade:  F


The pathetic power-clinging USACA regime continues to show us that it is not serious of just about anything.  Look at their so-called 100 day plan goals and what they achieved. Practically nothing.  One wishes they were just incompetent.  They are actually worse -- they do not care an iota about US Cricket.

USACA's management and its cronies are made of two kinds of people.  One who want to make money when it finally arrives in the form of ICC handouts or T20 riches.   The other who want their juniors or friends to play for the US, deserving or not, but at any cost and compromise.   There are a few who want both -- they are the ambitious ones.  

Tragically, the ICC does not strip this sham of an organization of its authority.  But they probably are looking for an alternative and in time they likely will get one with the advent of USYCA and ACF.  In the meantime, US Cricket is being held hostage by power mongers and tricksters who are killing any and all real growth while helping themselves to power, influence and eventually money.





April 26, 2012

What Next for US Cricket?

What happens next in the soap opera that is US Cricket is best posed as a set of questions with partial and ever-shifting answers.

  1. Does ICC now recognize the USACA elections despite widespread concern that it has been rigged?   To do so, ICC must be convinced that the elections cannot be undone which if it were to occur down the road will be a PR disaster for ICC and its US investors.
  2. Does the new USACA Board with its absolute majority for the Dainty faction amend the Constitution to ensure a "long life hereafter?"  One would expect that this would be what they would like to do first.  After all, when else will they get a chance to pass whatever changes to the Constitution now that they have an absolute majority.  However, if ICC is showing mixed feelings towards this regime, they may not try it hastily.
  3. Does the USACA Board then bring back many disenfranchised leagues now that their vote cannot hurt them?  They have to.  ICC expects them to "serve" all cricketers in the US not just the chosen few.   The money that ICC hands out is also linked to the number of cricketers.  Now that the election is over, expect USACA to setup a process to get leagues to be compliant (which they always were as most would argue.)
  4. Do disenfranchised leagues refuse to pay their dues to USACA given that doing so didn't quite get them a right-to-vote and worse most of it was used for legal actions? Some wont because they are sufficiently upset/had enough/annoyed, but many others will pay the dues to not be on the outside so to speak.  It will be ironic when the leagues that couldn't vote do pay their dues.  USACA is betting on it and from rumors are some are already lining up to pay their dues to their masters.
  5. Do disenfranchised leagues band together and form a rebel organization and stay united against USACA?   They will try but they have to deal with repeated unity crisis as USACA exploits the private agendas of each league to the fullest.  Again, USACA is betting on it.
  6. Does Vardarajan and company take USACA to court this time in a full-fledged lawsuit given that the injunction to stop the elections were denied and league appeals fell on deaf ears?  Unclear now that the election is over if Vardarajan will have the appetite to keep fighting.  He is not a member of USACA so it is hard to fight from outside.  But what he did so far is commendable - put money where his mouth is and but for the oddly conservative Judge Koh, he may have helped finally push Dainty and company out of their comfort zone and possibly into oblivion.   Would have been nice.






April 25, 2012

USACA Board Ignores Judge Koh's Ruling And Gets Controversial Election Certified

USACA Board presumably with advice from its presumably highly-paid Manhattan lawyers (ironically paid by dues of now disenfranchised leagues and ICC handouts) put enough pressure on the "Independent Auditor" that they themselves selected, to certify what many around the US and around the world consider to be a farce of an election.  In doing so, they have chosen to ignore Judge Koh's ruling that the role of the Independent Auditor is much more than just ministerial.   This surely will come back to haunt them even if ICC decides to bless this very controversial election.  

The CPA firm of Keefe, McCullough and Company essentially performed a clerical task.   They did not independently verify that the voters were legitimate -- they went along with whatever the USACA Board decided which is widely held to be farcical.  They checked ballots and counted them.  They certified what they counted.  They in fact stated that it was not their job per the engagement letter to do, which is examine who and why a league was eligible to vote.  In effect, USACA Board prevented them from doing what the USACA Constitution requires (as interpreted by a US District Court Judge).

Sixteen of the 32 leagues that were disenfranchised appealed this decision with the CPA firm presuming they were Independent Auditors but they fell on seemingly deaf ears.  But Justice is not deaf, just blind -- hopefully, this whole travesty will be corrected in the not too distant future by the Judicial process.










