To all members of Organization for the Defense of Four Freedoms for Ukraine, Inc. (“ODFFU”):
The National Board of Directors of ODFFU would like to invite all of you to its National Convention, to be held on Saturday, January 25, 2020. Meeting time, location and detailed agenda will be sent to members no later than ninety days before the meeting (as required by the ODFFU Bylaws) in order to allow Branches and members to properly prepare and participate in this important National Convention.
The ODFFU National Board has been planning this National Convention for quite some time, and has been working systematically and diligently on a variety of fronts, including in the areas of governance, compliance, operations, and financial reporting to carefully lay the groundwork for this important and long-planned National Convention.
The National Board is also scheduling two information sessions,
Wednesday, September 25, 2019 at 7:30pm at the ODFFU building at 136 Second Avenue, New York, NY, and
Saturday, October 5, 2019, at a place and time to be determined and provided.
The purpose of these sessions is to provide you with information on where ODFFU is currently, and where we would like it to go in the future. If you are unable to attend either of these information sessions, please call us at (917) 794-5226 and a representative of our Governance Committee will call you back to answer any questions that you might have. We encourage and welcome communication with our members, and we look forward to this opportunity to provide you with an overview of ODFFU and its future. We also welcome any thoughts you may have prior to, at or after these sessions.
On another note, you may have heard that a group (not authorized by the National Board) has purported to call an “Extraordinary Convention” of ODFFU for September 28th in Bloomingdale, Illinois. The National Board of ODFFU vigorously opposes this purported “Extraordinary Convention”. The National Board of ODFFU views this as an illegitimate attempt to hijack control of the organization and its assets (including its valuable headquarters building in New York City). The National Board believes that the purported call for an “Extraordinary Convention” is an effort to block the legitimate National Convention that is being planned by the National Board of ODFFU for January 25th.
Most importantly, this purported “Extraordinary Convention” is illegitimate because it violates the Bylaws of ODFFU and the Not-for-Profit Corporation Law of the State of New York in a number of fundamental and significant ways, including that insufficient notice of the meeting was provided to the members of ODFFU in a number of respects. Clearly, the amount of time provided does not allow the Branches sufficient time to organize Branch meetings and to choose delegates (not to mention make travel arrangements to Illinois, given that the vast majority of ODFFU’s membership does not live in the vicinity of the Illinois location chosen). This effectively deprives the membership of ODFFU of their rights as members to participate in ODFFU’s democratic process. Calling the “Extraordinary Convention” with such little notice and in such an inconvenient location essentially disenfranchises ODFFU’s membership, and completely obliterates the representative, democratic process enshrined in ODFFU’s Bylaws. This representative, democratic process is intended to protect members’ rights to participate and to have their voices heard, and it cannot be ignored, circumvented, undermined or defeated.
And there is more. The very basis upon which the “Extraordinary Convention” is called is contradicted by the plain facts. The letter calling the “Extraordinary Convention” does so solely on the authority of the provision in the Bylaws allowing “half of the branches” to call an “Extraordinary Convention” under limited circumstances. This letter lists 12 specific Branches, and claims to call the “Extraordinary Convention” on the authority of these 12 Branches, and based on the written demands of these 12 Branches that an “Extraordinary Convention” be convened. But ODFFU has received written statements from fully six (6) of these Branches, stating unequivocally that they did not authorize and do not support the calling of this “Extraordinary Convention”. (These written statements will be available for review at the upcoming information sessions.) Indeed, these written statements from the Branches explicitly support the National Board’s efforts to hold a duly called and properly noticed National Convention. Such a duly called and properly noticed National Convention will assure that the vast majority of the members will not be deprived of their rights, and will assure that the members’ voices will be heard and that the members’ legitimate rights in the organization will be properly exercised, all as required by the Bylaws of ODFFU and the Not-for-Profit Corporation Law of the State of New York. In light of these facts, it is clear that the authority claimed to call this “Extraordinary Convention” in Illinois on September 28 does not exist. As such, we have communicated with the counsel for this unsanctioned group to advise that this “Extraordinary Convention” cannot proceed.
Unfortunately, to date, we have not been advised that they will cancel this improper meeting. We remain hopeful that this group will understand that what they are attempting is wrong and divisive, and will instead attend the duly called National Convention in January, just a few months from now. Otherwise, ODFFU could end up having to litigate this matter to protect the legitimate democratic process and the property and interests of ODFFU, as well as the rights of its members under ODFFU’s Bylaws and New York State law. Being forced into this litigation would be an expensive financial burden on ODFFU.
We plan to continue to communicate with you and to keep our members informed. The National Board has been made aware of inaccurate communications and assertions that are circulating regarding ODFFU. Please carefully scrutinize any communications that you receive to be sure that they are coming from your duly elected National Board. You may receive email communications from the National Board through the organization’s email address: ODFFU.INFO@gmail.com. (You should not consider information that you may receive from any other email addresses as coming from ODFFU or as authorized by the National Board.) Please feel free to reach out to us at ODFFU.INFO@gmail.com or to call us at (917) 794-5226.
ODFFU was created by true Ukrainian patriots many years ago to help Ukrainian communities across the United States, as well as to support Ukraine and Ukrainians in other diaspora. In this difficult time when Ukraine is facing war in the East, we continue to work towards these goals. We ask all ODFFU members to continue your strong support of ODFFU and of the vital role that ODFFU has always had, and will continue to have in the future.
Thank you! I look forward to seeing you at one of our information sessions and at the upcoming National Convention.
Слава Україні! Героям Слава!
Alexander Striltschuk, President
On behalf of the National Board of Directors
Organization for the Defense of Four Freedoms for Ukraine, Inc.