DONATION (ISSUE) TO CHIEF GUEST INVITED FOR 30TH ANNIVERSARY GALA OF SPCJAA-ONTARIO
From First committee meeting minutes held on October 9th 2016
Gerrard – will discuss with Fr. S.J and confirm his availably to attend this function (Christmas Party) as our Chief Guest. In the event of Fr. SJ not being available then we will go without the chief guest.
From Second Committee meeting minutes held on November 20, 2016
Chief Guest: Gerrard informed that Fr. SJ won’t be available to be our Chief Guest. Instead if he is back in Canada for 2017 summer we could consider for our 30th Anniversary function
From Third Committee meeting minutes held on January 22, 2017
Chief Guest will be Rev Fr Emmanuel. Gerrard will communicate with Fr. SJ to finalize his availability.
Addition: At this meeting The Air fare to Fr. Emmanuel was discussed. Mathy opposed it. But this was not recorded in the minutes by the secretary.
Letter received from Raymond Santiago to Gerrard on January 23, 2017
Regarding the passage for the above, purchasing a ticket from the association's money would set a precedent that will be hard to follow. The other option is for private sponsor. That is persons from our association absorbing the cost.
I would suggest the following:
You, myself, Mr Anton Philip, Master Xavier and Mr Josph Selvanayagam. Think about it and get back to me.
Letter Sent by Gerrard to Raymond Santiago on January 24, 2017
I am not planning to call Fr. Emmanuel ( Priest & Patrician) because I really do not like him coming for an event organized by a committee which is refused support the college. You can ask Mr. Anton Philip to proceed on that since he have spoken to Fr. Emmanuel already.
From Committee meeting minutes held on June 11, 2017
The issue was raised by Gerrard regarding reimbursement of Fr. SJ’s flight cost. Committee decided that the cost will not be reimbursed by the Association.
At this meeting After Raymond reminded about the contribution, Andrew and Raji Volunteered to contribute to towards it. Mr. Anton Phillip Sinnarasa was contacted by Raymond re Contribution.
Treasurer’s Email to the Committee Members on September 22, 2017
Please find attached file for SPC AA Ontario draft financial statement for the period ended September 30, 2017 for the purpose of review and discussion. Upon completion of committee members' review, draft financial statement will be forwarded to our auditor Regi, who needs at least one week for the review. Therefore, please input your comments within two days.
The Donation and expense related to S.J.’s air fare was included in the Statement sent by the Treasurer.
Herman’s response to Treasurer’s Email on September 22, 2017
Air fare contribution to Fr Emmanuel was agreed that Committee will not support. As per your account it looks like committee has contributed towards Airfare. I was told it is private contribution. Why it is coming into accounts????
It is clearly stated in the minutes, committee will not undertake the expense of Fr Emmanuel's air fare. As per your accounts it is contributed purely by committee members and no outsiders therefore it appears there is a conflict of interest by some members appear in this accounts. I do understand Gerard and Raymond's contribution because they are related to Fr. Emmanuel but rest of the members contribution is on behalf of Alumni and not personal ties. Therefore it is conflict of interest. i mean these members should have brought this to the notice of Association because there ties are through association.
Please correct the accounts accordingly.
Please note i have removed Gerard's email address in this because he has resigned. These accounts should not have been sent to Gerard. If you say sending to Gerard is correct then why you have not sent to Devakumar???????????
Mr. President our committee consists of professionals I don't understand why they could not see these simple ethics. Hope these will not repeat in future.
Treasurer’s Reply to Herman on September 22, 2017
First of all SPC AA Ontario committee agreed to invite Rev. Fr. S. J Emmanuel as Chief Guest for the Gala Event. Unlike other professional, Rev. Fr. Emmanuel is a well-known Tamil Catholic priest. Therefore, committee was asked to bear the air fare cost of $1000. Unfortunately, SPC AA Ontario bank account was not enough funds for bearing the cost and then committee members were not also willing accept the cost. During the discussion, I mentioned that we will seek a private donation but not happened. Later Gerrard took the full responsibility to collect the funds for covering the Air fare cost. In his efforts, collected the funds, Air fare tickets purchased, Rev. Fr. S.J Emmauel was present the Gala event and the members’ contributions and cost reported on draft financial statement. Now is discussion period.
SPC Alumni Association is a not-for-profit organization. When the organization has not enough money to cover the special purpose cost, members can contribute as they wish. If any members contribute the funds for covering cost that related to the organization’s event that funds should be reported on the association’s financial statement as contribution received and expenses incurred. I leave this issue with our auditor Regi.
The reason that I emailed to Gerrard because he is responsible for membership drive and maintain records not only for members funds in trust account but also Vani funds detail activity from the inception of opening saving account. Also, Majority of the fiscal period he was a committee member of the SPC A.A association.
Finally you asked why I did not e maile to Devakumar. The current assistant treasurer is Milroy not Devakumar.
Mathy’s Email to Treasurer on September 22, 2017
As you have raised this issue regarding the Chief guest i would like to jump into it.
At the meeting held at your residence it was suggested by Gerard that to invite Fr Emmanuel as Chief guest as he will be here in June on his Vacation.At that point he never mention about his travel expense. I was not happy to invite Fr Emmanuel for two reasons. First he is very much involving in our Sri Lankan Politic secondly our association normal practice to get some money from the chief guest.but in this case we won't get any thing. However Fr. Emmanuel is a very good priest and giving voice for Tamils as well as a patrician therefore me and the rest of the committee agreed. This can be witness by Raymond because he too spoke about it. As he is coming on vacation so association don't need to spend money for inviting him. if Association have enough money we wold have invited Fr. Rector who would have been most appropriate for this function.
Later Gerard appeal to the committee that Sinnarasa spoke to Fr. Emmanuel and he wanted the travel expenses to be paid by us. I strongly objected it and told the committee that Gerard told us that Fr, Emmanuel is coming on vacation and how come he can ask for money and Gerard statement is contradicted with his previous commitment. At that time Raymond agreed with me and Raji said if anyone come from third world country we need to consider but he is coming from Europe therefore we don't need to provide travel. Based on this committee agreed not to pay for travel. Gerard may have taken the initiative and collected fund for air fare in his personal capacity (That is totally private matter). Any collection or contribution on a personal capacity will not count into our Association account that is a bottom line.
