NMLRA fighting

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Skeggs

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To bring back to topic-

Presented as fact, unverified commentary referenced with (Allegedly) or otherwise noted

2 groups of board members
(1) Controls Executive Committee
(2) Opposes group (1)

Board Members/Presidents are not paid. Until 2019, they did have access to association funds via credit cards, as well as the credit cards of past employees that were never cancelled.

2019

3 employees hired. Manager, Accountant, Marketing (son of NMLRA treasurer)

Concerns raised over staff/board member connections

Large payments across several credit cards began to align with a past president's association trips to conventions. (Allegedly, $20k+ spent in single trips. Staff members traveling to shows without notice, rumors of affair(s)- Not verified, provides context to overarching argument)

2020

June 2020 Spring shoot canceled - COVID 19. "alternate range use" events allowed to proceed

September 2020 - First board meeting since January - COVID 19.
Parlimentarian present, no vote to appoint.
Board positions elected over video conference/phonecall.

Investigation initiated with the Indiana State Police in 2020. Subject: Credit card use. After the board was notified of this during the shoot, several board members, including those subject to investigation and the president meet with the association attorney on NMLRA grounds.

The investigator assigned not from the same county as NMLRA, from county in south central indiana. The same county as association attorney and president. Investigator is a client of the association attorney. The association attorney is the brother in law of the NMLRA president. Parlimentarian known associate of member under ISP investigation.

Investigation is hush-hush until the investigator begins asking members/locals about things that had, allegedly, happened.

Cat now out of the bag.

Members asking questions, wanting answers

Pittman Robertson grant entered into between NMLRA and INDNR. Promoted as '90/10 match, NMLRA only needs to provide 10% to update range.'

Documents with INDNR say "up to 90%", INDNR decides on the amount they will fund AFTER money is spent. This news causes more irritation among members. Members want say in what the projects are, Pittman Robertson committee declines. Offers single meeting to go over decided on upgrades, offers changes from member feedback.

Board member under investigation by Indiana state police remains on pittman robertson committee.

March 2021

2 Staff resign, manager and accountant.
According to NMLRA Rules, with departure of head of office/staff (manager), President now acts as CEO of corporation. This backed by parlimentarian and lawyers.
Concerns are raised over elected official as head of business (Can an elected official act without political motive?) is the presented concern.

Board group (2) calls an emergency meeting to discuss, group (1) doesn't want to.
Bylaws say meeting is legal, parlimentarian argues roberts rules say otherwise.
Promotion of meeting reaches facebook, board members/members asking members to attend. Posts removed from NMLRA channels, found on (assumed) member profiles.

Day of meeting:
Group (1) doesn't attend, president excuses absences.
COVID 19 travel restrictions in place - board members video conference in. President mandates video conference seats/votes don't contribute to quorum. - Note: this is a contrast to the September 2020 meeting, where president was elected over video conference.

Meeting has no quorum, President turns into "Informational meeting".
Meeting audio recorded, minutes are taken by acting secretary.

President asked directly about investigation, responds "what investigation?". (Assumed) Members become upset.

Acting secretary is later designated as chair of "ethics committee" (see bylaws/constitution for details). Meeting recording and minutes now evidence in ethics investigations, cannot be released.

After meeting:president hires attorney, association total now 3.

(Assumed) Members begin requesting meetings be broadcast for those who can't travel.

April 2021

Regularly scheduled board meeting.

3 Attorneys and Sheriff's deputy in attendance to oversee meeting.
Meeting ends with president gavel mid afternoon after outburst from association attorney (brother in law of president)

After Meeting:
Third staff member resigns: Marketing

Member submits bylaw to allow membership to remove elected officials (referred to as (A)), citing frustration with President.

Several other bylaws submitted, 2 of importance to the discussion.
(1) Bylaw restricting executive committee election based on time served on board. Some see as way to ensure safety of board leadership/prevent take over, others see it a way to maintain control of NMLRA leadership/direction.
(2) Bylaw changing time needed to submit new bylaws, extending the submission time needed before an amendment can be voted on. If passed, this bylaw would negate the ability for the membership to vote on bylaw (A).

May 2021

Bylaws published in magazine, Bylaw (A) not present, Bylaws 1, 2 present. Bylaws 1,2 to be voted on before bylaw A. Note: If bylaw 2 passes, bylaw A is null and void.

(Source: Membership Meeting — The NMLRA)

Magazine editor tells several members President restricted printing of Bylaw A. President presents "legal concerns". Bylaw amended by lawyer and submitting member June 2021, edited version appears in July 2021 magazine.

Members asking questions about money, police investigations, pittman robertson plans under "ethics investigation"

Sometime around here: Pittman Robertson committee finds personal work of committee chair billed to INDNR. INDNR paid. committee chair reimburses NMLRA.

June 2021- Spring shoot

Threats of ethics investigation/lible lawsuits begin flying from board to members/members to board.

Board meeting

Several employees write letter of complaint to board about concerns, request to speak to board at June 2021 meeting. President blocks their admittance to meeting.

