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PeterC

Messages of support fro Darren TR5tar

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'Wise Men' report on the TRR website. "Wise Men' is between brackets for a reason... This is not going to end well. AGM is up within a few days. Enough reasons for a firm debate.

Menno

 

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Having read the report, either Darren committed Infanticide, Murder and Ethnic Cleansing or something smells in Denmark (no not you Menno).

Will be interesting to see what the reaction of the great unwashed on the TRR forum is.

Alan 

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Darren's 'crime' would appear to be that he questioned the behaviour of the BoD and other officers in respect of its fiscal and legal requirements.  Since it was appointed by the plaintiff, the Independent Review Panel was never likely to be 'independent'.  I trust Darren will wear this kangaroo court's ban with a degree of pride.

I would wager, Alan, that the matter will wash over the majority of the membership, who won't bother to look beyond the 'authority' of the BoD's 'independent' review.  But maybe somebody with an intimate knowledge of the workings of the TRR will appear hereabouts to offer a justification of this charade.  After all, the TRR appears to be increasingly just about national awards and public image.

Paul

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All I can contribute is that I have previously stated that I have confidence in the Independent Review Panel - knowing of and raced with one of them.  This hasn’t changed.

I don’t know what they now know as part of the investigation. 

That all parties close to this matter agreed to any recommendations.

H  

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30 minutes ago, Hamish said:

All I can contribute is that I have previously stated that I have confidence in the Independent Review Panel - knowing of and raced with one of them.  This hasn’t changed.

I don’t know what they now know as part of the investigation. 

That all parties close to this matter agreed to any recommendations.

H  

The trick the BoD used was to limit the 3WM to evaluating events since 2017.  The origins if the spat lie further back. IF expulsion is to be sued as a tool to prtect the company there shoudl have been two lifetime bans.

Peter

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This thread dates back to when it all blew up at TRR.

It ws hot news then, but now, is it seemly to be discussing their dirty washing?  

John

Edited by JohnD

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Since it's been posted in a public area of a website, it's fair game to reproduce here.  I can only assume this is the "short" version of the report as mentioned late in the report.  I'd love to read the long version.

 

Independent Review Panel  Interim Report

The Board of Directors (BoD) of T.R Owners Club Ltd, aka The TR Register (the Register), became concerned at the behaviour of one of its members and launched a disciplinary hearing which resulted in that member being temporarily expelled.

Through the medium of the Register’s online forum supporters of the expelled member brought theexpulsion to the trustees of the Spares Development Fund (SDF) of which he was a member. Since one cannot be a member of the SDF without being a member of the Register there followed a call for an EGM of the Register.

To limit the damage to the Register that would accrue from such an EGM, a compromise was reached in the establishment of an Independent Panel to investigate the events and to deliver an impartial report and recommendations to the board.

The remit of the Panel’s investigation was specified as six topics. Under the heading of each topicare given the Panel’s findings and recommendations.

1. To investigate in detail the goings-on in the Vale of White Horse Group (VoWH) from mid-2017 to the present

VoWH which had dwindled to a handful of regular attendees was reinvigorated to up to 24 attendees by Robert Longstaff as Group Leader with Darren Cummings as his deputy.

It soon became clear that there were differing opinions as to how VoWH was to be run. During this period no attempt was made to bring the developing factions together.

It became apparent that a split was inevitable with one group following the TR Register’scurrent guidelines and the other group giving the impression they were not.

After a number of visits by other TR Register personnel the problem was raised to Board level for discussion.

After proxy voting was requested by some members of the group it was rejected by others. A decision was taken to have joint leaders. This arrangement soon foundered due to restricted flow of information between the two Group Leaders.

Subsequently Darren Cummings was invited to the Board of Directors to answer allegations about his conduct.

Our recommendations are:

VoWH in its current form to be wound up. Any funds held by the group are to be redistributed to those who had provided them.

Robert Longstaff be allowed to continue with his new group, the Ridgeway, on his return from extended holiday.