Therefore i totally agree with Vijay's email and please correct the accounts accordingly and submit to auditors.
(Gerrard’s Note: Fr. Emmanuel Never asked anyone that the travel expenses to be paid to him. I was told it’s a practice to pay his travel expenses. Also he did not come on a vacation. When we approached him in November he told us if he comes here on a vacation in June he will accept the invitation to be the Chief Guest. It’s clearly recorded in the minutes of November 20, 2016)
Treasurer’s Email to Herman with copy to Committee Members on September 22, 2017
Thanks for your comments and I expect other committee members' view and comment before forward to auditor Regi.
Regi, I will provide full set of books and records for the audit after committee review the draft for internal purpose that requested by committee members last meeting.
(Gerrard’s Note: No other committee members Including the president & secretary responded to the emails sent by Herman, Mathy or Andrew)
Treasurer’s Email to the Committee Members on September 30, 2017 at 1:57 pm
Based on the auditor review of the SPC Jaffna Alumni Association Ontario’s financial statement for the period ended September 30, 2017, the amount of the air fare donation and expenses were above the limit of the materiality. In order to include the amount on the financial statement it must be approved by the committee. Therefore, please reply by e mail whether include or exclude. State your decision: Include/Exclude/Neutral - Don't forget to copy to auditor.
(Gerrard’s Note: Based on the conversation he had with the auditor on the day, Andrew sent this email to all the members to get their consent to include the donation in the financial report.)
Ben’s Email to the committee Members on September 30, 2017 at 3:34 pm
I would like this to be included in the financial statement.
Father came to the Gala as our Guest at the request of the committee and since the committee did not wanted to spend for his expense some of the committee members were generous enough to put their own money to sponsor his Air Fare.
We gave out some good door prizes and they were all donated by individuals who are in the committee or members of the SPC AA and their names or the batch number was included in the statement, so I am not sure how the Air Fare donation can be different.
If the Father was here for a personal visit and the air fare was donated by these individuals, then it does not have anything to do with the SPC committee nor should be on the statement but that's not the case.
I hope everyone will understand my reasoning.
Anton ’s Email to Committee Members on September 30, 2017 at 3:44 pm
This specific matter of Airfare for the Chief Guest was discussed in the committee meetings and committee decided ( included in the minutes ) NOT to incur the expense from Association Funds. However, there was no barring for anyone to chip in towards this item purely on a voluntary basis.
Further, it has been customary to show material voluntary donations from members/well-wishers as in and out in the FS. On this basis, I’m inclined to go with Include decision.
Auditor’s Email to Committee Members on September 30, 2017 at 4:57 pm
I am just an auditor and I can't take the committee decision. This approval should have been taken before the spending. However it has been put at this last minute. Please forward all your emails to Secretary and let Secretary and president decide and official decision General Secretary will forward to me.
President’s (Judenorld) Response to Committee Members on September 30, 2017 at 11:23 pm
I have spoken in depth to the auditor regarding the inclusion of the donation. I believe we are on the same page regarding this. Our leger should only involve transactions relating to our funds. A donation may be included, but these were not a donation to us. They were a donation to the reverend. We did not receive any money nor provide any money so this is clearly an issue that take place outside of our organization.
As per Andrew's e-mail this was not a contribution to us as I understand it, as no payment was made to us. We didn't issue a donation receipt, or receive any airfare receipt or proof of funds transferred. This was an entire transaction taken place outside of our organization.
Regardless, this issue seems to spiral out of control again. The purpose of the audit is to ensure we have everything in order, so taking their advice is key. We must bare in mind all of us volunteer our time towards this group because we want it to grow, and have a positive impact on others. This is a selfless act on all our parts, and this is where I want the focus to remain. We waste far too much time sorting out personal endeavours and egos versus actually bettering our school.
There is also a process for the committee members to be addressed, which should flow through our executives. However, it wasn't this time. It is in my opinion to leave this out of the ledger. I took this position with the organization to truly make a difference, and this is the legacy I want to leave.
If we continue having our meetings deal with making sure each member is recognized as being the best one, we will get no where. We must continue our selflessness for the good of the group. If we can not get to a point where we can work together to truly benefit the school then I don't see a reason to remain in my position. I can work towards solving issues for this group, but keep in mind I can't drop everything every time someone's feelings are hurt.
(Gerrard’s Note: This was written by the President after 7 members emailed supporting the donation and after I spoke to him on phone for ½ hour. Later he said he did not have enough time to respond to that. But he had time to write this letter on the same night)
Auditors Email to The President, Secretary & Treasurer on October 1, 2017 at 1:44am
Hi Jude, Ajith and Andrew,
Your financial statement period ended September 30, 2017 and the annual general meeting is scheduled on October 1, 2017. Within one day period, it would be difficult to finish the audit. At the same time there are many issues regarding your numbers. I didn't receive any email from the secretary. However based on the Andrew's previous advice I removed donation for air fare from the financial statements because material number not satisfied following audit procedures:
1) Donation amounts are not deposit in the SPC AA bank account.
2) Donation slips not issued to donors.
3) Association didn’t issue the cheque payment to travel agent.
4) Travel agent didn’t provide air ticket invoice under SPC AA Ontario, Canada
5) Committee not approved above donation and expense
I audited the financial statement based on the Canadian Accounting Standards, Based on the standards individual names are not disclose in the financial statements and the notes.
(Gerrard’s Note: This email was sent by the Auditor after the President spoke to him on the night before. After that the President sent the email about his conversation with the Auditor. But How come the Auditor did not remove both donations claimed by the President which did not meet the above requirements)
Treasurer’s Email to the President on October 1, 2017 at 6:22 am
I was unable to reply yesterday night because power cut in our area since 11:30 P.M.P to 6:00 A.M.