Meeting continues with much lawyer/parlimentary back and forth. Executive session entered.

Staff meet with executive committee to express concerns, legal council not invited.

August 2021

President publishes letter in MB magazine focusing on nature of unnamed bylaw. It is assumed he is referencing Bylaw (A). Members upset president using MB to sway opinion - they claim no one else allowed to make a statement with same reach.

-------------------------

Since March, 4 employees have left, 2 of remaining promoted. 1 former staff member returns from retirement. employee 4, who left in spring back on part-time, not manager, accountant or marketing.

Several board members igniting satiliete events through country to retain "national" status.
Concerns over funds still prevelant, many worried about news of alleged fraud within association.

Information verified by trusted staff member, recently promoted. Lawyers/board members reading can debate on which/both.

//NMLRA members should ask for answers, not action. There are many actions members not told about.//
Well damn, isn't all this interesting?
Explains an awful lot of the painfully loud, awkward silence we have been hearing.
Glad this forum isn't deleting things, muting comments and questions, etc.
Thank you for the summary.
I'd expect cease and desist coming from various people/cliques mentioned above, except the cat is now out of the bag, as it should be.
Again, thank you.
 

DrLaw

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Being a member of a local gun club I have seen these types of things before. Honestly, I did not even notice what was going on politically within the NMLRA. I really can't afford to up and run over to Friendship. I read MB for the articles on history, food, and guns (sometimes knives and powder horns). So this was news to me as to why a by-law change was needed.

In my local club a member proposed seeing people shoot at two shoots prior to being admitted to membership. Though the motion passed, this guy was so - um, how do I say this nicely - dorky, that had we seen him first, he would not have been admitted.

A President enjoyed nothing more than Buffalo Shoots (metallic targets with rimmed cartridges) and as a result, we started doing almost nothing by Buffalo Shoots.

We used to give trophy's as prizes. Then a husband and wife board member team said it might be cheaper to get medals. Cheaper, but then we started getting enough money not to be needing to save it. Still no trophies.

In short, there will always be people who have some agenda for an organization, whether good or not. There will always be complainers. There are, unfortunately, embezzlers who turn up (We had it here in our Fire Department) who of course, don't want to be investigated or have by-laws set against them. There will always be those who can show up and do things, and those who don't show up.

What's my point?

Hell if I know. :dunno:

The Doc is out now. 😎
 

GoodRabbitPilgrim

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I looked at joining but the cost of an international membership for a year was $265 aud. Seeing as I would be getting a magazine and not much else I decided to pass.
 

CrowRoad

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To bring back to topic-

Presented as fact, unverified commentary referenced with (Allegedly) or otherwise noted

2 groups of board members
(1) Controls Executive Committee
(2) Opposes group (1)

Board Members/Presidents are not paid. Until 2019, they did have access to association funds via credit cards, as well as the credit cards of past employees that were never cancelled.

2019

3 employees hired. Manager, Accountant, Marketing (son of NMLRA treasurer)

Concerns raised over staff/board member connections

Large payments across several credit cards began to align with a past president's association trips to conventions. (Allegedly, $20k+ spent in single trips. Staff members traveling to shows without notice, rumors of affair(s)- Not verified, provides context to overarching argument)

2020

June 2020 Spring shoot canceled - COVID 19. "alternate range use" events allowed to proceed

September 2020 - First board meeting since January - COVID 19.
Parlimentarian present, no vote to appoint.
Board positions elected over video conference/phonecall.

Investigation initiated with the Indiana State Police in 2020. Subject: Credit card use. After the board was notified of this during the shoot, several board members, including those subject to investigation and the president meet with the association attorney on NMLRA grounds.

The investigator assigned not from the same county as NMLRA, from county in south central indiana. The same county as association attorney and president. Investigator is a client of the association attorney. The association attorney is the brother in law of the NMLRA president. Parlimentarian known associate of member under ISP investigation.

Investigation is hush-hush until the investigator begins asking members/locals about things that had, allegedly, happened.

Cat now out of the bag.

Members asking questions, wanting answers

Pittman Robertson grant entered into between NMLRA and INDNR. Promoted as '90/10 match, NMLRA only needs to provide 10% to update range.'

Documents with INDNR say "up to 90%", INDNR decides on the amount they will fund AFTER money is spent. This news causes more irritation among members. Members want say in what the projects are, Pittman Robertson committee declines. Offers single meeting to go over decided on upgrades, offers changes from member feedback.

Board member under investigation by Indiana state police remains on pittman robertson committee.

March 2021

2 Staff resign, manager and accountant.
According to NMLRA Rules, with departure of head of office/staff (manager), President now acts as CEO of corporation. This backed by parlimentarian and lawyers.
Concerns are raised over elected official as head of business (Can an elected official act without political motive?) is the presented concern.

Board group (2) calls an emergency meeting to discuss, group (1) doesn't want to.
Bylaws say meeting is legal, parlimentarian argues roberts rules say otherwise.
Promotion of meeting reaches facebook, board members/members asking members to attend. Posts removed from NMLRA channels, found on (assumed) member profiles.

