I have sent this letter to the people who claim, without any valid authority, to be the board of Atheist Alliance International. It addresses how they repeatedly and knowingly misrepresent me in their recent ‘disclosure document’ about the ongoing scandals within the organisation.
Can you please forward this letter to everyone to whom you have sent your recent ‘disclosure document’, which repeatedly and knowingly misrepresents me? As you know, Atheist Ireland does not engage with you, as you have no authority to act on behalf of Atheist Alliance International, so I am writing this in my personal capacity.
How your ‘disclosure document’ repeatedly misrepresents me
Your ‘disclosure document’ includes the following statements:
“Michael Nugent, Chairperson of Atheist Ireland and a founder of AAI, wrote to the AAI President on February 22, 2018, ‘AAI, as an international Alliance, is in crisis, with a frankly catastrophic loss of Members that we were not aware of until our last Skype call … we are not blaming the current Board members for this crisis. We recognise that you have been left with this legacy, and that you are trying to address the issues.’ He was exactly right. Doing nothing was not an option.” (page 5)
“By 2017, with, in Michael Nugent’s words, the organisation in crisis, the board concluded the bottom-up approach had become untenable.” (page 11)
“That the organisation was “in crisis”, and had suffered a “catastrophic loss of Members”, was acknowledged by Michael Nugent in a letter to the AAI President on February 22, 2018.” (page 20)
These quotes create the impression that I endorsed the false analysis that you have been promoting. This false analysis includes that there was an ongoing crisis caused by successive AAI boards leading up to 2017, which had led to a catastrophic loss of members, and that the board in 2017/18 was responding to that crisis by taking special measures to save the organisation.
As you well know, that is not what I was referring to in that quote. I was referring to a specific crisis during 2017, which your ‘disclosure document’ simply ignores. That included the then president pressuring board members to resign in order to replace them with people he knew, then resigning himself after several personal scandals, then secretly returning before leaving again, and the board refusing to convene the legally required AGM.
How your ‘disclosure document’ knowingly misrepresents me
I had already corrected this misrepresentation with Bill Flavell, when he raised this quote in June 2022. I responded to him back then:
“Hi Bill, I will respond as soon as I can to the points you have made in recent emails, but there is something I want to clear up quickly before it gains any currency in your mind. That is about the letter from me to Gail and Howard dated 22 February 2018. What I say here will be clear when you read it in the context of the other correspondence at the time.
When we said that “AAI, as an international Alliance, is in crisis, with a frankly catastrophic loss of Members”, the crisis we were referring to was not the one you believe was happening, but the authoritarian behaviour and personal background of Onur Romano as president and the board’s ineffective reaction to that behaviour.
With regard to our reference to our five fellow members, you will note that the full sentence in our letter is: “AAI, as an international Alliance, is in crisis, with a frankly catastrophic loss of Members that we were not aware of until our last Skype call.”
That refers to the Skype call (that Howard falsely denies having taking part in), at which Gail and Howard told us there were only six members including us. We were shocked to hear that, and it now seems it was not true because the board were wrongly interpreting the bylaws.
You correctly quote us as saying “we are not blaming the current Board members for this crisis. We recognise that you have been left with this legacy, and that you are trying to address the issues. We hope that we can work together to address them constructively and with good will.”
That is correct. That has been our approach all along. We always start by assuming people are acting in good faith until we discover otherwise. At the time of that letter we did not know that the officers of AAI with whom we were dealing were, to put it mildly, not to be trusted. Michael.”
Why your zoom meeting on Jan 15 has no authority to take decisions
Finally, can I point out that even your own ‘disclosure document’ shows that you have no authority to convene an EGM on behalf of AAI. It shows that the so-called AGM in 2018 was not properly convened, it excluded member groups who had votes, it gave votes to groups who did not qualify for votes, and it invalidly passed a new set of bylaws that corrupted the very purpose of Atheist Alliance International.
Even if the 2018 meeting had been validly convened, which it was not, it failed to elect a board of directors, endorsing only a president. Under the new invalid bylaws, that president did not have the authority to co-opt additional directors, so there has not been a valid board of AAI since 2018. In any case, she soon left, taking the membership database, to start a new organisation.
Finally, even if the 2018 meeting had been validly convened, which it was not, and even if the new bylaws were valid, which they are not, the zoom meeting on Jan 15 does not even meet the requirements of a validly convened EGM under these new invalid bylaws. Whatever happens at this meeting, anyone claiming to act on behalf of AAI after it will remain illegitimate. Ignoring this fact will not make it go away.
Can you please forward this letter to everyone to whom you have sent your ‘disclosure document’, so that they can read it before your informal zoom meeting on January 15?
Can you please also respond to me about the points I make in it?