April 16, 2012

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

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"

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 :-


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.

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