April 17, 2012

Leagues Challenge Disenfranchisement with Independent Auditor

This is one of those movies where you think it is the end except it may just be the intermission.  Several leagues have been emboldened by Judge Koh's ruling that the USACA Constitution states that it is the Independent Auditor who gets to decide who can vote and who cannot.   Many of them submitted their challenge ahead of the election while several others have submitted it post election.  That is understandable as none of the disenfranchised leagues knew they have this option until Judge Koh's ruling on April 13th, hours before the election.  Before that USACA insisted that the Independent Auditor only had a "ministerial" role meaning  "that which is done under the authority of a superior" with the superior being the USACA Board.

USACA, of course, using their lawyers is still telling the Independent Auditor how to do this which begs USACA's understanding of the word "independent"  and appreciation for Judge Koh's ruling.  USACA's position is that what they did in terms of compliance, and I would say unlawfully, should be a starting point of the Independent Auditor's work.    What the USACA constitution seems to say is that the Independent Auditor has the authority to determine who are legitimate voters and never does it say that the USACA Board can advise the Auditor on their opinion of who are legitimate.

Here are all the challenges in front of the Auditor:

  1. WMCB, an Atlantic league allowed to vote even by the USACA Board, is challenging as to who got the ballot in WMCB which turns out to be someone who is friendly with the Board and not the rightful President of WMCB
  2. Several leagues (nine) are challenging their denial of right-to-vote and they have done so pre-election.
  3. Several other leagues (five and growing) are doing the same but done so post-election.  (USACA's lawyers are saying these should not be allowed as they are "too late," a vacuous argument given the Independent Auditor is the sole authority per the Constitution to determine member legitimacy.)

Mr. Ken Smith, of Keefe, McCollough and Company, who is the CPA assigned to this has a very important role.  He has to operate independent of what USACA and its lawyers say and what the other side says.  He has to take a principled look at the Constitution and decide standards for who is a legitimate member and who is not.  Just because the USACA Board decided that one league or the other is eligible to vote does not make it so.  

It is my view that if such a fair and principled exercise were done by the Independent Auditor, it would be best thing to have happened in US cricket in recent times.   Lets have the elections again assuming the those can vote by secret ballot is different.  And lets accept whoever gets elected as a result.   That is democracy.  What went on on April 14, 2012 was clearly not.







April 16, 2012

Court's Injunction Denial Paves Way for Controversial USACA Elections Resulting in a Dainty Win

4/16/2012:
Two swift USACA actions:

  • Nabeel Ahmed who was even months ago an ardent critic of Dainty and his methods has forgotten all that and become "Interim CEO."  "Interim" may be apt given what happened to the previous CEO.
  • Kenwyn Williams after sending a flurry of public tweets in the wake of the post-election-victory glow has likely been reminded of USACA's Kremlinesque ways.  Now only the followers they choose on Twitter (@USACAorg) can follow them and their version of the truth.  Bloggers obviously are not welcome to follow as they tend to write what they think than what Dainty and Thickett and Gale and Syed and Williams think.
One not-so-swift Auditor action:
  • The Independent Auditors (O'Keefe, McCollough and Company in Fort Lauderdale) have now (unfortunately post election) informed the leagues that challenged their right-to-vote before the election took place that they have received the challenges and they are examining them.  I believe that the USACA Board has been told of these challenges (so much for independence).  Worth noting that the "Independent" Auditor was nominated by the USACA Board so one could ask how "independent" they really are.   Also worth noting that USACA chose this Auditor for a purely procedural reason (to count votes, not determine who can vote) but Judge Koh's ruling that the Audtor is much more than that has potentially opened this up.
And this is what Judge Koh said, verbatim, in her ruling that has the Auditor in action:
  • "According to Article XXII § 2, the board shall appoint an independent auditor who shall “[h]ear and determine all challenges, and questions arising in connection with the right to vote.” USACA Const. Art. XXII § 2. According to Article XXII § 3, “Upon request of the person presiding at the meeting or any members entitled to vote thereat or any other legitimate member, the independent auditor shall make a report in writing of any challenge; questions or matters determined by him/her and execute a certificate of any facts found by him/her. Any report or certificate made by the auditor shall be prima facie evidence of the facts stated and of the votes.” USACA Const. Art. XXII § 3"
     