Please be specific – do you want the item in question to be included or exclude in the financial statement.
So far I have received responses from seven (7) committee members who have requested to include. Taking into account, there are Thirteen (13) committee members currently (Preman Sinnathurai and Gerrard simonpillai are no longer in the committee. Out of thirteen (13,) Seven (7) members have requested include the item in the financial statement which is enough voting to include item in the financial statement.
Auditor asked the committee members, official final decision must be sent by Secretary to directly auditor. Therefore, please both Ajith and Jude discuss and e mail to auditor.
Auditor has given two options:
First-Get approval from SPC AA committee
Second-r remove the items from financial statement.
Based on my knowledge getting approval from committee members is the best option because we want to give respect not only for their contribution but also for their best interest of the our association. Auditor requested option is completely fulfilled by committee members voting to include the item in question.
I don’t want discuss more and more. Auditor, please wait until 12:00 P.M for getting final decision from President and Secretary. If you don’t receive final decision from both before 12:00 P.M, you can take your own decision whether to qualify or unqualified the financial statement with the format that I sent it you.
Treasurer’s Email to Myself (Gerrard) on October 1, 2017 at 8:10 am
As I mentioned my previous e mail that from 11:30 P.M to 6:00 A.M power was off in my area.
Regi sent an email at 3:45 A.M with the financial statement attachment in which remove donation and approved F/S .
He is out of town
(Gerrard’s Note: The President & Secretary had enough time to resolve this issue before the AGM. Or to discuss at the AGM and to include in the Financial Report. They did not allow the Treasurer to discuss the Financial report at the AGM. The report was never approved and signed by the Treasurer and not even signed by the President.)
Gerrard’s Email to Members who attended the AGM – sent on October 4, 2017
I would like to address the grievances and particular concerns brought up in the last AGM, especially because we didn’t have the opportunity to discuss at length all the factors involved.
I do want to start off by apologizing to all of for my use of the word “Pinami” and the backlash that stirred. I could not think of a better word at the time to describe Mathy and Herman’s behaviour. There is a proverb in Tamil: “The sound of the Bell will come first, before the elephant arrives”. That is what we’ve been witnessing for the last 12 months within the committee and the problems instigated by Mathy and his choir Herman.
Please allow me to explain the events leading up to this day.
The committee had asked me to contact Fr. Emmanuel on their behalf to see whether he is available to come as our Chief Guest for the 30th Anniversary Gala. He said that he will note that date in his calendar and confirm it.
The Official invitation was sent by the committee. We were informed by others that it is standard practice to pay for the priest’s travel expenses.
When I put forward the proposal to absorb the expenses, Mathy seized on the opportunity to oppose. Another member also commented that since he is coming from Germany he should be able to handle it.
After the Priest arrived before our event, we had another meeting and brought up the subject and it was refused. Raymond suggested that some of our membership contribute to cover the expenses and settle the issue. Raymond and myself decided to contribute. We never asked anyone else to do so. But Andrew and Raji voluntarily came forward to contribute. This all happened while the meeting was going on. Then Mr. Sinnarasa contributed towards it. The matter was settled there.
On September 22nd the Treasurer Andrew sent his Financial report to the members for their comments. The travel expenses paid to Fr. Emmanuel was shown there as expenses and to offset that the donation received from us was shown as income. That’s the way it has been done in the past, like when the President showed his donation towards the raffle as income & expense in the same statement for which there were no cash transactions recorded.
Herman wrote a letter to Andrew, his bellboy Mathy followed, asking the expense and donation to be removed. The treasurer forwarded that to the auditor. As Usual the president did not get involved in this and kept quiet.
The day before the AGM, the auditor temporarily removed the items from the report, planning to ask for consent from other members through the secretary. As Andrew couldn’t reach the Secretary, he then directly emailed all members to give their consent to include the expense and donation in the statement.
7 members (out of 13) replied favorably, but the President and a few others did not respond. That night I called the president and asked him to take some action so I would not have to discuss this at the AGM. I explained to him it’s a shame to discuss this matter at the AGM. He promised to call me back and never did.
If the President had acted accordingly, these issues would not have happened. His incapability of managing and his refusal to take a stand are reasons for everything that’s been happening in the association for the past year.
We saw this on Gala Night. He has no control over two men who behave like bullies. There is much more that happened but I refrain from discussing that here.
These are the details that I hoped we could settle at the meeting without getting into a battle of egos. But I was refused the opportunity because some people just wanted to rush to their resolution. They succeeded in silencing me at the meeting but failed to realize that I will seek other avenues to settle this matter.
As they removed the transactions from the financial report, I have requested the President to send me a cheque for $1000, to reimburse my expense, within 7 days.
If that request is not met, I will take legal action against the association to recover it. That way we can openly discuss these details and concerns and Mathy’s shameless stance that our guests of honour should come up with their own money. It should provide for terrific reading material our members and future guests to hear.
This email is directed to the members who attended the AGM. I will send it to other members after the response from the president.
Tony’s Email to Committee Members on October 4, 2017
I could not comment on this earlier and it might not be relevant any more, I like to throw in my 2 cents anyway for what ever it is worth.
This is a Donation in kind and I think we should look at it purely as an Accounting transaction and see if we could get some direction from the Accounting Guidelines.
The questions to ask are:
- Does the Association have an Accounting Policy that deals with the subject?. If not did we have a precedent of a similar instance? How did we account for it?
- Is the subject in question, part of the normal business of the Association?. I think the answer is yes. The matter was discussed and it would appear members were generally aware as to who was paying for the ticket. Supposing if any of the members who contributed had requested for this accounting treatment beforehand, I am sure the committee would have agreed to it. Even if it went to a vote, I am sure it would have passed in favour. It may not be appropriate to view this as a donation made to the Priest, the Association approached the priest to be a guest and not the other way.
- Can we establish the Fair Value of the Donation? Well the answer should be yes. We could vouch the ticket and the actual cost that was paid.
Based on the above, I would not have any objection treating it as a donation. This might be too late, I could not attend to it before.
