Thursday, May 26, 2011

John Leonard of ASCA enters the SCAQ blog with a threatening note

I received a stern email this morning at 6:27 AM from John Leonard; (At least that is what the header on the email claimed) - I have decided I am going to share what he wrote and my response back to him:

Mr. Austin - every single representation stated by Ms.Gjerstad from San Antonio in her communication which you have reprinted and posted/distributed is incorrect.

Ms. Gjerstad has not been courteous enough to provide me with any questions or even a copy of attack on ASCA and myself.

I do not have her email.

Let me repeat, ASCA (which is a 501-C6) corporation and the ASCA Council (which is a 501-C6 corporation) are both properly registered with all paperwork in order continually for many years in the State of Florida.

If this is not retracted, I, along with ASCA, will be filing suit for slander in rapid order.

You, and every other person in this country are entitled to your own opinions of everything, including myself and ASCA. You are not entitled to your own facts, nor the ability to broadcast lies about people or entities.

I will send the same message to MS. Gjerstad, if you will provide me with her email.

thank you. John Leonard

Here is how I responded:

Dear Mr. Leonard:

I note that you are challenging the veracity of statements in Ms. Gjerstad’s blog posts, some of which may have been discussed in the SCAQ Blog. Unfortunately, in your note to me you did not identify with any specificity the representations you claim are incorrect, how they are incorrect or provide evidence to support your assertion. Please be advised that I strive to ensure that facts recited in my blog posts are accurate and, to that end, invite you to provide the support for your claim of inaccuracy and, upon verification, will post an appropriate correction.

Since we have now established direct contact I do have a question regarding ASCA’s registration in Florida. It is my understanding that a so-called 501(c)(6) entity is one afforded special tax treatment, i.e., exempt from certain federal taxes, by the Internal Revenue Service, generally described as a not-for-profit company or association, as contrasted with a commercial enterprise engaged in for profit activities that are subject to federal taxes. You have indicated that ASCA is a “corporation” that enjoys the benefits of the 501(c)(6) status but a corporation is something established under state, not federal law. The term “foreign” corporation applies, typically, to a corporation organized under the laws of one state but authorized to do business in a second state. What I am seeking to clarify is, accepting your claim that ASCA is a “corporation” operating permissibly as a “foreign” corporation in Florida, in which state is ASCA incorporated as a so-called “domestic’ corporation. The only information I have been able to ascertain is that ASCA was at one time a domestic corporation organized under the laws of the state of Iowa but appears to no longer enjoy that status. I am hoping that you can provide those facts.

In the meantime, I look forward to a constructive and civilized exchange with you, receiving facts and information not spurious threats of litigation.


Tony Austin

For information on what a 501(c)(6) non profit means, check out this link: [Link]

For info on the ASCA articles of incorporation at the Florida Department of State - Division of Corporations , here is a link that lists ASCA as a "foreign corporation": [Link]

Here is a link to the IOWA Secretary of State stating that ASCA corporation in Iowa is inactive - Type in this corp number in the appropriate search box - 54460: [Link]

I am looking forward to clarification on this matter!


Sarah G said...

I am the author of John Leonard has emailed me demanding an immediate retraction. I will do so within 48 hours. I can't do so now because I don't understand most of his letter and I am too distraught. To your readers: ignore my blog and any statements made using my blog as references.

Anonymous said...

Man, you don't know when to let things's not John Leonard's job to take you to business school. If you don't understand their status, then you need to verify it independently. Why would you take his word for it anyways? As a "journalist" how you like to call yourself, stop relying on other people to do your work for you.

You clearly don't have a clue about that which you speak. It would have been prudent, as someone without any background in business law (I would hope to god you don't have a background in business law) to do this research PRIOR to posting what you did, rather than taking the word of some blog. It's interesting how they've written the libel laws. You think you're off the hook because you sourced that other blog. Unfortunately, you're not, because you had a reckless disregard for the truth.

By the way, being registered as a "non-profit" doesn't mean that you aren't trying to earn a profit. Not even close. Wanna know who the biggest non-profit corporation in the world is? IKEA.

I mean, you've basically committed libel, then by posting your email follow-up destroyed every defense against libel you might have. Tests for libel are written specifically for the purpose of protecting people against these situations. I'm no lawyer, but if you were smart you'd retract your previous statements, and then repost them only once you prove them.

Tony Austin said...

You don't intimidate me. BTW, look at the links I posted below the article, you might learn something.

Tony Austin said...

Sarah, is your retraction being made because he threatened you or because the post was in error? Please clarify. The links you sent me to the state of Iowa and the state of Florida looked pretty rock solid.


Sarah G said...

My retraction is because John threatened me. I stand by my research, and posted the what is listed on the websites I searched on my blog. I will be retracting any statements that can be construed as character or intent. I am not familiar with John Leonard. Sometimes terms like fradulent and fictitous seem prejorative. I'll clarify that I am just using them the way they are intended by the department of corporations. Now I must try to get some sleep. Sarah

Anonymous said...

It would look rock someone who didn't know what the hell was going on. ;-)

This is going to be epic.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if this is the answer that you all are looking for, but John Leonard has another corporation in Florida called the AMERICAN SWIMMING COACHES COUNCIL FOR SPORT DEVELOPMENT, INC.

That corporation is not registered as a foreign corporation. And just because their name is not American Swim Coaches Association doesn't mean that they can't conduct business under the ASCA name. It's not an uncommon practice for businesses do to business under a name other than that which is officially registered.