4/15/2012:
Ram Vardarajan and California Cricket Academy were plaintiffs seeking an injunction to delay the USACA general elections and restore voting privileges to all leagues in good standing as of November 30, 2011.  Judge Lucy Koh of the Federal District Court in San Jose denied the injunction after giving a chance for the plaintiffs and the defendants (USACA) to try to work out an ultimately unachievable compromise.  Cursory reading of the Court's explanation suggested that the reasons were procedural -- meaning not related to whether USACA has acted illegally.   It boiled down to Ram Vardarajan not having standing meaning he had no cause for complaint as the election hadn't occurred yet and he hadn't been "injured."  (That has now occurred.)  For CCA, it boiled down to it being able to ask for relief just for itself, meaning asking for the right to vote until the bitter end but not for other leagues as if they were so interested they would have jumped up and down themselves which they mostly didn't.  Finally, under New York Law, when corporations rig elections, the question of electoral malfeasance  is dealt with post election.  So if there is a lawsuit, the meat of the matter can be looked at -- did USACA act illegally before and during the elections resulting in Ram Vardarajan losing and CCA being illegally denied a right to vote.   One oddity in the Court explanation was the expectation which the Court had that CCA should have complained earlier and often as the USACA constitution says complain within 14 days of violation and there were several per the plaintiff.  However the Court seemed to say nothing about how USACA could arbitrarily delay elections beyond constitutionally mandated time limits seemingly with impunity.   Shouldn't the rules of timeliness be the same for both sides, so to speak?   Lastly, the Court did assert unequivocally  that the entity that decides who is eligible to vote and who isn't is the Independent Auditor (CPA) appointed by the USACA board.

This last statement caused about ten or so disenfranchised leagues to send emails to the Independent Auditor just before the election.  This despite the fact that information as to the identity of the Independent Auditor was not the easiest to find from the always secretive and Kremlinesque USACA.    These emails from leagues asked for their voting privilege to be restored in time for the election.   Nothing appeared to come out of it for reasons that aren't at all clear but hopefully will be as it is constitutionally required.

The elections proceeded on April 14th (in the very same state where the 2000 US Presidential Election ran into chads or lack there of) and from all accounts it was a landslide win for Dainty and his merry men given that his hand-picked leagues dominated the 15 leagues that were permitted to vote.  Dainty defeated Vardarajan handily while Dainty loyalists such as Michael Gale and Rafey Syed won their 1st VP and 2nd VP spots.  John Thickett, a one-time ally of Vardarajan but now a Dainty-confidante, won his Treasurer seat easily while the Kenwyn Williams is the new Executive Secretary.  Mr. Williams is already active on Twitter where he previously had taunted and berated the few US cricket bloggers that do regularly write and write well.  He even threatened to put a gag order on all USACA officials and cricketers from talking to the media, as and when elected which he now is.  Whether his strident and provocative tone will continue remains to be seen.  

There are some serious matters to consider as we move into a new era of unprecedented amount of power regarding US cricket in the hands of the very few and regrettably very controversial.
  • Will USACA attempt to change the constitution to further consolidate their hold now that they have the 2/3 majority?   If I were guessing, I would say most definitely.
  • Will the non-voting full member leagues bother paying their dues in May 2012 given that it didn't quite help with voting rights last time they paid?  I would say quite unlikely for larger leagues who pay a lot.
  • Will there be a lawsuit from Vardarajan now that the election has been completed and is fraught with questions of legality?  I would say this remains to be seen.
  • Will apathetic and at-odds leagues finally come together to raise a credible opposition to USACA or will they just try to ignore USACA only to be hurt by them when they least expect it?  I would say the "sit-and-watch" mode of operation will unfortunately continue.
  • Will ICC be happy with this election outcome?   This is the big question.
My overall opinion is that based on all the facts that we know there is very little question that this election was rigged to ensure election of certain individuals.   There is no way the ICC should recognize this election without asking serious questions of Dainty and his friends in the USACA board.  To that end, I have created a petition to allow the disenfranchised cricketers and cricket fans to impress upon ICC, specifically Mr. Haroon Lorgat, its CEO, the need to call a spade a spade.