Any remaining members of VoWH who do not wish to join the Ridgeway Group are free to join any other Group of their choice. If they wish to start a new group they must apply through the normal channels.

Interim Report 1 © Independent Panel 18/11/2018

2. To investigate in detail the hearings involving Darren Cummings and the TRR Board of Directors (BoD) which resulted in the expulsion from the club of Darren Cummings

What was originally intended to be a fact-finding hearing into Darren Cummings behaviour evolved into a disciplinary hearing because the TR Register has no formal disciplinary procedure. The invitation sent to Darren Cummings reads as if it were a disciplinary hearing.

Investigation revealed that the current Articles of Association give no guidance as to how such matters are to be addressed. The BoD elected to start the process without taking the trouble to formulate a process by which a disciplinary hearing should be convened.

BoD failed to ensure that Darren Cummings had 14 clear days’ notice of the meeting but invited him to attend the next board meeting which was 14 days away. The invitation to the meeting contained headline statements of the behaviour under consideration and no detailed supporting evidence, which was available, was either attached to the invitation or tabled during the meeting.

It is our recommendation that the BoD put in place a formal disciplinary procedure as soon as possible.

3. To investigate in detail the mechanisms used by the BoD in this expulsion, and whether the requirements of the club’s Articles of Association and of the CompaniesAct 2006 had been followed correctly

We believe that the BoD acted correctly in accordance with the current Articles of Association as there were no mechanisms for suspension, revocation or other sanctions with regard to amember’s status.

Our recommendations are:

That the Articles of Association and associated documentation be re-written to meet the requirements of modern governance.

In particular, the Articles of Association and the Code of Conduct for Members, be rewritten toinclude the ability of the BoD to suspend, revoke or otherwise change a member’s status.

The BoD as the senior committee of the TR Register is the final arbiter of all matters and, therefore, the Companies Act 2006 is not relevant to this issue.

We did find there is some confusion between the role of the BoD as the board of directors of the company, the TR Owners Club Ltd, and that as the management committee of the club, The TR Register.

A further recommendation is that the BoD consult as to how this confusion can be clarified

page2image3145405984

Interim Report 2 © Independent Panel 18/11/2018

4. To investigate the use of the forum in this case and the appropriateness of some ofthe members’ postings

In this particular case, and only considering this issue, we have found no inappropriate posts on the forum.

Our recommendations are:

It is essential that each and every Board member engages regularly with the forum under their own name and not a pseudonym.

New forum rules should be put in place and suitably displayed on the forum with each new member required to agree to the rules upon registration. These should not attempt to suppress honest and reasoned criticism of either members or institutions of the Club

We recommend that the moderators seek guidance and provide consistent and firm moderation.

We support the concept of a forum area for non-technical subjects but to avoid giving a poorimpression of the TR Register it should be within the members’ only part of the forum.

There should be a specific board member responsible for the forum who is forum cognisant and, in effect, a group leader.

5. To investigate the appropriate use of authority by Directors and the Board, and the behaviour and actions of the parties directly involved, including members claiming confidentiality

We are aware of one case of inappropriate behaviour by one Director which he subsequently apologised for. The apology was accepted.

In general we believe that other parties involved acted in the best interests of the TR Register with the exception of Darren Cummings who acted in a divisive and controversial manner at every point, refusing to work with Wayne Scott, Robert Longstaff and Derek Hurford.

During our investigation we found that there had been a misuse of proxy voting instigated by Darren Cummings.

We recommend that the BoD look at proxy voting procedures, determine whether they require refinement and ensure that the process is properly explained to the membership.

6. To produce a detailed report of the investigation and of the findings, and to make recommendations as to any actions which the BoD ought to take in this case and the future.

The report will be provided to the BoD in time for the 2018 AGM.

Our recommendations are as outlined in points 1 to 5 above and the following further points:

The short version of the Independent Review Panel shall be published in TR Action and on the forum in a non-public area.

The current Group Leaders’ Guidelines are not fit for purpose and need to be overhauled as a group constitution. Other clubs have a model which they will let us use.