The first page of their magazine might be a hint:

I get the feeling that the linked-to page is somehow outdated, old, or inactive itself, given that it lists Mark Schubert as being at the University of Texas. I don't know that the explanation above is accurate, but this whole issue just seems like one that would have been picked up, given that it involves two separate states.

I get the feeling that

Anonymous said...

If it's true, it's not libel.

Tony Austin said...

If this is the case than Sarah is wrong and I should make a correction but is it the case?

All he has to do; which is something a non profit is suppose to do, is clarify how they work. :-)

Tony Austin said...

I got a another letter today from Leonard. He calls Sarah a "nut case" and of course threatens me. I am drafting a letter now.

Never once did he say what the "slander" was or what I got wrong.

I am going to call Florida today and see where is "secret lair" or "home base" for his "foreign corporation" resides.

If it is in Iowa and Sarah is right...

Anonymous said...

In California, the Department of Justice Attorney Generals office investigates complaints against non-profit 501(c) corporations.

This is true in other states as well - check out your state!

Had I known earlier, I could have saved a wasted year of trying to go through the "proper" channels within USA Swimming.

Everyone with power in USA Swimming has connections. A person may reside 2000 miles away but sit on the board of a local club.

Most people do not have the resources to fight corporations so the unethical and illegal activity is allowed to continue.

Check out your State Attorney Generals office to file a complaint against a non-profit!

Tony Austin said...

Thanks for the support. My plan is to have John Leonard emphatically state what is wrong with my post or postings. Personally the evidence looks solid to me and I see nothing wrong.

If have made a mistatement...well, you know where I am going with this, I will aggressively correct with any misinformation or non-accurate statements as outlined in California Civil Code 48.

So far he has not been willing to identify what i have to correct which civil law demands that he do.

Anonymous said...

Colorado State Department website

United States Olympic Committee
1 Olympic Plaza, Colorado Springs

- same as USA Swimming's address.

A lot can be found out from the State websites!!!

Tony Austin said...

imagine if the press actually looked into these people and their alphabet soup corporations?

Anonymous said...

John Leonard has another non-profit registered in Florida

World Swimming Coaches Association, Inc.

Tony Austin said...

John Leonard has a lot of corporations, huh? I wonder why?

Anonymous said...

I'd bet what you find out is that they do all of their business under the name of the other legal entity...but will be interesting to hear the response anyways.

Anonymous said...

Groan. Tony, most corporations have more than one entity. There's literally hundreds of perfectly legitimate reasons to do so. Liability reasons, tax reasons, trademark protection, separation of different types of business...Just about every corporation you can name does as such.

If that's the best you can do, you've got no story. Sorry Charlie.

Tony Austin said...

Send in the clowns.

Tony Austin said...

One more thing... Will have news on Tuesday.

Anonymous said...

Amatuers shouldn't play the game you guys are in. Get out of it while you can.

Tony Austin said...

And you had to post anonymously to say that?

Anonymous said...

Of course he did. Otherwise you'd probably start a crusade to ruin his reputation. It's sort of what you're known for...

But his point is exactly right. Maybe journalists do need to get involved. But you are not one of those.

Tony Austin said...

That's it? That is the best you can do?

Tony Austin said...

To all you critics, see this blog tomorrow at 9:00 AM PST - I am sure you will have a lot to talk about.

Tropicalpenguin said...

Hi Tony,

I don't think you're a "nut case", but I do wonder how you define your role in life. If you are indeed a journalist, and perhaps even attended journalism school, or even seen a good movie with journalism as the subject, you should know a few things:
1. Check and double check your sources. Just because someone posts on a blog doesn't mean what they say they are or what they say they know is the truth.
2. The National Enquirer has a bank of highly paid lawyers. You don't. So be friendly, interview Mr. Leonard and make sure you've really got a story before posting.

John is the CEO of the most effective organization of coaches of any kind in the world. Those coaches represent every swimming country, but the American coaches represent the most effective group of leaders in the history of sport. America has dominated the swimming at the Olympics and World Championships as no sport has ever been dominated.
One of the main reasons for that is our sense of community and the sharing by coaches with coaches the training modalities stroke drills and in general, the educational and motivational principles which really work (and those that do not).

Joh Leonard has led the growth and maturation of this sharing through this organization called the American Swimming Coaches Association and also inspired the World Swimming Coaches organization.

He is accountable and, in fact hired, by a board of directors who are in turn elected by the coaches he is hired to serve. As a journalist you might have started at the website and then contacted Mr. Leonard and asked professional questions before taking the world of a random blogger. Please learn from this and be responsible in your blog and other areas of your life. That growth will bring you prosperity and help solidify your relationship with your family, friends, and business dealings. I only want the best for you and your readers, so please take this in the friendly spirit in which it was intended.

Tony Austin said...

I am not a journalist and I don't pose or pretend to be one. I am a blogger. Huge difference. I see something unjust I comment. I see something funny, I comment, I see something glorious, I comment.

John Leonard is not the paragon of organization that you think he is. Everything I wrote was true and I stand by it. Has it ever occurred to you that I just may of had a lawyer look at it?

I respect my readers and I let them correct me or even slam me when I am wrong. This includes your passive aggressive comment: "...but I do wonder how you define your role in life..." Your rhetorical question contained no question mark and like most rhetorical questions masked as insults, they deserves no reply.

When this blog makes a mistake, I correct it and I make it known. I don't try to hide it.