We reported earlier that ABATE of Colorado had fired its state coordinator for “breach of fiduciary duties,” and that investigation continues, but in the meantime the group has been fighting for its very existence.
As explained to members on Sunday by Bruce Downs, the newly selected State Coordinator, and Larry Montgomery, the Denver Metro Regional Representative, through lack of oversight and bad judgment, ABATE is saddled with a “deadly” loan than must be eliminated or the group will cease to exist. While declining to name names or provide much in the way of details, the two explained that this $40,000 loan is costing the group $287 per day.
The group sent emails on Thursday to all members asking for donations and also proposing collecting money from “investors” to purchase a $40,000 certificate of deposit. This CD would then serve as collateral for a bank loan on much more favorable terms, which would be used to pay off the “deadly” loan. Downs estimated that this new loan would only require monthly payments of $500. Those who put up the money will be repaid with interest at the end of the term for the CD, provided the new bank loan is paid off properly in the interim.
An email blast from the Motorcycle Riders Foundation, a motorcycle rights organization comparable to the state ABATEs on a national scale, also carried an ABATE of Colorado appeal for assistance. The response was immediate, said Downs. “Within two hours I had 32 emails,” and eventually 75-80 responses. Two were pledges of cash while the others ran all the way to “Your problem–too bad.”
According to Downs, the state organization is totally revamping its structure so that committees will run everything and no one person will have the ability to commit ABATE to anything–the board will have the final say. Meanwhile, the organization will be refocused on its primary mission of protecting motorcyclists’ rights, with rider training becoming a decidedly secondary function.
A big part of the group’s financial woes is due to the fact that rider training, which had been a big money-maker in the past, has not–for a variety of reasons–been so remunerative of late, and yet the steps this change demanded were not taken. Training sessions are being curtailed and training motorcycles are being sold, partially just to enable the group to continue paying the bills.
At the same time, all paid staff members for the state organization have “fired themselves” and are continuing to perform essential functions on a volunteer basis. The printed newsletter, the Spokesman, will be online only in December and it will cease to be published after that, in order to save money. Downs said that from that point forward, he will send an update every other week to district reps and they will be responsible for forwarding those to members in their districts.
Despite all this and more, it is not at all certain that ABATE of Colorado will manage to survive. The next couple months should tell, said Downs, who closed his presentation saying, “It’s time for the choir to start singing. This is not going to be Bruce’s organization; it can’t be one or two people. . . . I know everybody gives a lot of time; you’ve got to give more. I don’t know what else to say, right now we’re sink of swim. We’ve got maybe 30, 45 days, to figure it out. We’ve got to make ABATE a business like it should have been all along and we’re going to do that, if that’s what everybody wants to do. If everybody wants to sit back and say, ‘Aw, Larry will do it or Bruce will do it,’ it ain’t gonna happen.”
Recent from the Passes & Canyons Blog:
ABATE in Dire Straits