Here is the link to the petition :-

https://www.change.org/petitions/international-cricket-council-please-do-not-recognize-the-rigged-april-2012-usaca-general-elections

It is my view that USACA needs to understand that it cannot behave arbitrarily without serious consequences.  So far that lesson hasn't been taught nor has it been learnt.   The next few months will tell us if it ever will be.   Lets hope for the sake of US cricket, USACA is finally brought to justice -- legally, morally and administratively.





April 5, 2012

USACA faces Legal Action in California Federal Court

It had to happen.  Someone was going to take legal action against USACA who under the leadership of Gladstone Dainty have been reckless in their adherence to the constitution and dismissive of due process.   Ram Vardarajan, a candidate for USACA Presidency has filed legal action which asks for the current election with 15 "hand picked" leagues to be stopped and replaced with an election with all leagues that were considered in good standing as of November 30, 2011.   

Here are some galling facts that will make it interesting for Mr. Dainty and his merry men in court.

1) Some non-compliant leagues were deemed compliant by board decree where other identically non-compliant leagues were left non-compliant.  The ones which were deemed compliant by board decree were ones who are expected to vote for Mr. Dainty.   Completely arbitrary and therefore patently unfair.

2) USACA only has banned non-compliant leagues from voting.  The outcast leagues can still play as part of USACA, their players represent US teams and of course they still need to pay their dues.  Your vintage "Taxation without Representation" at work.

3) Elections were supposed to held (per constitution) by March 30, 2011 and no later than November 30, 2011.  Of course such details dont bother Mr Dainty and his merry men.   First things first -- which was to figure out how to gerrymander so that the majority of the voters would vote for him.  That was what compliance ended up being about.  Now we can have the elections said Dainty. 

It is so bad right now for US cricket that we may all disagree on lots of other things but most of us will agree that Gladstone Dainty and his style of cricket mismanagement and corruption has to go.  

Lets hope justice is served and USACA is forced to hold elections which permit all leagues in good standing to vote.   That is democracy.  And that is what we deserve.

November 2, 2011

A Critical Period for US Cricket

The next month or two will tell us if US cricket is still ruled by a despot or if there is "spring" in the air.

Gladstone Dainty has managed to cling to power though seemingly illegal tactics -- from not announcing the Atlantic region's results in July to keeping Masood Chik as the Central East rep despite his being recalled by a 10-0 vote and suspending John Aaron without due process to interfering in the women's cricket selections to claiming to clean USACA by deciding which leagues can vote and by asking all regions to hold elections again as part of this "pristine" campaign.

Gladstone Dainty appears to be very bad news for US cricket.  He doesn't appear to care about the wellness of US cricket -- the precipitous decline of the US in the world scene in the last three years is well documented.   He seemingly eliminates (thankfully only virtually) his board opponents and replaces them with yes-men.  He is known to deliver selection and travel favors for a price or a vote.  He is in power because there are enough other shady administrators running leagues and regions in US cricket who become Dainty's yes-men for the usual reasons.

There are three declared nominees as of now for President of USACA in the December elections.  Dainty has not announced his intention but has spread rumors that he will run to some and that he will not run to others.  The first to announce his intention is the ex-First-VP, Nabeel Ahmed, who decided to quit the USACA board many months back instead of openly confronting Dainty and his evil ways.  Next to announce is a less-known but well-heeled businessman from Florida, Max Quereshi, known to throw money around as needed.  And the latest to announce his intention is Ram Vardarajan, once a threat to Dainty but now his compatriot in the controversially-appointed board of Cricket Holdings America, the place where serious money is expected to pour in from the outside world but not necessarily into US cricket at the grass-roots level.

To be honest, none of the candidates inspire confidence.  Any links to Dainty only adds to one's worry.  But US cricket suffers from a serious lack of honest cricket-first administrators and so it may well be a case of choosing the least of all evils.

One of the key determinants of this election is which leagues get to vote.  That will be decided by the so-called Dainty-sponsored compliance criteria which effectively appears to be a front for who will likely vote from Dainty or his friends.  The only recourse left to leagues that are summarily banned or suspended is legal action.  It may well come to that while real cricket in the US takes a back seat as it has for the last three years.

We will know how all this plays out between now and end of the year.

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