Big events happening at MUFON
Feb. 18, 2010
Dissident members of MUFON call for major leadership changes to repair MUFON’s “gravely damaged” credibility
The recently-organized Committee to Reform MUFON (CRM) called today for a democratically-elected Board of Directors, “due process” in all personnel matters, and serious fund raising to put the almost-broke and internally fractured Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) back together. MUFON is a large non-profit UFO investigative organization founded 1969. “The results of a 2009 business-arrangement between MUFON and shadowy Las Vegas businessman Robert Bigelow have torn MUFON apart and ruined its credibility,” says CRM member Elaine Douglass.
“Bigelow is a cynical businessman who had no respect for MUFON’s mission of bringing UFO information to the American people,” Douglass went on. “He wanted MUFON’s information for himself, he had ‘undisclosed backers,’ and MUFON’s Board of Directors turned over complete access to its computer system, incoming cases and MUFON’s investigators in return for the promise of more than half a million dollars. “Under this arrangement, feeding Bigelow information became a higher priority in MUFON than providing information to the public, volunteer investigators became employees, and draconic secrecy measures were imposed,” Douglass said. “Despite these efforts to comply with the contract, Bigelow pulled the plug at the half way mark. These events left MUFON’s credibility in tatters and gave many people the uneasy feeling MUFON is being manipulated by unseen forces.”
“The MUFON 12-member corporate Board which ushered in these changes is a self-appointing body, not accountable to MUFON’s 2800 members, and their policies have violated the trust of MUFON members and the mission of the organization. That is why we are calling for a democratically-elected Board,” Douglass said.
“MUFON is losing members and that is a warning sign the organization is in trouble,” said Bill McNeff, another CRM member. “The MUFON Board refuses to do any fund raising, and not only that, but MUFON’s internal culture has become very uncomfortable,” McNeff said. “There is a climate of fear that if you open your mouth to ask questions, you’ll be put ‘under investigation’ by MUFON and then fired.”
Pointing to a recent purge of 4 state directors and 2 assistant state directors, McNeff said that event led to the formation of CRM, a 6-person group of MUFON members calling for change. “MUFON is a very valuable organization which provides information on UFO events across the country and we can’t sit by while MUFON goes down the drain,” McNeff said.
A Petition calling for a democratically-elected Board of Directors and other changes has been emailed MUFON-wide by CRM, and the group also mailed the complete text of the Feb. 2009 contract between MUFON and Bigelow. The contract was leaked to CRM from an unknown source.
Elaine Douglass and Bill McNeff
The Back Story
As with all things there is a Back story to all this as can be seen by this release of information on the details of how Bob Bigelow essentially bought MUFON including all of its case files.
Dear MUFON Colleague--
January 15 (two weeks ago) an anonymous party sent Elaine Douglass a copy of the contract signed Feb. 2009 between MUFON and Robert Bigelow. This marks the entry of Bigelow into MUFON, which led to the Star Team effort. The Committee to Reform MUFON has confirmed this is the actual contract, correct in all details. The Committee feels all Members of MUFON should have the opportunity to read the contract, and we have forwarded it to you in its entirety below. Since we have studied the 5-page contract, permit us point out selected highlights of the document and make a few comments about it.
This is a commercial contract in which MUFON, ("the seller"), sells to Robert Bigelow, ("the buyer") certain "deliverables"-("the Product")-for a total price of $672,000 payable in monthly installments of $56,000. What is "the Product"?
"The Product" was MUFON According to the contract, Bigelow is buying "the Seller's existing CMS database. . .and all other data," as well as "field investigative services and all information and material derived from those services, including but not limited to. . .physical evidence. . .photographs, film, data from detection devices. . .radar. . .satellite data, ground disturbance site information. . .electronic information, interview transcripts, any testimony, including recordings. . .as well as any other item that may be recovered from prior, present and future field investigations [of] MUFON. This is "the Product."
The contract assumes the Buyer will not return any of this material to MUFON "unless there is a written agreement to return such property."
Regarding CMS, the contract states: "Buyer shall be given Administrator Access to Seller's CMS in order that Buyer may have 'real-time' access to such information. . ."
Apparently Bigelow's lawyers wrote this agreement and it was presented to the MUFON Board as is. "Seller can only accept this Agreement on the exact terms set forth," the contract says. No negotiating.
All the risks were MUFON's The contract creates a relationship between MUFON and Bigelow in which, the contract states, "Seller assumes all risks in furnishing the goods and services ordered" and Bigelow, as well as his "affiliates" and "customers," are "held harmless against any and all losses, liabilities, claims," etc. If there were any such losses, claims, etc., MUFON is financial responsible for all of it and furthermore is required to "defend" Bigelow and his "affiliates" and "customers" against any claims, losses, etc. All of that notwithstanding, Bigelow retains "the option to control the defense and related negotiations of any suit, proceeding . . .without expense or liability. . ."