Gerrard’s Email to the Secretary – sent on October 5, 2017
This to bring to your notice that the AGM held on Sunday did not have quorum. We had total 127 paid members at the end of the term. 43 life & 84 general members. So the quorum should be 1/3 rd which is 43.
But we only had 34 members attended. Since we did not have any objection to continue the meeting it’s not an issue. But any decision made should be put back to the general membership and should get their approval .
Even the committee elected is in question mark till its approved.
(c)The quorum for Annual General Meeting shall be 1/3rd of the registered membership. This could be waived only under extenuating circumstances. Unless the majority present at the AGM fail to agree on the continuation of the AGM then any decision arrived at the Meeting with less than 1/3rd registered membership should be explained to the general membership and could rescinded when full quorum is obtained.
Hope you will take the step forward and act according to the constitution.
A Senior Past President’s Email To Committee Members on October 6, 2017
I am not aware that "Quorum" was ever considered and taken as an issue in the past.
Nevertheless, when a member challenges the validity of the election of the office bearers due to lack of quorum, his concern must be addressed in accordance with the democratic process.
May I suggest that the new committee and past committee ( I think out of the past committee members only a few are not in the new committee) as soon as possible and resolve this issue before any new activities are undertaken.
I am forwarding herewith my thoughts about the controversial issue that was raised in the last general meeting.
Please allow me to, freely, without fear, and at the same time attempt not to offend anyone in particular, express my thoughts about the general meeting held on October 1, 2017.
Indeed, I am disappointed in the manner in which some of the members behaved at the meeting by not allowing the meeting’s agenda to proceed uninterrupted. More particularly;
- Mr. A.P.S. was wrong in raising the issue of the payment of air fare to Fr. Emmanuel, who graced the 30th anniversary event as the chief guest immediately after the minutes of the general secretary was read. However, I am not alleging that he was not entitled to raise the question he raised for clarification purposes. But, I am of the opinion that the question should have been raised when any other matters were to be discussed according to the meeting agenda.
- When Mr. A.P.S. raised this question, the president should have brought an order to the meeting by declaring that the matter raised would be discussed at the appropriate time, and he should not have allowed Mr. Mathithayan and Mr. Simonpillai to speak on this issue at that time.
- Nevertheless, I am of the opinion that the question raised has merits and need to be addressed, more importantly, for clear understanding of accountability and transparency of the association’s funds.
The issue of payment of air fare to Fr. Emmanuel
Until after the meeting ended and I had opportunities subsequently to speak to some of the members, I did not know all the facts surrounding this issue. The facts and Mr. A.P.S.’s question as I understand are:
- The past committee decided to invite Fr. Emmanuel as the chief guest, and the issue of payment for his travel was discussed. It appears that the committee rejected the proposal that the chief guest’s air fare should be paid from the association’s common fund. The reason given for the committee’s decision was that such expenses were not paid to any of the past chief guests and that the association paying for the air fare to Fr. Emmanuel would create a precedent, whereby the association will have to pay for all future chief guests. Therefore, a few committee members offered to contribute for his air fare.
- The past treasurer, (I do not know whether in compliance with the committee’s decision or not) refused to record the contributions made by the individual members for the air fare of the chief guest as donation made to the association considering that such contribution was not part of the association’s funds and it was simply a gift to the chief guest.
- Therefore, Mr. A.P.S. asked the question “Why did individual members had to pay Fr. Emmanuel’s air fare and not the association?”
As I stated above, Mr. A.P.S.’s question has merits and should be understood by asking another question: “what constitute the association’s fund?”
The association is not for profit. It does not carry out activities that generate income. All its funds are raised by generous contributions made by members and well wishes.
In this matter, Fr. Emmanuel was invited by the association and not by the individual who contributed funds for his travel. Therefor he was a guest of the association and not of the individuals.
In the past, the association has invited as chief guests, most of the time, old boys of our school, who are doing significantly well and did not need financial assistance to attend our functions from abroad. The past committee may be right in its view that not providing assistance for the travel of chief guests was a general rule. But, one must understand and accept that every rule has an exception. Fr. Emmanuel is certainly an exception for the simple reason that he is a retired priest who has served not only the catholic community, but also the entire Tamil race living world over. He is a scholar who has brought fame to our college, and we should be very proud of his stature, as patricians. Requiring him to pay for his travel expense is very unreasonable, and I applaud the individuals who contributed towards his travel. Inviting a guest solely for the purpose of soliciting funds for the association should not be the norm. The main purpose should be to honour the person for his/her achievement and for positive contribution made to humanity. In this respect money is well spent for the air fare of Fr. Emmanuel as he befits the norm of a guest to be honoured. His humour and the intellectual talk delivered at the celebration were well appreciated by many.
The past committee should have considered the funds contributed by the individuals as a “Chief Guest Special Fund” of the association and the amount contributed by the individuals should have been shown in the book as revenue and payment for the air fare as an expense.
My answer to Mr. A.P.S.’s question is that the air fare for Fr. Emmanuel’s was paid by the association with the generous contribution from a few individuals.
Finally, I would kindly urge all members to put to rest the unpleasant incident that occurred at the general meeting as the conduct was uncharacteristic of the members who served the association for many years in so many ways, especially at the initial stages and move forward towards the common goal being the fellowship and wellbeing of the past students of our alma mater living in Canada and making worthy charitable contribution to the students of our alma mater, who are in need of help in the area of education and sports.
My (Gerrard) Response to the Past President’s Email on October 8, 2017
Thank you for your response. I hope you entry into the new committee and your presence will make some difference towards behaviour and decision-making.
You mentioned that you did not know the facts surrounding the issues at that time. That was the reason everyone was trying to explain but the conversation was not allowed to continue in the interest of reverting to the same committee again.
You also mentioned
The past treasurer, (I do not know whether in compliance with the committee’s decision or not) refused to record the contributions made by the individual members for the air fare of the chief guest as donation made to the association considering that such contribution was not part of the association’s funds and it was simply a gift to the chief guest.
