TUG 2015 post-election: suspension of TUG president affirmed

(This letter was sent to all TUG members on February 17, 2016. We have posted it on the TUG web site since it potentially affects the entire TeX community. Questions or comments can be sent to board@tug.org. The announcement of the suspension and original election results and candidates' statements are available. Per the TUG bylaws, while the suspension of the president is effective, the vice-president assumes the duties of the office of president.)

As directors of the TeX Users Group, we are writing to you again regarding the suspension of Kaveh Bazargan as TUG President, and in particular, the appeal of that suspension. This message conveys notice that the TUG Board has unanimously voted to affirm the suspension.

The original letter to members is at https://tug.org/election/2015/suspension.html. As we wrote there, it is our opinion that TUG had improperly been brought into at least one private lawsuit by Kaveh.

It is our understanding that Kaveh, without notifying the Board, submitted in support of a suit he filed against another TUG member, a document that cites his election as TUG president. This document also includes the election statements of all other candidates for the Board, who were unaware of this use of their information.

We felt strongly that the use of TUG in this context was improper, and requested that Kaveh withdraw the documents from the suit. The Board repeated this request many times to try to convince Kaveh to complete this task.

No action was taken to comply with our request, nor was the request even acknowledged. Instead, we were told by Kaveh, among other things, that it was just a misunderstanding, and that the Board member election statements were not relevant to the court case. However, in our view no effort was made to withdraw the statements, nor was a statement made in a court filing that TUG is not, in any shape or form, involved in the lawsuits.

Kaveh's responses, and specifically, his decision to ignore repeated requests for information from the Board, only support the Board's determination that, at this time, Kaveh is not acting in the best interests of TUG, and that he is potentially using his position as TUG President as leverage in lawsuits where TUG is not being represented and has expressed a desire to not be involved.

We stress that the Board made repeated efforts, over the course of months, to have Kaveh mitigate against this conflict of interest. This included offers to have him take a temporary leave of absence while the court case(s) remained pending. All efforts were rebuffed. Accordingly, on 13 Oct 2015 the Board suspended his presidency.

On 12 Dec 2015, the Board received a Letter of Appeal from Kaveh. In the Board's view, it contained no new information but concluded with a direct threat that if he were not reinstated then there would be litigation, against the Board as a whole as well as individual directors.

The Board deliberated at length on an appropriate response. Because of the confrontational tone of the appeal, we have found it necessary to take the unprecedented step of engaging legal advice.

After much deliberation, the Board voted to unanimously affirm Kaveh's suspension. Thus, Kaveh has not been reinstated as TUG President.

—Barbara Beeton
for the TUG Board

$Date: 2016/02/17 19:12:39 $;
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