Day of meeting:
Group (1) doesn't attend, president excuses absences.
COVID 19 travel restrictions in place - board members video conference in. President mandates video conference seats/votes don't contribute to quorum. - Note: this is a contrast to the September 2020 meeting, where president was elected over video conference.

Meeting has no quorum, President turns into "Informational meeting".
Meeting audio recorded, minutes are taken by acting secretary.

President asked directly about investigation, responds "what investigation?". (Assumed) Members become upset.

Acting secretary is later designated as chair of "ethics committee" (see bylaws/constitution for details). Meeting recording and minutes now evidence in ethics investigations, cannot be released.

After meeting:president hires attorney, association total now 3.

(Assumed) Members begin requesting meetings be broadcast for those who can't travel.

April 2021

Regularly scheduled board meeting.

3 Attorneys and Sheriff's deputy in attendance to oversee meeting.
Meeting ends with president gavel mid afternoon after outburst from association attorney (brother in law of president)

After Meeting:
Third staff member resigns: Marketing

Member submits bylaw to allow membership to remove elected officials (referred to as (A)), citing frustration with President.

Several other bylaws submitted, 2 of importance to the discussion.
(1) Bylaw restricting executive committee election based on time served on board. Some see as way to ensure safety of board leadership/prevent take over, others see it a way to maintain control of NMLRA leadership/direction.
(2) Bylaw changing time needed to submit new bylaws, extending the submission time needed before an amendment can be voted on. If passed, this bylaw would negate the ability for the membership to vote on bylaw (A).

May 2021

Bylaws published in magazine, Bylaw (A) not present, Bylaws 1, 2 present. Bylaws 1,2 to be voted on before bylaw A. Note: If bylaw 2 passes, bylaw A is null and void.

(Source: Membership Meeting — The NMLRA)

Magazine editor tells several members President restricted printing of Bylaw A. President presents "legal concerns". Bylaw amended by lawyer and submitting member June 2021, edited version appears in July 2021 magazine.

Members asking questions about money, police investigations, pittman robertson plans under "ethics investigation"

Sometime around here: Pittman Robertson committee finds personal work of committee chair billed to INDNR. INDNR paid. committee chair reimburses NMLRA.

June 2021- Spring shoot

Threats of ethics investigation/lible lawsuits begin flying from board to members/members to board.

Board meeting

Several employees write letter of complaint to board about concerns, request to speak to board at June 2021 meeting. President blocks their admittance to meeting.

Meeting continues with much lawyer/parlimentary back and forth. Executive session entered.

Staff meet with executive committee to express concerns, legal council not invited.

August 2021

President publishes letter in MB magazine focusing on nature of unnamed bylaw. It is assumed he is referencing Bylaw (A). Members upset president using MB to sway opinion - they claim no one else allowed to make a statement with same reach.

-------------------------

Since March, 4 employees have left, 2 of remaining promoted. 1 former staff member returns from retirement. employee 4, who left in spring back on part-time, not manager, accountant or marketing.

Several board members igniting satiliete events through country to retain "national" status.
Concerns over funds still prevelant, many worried about news of alleged fraud within association.

Information verified by trusted staff member, recently promoted. Lawyers/board members reading can debate on which/both.

//NMLRA members should ask for answers, not action. There are many actions members not told about.//
Thank you!

This would seem to align with all the quickly deleted comments and posts on Facebook, as well as the rumblings one hears at the matches. Sad state of affairs that the BOD have gotten us into.
 

fleener

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Walter Cline

Hiding behind a screen name?

Again, I will restate what I put in my original posting. Please dont take all those comments by "Walter Cline" as factual. There are misleading and non factual comments that are intended to publicly stir people up.

Some people would rather create public turmoil rather then work for the common good of the NMLRA and help promote our sport.

Art Fleener
Secretary NMLRA
 

Skeggs

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Walter Cline

Hiding behind a screen name?

Again, I will restate what I put in my original posting. Please dont take all those comments by "Walter Cline" as factual. There are misleading and non factual comments that are intended to publicly stir people up.

Some people would rather create public turmoil rather then work for the common good of the NMLRA and help promote our sport.

Art Fleener
Secretary NMLRA
I believe the initial post inquired about deleted posts and comments of legitimate members. These are members who are trying to ask their organization about what is going on, and they are being silenced by their own organizations' site administrators.
And I believe your comment about Walter Cline hiding behind a screen name exemplifies the situation.
Be it GM or the NMLRA, boards and executives have responsibilities to their shareholders.
Obfuscating, denials of irregularities, and secrecy are indications that all is not sunshine and rainbows.
Scandals are never the initial event itself.
Scandals are caused by all of the follow up actions trying to hide the fact that something did happen.
I'm seeing walking, I'm hearing quacking.
We may have a duck.
 

Flinter 2

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Walter Cline

Hiding behind a screen name?