Based on what Treasurer stated in writing to all past committee members:
- The treasurer never refused to state the contribution. The original statement he sent to the auditor had the Donation recorded as income and funds paid to Rev. S.J. as expense. The two gentlemen, Herman and Mathy, wrote an objection requesting the items to be removed.
- The treasurer only sought the opinion of the Auditor. Later, the requested a committee’s decision to 4include, exclude or neutral.
- Up until the night before the AGM, 7 members (out of 13) voted to INCLUDE this donation as IN and OUT in the Financial Statement.
- However, the President and General Secretary never responded to the Treasurer’s request and at the AGM without giving any respect to majority decision, the General Secretary rushed to approve a temporary FS snubbing the Treasurer.
- As of now ( after Tony Amirthanathan’s response ) – October 7th, 8 members have voted to include this donation in the FS.
In fact, majority of the past committee members 8 out of 13, decided to reflect this donation as in and out in the FS. This has been the standard accounting practice of the association which is in full compliance to industry and regulatory standards.. It is the inaction of the President and General Secretary that made this issue come to the AGM, in spite of the fact that the Auditor requesting the General Secretary to convey the decision of the committee.
Also the Secretary mentioned that the Treasurer shouldn’t have send the letter to the members. In my opinion I think the Treasurer did so in the best interest of the association, since he could not get a hold of the secretary. When a fire starts you do not wait until the fire brigade show up. You will try to put the flame down yourself. That’s what the treasurer did. We should appreciate the initiative of people like him.
I hope this helps to put things in proper perspective.
President’s Email sent to Unknown on October 10, 2017 (This was forwarded to General Members – even to people who did not attend the AGM by Mathy.
I feel the need to clarify the issues that St. Patrick's College Alumni Association of Ontario has been facing.
We have been crippled lately by a long term Patrician who has been challenging the decisions of our committee.
Most recently this erupted at the past AGM with an issue covering the travel cost for Rev. Fr. Emmanuel attending the Gala as our Chief Guest. There was a call to action for the association to cover the costs of the travel for the Chief Guest to attend the event. Historically we have never covered the costs associated with inviting a Chief Guest. Considering many factors the Committee decided not to cover the travel cost for Fr. S.J. Following this, five members willingly contributed to these expenses and provided money. The Treasurer added this donation in the Financial Statement for the Association and upon review by the Auditor it was decided as the transaction didn't involve the association and it should be left off the ledger.
There was a call for a vote on the issue was made by the Treasurer without informing the President or the Secretary, with no appropriate amount of time left for the decision. Ultimately I decided to uphold the recommendation of the auditor.
Consequently we had a huge eruption at the AGM led by Gerrard, our Past President where grossly inappropriate language and actions were used. Since then he has issued an apology to those offended, but some damage has already been done to the association. His apology was rife with negativity. He apologized for one demeaning term and substituted another. This was a very insincere gesture that has only caused additional damage.
Following this we received a letter from Gerrard demanding the return of funds that was donated to the Rev. Father outside the operations of the association. He has insisted he will attempt to try some legal action within seven days if he doesn't receive funds from the Alumni Association. We haven't received any letters of action yet, but we are looking at this seriously. It is very disheartening when a long term Patrician tries to ransom our group. It distracts from our true intention of bettering the school for future Patricians, and instead forces us to delay on projects to aid the school.
Previously we have faced severe disapproval by the same Patrician regarding the committee's actions and decisions. While we value a difference of opinions, when a collective decision is made, it should be upheld by all members. In his opinion our Gala was an utter disaster, and a key decision on him leaving the committee. He continued to weigh in on committee issues, despite claiming to want nothing to do with the committee any longer.
We have this association in order to foster a fellowship with former Patricians, and to focus on how we can help the school. When a member of the group tries to seize every opportunity to destabilize the group, break convention, and create tension it cripples the positive impact we can have. When a member is driven so far as to excuse himself from the committee because he doesn't feel he can perform the tasks, and cannot agree with the direction of the entire rest of the group, they should excuse themselves from all activities. If, as an association, an individual does not agree with our core values and believes, they should send their feedback by not degrading its own members of the association. This is what has happened. It is clear that the Alumni Association and Gerrard have different ideas on Patrician fellowship. We believe in working together, upholding our schools principles, and continuing to grow the awareness for St Patrick's College Jaffna.
I am calling for a return to these core values for all members. It is important to recognize, respect and participate in our decision-making process. When members take it on their personal initiative to send unsanctioned e-mails to the general membership, it damages the group as a whole. As the President I am answerable for misusing members contact details for unnecessary communications. It creates confusion among the members and undermines the positive work being done over the last 30 years.
While the association has had a long relationship with Gerrard, there seems to be a shift in his intentions of late. Instead of assisting in building us up, he has begun to knock the Association down. He has caused the group to be plagued with personal agenda and egos, which has resulted in extensive damage control instead of positive work towards St Patrick's College.
Hopefully this narrative on the issues we have been facing helps clear up confusion within the group. We will be having our first committee meeting soon, where I can address any continued concerns in person. Until this point I urge members to keep these issues on top of mind and out of argumentative e-mails. My goal is to get all members back on the same page and aligned with the same goals so that this year we can truly make a positive impact.
Mathy’s Email to Unknown Members on October 20, 2017
AS ONE OF THE FOUNDER MEMBERS OF THIS PRESTIGIOUS ALUMNI ASSOCIATION I HAVE THE UNFORTUNATE TASK OF ADDRESSING SOME OF THE MISLEADING E-MAILS CIRCULATED BY NONE OTHER THAN A VERY SENIOR MEMBER OF OUR ORGANIZATION, AND THE IMMEDIATE PAST PRESIDENT MR GERRARD SIMONPILLAI. AS THE CORRESPONDENCE IS DIRECTLY AND INDIRECTLY AFFECTING ME PERSONALLY, I FEEL I HAVE TO DEFEND MYSELF. I WILL TRY TO BE VERY CONCISE AND TO THE POINT.
