To all OKAA members:
Let it be known that the duly elected board of the Oklahoma Acupuncture Association from the election of September 2019 consisting of President Tim Williamson, Vice President Debra Baker, Treasurer Yvonne Van Eijk, and temporary Secretary Anna Veronesi, acting as temporary in the resignation of former Secretary Brandy Valentine, has agreed upon this document as truthful and in accordance with the past practices and By-Laws of the Oklahoma Acupuncture Association.
At the OKAA’s quarterly meeting in September of 2019, a group of individuals attended and presented a written copy of a version of the Associations by-laws as they appeared at the time on our website. This version of the by-laws had been altered to grant anyone immediate eligibility to run for office and voting privileges.
As is evident from the live stream video on the OKAA Face Book page, the election was in dispute. However, I allowed these members to run for officer positions, as a way to diffuse the situation. At that time these individuals also announced that by recognizing their ability to run that we must also allow new members to vote at the meeting. They then let it be known that they had approximately twenty friends and family members, including (as we later discovered) their own minor children. Many of them had joined the OKAA in the late hours of the night prior to the meeting. Therefore, it wasn’t until weeks later we were able to discover that most of these last-minute members joined as “friends of Acupuncture” (a non-practitioner level membership), and that some weren’t even residents of the state.
The election results were tallied and recorded on a document later turned over by the then-secretary. The document contains miscounted votes and totals which did not add up to the same as the number of persons at the meeting or voting by proxy.
As our elections had never been contested before within the OKAA, and not knowing exactly what to do in this situation, I erred in handing over the seal of the Association prior to the end of the meeting. This new group insisted on gaining access to the Association’s bank account, and was told that the bank account is never turned over until after the symposium, scheduled to take place in less than thirty days. The former secretary presented a document to the bank stating that all of the board members had resigned, and named these new individuals as the President and treasurer of the OKAA.
However, just one day prior to this new group taking over the bank account, I removed all but one dollar from the account. I placed the money into a cashier’s check made out to the “OKAA”. I handed the check over to our attorney for safe keeping until which time a judge could decide who the rightful owners of that money was.
This prompted the other group to post a picture of the withdrawal slip online with the Association’s account number on it. They also reported this to the Tulsa Police Department as embezzlement. No ill intent existed and the location of the money was known to all involved. It was not stolen or used for any purposes other than to hold in a safe place to prevent anyone from using the money until the results of the election could be settled by a judge.
The OKAA placed an emergency restraining order against the three persons claiming the positions of President, Vice President, and Treasurer, as well as the former Secretary who had sole access to the website. This restraining order stopped them from posting on social media i.e. Face Book, Twitter and doing blogs where they were talking very poorly of the membership of the OKAA.
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On 12-5-2019, in the Cherokee county district court, judge Kirkley ruled that the recent OKAA election was invalid and that we must hold another election within 30 days of his order. The election must be held in accordance with the rules that had previously been followed by the OKAA. Only professional acupuncturists in good standing (those who’ve attended 2 of the last 4 meetings and paid their dues) may run or vote. The cashier’s check was returned and a we opened a new account to deposit the funds into. The judge further found no wrongdoing of myself in my actions of withdrawing and keeping the OKAA funds.
Tim Williamson, President OKAA