Again, I will restate what I put in my original posting. Please dont take all those comments by "Walter Cline" as factual. There are misleading and non factual comments that are intended to publicly stir people up.

Some people would rather create public turmoil rather then work for the common good of the NMLRA and help promote our sport.

Art Fleener
Secretary NMLRA
I joined the NMLRA back in the early '80's because I loved muzzle loading and our early American history, while I have a wall full of trophies and ribbons from attending muzzle loading line shoots and woods walks I was never a seriously competitive M/L shooter, if anything I was more into the history and reenacting part of the sport.
At the time I really enjoyed the Rendezvous that the NMLRA sanctioned in different areas of the country, and I especially enjoyed reading Muzzle Blast.
My first negative experience with the NMLRA was when the organization decided to change the way the national rendezvous program operated by taking away allot of the autonomy that the different rendezvous groups worked under, including the funding and funds derived from the individual 'vous.
That riff became serious when the North East rendezvous pulled away and became known as the "Original", members were banned and bad blood continued for a long while, and the NMLRA sanctioned NE 'vous suffered a major loss in attendance, none of this had to happen except for the small minded clickiness of the NMLRA leadership.
It didn't take but a few years and more blunders by the "ruling authority" of the organization to show me that the organization wasn't about the membership or about running a diversified organization for the benefit of all it's members, what it was was a small group of elites that were running an organization in order to fund their own personal social club at the memberships expense, and it appears that it's still operating in the same way, which is why I quit the organization (with a heavy heart) well after being a member for well over a couple of decades.
In retrospect, IMHO, out side of the organization's magazine the organization holds very little benefit for the average M/L hobbyist, it doesn't lobby politically in any appreciable manner to protect our gun rights, all it actually does is mother it's headquarters at friendship for the select small minority that attend the national matches, and evidently by the sound of more recent reports the leadership is not even doing that well.
IMHO, if the NMLRA is to have a future it's going to have to change the way it does business, it's going to have to have the leadership elected by the members, it's going to have to serve the interest of all it's national membership, not just what's best for Friendship and headquarters.

Just one man's opinion.
 

Flinter 2

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Sounds like the organization has had it's day. Time to start another.
I really don't think a new organization is warranted, but I think a reorganization and new more diversified staffing would serve the organization and it's membership allot better than scraping it and starting over.
Taking the authority away from the elitist at the top and transferring control to the organization's base membership might go a long way in straightening out it's problems.
 
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Hi, I'm Ethan, I'm the marketer referenced in this thread. Yes, my father is the treasurer, and I'm well aware of the accusations of nepotism referencing this relationship. My grandfather shot in the first junior match for the NMLRA in 1938. Both sides of my family have long shooting ties there, my parents met there, I was raised there. My father has been off and on the board many times during my life, serving as president in the early 2000s. To my knowledge, the board record states that he recused himself from any votes/decisions about my hiring, payment, or position.
I worked for the NMLRA from August 2019 to the end of April 2021. In 2019 I was asked by the new manager to talk to the board about marketing, and encouraged by the president. I had been working with several clients to produce marketing content, along with a background in TV animation production and selling of my own artwork. My presentation focused on how the NMLRA could benefit from content marketing, and during the presentation, I mentioned several times that these were the things the board should look for in a contractor/contracted service. Content marketing is marketing done by showing photos/videos of how cool something is to show people how cool it is so they want to do it too.
I was offered employment by the board and we agreed on a 6 month trial period at a payment rate of $1200 a month from August 2019 to December 2019. I was paid as a 1099 contractor, meaning I received no benefits and paid taxes myself from the $1200a month. In this 6 months, I rebuilt the website and began publishing content on social media to reach new people. I started the first muzzleloading podcast, Muzzle Blasts, and began working with the board and membership of the NMLRA to promote the association.
In January 2020 I attended another board meeting to discuss the 6 month trial period and discuss further work if the board desired it. We agreed on a $40,000/yr salary paid twice a month, again as a 1099 contractor. After taxes, I brought home around $32,000. I worked 50-60 hours a week on average, equaling $15.38/hr if I worked 40 hrs a week. I produced marketing reports each month for the board in 2020 so they could track progress/action from my efforts. Due to COVID making it hard to have meetings, I continued work for the association past our agreement date, December 2020. To my knowledge, there were no objections from the board or staff.