After a long and thorough and at times distressing investigation by the panel it is regrettable that in this particular case we find that continuation of Darren Cummings’ membership is not in thebest interest of the TR Register and, therefore, he be given a life time ban from membership.

Interim Report 3 © Independent Panel 18/11/2018

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2 hours ago, Hamish said:

All I can contribute is that I have previously stated that I have confidence in the Independent Review Panel - knowing of and raced with one of them.  

Who actually was on the IRP, was it actually published?

Alan

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The panel members were listed in TR action 309.

They were:- PhilipAnsley Watson, Tom Purves and Rob Jenner.

Brian

 

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14 minutes ago, oldtuckunder said:

Who actually was on the IRP, was it actually published?

Alan

Tom Purves and a couple of other long standing but relatively unknown TRR members.

The other combatant in this scrap, who felt antagonised by DC, has been on a long vacation so it is doubtful the 3WM ever got to cross-examine him. His motives underlie this dispute.

Peter

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Given the report, I'd make these observations (as an antipodean, these come from a long long way away).

1.  I've seen nothing in this thread until now suggesting a misuse of proxy voting instigated by Darren Cummings.  "During our investigation we found that there had been a misuse of proxy voting instigated by Darren Cummings."  I'm curious to know if the full report provided evidence of this, if the evidence was put to Darren Cummings, and if he was offered a chance to defend himself.

2.  I'm curious to hear if Darren Cumming was given the opportunity to defend himself on the charge that "Darren Cummings who acted in a divisive and controversial manner at every point, refusing to work with Wayne Scott, Robert Longstaff and Derek Hurford."  There are a number of words there that are interesting, mostly the "every point", and the "refusing".  "Divisive" and "Controversial" are adjectives which are subjective measures, but "every point" and "refusing" are definitive.  If factual, they are fine.  But if they are exaggerations , they would render the report factually incorrect at best, and laughable at worst.

3.  It should be remembered that those making the report may be hamstrung by the governing rules of the TRR.  If in fact they only have expulsion as an available disciplinary action, then if they feel action is needed, it's possible they're stuck with one action.

4.  If I were a member of the club, I would be taking particular note of rule 14 and rule 42.  Read together, they suggest that any member can inspect the record of every decision of the board for the last 10 years.  I suspect the board minutes may be instructive..

"Records of decisions to be kept 14. The directors must ensure that the Club keeps a record, in writing, for at least 10 years from the date of the decision recorded of every decision taken by the directors."

"Right to inspect accounts and other records

42. Any Member of the Club shall be entitled to inspect the books and records of the Club at the Club address during normal business hours by giving seven days notice in writing."

5.  Given the report contents, it looks like 23.5(c) may have been violated.

6.  It's rare there's smoke without some sort of heat or fire, and we all do some silly things.  Darren may need to examine his conscience, but it's rare someone acts badly enough to be excluded for life from their favourite bunch of anorak wearing car nerds.

7.  No where, absolutely no where in the Articles of association does it mention life bans.  Expulsion, but not life bans. There is also no distinction between provisional member and members.  Nothing I can see would stop an expelled member from re-joining, and, as a provisional member, exercising all the rights of a member until a properly constituted directors meeting decides their membership.  So an expelled member could rejoin just (for instance) before a General meeting.

8.  If I were Darren, I would treat the club with the distain it deserves, and Groucho Marx them.

 

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Thank you again to all that have offered support over this. It means such a lot to me to know that the majority in our community are kind and decent people who can see when things are not right. 

I've talked to Nick this morning and asked if he is comfortable with me adding to this thread. He said he is happy for me to do so, so my thanks to him and everyone else on the ST team for their consideration.

I'll not go into the finer detail of what I think to the review panel's finding here, but I will say that I believe I have been misrepresented to them, and that in my interview it seemed clear to me that their sympathies were with the BODs. Certain statements were made that left me in little doubt. I am more than happy to discuss these matters with anyone in private.

Craig, in his post above, has picked out of the panel's statement some of the most important issues. I'll try to answer the questions raised. 

