Open Letter to the Executive Committee and...

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Posted by panch from ? ( on Tuesday, May 14, 2002 at 9:05AM :

...The Members of the Assyrian American Association of San Jose.

Dear people,

This Wednesday night your executive committee will meet. As you know I have sent a series of letters to you asking, for one thing, that I be allowed to make a presentation to your membership about the new Lamasu Monument Project. This will be a really exciting project that involves placing copies of the monument in many cities around the world as a way to bring us together in a spirit of resurrection and solidarity over and through our Art and symbols...something I believe we desperately need or we will degenerate even further as a People. I sincerely hope you allow me to do so. I promise it will not bore you, and will involve no personal anything.

I have also sent you other letters, and most recently I will be delivering to you a packet for each member of the executive board containing material that I feel you should be made aware of. For one there is a copy of the letter my lawyer sent to your president and the president of the AANF in which he informed you of the laws you may have breached in denying me access to the convention at the last minute...for the reasons pertaining. This letter was apparently never shown to you, and you still do not know that I tried to make peace and warn your organization that you might be going down a path you should at least think twice about, get legal advice about before commencing.

I believe you were not well served by your president, to whom this letter was addressed AS your president. While your rules do not explicitly mandate that all correspondence, even of a legal nature threatening complications from the actions you may be contemplating, or be ignorant of but which will involve your organization nonetheless...I would think the possibility of being involved in costly litigation was something you should have been told of, so you could make an informed and intelligent decision on whether to proceed or not.

If being kept in the dark about such pending action is something you don't mind, then never mind. However, the very thing we tried to warn you of...asking merely that I be allowed to display my sculpture as my 24 year agreement with the AANF has allowed me to do...and not bar me at the last moment because of a personal dispute having nothing to do with that agreement...will now come to pass.

In order to defend myself against the charge that I slandered your president by claiming she was negligent in her responsibility as your president, placing your Association at unnecessary risk and causing you to incur legal expenses when your money could be far better spent...I am forced to sue your organization to prove my point. Your president, acting in your name and the name of the AANF did indeed stop me from selling my work or gaining further sponsors for the Hammurabi Monument, but this isn't the place to thrash that out. I just what to make one last attempt to allow you to make an informed know in advance exactly what will happen soon.

I have to file an answer and a counter complaint. I only have thirty days to do that and almost two weeks have gone by already. In order to leave your Association out of this, I have asked for a letter from your executive board, representing as it does the best interests of your total membership, addmitting that you were not made aware of the original letter from my lawyer sent before the convention...or of the "contract" that I was aksed to sign...the contract "on" me as it turned out because it was to be enforced ONLY against me. There is ample evidence of this including testimony of the other artists who were made to sign the contract, but who were never prevented from selling or asked to leave, as only I was.

These things were done without your knowledge apparently, at least I need that clarification from you. In addition I would ask that you tell me what you would have recommended had you been aware...would you have proceeded anyway...would you have agreed without question...would you have suggested some legal review just to shore up your position? It seems to me any of these actions would have made you pause and perhaps a different course would have been taken, and we spared being brought to this point where we must now go before the public, not to unveil a lovely Assyrian Monument, but to air out what should have been kept private and handled in a far more professional manner. The questions you may not want to committ to writing now and save your Association a lawsuit, you will just have to answer later when we go to trial. The difference being that if you do it now, you spare your Association from being involved in a lawsuit...the kind no one really "wins" anyway.

I want to give you every chance to avoid I only asked of you that I be allowed to display my sculpture back then. You were told that I was a troublemaker hellbent on destroying everything. In fairness I think you would have to admit that I made no trouble for anyone there. Even after having worked for five months to prepare my sculptures, and having brought them to display and being told to leave at the last minute, I never raised my voice, I fought with no one...I merely refused to sign such a patently fraudulent document, and left.

I know there are issues of loyalty and friendship for you to consider. But there is also the issue of your reponsibility to your people like my uncle John Toma and others who have since died, who worked hard to build up your Association. At the same time that you hold picnics and breakfasts and struggle to meet your mortgage and insurance and utilities...trying so hard all along to do the work you were incorporated to should not have to ask your members to pay legal expenses for a lawsuit you can easily avoid and which you had apparently no hand in bringing on. There is a question of loyalty to your members and the assests you all hold in trust. Surely that is a question of loyalty also?

Please take a little time to review what I have submitted and discuss it openly and completely...much depends on it. I am forced to file these papers soon and have placed the name of your organization on the list of people in my counter claim. Once the papers are filed the wheels begin to churn you up too. You will have thirty days to respond or be in will need a lawyer and the fees begin to mount. If anyone offers to cover your legal expenses as a way of keeping your "loyalty", you might do well to ask who will pay your share of any damages I might be awarded. I will turn out to be a benevolent landlord though should it come to that. It is better to know these things ahead of you should have known from the beginning the road I, and now you, have been forced to go down...much to everyone's loss and to no sane person's satisfaction.

I am asking you to step aside and let this rumbling freight train pass you by. At least consider it carefully.

Thank You

Fred Parhad

-- panch
-- signature .

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