At the end of my employment, and with the help of the board and my coworkers, we:
  1. Cut website hosting costs from ~$4000/yr to sub $500 year
  2. Got the NMLRA to the top of many related internet search queries
  3. Grew the Facebook group nearly several thousand members
  4. Grew the Facebook page following several thousand members
  5. Grew the youtube page 5,000 followers
  6. Grew the Instagram page 2,500 followers
  7. Made the #1 videos for many muzzleloading searches on youtube, many of which are still there today with 20,000+ views
  8. Reached on average, 100,000 muzzleloaders each month online sharing all things muzzleloading
  9. Promoted almost every weekend event held at friendship during my time there, including matches and classes
  10. Grew the paying membership from 12,000 to the 13,000 shared in recent months of muzzle blasts magazine
I never asked for reimbursement on gas, miles, hotels, or food, except for my trip to the Horn fair in 2020, a drive from IN to PA. The association did pay for my trip to the SHOT Show, where the president, vice president, and myself met with the big ML manufacturers and shot video content to promote the muzzleloading industry and the NMLRA.
When we had to cancel the big shoots in 2020 I worked my rear end off to produce content so the NMLRA could remain active online, reaching potential members for when we could host another big shoot. Despite the cancellations, I put nearly 8,000 miles on my car driving that summer (April-September) to interview, film, and promote the NMLRA, its mission, and its members. All of the content I made is owned by the NMLRA, I never threatened to delete or remove it, or to undo the work I did, and I never, ever asked for more money.

Is it going to take me presenting my bank account to drop these accusations of nepotism, fraud, and dishonesty? If so, please tell me and I will gather them. I would like to be left alone, please, and allowed to continue to share my enjoyment of muzzleloading with the membership of the NMLRA, CLA, NSSA, and non-associated muzzleloading enthusiasts.
 

Flinter 2

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Hi, I'm Ethan, I'm the marketer referenced in this thread. Yes, my father is the treasurer, and I'm well aware of the accusations of nepotism referencing this relationship. My grandfather shot in the first junior match for the NMLRA in 1938. Both sides of my family have long shooting ties there, my parents met there, I was raised there. My father has been off and on the board many times during my life, serving as president in the early 2000s. To my knowledge, the board record states that he recused himself from any votes/decisions about my hiring, payment, or position.
I worked for the NMLRA from August 2019 to the end of April 2021. In 2019 I was asked by the new manager to talk to the board about marketing, and encouraged by the president. I had been working with several clients to produce marketing content, along with a background in TV animation production and selling of my own artwork. My presentation focused on how the NMLRA could benefit from content marketing, and during the presentation, I mentioned several times that these were the things the board should look for in a contractor/contracted service. Content marketing is marketing done by showing photos/videos of how cool something is to show people how cool it is so they want to do it too.
I was offered employment by the board and we agreed on a 6 month trial period at a payment rate of $1200 a month from August 2019 to December 2019. I was paid as a 1099 contractor, meaning I received no benefits and paid taxes myself from the $1200a month. In this 6 months, I rebuilt the website and began publishing content on social media to reach new people. I started the first muzzleloading podcast, Muzzle Blasts, and began working with the board and membership of the NMLRA to promote the association.
In January 2020 I attended another board meeting to discuss the 6 month trial period and discuss further work if the board desired it. We agreed on a $40,000/yr salary paid twice a month, again as a 1099 contractor. After taxes, I brought home around $32,000. I worked 50-60 hours a week on average, equaling $15.38/hr if I worked 40 hrs a week. I produced marketing reports each month for the board in 2020 so they could track progress/action from my efforts. Due to COVID making it hard to have meetings, I continued work for the association past our agreement date, December 2020. To my knowledge, there were no objections from the board or staff.

At the end of my employment, and with the help of the board and my coworkers, we:
  1. Cut website hosting costs from ~$4000/yr to sub $500 year
  2. Got the NMLRA to the top of many related internet search queries
  3. Grew the Facebook group nearly several thousand members
  4. Grew the Facebook page following several thousand members
  5. Grew the youtube page 5,000 followers
  6. Grew the Instagram page 2,500 followers
  7. Made the #1 videos for many muzzleloading searches on youtube, many of which are still there today with 20,000+ views
  8. Reached on average, 100,000 muzzleloaders each month online sharing all things muzzleloading
  9. Promoted almost every weekend event held at friendship during my time there, including matches and classes
  10. Grew the paying membership from 12,000 to the 13,000 shared in recent months of muzzle blasts magazine
I never asked for reimbursement on gas, miles, hotels, or food, except for my trip to the Horn fair in 2020, a drive from IN to PA. The association did pay for my trip to the SHOT Show, where the president, vice president, and myself met with the big ML manufacturers and shot video content to promote the muzzleloading industry and the NMLRA.
When we had to cancel the big shoots in 2020 I worked my rear end off to produce content so the NMLRA could remain active online, reaching potential members for when we could host another big shoot. Despite the cancellations, I put nearly 8,000 miles on my car driving that summer (April-September) to interview, film, and promote the NMLRA, its mission, and its members. All of the content I made is owned by the NMLRA, I never threatened to delete or remove it, or to undo the work I did, and I never, ever asked for more money.