1. This allegation that I instigated the misuse of proxy voting is extremely serious in my mind. Up until the point that the statement was made public I had no knowledge of this allegation. It was not put to me at either meeting I attended with the panel (or at the hearing the BODs conducted) and I struggle to understand what it refers to. My fellow GL was very keen to have proxy voting for the EGM that had been proposed for our group to decide on who would lead it, but many of the active group members argued that voting for leadership positions should be reserved for those members that attend group meetings. It would have been  difficult to police proxy voting (especially as the group seemed to have an influx of new members signing up just before the EGM) and it was against the group's custom and practice. And so, at my group, proxy voting was never offered. Therefore, I'm not sure how I could have misused something that we never undertook. And so, to answer Craig's specific questions, no evidence was put to me regarding this allegation and therefore I had no chance to respond to it.  

2.  If questioning and criticizing board decisions makes me controversial and divisive, then I cannot argue with that. I have been vocal on the club's forum when I disagree with the direction the club is taking, as have many others. If I did not get satisfactory answers from directors I kept pushing. Often I felt I was being fobbed off with vague statements, so I'd ask for clarification on official, headed company paper. I rarely got it. Many of my group members showed discontent with the direction of the club and so I felt it was my duty to represent those members. First and foremost, I serve the members of my group.  I have the backing of the majority that involve themselves. I did say that I no longer wished to work with Wayne by supplying him with material for the magazine, and I said that I'd not work "under" anyone in the club, especially someone unelected. I was told by Derek that I was "answerable" to Robert. I am happy to work with anyone in the club if they behave in a reasonable manner towards me, but as far as I can see I do not contravene any rule by not working with someone. I pay my subs, which makes me equal with every other member. By being a member, I do not see that I am obliged to do anything at all for the club if I do not wish to.

3. The club's current M&As do not allow a member to be suspended. It was suspension that the board originally wanted for me, but because that option was not open, they couched it in terms of expulsion. To me that is totally wrong headed. If they were unable to do what they wished within the scope of the M&As, they should have waited to amend the M&As and then undertook the action against me, or concede that there was nothing to be done. Instead, rules were manipulated in order to get the desired result.

4. Before my original hearing, I asked to inspect the minutes of board meetings going back a year. My request was ignored. After my expulsion was suspended, I asked again. This time I was able to go to the office to inspect the minutes. The details were incredibly scant. There was very little recorded about my expulsion. I would have liked to hear the audio recordings of these meetings and seen the discussions that took place on the BODs private forum, but this was not provided. For this year's AGM, I put forward a resolution that all director discussions relating to the club and its members should be available. If there is nothing to hide, there is nothing to fear. I have copied the minutes of those meetings almost word for word.      

I am very upset by this, as despite the way I'm painted, I have a great deal of respect for the club. I have met many wonderful people by being a member. However, there is an arrogance shown by some, who think the club is their own private kingdom. They seem to believe that they are the club! One of the things I discussed with the panel was the view held by some that members need to be part of the club. That might have been the case once, when it was difficult to obtain parts and information, but now that's a simple click of a button. Members should want the club, not need it.   All that really matters to me now is that the friends I have made in the Triumph community see these actions against me for exactly what they are. 

I am pleased that I have ST and look forward to being more active here. As for my local TR community, we will carry on just as before ... enjoying our cars and our friendships. Hopefully, in time, those members who I believe are damaging the club will move on and it will be a happy place again, but until then I most certainly want nothing to do with the way they are dragging the club.  

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I started typing this before Darren's post, had a network problem, just recovered and was about to hit send, when I saw Darrens post.

I find myself in a situation where I have obviously made at least one misjudgement, possibly two, but now have to seriously consider the maxim that there is no smoke without fire, or at least something smouldering.

I publicly said when this whole issue first surfaced  that I thought how the board had handled the situation initially was bad, later when the IRP was first suggested I privately proposed one of IRP who I thought would be qualified, fair and certainly not going to be led, but I had no idea that they actually were appointed to the IRP.

