This article was originally printed in the latest issue of Numismatic News.
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News of lawsuits settled and a balanced budget passed came quickly during the open session of a telephone meeting of the American Numismatic Association board of governors held Oct. 26.
It was the lesser details that bogged the board down in its discussions during the remainder of the hour and 20 minutes before adjournment into executive session.
The board confirmed a 9-0 e-mail vote taken Oct. 21 to settle its legal disputes with the Denver law firm of Davis, Graham and Stubbs and Janet Savage. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.
The Denver firm originally had been hired by former ANA executive director Christopher Cipoletti in 2005 to pursue a lawsuit against an ANA computer consultant and three former employees.
A settlement was reached with the consultant and the former employees in 2008 after Cipoletti had been removed from his position by the ANA board in 2007.
The Davis, Graham suit against ANA and the ANA countersuit involved the the original suit against the former ANA employees and the bills Davis, Graham said were owed by ANA but not paid.
Ron Sirna, ANA’s legal counsel, said though its claims against Cipoletti were still not resolved, “no party is suing the ANA for damages of any kind now.”
The ANA was expected to make a formal announcement that a legal settlement has been reached with Davis, Graham once language is jointly agreed by it and Davis, Graham. It was not available as this issue of Numismatic News went to press.
Almost three years ago Sirna likened the ANA’s serial legal tangles as riding a toboggan. “Once you get on, you can’t get off,” he said then.
“We just got to the bottom,” he said Oct. 27, a day after the phone meeting. “It was a tough ride, I can tell you. I’m glad that this is resolved.”
Executive director Larry Shepherd said the good legal news would have a positive impact financially.
The Cipoletti matter is still pending. A trial is expected to begin Feb. 23, 2011.
Legal fees have been big budget and off-budget items since Cipoletti’s 2007 ouster.
In the adopted fiscal year 2011 budget, the ANA expects legal fees of $235,667, perhaps reflecting the $243,094 in such fees incurred Nov. 1, 2009, to Sept. 30, 2010. The fiscal year begins Nov. 1 and runs to Oct. 31, 2011. The budget number does not take into account the positive impact of the settlement.
The new budget as adopted forecasts a surplus of $181,315 on revenues of $6,151,204.
The two biggest revenue sources are expected to be $2,611,231 from conventions and $1,148,212 from membership dues and applications.
Expenditures were topped by salaries and benefits of $2,170,578 and convention costs of $1,432,168.
The question of whether to put the value of the ANA’s collections on the balance sheet elicited a lot of board member comment and a decision to delay.
An inventory and valuation effort undertaken by ANA employees for most of this year has resulted in a valuation figure of $37,743,000. The most valuable items include a 1913 Liberty Head nickel, two 1804 dollars and the Bebee paper money collection.
The board also refused to rescind a motion granting naming rights to exhibit categories for a payment of $3,500. Shepherd said that figure is much too low. The board seemed to agree, but a motion to rescind failed 3 votes to 5. President Clifford Mishler directed Shepherd to look into the matter further and work through the appropriate committee.
The ANA board awarded decorator contracts for the Pittsburgh National Money Show in the autumn of 2011, the Denver National Money Show in the spring of 2012 and the Philadelphia World’s Fair of Money in the summer of 2012.
In executive session the board was to take up its bylaw review, nomination procedure revisions and a museum matter.