Is it going to take me presenting my bank account to drop these accusations of nepotism, fraud, and dishonesty? If so, please tell me and I will gather them. I would like to be left alone, please, and allowed to continue to share my enjoyment of muzzleloading with the membership of the NMLRA, CLA, NSSA, and non-associated muzzleloading enthusiasts.
Hi Ethan,

I'm no longer a member of the MNLRA, so I don't even have a dog in this hunt, as far as your honesty goes, I doubt that it is a part of the major issue that most members have with the organization, I believe the real problem is the way the leadership of the NMLRA seems to be centralized into one small self perpetuating group of managers (for lack of a better term) who's only or major interest is the facility at Friendship and competitive shoots.
This result is that a major part of the membership is being disenfranchised when it comes to just the simple love of Muzzle loading, historical reenacting, and rendezvous, I just recently purchased a 35 year old Fusil de Chasse from an NMLRA long time member who attended every NE rendezvous since the early '80's until becoming infirmed in the early 2000's, he had carried the fusil allot but shot it little and certainly not competitively, he loved and supported the NMLRA and rendezvous because of the historical part of living history, but to him his muzzle loaders were just another accessory to his kit.
In reality the organization itself didn't do anything tangible for him other than give him a magazine to read every month and reinforce that he wasn't alone in his love of historical reenactment, which he could have obtained through other venues.
So he got very little consideration from the NMLRA leadership, however if you were a shooter and attended the nationals you got allot of attention directly or indirectly from the organization because you supported Friendship in a more direct way, much more so that the average dues paying member who didn't ask for much and never complained, those folks were and are still being ignored by the "Organization" at the top.
Like many clubs, they start out working for the benefit of the membership, but eventually they grow to where the membership just becomes the tool used as fuel that benefits the "Club"
 

LongWalker

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Mr. Yazel, the concern is not what you were paid but how you came to be offered the position in the first place. Were proposals solicited from any others, were any others considered or interviewed before you were offered the position? That isn't discussed at any point in the minutes. If no one else was considered, why should anyone believe nepotism was not a factor in your hiring?

Mr. Fleener, facts would go farther than straw man arguments to refute the statements of "Walter Cline":

Has the NMLRA entered into a written project agreement in which the INDNR has agreed to use Pittman-Robertson grant funds to fund 90% of the cost of the projects, or is the NMLRA still operating under the "reimbursement of up to 90% of the cost of the project" P-R grants under which P-R grants usually operate?

Are current or past members of the NMLRA BOD currently, or have they recently (in the past 3 years) been under investigation by law enforcement for misuse of NMLRA funds or other reasons related to the NMLRA?

Why was the bylaw change proposed by Buddy Townsend (to establish a means of removal of officers or Board members by the membership) not published at the time of the initial publication of the other bylaw changes?

What is the NMLRA's nepotism policy? What is the NMLRA's conflict of interest policy?
 

Rifleman1776

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I'll add a few thoughts on this subject. Sadly most will be negative. I first joined NMLRA in 1970. Living just up the road from the range and HQ we spent almost every weekend there. We were friends with and shot with many of the early greats in the organization. I even started a local ml club that shot at the range monthly, the Laughery Valley Muzzleloaders. Years later, after moving to Arkansas I saw changes in the organization. As some have said, a centralization of power among the officers. Look at a map of the officers. Almost all are within easy driving distance of Friendship. The trend to encourage use of inlines became, and still is, a huge area of dissent. The NMLRA platform has been rewritten to falsely suggest these modernistic rifles are part of the NMLRA tradition and goals. They aren't no matter what the egoistic officers claim. I was tossed off the NMLRA Facebook for voicing this same opinion. They keep control by killing the messengers. It is a sad change from what the founders envisioned in the 1930's.
 

Collector54

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Hi Ethan,
From your discourse I'm seeing the work of a very dedicated individual who represented the organization very well. I'm sure your efforts are borne out in reports you made ,as well as the results you list in your response. While nepotism, is usually not a good thing, it is not always a negative and many times really doesnot have any impact,if, the individual is motivated as your list of accomplishments show.
I was unaware of any of the issues in this thread and am currently a member of the NMLRA. I haven't attended any national shoots or rendezvouses just being content to be a member for the magazine and the articles/experiences of like minded folks. My hope is that the issues here can be corrected and soon. NRA is still in turmoil and to have another gun organization with issues is at the least ,not good timing. And with a President in office that really wants to limit citizens exposure to firearms ,any firearms. ( They wish to change our history too but that is another issue). As a group we need to come together not fragment and not, decimate our ranks with character assassinations without proof. The left will do that for us ,we don't need to help.
Anyway, I wish to congradulate you on your accomplishments and candor and my hope is any calamies expressed about you or your associations will vanish in the wind.
 

kipcarter

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To bring back to topic-

Presented as fact, unverified commentary referenced with (Allegedly) or otherwise noted

2 groups of board members
(1) Controls Executive Committee
(2) Opposes group (1)

Board Members/Presidents are not paid. Until 2019, they did have access to association funds via credit cards, as well as the credit cards of past employees that were never cancelled.

2019

3 employees hired. Manager, Accountant, Marketing (son of NMLRA treasurer)

Concerns raised over staff/board member connections

Large payments across several credit cards began to align with a past president's association trips to conventions. (Allegedly, $20k+ spent in single trips. Staff members traveling to shows without notice, rumors of affair(s)- Not verified, provides context to overarching argument)

2020

June 2020 Spring shoot canceled - COVID 19. "alternate range use" events allowed to proceed

September 2020 - First board meeting since January - COVID 19.
Parlimentarian present, no vote to appoint.
Board positions elected over video conference/phonecall.