I can only hope that at some point I find out enough to help me square the circle of my current doubts,  but I fear not. 

Alan

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One other thing I forgot to mention was that seven of my group members asked to speak with the panel on my behalf, but not one was contacted. They were rather upset by that. 

Best wishes,

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26 minutes ago, TR5tar said:

One other thing I forgot to mention was that seven of my group members asked to speak with the panel on my behalf, but not one was contacted. They were rather upset by that. 

Best wishes,

Darren,   That confirms my belief that the review panel was biased in favour of the Board. If any or all of those members care to PM on here ( NOT on TRR) I will endeavour to summarise their support for you while preserving their anonymity. All the best, Peter

 

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Thank you Peter. One of the difficulties is that all but two are not internet savvy, and so are not on ST or TRR. My former GL at VOWH and his wife did sign up to the TRR forum and did outline the goings on and speak on my behalf. They also wrote in, along with several other members, to support me at the initial hearing, but it seems they were dismissed. I think you saw some of the messages that were sent from my members. I will try to get them to sign up to ST or to contact you, but it might take a while. Several are livid over this.      

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4 minutes ago, TR5tar said:

Thank you Peter. One of the difficulties is that all but two are not internet savvy, and so are not on ST or TRR. My former GL at VOWH and his wife did sign up to the TRR forum and did outline the goings on and speak on my behalf. They also wrote in, along with several other members, to support me at the initial hearing, but it seems they were dismissed. I think you saw some of the messages that were sent from my members. I will try to get them to sign up to ST or to contact you, but it might take a while. Several are livid over this.      

Darren, By all means give them my email address. Peter

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A group of us called for an EGM after the BoD expelled Darren back in July, using evidence which the BoD had discussed amongst themselves, but would not disclose to Darren, nor give him a chance to answer.  Their process was flawed and unfair. 

We now have a situation where none of Darren's group members were heard, and a decision has been made without those members evidence in support of him.  Why? 

I am left feeling that the way they work is to decide on the outcome and then find evidence to support it, carefully ignoring anything which may not support the outcome they chose before they started.  

The result is bonkers.  As for the punishment, I am outraged.

Darren, moral courage is a quality that a lot of people don't have.  You have it in spades and have stuck your head above the parapet when you thought something was wrong, and have stood up to represent the views of your members.  The TRR would be a far better place with more people like you!

Vicky x

 

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Hi wise folk can anyone tell me if Darren’s Statement above could be Posted to the TR Forum without upsetting anyone on here.

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19 minutes ago, TR NIALL said:

Hi wise folk can anyone tell me if Darren’s Statement above could be Posted to the TR Forum without upsetting anyone on here.

I'd be happy to post it, but only if Darren wishes so.

Peter

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17 minutes ago, PeterC said:

I'd be happy to post it, but only if Darren wishes so.

Peter

That was also what I was going to do Peter after I got consent here.

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The three IR Panellists were, I thought, pretty intelligent and independent - but the comments here and on the TRR forum seems to paint a different picture. 

Darren - it must be extremely difficult - I hope we meet up again at a car event somewhere and I can understand more from your point of view as the evidence here suggests it has been suppressed.

Don't know what to think going forward. After 39/40 years of TRR membership, I will have a difficult decision to make next June.

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I have read the interim report several times now & each time I read it the more annoyed I get.

It would appear that since no proper procedures were in place for a hearing & they didn’t actually follow what few procedures that did exist then that’s ok as long as they put some in place for next time Sorry not good enough.

An unspecified director acted in an unspecified inappropriate manner but that’s ok because he apologised. Apologised for what & to who?
Sorry but this isn’t good enough. We may be voting for this person at the AGM

Then we have the new accusation that Darren misused proxy voting. Proxy voting has never been applicable at group elections & we are told never happened at VoWH. How can you misuse something that never happened?

Why were no members of the group interviewed enen though they volunteered to appear beore the IRP

I suggest the IRP has been carefully mislead.

Dave

 

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