In other words, if anything went wrong, MUFON is 100 percent responsible; MUFON would pay all claims, would pay to defend itself, AND would pay to defend Bigelow and his "affiliates" and "customers." Yet, Bigelow may "control" the entire handling of such a lawsuit or claim and exerting that control will not generate any liability for Bigelow.
Can you believe this, MUFON?
MUFON better perform The last thing the contract makes clear is MUFON is to walk straight, look smart, and PERFORM in connection with this contract, by golly! Bigelow requires "strict conformity of the Product with all dimensions and specification . . .as deemed material. . .time is of the essence. The Product shall be delivered . . .weekly written reports, in detail. . .[including] a plan for the next 7 days. . .Monthly written reports and financial statements. . [with] detailed exposition. . .Seller agrees to properly safeguard and protect all evidence strictly in accord with specifications. . .[there will be a] Performance Review" and "critical decision dates" are associated with that. "MUFON shall submit an itemized account of disbursements . . .[and Buyer] may, at its discretion. . .request additional detail. . .Seller shall produce, furnish and deliver all Products in strict compliance. . ." And on and on.
Curiously, the contract also stipulates that the "Buyer shall not, at any time and is specifically precluded from providing. . .any advice, consultation or management to Seller."
The Board of Directors signed And so, in Feb. 2009 the MUFON Board of Directors signed poor sleepy little MUFON up for the terms of this contract. And-is anyone surprised?-MUFON fell down on the job, we hear. NOT because MUFON didn't do it's best, but in all likelihood because MUFON did not have the in-depth experience to comply, suddenly, with a huge influx of funds along with a demanding contract such as this is. And it occurs to us to wonder if that wasn't Bigelow's the plan all along-a plan to destabilize MUFON? That is just a theory.
In Sept. of 2009, eight months after the contract began, Bigelow swooped down on MUFON demanding, "What did you do with the money!" Predictably, that threw the MUFON Board into a panic, they collapsed before Bigelow (figuratively), produced the project's and MUFON's books for HIM to audit, and threw James Carrion under the bus, it is said. But that is another story. When Bigelow stopped sending money to MUFON in November, MUFON had received $334,000 of the promised $672,000.
They sold MUFON Does anyone remember a few years ago a noted researcher was (wrongly) accused of selling his UFO files to another organization? The researcher was pilloried for that. But here we have the MUFON Board of Directors nakedly SELLING the entire capability of our organization to a ruthless businessman who had NO respect for MUFON's Mission of reporting UFO information to Members and the public. The entirety of CMS was put at his disposal, and our idealistic MUFON investigators were turned into employees. In order to live up to the demanding terms of the contract, a draconic regime of secrecy and conformity was imposed on Mufon-and it is still with us today.
As for the risks, whatever they may be, they all belonged to MUFON. Bigelow's risks, and even the risks of his "affiliates" and "customers," were loaded onto the back of MUFON. Of course, it is our understanding the Board of Directors has some kind of insurance policy which covers the 12 members of the Board, and we wonder if they ran this contract by their insurers before signing it. In the meantime, the legions of investigators who were to carry out Bigelow's bidding were left without insurance coverage.
The real problem is lack of fund raising The root of this problem is that MUFON's Board does no fund raising, and so they are easy prey to exploitation by a Robert Bigelow. And what about Bigelow's "affiliates"? According to James Carrion, in this recent column:
it was Bigelow's undisclosed backers who actually put up the $672,000 to buy MUFON, and only one person on MUFON's board knew who those backers were. In other words, the MUFON Board signed a contract and sold MUFON to persons and they did not know who those persons were-and they even assumed the risks for those persons.
MUFON needs a democratically-elected Board It is the view of The Committee to Reform MUFON that these actions by the Board in no way resemble a safeguarding of the integrity of our organization or its Mission. Accordingly, we feel the Board has forfeited its claim to carry on running MUFON under MUFON's current corporate structure.
Sign the petition, MUFON needs to change That is why, in the "Petition to the Board of Directors and the International Director of MUFON," which our Committee circulated to all of MUFON two days ago, we called for a scrapping of the current undemocratic corporate structure of MUFON and its replacement with a new corporate structure in which we would vote for the members of the Board of Directors.
The Committee to Reform MUFON Marilyn Carlson Dean DeHarpporte Elaine Douglass Bill McNeff Marlee Spendlove
This was also talked about at the beginning of the February 8th controversial interview with Budd Hopkins ex-wife Carol Rainey who has recently come out to expose the unprofessional practices of Abduction researchers Budd Hopkins & David Jacobs.
The Saga continues....