Investigation initiated with the Indiana State Police in 2020. Subject: Credit card use. After the board was notified of this during the shoot, several board members, including those subject to investigation and the president meet with the association attorney on NMLRA grounds.

The investigator assigned not from the same county as NMLRA, from county in south central indiana. The same county as association attorney and president. Investigator is a client of the association attorney. The association attorney is the brother in law of the NMLRA president. Parlimentarian known associate of member under ISP investigation.

Investigation is hush-hush until the investigator begins asking members/locals about things that had, allegedly, happened.

Cat now out of the bag.

Members asking questions, wanting answers

Pittman Robertson grant entered into between NMLRA and INDNR. Promoted as '90/10 match, NMLRA only needs to provide 10% to update range.'

Documents with INDNR say "up to 90%", INDNR decides on the amount they will fund AFTER money is spent. This news causes more irritation among members. Members want say in what the projects are, Pittman Robertson committee declines. Offers single meeting to go over decided on upgrades, offers changes from member feedback.

Board member under investigation by Indiana state police remains on pittman robertson committee.

March 2021

2 Staff resign, manager and accountant.
According to NMLRA Rules, with departure of head of office/staff (manager), President now acts as CEO of corporation. This backed by parlimentarian and lawyers.
Concerns are raised over elected official as head of business (Can an elected official act without political motive?) is the presented concern.

Board group (2) calls an emergency meeting to discuss, group (1) doesn't want to.
Bylaws say meeting is legal, parlimentarian argues roberts rules say otherwise.
Promotion of meeting reaches facebook, board members/members asking members to attend. Posts removed from NMLRA channels, found on (assumed) member profiles.

Day of meeting:
Group (1) doesn't attend, president excuses absences.
COVID 19 travel restrictions in place - board members video conference in. President mandates video conference seats/votes don't contribute to quorum. - Note: this is a contrast to the September 2020 meeting, where president was elected over video conference.

Meeting has no quorum, President turns into "Informational meeting".
Meeting audio recorded, minutes are taken by acting secretary.

President asked directly about investigation, responds "what investigation?". (Assumed) Members become upset.

Acting secretary is later designated as chair of "ethics committee" (see bylaws/constitution for details). Meeting recording and minutes now evidence in ethics investigations, cannot be released.

After meeting:president hires attorney, association total now 3.

(Assumed) Members begin requesting meetings be broadcast for those who can't travel.

April 2021

Regularly scheduled board meeting.

3 Attorneys and Sheriff's deputy in attendance to oversee meeting.
Meeting ends with president gavel mid afternoon after outburst from association attorney (brother in law of president)

After Meeting:
Third staff member resigns: Marketing

Member submits bylaw to allow membership to remove elected officials (referred to as (A)), citing frustration with President.

Several other bylaws submitted, 2 of importance to the discussion.
(1) Bylaw restricting executive committee election based on time served on board. Some see as way to ensure safety of board leadership/prevent take over, others see it a way to maintain control of NMLRA leadership/direction.
(2) Bylaw changing time needed to submit new bylaws, extending the submission time needed before an amendment can be voted on. If passed, this bylaw would negate the ability for the membership to vote on bylaw (A).

May 2021

Bylaws published in magazine, Bylaw (A) not present, Bylaws 1, 2 present. Bylaws 1,2 to be voted on before bylaw A. Note: If bylaw 2 passes, bylaw A is null and void.

(Source: Membership Meeting — The NMLRA)

Magazine editor tells several members President restricted printing of Bylaw A. President presents "legal concerns". Bylaw amended by lawyer and submitting member June 2021, edited version appears in July 2021 magazine.

Members asking questions about money, police investigations, pittman robertson plans under "ethics investigation"

Sometime around here: Pittman Robertson committee finds personal work of committee chair billed to INDNR. INDNR paid. committee chair reimburses NMLRA.

June 2021- Spring shoot

Threats of ethics investigation/lible lawsuits begin flying from board to members/members to board.

Board meeting

Several employees write letter of complaint to board about concerns, request to speak to board at June 2021 meeting. President blocks their admittance to meeting.

Meeting continues with much lawyer/parlimentary back and forth. Executive session entered.

Staff meet with executive committee to express concerns, legal council not invited.

August 2021

President publishes letter in MB magazine focusing on nature of unnamed bylaw. It is assumed he is referencing Bylaw (A). Members upset president using MB to sway opinion - they claim no one else allowed to make a statement with same reach.

-------------------------

Since March, 4 employees have left, 2 of remaining promoted. 1 former staff member returns from retirement. employee 4, who left in spring back on part-time, not manager, accountant or marketing.

Several board members igniting satiliete events through country to retain "national" status.
Concerns over funds still prevelant, many worried about news of alleged fraud within association.

Information verified by trusted staff member, recently promoted. Lawyers/board members reading can debate on which/both.