WE INVITED A DISTINGUISHED PATRICIAN REV FR EMMANUEL TO BE OUR CHIEF GUEST FROM GERMANY. AS WE HAVE NEVER IN OUR HISTORY BORN THE COST OF TRAVELLING EXPENSES TO OUR CHIEF GUEST THE COMMITTEE REFUSED HIS AIRFARE WHEN REQUESTED BY THE ABOVE MEMBER. MR RAYMOND SANTIAGO WHO WAS THE
CHAIR PERSON FOR THE 30TH ANNIVERSARY GALA COMMITTEE SUGGESTED WILLING MEMBERS TO COVER THE COST. EVENTUALLY FIVE MEMBERS CONTRIBUTED INCLUDING RAYMOND AND GERRARD. WHEN SPECIFICALLY ASKED BY RAYMOND DURING THE A.G.M ALL MEMBERS CONCERNED, WHETHER THEY CONTRIBUTED WILLINGLY, ALL ANSWERED IN THE AFFIRMATIVE. (MR ANTON PHILIP WAS NOT PRESENT DURING THIS PERIOD AT THE MEETING ALTHOUGH HE INITIATED THIS ISSUE AT THE A.G.M) A.G.M MEMBERS AFTER DEBATE SUGGESTED THIS DEED BY THE MEMBERS (4 PAST PRESIDENTS AND ONE VICE-PRESIDENT) WAS VERY ALTRUISTIC AND SHOULD BE INCLUDED IN THE ANNUAL REPORT. BASED ON THIS FACT THIS ISSUE SHOULD HAVE BEEN PUT TO REST.
ALAS, IT WAS NOT SO. MR GERRARD SIMONPILLAI SENT A DEMAND LETTER FOR THE ENTIRE FUNDS. ($1000). FROM THE ASSOCIATION TO BE SENT TO HIM, OTHERWISE HE WILL BE INSTITUTING LEGAL ACTION. FURTHERMORE HE SENT ANOTHER E-MAIL STATING “QUORUM” WAS NOT SATISFIED AND HENCE DECISIONS TAKEN BY THE GENERAL BODY IS INVALID IN THE A.G.M. I WISH TO POINT OUT THIS WAS NOT REITERATED BEFORE THE MEETING BY HIM. WE ALSO WAS WITHOUT THE “QUORUM” FO R MOST OF OUR COMMITTEE MEETINGS AND A.G.M’S THROUGHOUT OUR 30 YEARS EXISTENCE. THIS WAS NOT BROUGHT OUT DURING THE A.G.M EITHER. I LEAVE THIS ISSUE TO YOU FOLKS TO DRAW CONCLUSIONS AS TO WHERE MR GERRARD SIMONPILLAI IS HEADING.
THE RECENTLY CONCLUDED 30TH ANNIVERSARY EVENT AT THE HILTON IN MARKHAM BROUGHT FORTH A TORRENT OF DISAPPROVAL FROM MR GERRARD SIMONPILLAI. HE CALLED IT THE WORST PARTY EVER HELD BY THE PATRICIAN ALUMNI ORGANIZATION. (E-MAIL). THIS DESPITE BEING AN INTEGRAL PART OF THE COMMITTEE THROUGHOUT. HE ALSO STATED CERTAIN MEMBERS “HIJACKED” THE EVENT .AS YOU ALL KNOW FOLKS THIS WORD IS OFTEN ASSOCIATED WITH VIOLENCE. WE DID NOT SEE ANY LAW ENFORCEMENT PERSONNEL CALLED TO THE SCENE. THIS STATEMENT WAS VERY INFLAMMATORY AND DEEPLY OFFENDED THE COMMITTEE MEMBERS WHICH INCLUDED MR GERRARD SIMONPILLAI. WHEN ASKED TO NAME THE HIJACKERS HE KEPT SILENT.
DURING THE A.G.M ON THE 1ST OF OCTOBER 2017 HE TOOK THE SPEAKER’S PODIUM AND REFFERED TO TWO SENIOR MEMBERS OF THE ORGANIZATION, MYSELF AND MR HERMAN VIJEYAKUMAR (TWO FORMER PRESIDENTS OF THE ASSOCIATION) IN A DEGRADING MANNER... THIS BROUGHT ALMOST THE ENTIRE MEMBERS HOWLING IN PROTEST. WHEN ASKED TO APOLOGIZE HE INITIALLY REFUSED FUELLING FURTHER UNREST. EVENTUALLY HE APOLOGIZED.
THE PRESENT COMMITTEE WAS ELECTED THEN BY A DEMOCRATIC VOTE. EVEN THEN MR GERRARD SIMONPILLAI WANTED ALL PAST COMMITTEE MEMBERS TO BE THROWN OUT AND NEW ONES ELECTED. RAYMOND SANTIAGO ANOTHER SENIOR MEMBER’S SUGGESTION TO ALLOW THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE TO CONTINUE FOR TWO YEARS, WHICH HAS BEEN THE TRADITION WAS OPPOSED BY MR.GERRAD SIMONPILLAI FORCING A VOTE BY THE GENERAL BODY WHERE HIS REQUEST WAS DENIED. PLEASE NOTE THE DIVISION IT MIGHT HAVE CAUSED. EVEN AFTER ALL THE COMMITTEE WAS ELECTED AND THE MEETING HAD CONCLUDED MR GERRARD SIMONPILLAI WAS SEEN ASKING THE PRESIDENT WHAT WAS HE GOING TO DO FOR THIS YEAR. AGAIN I LEAVE TO YOU FOLKS TO DRAW CONCLUSIONS FROM THIS.
IT SHOULD BE NOTED THAT HIS E-MAILS REGARDING THE “DEMAND LETTER” AND “QUORUM” WAS AFTER THE A.G.M WAS CONCLUDED. IN ANOTHER E-MAIL FOLLOWING IT MR GERRARD SIMONPILLAI APOLOGISED FOR USING A DEGRADING TAMIL WORD ON BOTH MYSELF AND MR HERMAN VIJAYAKUMAR BUT NOW REFERRED TO US AS “BELL-BOYS”. THIS IS JUST REPLACING ONE DEGRADING WORD WITH ANOTHER.
