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Mike Ellis out but not down

Mike Ellis resigned Friday, Jan. 9, as a member of the board of governors of the American Numismatic Association.

This was announced by President Walter Ostromecki at an ANA town hall meeting held at the Florida United Numismatists convention in Orlando.

A special ANA board meeting had convened there Friday morning.

Once again it would seem that the ANA is being taken over by lawyers rather than representatives chosen by the membership.

We ANA members have been waiting for the outcome of a lawsuit filed against ANA by former executive director Larry Shepherd stemming from his dismissal in 2011.

The Ellis resignation is related, though the ANA will not provide the details for the record.

What Ostromecki said was, “He realized he had made a mistake and chose to step down from the board.”

Then Ostromecki looked to the back of the room to see if the ANA attorney was OK with what he said.

I asked a follow-up question: Can you characterize the mistake?

Ostromecki’s response was, “He agreed that he had made a serious mistake in judgment and now he realizes it.”

No real clarification or explanation in those words, is there?

Ostromecki also noted in response to another question that Ellis remains an ANA member in good standing and can run for the board again in future elections.

I found out later that this freedom to run will not apply to the election that will be conducted later this year.

I expect that if Mike could run this year, ANA members would put him right back on the board. He is well known for his love of the organization, its mission and its members.

There is an irony in this.

Ostromecki himself was removed from the board of governors in 2005. He is now the organization’s president.

Will Ellis be ANA be president someday?

With the strange back-and-forth that goes on with the ANA board over time, this outcome is almost sure enough to bet on.

Tom Mulvaney will now fill the vacant board seat. He was the bride’s maid as they called the individual who won the most votes in the 2013 election without winning a board seat. He will fill out the remainder of Mike’s term, which ends at the summer convention in August in Chicago.

I talked to Tom and he told me he would likely run for another two-year term in the 2015 election, though he was not yet ready to make a formal announcement.

More legal announcements will follow. There is no way to know when.

As Ostromecki said, “We are working overtime as a board to resolve our legal disputes.”

And as for Mike, the ANA press release issued later stated, “Ellis will continue as an instructor for the Florence Schook School of Numismatics, which includes teaching at Summer Seminar and numismatic events across the country.”

Buzz blogger Dave Harper is winner of the 2014 Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."