//NMLRA members should ask for answers, not action. There are many actions members not told about.//
The position of Parliamentarian is not an elected office but is appointed by the President.
 

Skeggs

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So a few more thoughts.
I wanted to bring my wife to Friendship is where I come into this.
She had colorectal cancer, so accessible restrooms are essential.
Simple enough.
When I looked into them, lo and behold, all of this hush hush nonsense rears its ugly head over the ADA, of all things.
Or tried to, as everything one inquires into is being snuffed out by the powers that be.
That behavior speaks to a troubled organization.
The ADA became law in 1990, so thirty one-ish years have gone by.
A long, long time to have things as simple as parking, accessibility, signage, wheelchair ramps, toilets, etc planned, budgeted, or put into place.
The law not withstanding, attracting participants or their family members with disabilities or new members with disabilities has been demonstrated to not be of any interest.
Thirty one years makes this point clear, any and all claims to the contrary.
Very disappointing.
So others who shared my concerns and curiosity pointed me to this excellent forum that does not snuff out inquiry.
Mr. Yazel kindly came forth and said that he was employed to market the organization, what ever "market" may mean to the people involved.
Evidently no help wanted ads were placed, no resumes submitted, no metrics established as to what was expected.
I doubt that a job description exists or that EEO was followed.
No marketing firms were interviewed, no expressed goals and objectives, no standard and accepted good business practices have been observed.
Nepotism is obvious and blatant.
Qualifications, such as a marketing degree, time with P&G (Cincinnati is close), or other actual marketing expertise is suspect.
Return on investment is $3,500-ish for a $40,000 plus payout, no other metrics are offered.
It would be easy to say poor judgement was used with all of this, but even if this were the case, people making poor judgements should not continue in positions that require good judgement.
And it is quite clear that this goes way beyond poor judgement.
Way, way beyond.
The nmlra is at a critical juncture.
Included in a solution is an independent audit by a prominent national accounting firm, such as Ernst & Young.
Annually.
Answers are needed from a trustworthy source, as well as acceptable solutions.
The appointment of a caretaker tasked to maintain the organization while an entirely new bod is selected by membership is needed.
I would suggest a national law firm, such as Baker McKenzie.
A thorough review of policy, procedures, processes, and even the by-laws, with suggestions, must take place to regain reputation and trust.
Defending the indefensible by bod and management needs to cease.
Clean up the mess, take out the trash, and move on.
 

Thomas.bill92

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You can't just look at the membership revenue, social media following is huge these days. There are 15 year old kids on YouTube and Instagram making more from social media than my wife and I make in a year. Sure it could have been an advertised position for the world to apply but Ethan did a great job of it, I loved the muzzleblasts podcast and regularly go back and listen to them. He put out great content on YouTube as well which like it or not is how you reach this generation to keep the tradition alive. I hate to see the squabbling and I'm sorry that I don't have a solution. In the end, if I don't stick with the organization, I'm out $35 and a hell of a good weekend at the 2021 spring shoot. I just wanna burn some powder with like minded guys and gals!
 

Notchy Bob

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Just a thought...

Ethan Yazel's work speaks for itself. He has endeavoured to keep interest in muzzleloading alive during a difficult time. I have enjoyed the videos and podcasts I have seen and heard. The only "agenda" I have detected is promotion of the sport itself.

Nepotism means giving preferential treatment to someone with family connections to the employer. I don't think it is necessarily "nepotism" if the person hired is enthusiastic, well qualified, and is able to show positive results from his work during a trial or probationary period, and he or she happens to be related to someone. It sounds to me as if Ethan might have created a job position that benefits members and the organization, and pitched it to the board of directors. If that is the case, they would have not necessarily completed a hiring search. The other thing is that employers everywhere are struggling to find workers. The NMLRA found one. His father recused himself from the committee which considered Ethan for the position. I don't think nepotism is an issue in this case.

From all of this, it sounds as if problems with the NMLRA administration are over Ethan's head. He appears to be earning a modest salary promoting the sport we all enjoy, and the statistics indicate he has been productive.

My only connection with the NMLRA is my membership. I have never attended an NMLRA event above the local club level. I don't know any of the board members and I have never met or corresponded with Ethan Yazel. It's just that from what I have seen and read, he appears to be earning his keep, and then some. I don't think concerns about nepotism really apply, in this case.

Notchy Bob
 

oldwood

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Sheriff John ............Pretty much my feelings , exactly. Instead of the flashy , photo filled , 50%+ advertising filled slick paper magazine with a few repetitious hunting adventures in it , I liked the old format of real people writing about guns and how to do it info. Most everyone I know gets Jason Gatlif's Muzzleloader Mag., Muzzle Blasts must have copied Gatlif's format. . I miss the old Muzzle Blasts. The $50 price tag for the membership is too steep for me , so my dollars are going to the local clubs. I support the NRA because they support the 2nd amendment and are active in Washington. I hear nothing from the NMLRA on this front. I used to......
 
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