MR GERRARD SIMONPILLAI CHANGED HIS TACTIC IN HIS LATEST E-MAIL. IN MY OPINION HE STARTED ANOTHER TACTIC WHICH WAS THE AGE OLD TRADITON OF “DIVIDE AND CONQUER”. HE PRAISED SENIOR MEMBERS MR RAJINTHRAKUMAR AND ANTON RAJASINGHAM FOR LEAVING THE COMMITTEE SO THEY CAN BE REPLACED BY YOUNG MEMBERS. A COMMENDABLE DEED INDEED. BUT MR GERARD SIMONPILLAI WHO IS SENIOR TO BOTH THESE MEMBERS MENTIONED, WANTS TO BE STILL IN THE COMMITTEE AS THE PAST PRESIDENT. THIS IN SPITE OF THE FACT THAT HE RESIGNED FROM THE PREVIOUS COMMITTEE. I AGAIN LEAVE TO YOU FOLKS TO DRAW YOUR OWN CONCLUSIONS FROM THIS UTTERANCES AND ACTIONS FROM MR GERRARD SIMONPILLAI.
I AM NOT AT ALL HAPPY TO PUT OUT THIS NARRATION REGARDING MR GERRARD SIMONPILLAI. I JUST WANT THE MEMBERS TO KNOW WHAT TRANSPIRED EXACTLY. IF I DID NOT BRING THE FACTS TO THE FOREFRONT MY REPUTATION WILL BE AT STAKE. IT IS NOT MY INTENTION TO DAMAGE THE IMPECCABLE REPUTATION OF MR GERRARD SIMONPILLAI. I STILL THINK MAY BE DUE TO FLAWED PERCEPTIONAL THINKING HIS DECISIONS WERE CLOUDED. HE HAS BEEN A SENIOR MEMBER AND I HOPED THAT HIS EFFORTS WOULD FOCUS ON ADVANCING THE TEAM GOALS INSTEAD OF PERSONAL GOALS AND EXACTING VENDETTA FOR PERCEIVED INJUSTICES DONE. BUT I WANT TO PUT IN ALL THE FACTS SO THAT YOU ALL WILL BE THE JUDGES. WE REPRESENT A PROUD AND RESPECTABLE EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTION WITH UPTEEN NUMBER OF YEARS IN EXISTENCE. I HOPE WE WILL SEE OUR LOFTY IDEALS REALISED. WE WILL BE HAVING OUR FIRST COMMITTEE MEETING DAY AFTER TOMORROW (SUNDAY) AND MAY GOD GIVE ALL OF US THE GUIDANCE TO PILOT OUR SHIP THROUGH THIS STORMY WATERS.
(Gerrard’s Note: from Constitution
EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE: (a) The Executive Committee shall consist of six-member Committee of Management - a President, a Vice President, an Honorary General Secretary, an Honorary Assistant General Secretary, an Honorary Treasurer and an Honorary Assistant Treasurer plus Eight (8) committee members and the immediate Past President, all of whom except the immediate Past President shall be elected from the members in good standing each year at the Annual General Meeting of the Association.
My (Gerrard) Email to the President & Committee members on October 26 2017
I will not be able to attend to the meeting this week. As I will not be there I would like you to take care of the (original) Financial Statement re submitted to the Auditor and approved..
The original Financial statement submitted to the Auditor by Treasurer includes the Donation to cover the Travel expenses of the Cheif Guest. The Auditor removed it at the request of Mathy & Herman and your failure to respond to him in time. The audited version of the Statement was never signed by the Treasurer. Even you did not sign at the time and you got it passed at the AGM. You never gave time to Treasurer to explain the report and got your people to pass it.
How could you approve a financial statement not even signed by the Treasurer. You were only interested in serving an another term and you did not care about anything else.
You had 2 chances that you could have solved this issue. The Day before the AGM I spoke to you over half an hour and asked you to solve this issue and you did not listen. Even at the AGM you could have solved it. You missed both chances. This will be the third and final chance for you to solve this issue. 8 committee members (including me 9) out of 13/14 supported the donation to be included in the Financial statement. 2 opposed. 3 were non committed.
In a democratic institution you as a president should have listened to the majority. which you did not. If failed to do this again you are making a big mistake which you will regret it.
After reading Mr. xxxxxxxxxxxxxx’s (Past President) comments you wrote a letter saying I am trying put down the association. I will never do that because I know how hard I worked to bring this back to a certain level. You asked me why I did not file the legal action. Yes I waited after reading Mr. xxxxxxxxxxxx’s (past President) mail in the hope you will act according to his advice. But you ignored and send your nasty email. So this Sunday is your last chance to solve this issue. If you failed to do it, no one will be able to stop me from what I proceed to do.
Hope you will listen to some wise people's advice and do the right thing.
(Gerrard’s Note: The meeting was held on Sunday and the committee ignored my warning and did not make any attempt to solve the issue. Two days before the Meeting (on Friday) I met the President at a Funeral viewing and spoke to him for a length of time and requested him to take the right decision at the meeting. My First Facebook post came next day after the meeting. They had 30 days to solve the issue.)
HOW THE FINANCIAL STATEMENTS GOT APPROVED
Let me explain how the Association passed the financial statement at the AGM 2017 against the procedures and against the Not for profit Corporations Act.
The Not for profit corporations acts says:
(2) The approval of the directors must be evidenced by the signature of one or more directors
(3) If the corporation has an audit committee, the audit committee shall review the financial statements of the corporation before they are approved by the directors.
(4) A corporation shall not issue, publish or circulate copies of the annual financial statements unless they are,
(a) approved and signed in accordance with subsections (1) and (2); and
(b) accompanied by the audit or review engagement report, if any
At the AGM in 2017, the financial report distributed did not meet the above requirements. It was not signed by President & Treasurer. The Secretary distributed the documents to members without the consent of the Treasurer which was not signed. The Treasurer was not allowed to present and discuss the Financial Statement. They got it passed without discussing any matter from the statement.
