US Chess Discussion

Welcome! This blog has no connection with the USCF. It's a blog where I provide chess fans with general information about US Chess as well as the USCF. It's also a site where everyone can productively discuss or ask questions about various USCF issues! Your contributions and comments are welcome! PLEASE KEEP IT CIVIL & RESPECT OTHERS! Enjoy! All posts that do not meet this guideline will be deleted -- WIN WITH GRACE, LOSE WITH DIGNITY!(TM) --- 2006 Susan Polgar©

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

USCF in Financial Trouble


January 30, 2008, 6:51 am
Is the United States Chess Federation in Trouble?
By Dylan Loeb McClain
NY Times

A statement from a meeting about the finances of the United States Chess Federation was posted over the weekend on the federation’s Web forum by Bill Goichberg, the president of the federation. In the statement, Goichberg talked about the federation’s finances, saying they are not in good shape and the federation is projected to run a significant deficit (significant from the federation’s standpoint as it does not have much in the way of financial reserves and its revenues are about $3 million a year). He also suggested some plans of action. Here is an excerpt from the statement, with the first few paragraphs about technology used to conduct the meeting and plans for the next meeting of the federation’s executive board, omitted.

As you know, after seven months we are running $42,341 behind budget. The membership trend has been poor in the past few months, and legal expenses for the rest of the year will be high, so I fear a loss for the year of at least $100,000.

Source: http://gambit.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/01/30/is-the-united-states-chess-federation-in-trouble/

Instead of doing everything possible to promote chess, the USCF, and raise the level of membership and revenues, some board members chose to use the USCF scarce resources for their personal political agenda.

So much money has been wasted without a sound direction or logical goals. When I inquired about the finances, I was told that the USCF attorney advised the board majority not to discuss it. Aren’t members of a non-profit membership organization entitled to know the finances? And when I pointed out the wasteful spending, I was insulted by my fellow board members.

When potential sponsors asked about sponsorship opportunities, the USCF was late in getting back to them and sometimes not at all. Many excellent suggestions were made during the last board meeting to improve the health of the USCF and very little was done to fix the problems. There is little accountability from the top to the bottom of this organization. There is also little transparency and full of conflict of interest.

This is unfortunately a serious flaw of the USCF. The board majority has the full control of how the federation is being run and there is almost nothing anyone can do other than not vote for those candidates or people who are affiliated with them next time. But that is a 4 year term and it may be too late.

The only person who can change the state of the USCF is President Goichberg. He controls the agenda, course of action and the majority vote. But this is an individual who has never lost an argument. Unless drastic changes are made NOW, $100,000 loss for the fiscal year is very optimistic.

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2 Comments:

  • At Thursday, January 31, 2008 10:45:00 AM, Anonymous PI said…

    USCF's OBITUARTY NOTICE - File Copy

    You reduce all other assets to leave yourself in this endgame:-


    Basically you sell your sole remaining asset, a building - take a mortgage
    on a new one which costs much more, but spend the cash balance differential
    on operations..


    You also gayly forgive $100,000+ debt to a for-profit, then renew and extend
    their contract as your sales agent - for a trading entity you previously
    possessed which used to turn as much as $3,000,000 a year in gross revenue.


    You pay $40,000 a year salary for an on-line editor whose output is less
    than my own column, and whose readership is less than half of half that.


    Additionally you pay $50,000 for a site-overhaul which doesn't work, but
    which seems to have no performance criteria at all, and which was unbid.
    Unless I am incorrect about this, and the contract is secret, so secret we
    are not allowed to know if it exists.


    Then you invest in huge amounts of insurance for a forum which even
    ex-President Redman said is entirely political - which is to say, its not
    about chess for members and players, its about chess by and for politicians.
    You then persist with the politi-forum until a law-suit emerges over a
    scandal of identity where you have to obtain even more insurance and new
    legal fees - thus fracturing your base of further decision making, the
    board.


    Cause of death was unclear. The last known photograph featured the expired
    USCF board playing chess with one of those large sets. Rumor has it that the
    organisation died trying to swallow a Queen [bits of dead Queen found in its
    maw - but conspiracy theorists think the photo was staged.


    I doubt that I will need to change this file-copy notice even after the
    event occurs - but if I missed anything significant please let me know.


    The Memorial Service will be held in the parking lot outside ChessHut on
    date ________ , and an auction of contents proceding immediately afterwards.
    Remaining friends ask that no flowers be sent, but instead send 10 bucks to
    anyone you can think off who actually promotes chess.


    Phil Innes


    cc: FILE-COPY, USCF, death of/obit

     
  • At Thursday, January 31, 2008 11:28:00 AM, Blogger SusanPolgar said…

    I offered to open up everything for all members to see and to allow an independent investigator investigate this entire matter from the beginning. Once both sides have mutual immunity, Mr. Goichberg, Bauer, Berry and Hough are free to present to the independent investigator all their facts and we will present all our facts. If the investigator finds any wrong doing from our side, we will resign immediately. If the independent investigator finds wrong doing on their side, they will resign on the spot.

    Unfortunately, I doubt that they will accept that offer as they clearly know who will come out on the right side. Their horrendous decisions put the USCF in this terrible financial mess.

    They know where the leaks came from for months and who gave confidential information to Mr. Jerry Hanken to start a "secret and unauthorized" negotiation with Sam Sloan. This alone could put the USCF, its board members and others in serious legal problems, especially with a lawsuit pending. I may be wrong but I cannot imagine the USCF attorney recommending them to do this. I would like to note that the board majority did not deny these allegations. They just want to investigate their own subcommittee IF warranted. They will get to decide if it is warranted or not. How convenient! Open everything up and let the members decide!

    When I pointed out the financial blunders, I was insulted by my fellow board members.

    Instead of focusing on promoting chess positively, increase memberships and raise revenues, they chose to waste time, money and other resources for their destructive political games. This was one of my platforms when I ran for the board and I will do everything in my power to put an end to this problem.

    We need to save the USCF and not play dirty politics. It is not too late for the board majority to apologize for what they did and get back on track to saving the USCF. We will see what is more important: the future of the USCF or their ego.

    Best wishes,
    Susan Polgar

     

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