Over the past two years the board of IHMSA has been dealing with a very difficult situation. I'll break down the timeline for the membership. Shortly after I was elected President in July of 2015 I informed past president Nancy LaCroix and Cindy Smith that we needed to switch over the Wells Fargo accounts. We needed to remove Nancy from the accounts and add myself. Wells Fargo required that everyone who is on the account and everyone who is going to be on the account to be at a local branch of a Well Fargo. Cindy had many excuses as why she was unable to make to a branch. This drug into December of 2015 and by that point Ray Utter had accepted the position of Secretary Treasurer so we had to get him on the account and take off Cindy Smith who was the acting Sect/Tres. We gave her the date (January 15, 2016) that we were going to do the transfers and told her she had to get to a branch on that day. The transfer of people on the account went smoothly. While at the bank, I noticed the balances of both the savings and the checking accounts were very small. After checking with Nancy that there were no other accounts with IHMSA funds, I went on line that evening and downloaded the statements for the past 2 years. I was shocked to find the IHMSA accounts had been drained of funds from the time that Cindy Smith took over the volunteer position of headquarters. There were countless unauthorized withdrawals of cash and the use of the debit card for personal expenses such as shopping, dining, travel, airfare, pet hospital, car repair and many others. I called Ray Utter that evening and told him we had a big problem. We both proceeded to do an informal audit of the Wells Fargo accounts and we came to the realization that we had over $75 thousand dollars in unauthorized charges. At this point Cindy Smith admitted to taking the funds from the accounts to Nancy, Ray, and myself. She promised to repay the funds, but never followed through. The next day Ray and myself contacted Wells Fargo and had Cindy removed from the accounts and her debit card deactivated. Ray went to Cheyenne Wyoming to recover the IHMSA property that Cindy had in her possession. Cindy was then removed from the headquarters position. The board then made the decision to permanently remove Cindy Smith from the organization under article 13 of the bylaws. It was decided by the board to impeach and permanently remove Dave Smith from the positions of Vice President, Region 8 director and membership in the organization as he was most likely aware of the unauthorized charges as he benefited from them. At this point Tina Cullison volunteered to look into our legal options. It was decided by the board to proceed with legal action against her in the state of Wyoming. Tina wrote a civil demand letter that resulted in Cindy Smith's written admission of guilt and sending a check with offer for installment repayment over many years. The board rejected that offer and demanded full payment immediately. We received no response, so charges were filed in 2016 and the case has slowly made it's way thru the legal system. During this time the board was advised not to discuss this case with the general membership as this could affect the case against the defendant. A warrant for her arrest was issued and on February 12, 2018, Cindy Smith turned herself in to the Cheyenne authorities where she was booked on a single count of felony theft. Her mug shot was published in the Wyoming Eagle. It is now public record and we are able to inform the membership of this situation. That is where the case is now. We are committed to recovering the funds that were stolen from us. We will keep the membership informed as this case comes to a conclusion.
The total draining of IHMSA funds put us in a tough position in the beginning of 2016. But several board members made no interest loans to IHMSA so we could print the newsletters, membership cards and rule books. Board members also covered the postage costs for the membership packets and funded the trophies for the World Championships. Over the next 6 months the funds in the accounts steadily grew, the loans were repaid, and we are now stable financially. In fact the past two years the IHMSA funds have steadily grown. We have taken several steps so that this cannot happen again. We have multiple people now monitoring the Wells Fargo accounts. I would like to thank the many people who helped us get though this tough time. First, the board of IHMSA who had to make some tough decisions regarding people we considered trustworthy and friends. Tina Cullison, who while not being a lawyer, was able to give the board valuable guidance in the legal world. She spent countless hours putting together materials and filing the police report in Wyoming. She was and is still in contact with the authorities in Wyoming. Bruce Barret, who stepped up and took on the Vice President position. Russel Plakke, who took over the Region 8 directorship and has been a great help. Ray Utter, who soon after taking the position of Secretary treasurer had this fall into his lap. I'd also like to thank the membership of IHMSA for seeing us thru this difficult time and for not asking too many questions that we were under orders not to answer. I believe that IHMSA has come out of this stronger and we can get back to the fun of knocking down silhouettes.