My understanding on how an Auditor should handle the financial statement, is that he cannot remove an item from the financial statement. He can record his opinion in a statement. But in our case the auditor removed the donation given by members for the flight ticket to the priest and approved the financial statement. But he did not remove all other donations listed in the financial statement, which did not meet the criteria for approval including the fraudulent donation claimed by the President #JudenorldFrancis. What Auditor should have done is noted his comments and submitted to the directors.
The Auditor is the one who asked the Treasurer to get the voting from members. As per his instructions the Treasurer called for the voting. There is no rules stipulates that The Treasurer cannot call for voting from other directors in a financial matter. The Auditor knew the results were in favor. But after talking to the president he removed the item. But he did not remove the fraudulent claim made by the President #JudeFrancis.
The night after receiving all the votes The President #Jude_Francis spoke to the Auditor and then he wrote a letter where he said:: “I have spoken in depth to the auditor regarding the inclusion of the donation. I believe we are on the same page regarding this. Our ledger should only involve transactions relating to our funds”.
In another letter the president wrote “There was a call for a vote on the issue was made by the Treasurer without informing the President or the Secretary, with no appropriate amount of time left for the decision. Ultimately I decided to uphold the recommendation of the auditor”.
I know the Auditor very well. I don’t think he had any wrong intention. But the president #Judenorld_Francis by his actions brought the Auditor also into this mess. But now the Auditor is in a situation to explain what the president meant by saying “We are on the same page”.
If Auditor would have not removed the item and left it for members to discuss and decide, we will not be in the situation where we are now.
PRESIDENT JUDENORLD FRANCIS'S DISHONEST ACTS
President breaching the Constitution
I have mentioned below some clauses of the constitution which the President and the executive committee have breached.
8(d) all questions, problems and other matters would be decided by Executive Committee members by majority vote, except this constitution. It could only be amended or changed at a duly constituted general meeting with full quorum.
When 8 out 13 members voted to include the donation, The President & the Secretary failed to accept it and went against the decision of the Majority.
8(c) the quorum for Annual General Meeting shall be 1/3rd of the registered membership. This could be waived only under extenuating circumstances. Unless the majority present at the AGM fail to agree on the continuation of the AGM then any decision arrived at the Meeting with less than 1/3rd registered membership should be explained to the general membership and could rescinded when full quorum is obtained.
The was no quorum at the AGM. So the decisions made at the AGM is not valid until it’s get approved by members with quorum.
1 (a) The Executive Committee shall consist of six-member Committee of Management - a President, a Vice President, an Honorary General Secretary, an Honorary Assistant General Secretary, an Honorary Treasurer and an Honorary Assistant Treasurer plus Eight (8) committee members and the immediate Past President, all of whom except the immediate Past President shall be elected from the members in good standing each year at the Annual General Meeting of the Association. (“Members in good standing” is the status assigned to the persons who have remained current on membership dues which cover a 12-month period)
1(b) if the immediate Past President chooses not to continue in the new committee, then the Members present at the AGM may choose one of the Past Presidents present to fill that vacant position.
The Past President at AGM chose to continue at the present committee. So the argument he resigned from the past committee is irrelevant.
11(a) all funds of the association shall be deposited in a suitable account and operated by the committee of Management in a federally regulated Bank or Financial Institution in Canada. All transactions in this account including transfers and withdrawals out of this account should be authorized by at least two members of the Committee of Management one of whom should be either the President or the Honorary General secretary and the second authorizing person shall be the Honorary Treasurer or the Honorary Assistant Treasurer
The President and secretary have been signing the cheques. The constitution does not allow that.
Dishonest Acts by the President
Raffle Prize at SPC Gala
Claimed Donation of $1000 in the Financial Report. Expenses were shown as paid to “Travel Agent”. The travel agent was not paid, because the winner did not claim the prize yet. The money he claimed as donation was not deposited to the Association’s account. When no transactions have occurred, how could he show that in the past financial report. That leaves the responsibility to pay the travel agent on the Association. He should have deposited the money to the Account. So far he has not done that (I am not aware whether he deposited the money after my face book post). Also what is the First Prize winner getting if he did not use the discount voucher? The committee should soon give at least half or the full amount to the winner if he decides not to use the voucher from the donation the president supposedly deposited.
SPC Gala Billing
The President handling catering for the SPC Gala was a conflict of interest. The committee was told That Hilton Hotel is handling everything except the midnight snack. But the final invoice for the entire event was submitted by JC’s Banquet & Catering, the President’s own company. Where are the invoices from The Hotel or the Backdrop Company?
I was given the assignment for table arrangements. We had a total of 400 guests including volunteers. I spoke to the president and he agreed to put 42 tables and charge for 400 because I told him not all the tables will have 10 people (some had 8 and some 9). On the day of the event around noon, the President called me and said he has 20 more guests, so his own guest count would total 70. I told him I cannot change table arrangements because everything has been finalized, so he could add 2 tables and make that 43 & 44. He only paid for 60 guests instead of 70, yet he invoiced SPC for the extra 20 guests. He invoiced for 420 people. President, where is that $700? Can you be honest and pay back the $700 to the Association?
He also charged the Association $2400 for a midnight snack. He charged for 400 people @ $6 per head. If you ask any caterers, they will not charge for 400 people. If you have 400 people, they will charge for 200-250 people for midnight snack. He is very aware that half of the people would have left early.
The Committee is responsible to register and file for HST with Revenue Canada when the revenue for 12 months exceeds $50,000. It’s been 6 months and the committee has not taken any action to proceed with that. Hope you all do it soon. Also you should remit the HST to Revenue Canada.
The President & Secretary did not allow the Treasurer to read the Financial Report and discuss it. They distributed the report not signed by the president & the Treasurer and approved it at the AGM which did not have quorum. So the approval are not valid. It should be approved by the General members with quorum.
A decision was made by the present committee to expel the Past President. Who gave them that authority? The constitution does not allow the committee to expel anyone. This is a serious matter. Expelling and distributing the letter to general membership is a violation.