DAV members seek answers on why national commander revoked charter

Some members of Disabled American Veterans Chapter 10 in Kingman are having trouble understanding why the national commander revoked the chapter's charter in December.

"They never really told us why," said John Arnoldin, chapter commander for the past two years.

"They came up here in September and said they were taking over."

Joseph McDowell, the DAV's Arizona adjutant, and Jack Ware, the state commander, visited the Kingman chapter, bearing the bad news, Arnoldin said.

"The state has taken over and sold our building and land it was on and money we'd raised has been appropriated," said Tom Swanson, a life member of DAV Chapter 10 since 1982.

Swanson and chapter member Hank Fedrigon provided the Daily Miner with copies of correspondence between themselves, the state headquarters in Phoenix, national membership office in Cincinnati and U.S.

Rep Bob Stump about the closure.

One letter dated Sept.

21, 2001, from state headquarters to the national headquarters stated the chapter's charter was suspended on Sept.

18 for a period of 90 days.

The letter cited financial and regulatory problems as reasons for the takeover.

"As you are well aware, said letter placed the chapter on six months probation and required detailed monthly financial reports to be submitted to both the Department (of Arizona) and National within five days after the closing of the preceding month for a six-month period," a letter from DAV Department of Arizona to Arnoldin stated.

"An express condition contained in said letter was that at least 50 percent of the net income realized from all Chapter 10 fund-raising activities as well as 50 percent of any other Chapter income must be spent for service programs as approved by the Department on a Department pre-approved basis.

Monthly financial reports submitted to date do not satisfy said express requirements regarding the amount of Chapter income that must be spent for service."

Violation of National Executive Committee Regulations were cited as the second reason for the suspension of the charter.

"As you and other officers of Chapter 10 have been told on numerous occasions by both the National Headquarters and Department of Arizona, the NEC requires that funds raised in the cause or name of service to disabled veterans be used for charitable or service purposes," the letter stated.

"Fund-raising for fraternal purposes shall not constitute more than an insignificant part of the overall activities of the subordinate unit of the DAV.

Monthly financial reports submitted by Chapter 10 clearly show the Chapter's fund-raising activities, as well as funds realized there from, have predominantly been concentrated on and chiefly used for fraternal purposes."

The letter did not explain "fraternal purposes."

Ware was contacted at the Phoenix office of DAV Department of Arizona.

"I'm not going to answer questions (about Chapter 10)," Ware said.

"Mr.

Arnoldin has all the answers and paperwork.

They've been doing wrong for a long time."

Arnoldin said the state headquarters made no effort to work with Chapter 10 about problems in found in disbursement of funds.

"All monies we raised were used in support of the chapter and totally for the care of veterans," Arnoldin said.

"They were used exactly the way they were supposed to be.

"If a veteran had bills he could not pay, we helped pay them."

Arnoldin said 10 percent of all money from fund-raisers was sent to the state headquarters as required by DAV regulations.

Chapter 10 had about 600 members.

They have had their memberships transferred to Sunshine State Chapter No.

5, the state at-large chapter, according to a letter from national membership director Michael Walsh to Swanson that was dated Dec.

6, 2001.

It is a national at-large chapter that holds no meetings and essentially means members in it are "in limbo," according to Bert Tucker, who was transportation coordinator for the DAV.

Tucker said some Chapter 10 members have since transferred their memberships to chapters in Prescott and Lake Havasu City.

DAV Auxiliary 10 is helping provide services for veterans, according to auxiliary commander Ruthanne Tucker.

In addition, VFW posts 10386 and 3516 and American Legion Post 14 are helping with services previously provided by the DAV Chapter, Arnoldin said.