by: David Greifinger, lawyer for suspended Youth Committee
LetsRun.com note: According to the release below, the USATF Board and National Office have suffered a setback as an internal Grievance Panel has ruled that USATF must reinstate 12 of the 13 Youth Executive Committee Members it suspended last year without a hearing. The one consolation for the Board and National Office is the Grievance Panel did rule that the Chairman of the Youth Executive Committee, Lionel Leach, can remain suspended through May 24th of this year.
Last year, the USA Track and Field Board suspended the entire USATF Youth Committee and its Chairman Lionel Leach (13 people in total) without a hearing and then sued them in Federal court for tortious interference in regards to interfering with a contract for the registration system to be used for USATF youth meets. USATF at the time said, “Without immediate action, the damage to USATF athletes, vendors, sponsors and reputation would be irreparable. Accordingly, the board as the fiduciary body of USATF voted, 11-1, to suspend the entire Youth Executive Committee and its chairman, Lionel Leach.”
USATF’s lawsuit in federal court against the Youth Committee members is still going, although USATF has petitioned to drop three Youth Committee Members Norine Richardson, Henry McCallum, and Dorothy Dawson from the lawsuit. The fact USATF was rebuked by the grievance panel and that they are wanting to drop three people from the lawsuit indicates to LRC that they acted way too hastily in this matter.
Dorothy Dawson is an 85 year-old woman in a wheelchair who is viewed by many (1, 2) as a legend in Illinois track and field, and less than 7 years ago was honored with one of USATF’s most prestigious awards, the Bob Giegengack Award, that goes to someone “who has made an outstanding contribution to the development and success of USA Track & Field.” USATF should be ashamed for suing her and then dropping her from the lawsuit and should definitely pay her legals fees. A mistake like that can’t be made when dealing with your own volunteers. We can’t imagine how many dollars have been spent by USATF on this lawsuit.
Release from Youth Committee lawyer, Greifinger below. *Discuss this in our forum here