UPDATE 7.00 PM LOU KATSOS’ INTERVENTION…Talking about Lou Katsos, here is what he wrote on his FB page – which proves my point in this article. It is obvious that the Archbishop is pressuring him and the rest of AHEPA’s “fifth column” in the Omogenia to take over the parade:
THE HELLENIC AMERICAN PEOPLE UNITED WILL NEVER BE DEFEATED !!! – Our organizations have been in DANGER and WE MUST support them including the Federation. It is important also to plan for this coming year’s Hellenic Independence Day Parade 2023 scheduled last year to be after Easter (April 26, 2023). The Hellenic Societies community in New York cannot allow the current situation to continue and which is negatively effecting our Societies in New York which must not only be preserved but strengthened . The audit by what has been stated as unbiased professionals to resolve the financial criteria to have a legitimate election per the Federation’s Bylaws, and that has been going over the last year was a disappointment but in a way understandable. The auditors after months of digging into the Federation’s past financial records (mostly bank checks since the “records” in the Federation mysteriously “disappeared” as did computer drives) basically handed Zip drives with information to the two sides. At this point the auditors information in my opinion should be made public, and any potentially inappropriate financial past activities by any past or current Federation officer (if any) found turned over to the New York District Attorney for further investigation and or legal action. In the meanwhile after the information has been made public, etc. elections in a UNITED fashion , without any outside interference including from abroad, should be called and held to include all legitimate paid Society organization members of the Federation to determine the Federation’s new Officers per the Federation’s By-Laws, and those election results supported by everyone.
Both opposing sides refuse to publicize the findings of the Audit Committee for good reason: they are both heavily liable. Helleniscope (and others, including the Audit Committee) has been discussing with both sides the Formation of a Transition Committee, by independent personalities, as a key to the future of the Federation. Dimitris Kalamaras bears special responsibility – especially because he is a lawyer – for his inaction as a board member and his refusal to compromise in any plan. He has to go home at the earliest possible opportunity.
By Nick Stamatakis
I have been involved, despite my disappointment eleven years ago, in watching and reporting the affairs of the NY Federation for the past three to four years and have been following this case of Greek political disease (called “power hunger” or “αρχομανία”) closely. It is truly a disease, and the only cure is to invite fresh blood, the younger generations, the 40 yr-olds, to take over. Everyone in the community agrees with this statement – with no exception – even some of those responsible for “power hunger”…
Recently, I was given credit by the Audit Committee for the idea of handing the Audit Committee’s findings in the form of a USB stick to each side, which happened at a special gathering on Monday, October 31st – Halloween. It was truly a Halloween spectacle to see: the two sides received the USB sticks containing much evidence of their malpractice (and possibly some criminal behavior), and they were advised to act on it and save the Federation, without allowing the evidence on the usb sticks to reach near the DA’s office or the IRS.
Despite goodwill mediation efforts by many, including by Hellenicope, the two sides are now locked in a court battle destined to last for many months and likely for years. The evidence found by the Audit Committee, contained in the USB stick, surely is damning the one side (Led by the late Petros Galatoulas in the past and now by George Georgopoulos), as Helleniscope has been reporting for years: We were the only medium to report these fraudulent acts openly. But after the Audit Committee’s report, we are certain that the other side, now led by D.Kalamaras, is equally responsible: As any first-year law student will tell you, a crime is committed not only by actions but also by ommissions. And many members of the D.Kalamaras side were sitting on the board of the Federation for many years, they knew about many violations, if not crimes, and they did absolutely nothing. They are, therefore, equally responsible – and there is no legalistic way around it: the laws of New York are very clear when it comes to the fiduciary and other responsibilities of the directors of non-profit organizations.
The Audit Committee’s (and the community’s) focus was, after handling the USB sticks, on proceeding to the parade and the elections. To do that, Helleniscope (and others) have been talking to both sides and advising them on the following:
At the first joint assembly (it was scheduled for November 17, but apparently, this date was bypassed), the two sides should elect:
1) A Parade Committee to start working on next year’s Greek Parade.
2) A three-member Transition Committee to start the election process, formed by independent and widely respected personalities. We proposed a few names, and we asked many on either side to make their proposals. Other committees should also be formed: the Membership Committee (to eliminate inactive members and accept new ones), the new Charter Committee (to modernize the Charter), and the Election Committee.
3) A Building Committee, which will take care of the immediate needs of Stathakeion and also receive the keys (the keys should also be handed to the Transition Committee and the Parade Committee.
Upon forming these committees, the two opposing committees would agree to adjourn the legal case between them for at least 5-6 months and possibly withdraw it. Also, the two opposing parties would be dissolved, and Mr.Kleanthis Meimaroglou should cease to have a function in the Federation.
The Dimitris Kalamaras’ side bears great responsibility for the impasse.
Both sides found it difficult to accept these sensible steps (some first proposed by the Audit Committee): The D.Kalamaras side insisted on having the adjournment first, while the G.Georgopoulos side insisted on having the building keys first. The Georgopoulos side agreed on the Nov. 17th meeting but only conceded a 2-week adjournment which expired Nov. 1. The D. Kalamaras side pretended to agree on a common Nov. 17 assembly but found an excuse to postpone it – and now does not talk at all about it. In the past, I have exposed the great responsibility of the Georgopoulos side, as many of its members were close “associates” of the late Petros Galatoulas. This person allegedly committed (or was involved in committing) over 70% of the illegalities in the past.
But in recent weeks, it became apparent that the D.Kalamaras side bears great responsibility for the past malpractices and the current impasse:
- They have been watching the illegalities as members of the Federation’s Board for many years, and they did not take action (to either report to the authorities or resign).
- They have not shown any serious will to remove the hurdles toward a solution. All of them still today do not agree that past presidents should not be allowed to participate in future elections. Yes. my friends, it’s unbelievable… D.Kalamaras – and the rest – despite being involved in the malpracticing boards of the Federation, still wants to run for office!! Regardless of legal issues or not, Kalamaras and all former presidents should make a statement – as a token of goodwill – that they will not be candidates in the elections in order to allow the younger generation to take over. They should form an advisory board to assist the new officers.
One has to wonder specifically about D.Kalamaras’ motives and hidden agenda. Exactly a year ago, when he had a chance to file for a TRO (he filed a complaint in early October 2021) he dragged his feet, despite declaring left and right that he would do so. Now, after a year that almost brought the Federation to its knees, he insists on fighting a legal battle that is bound to last for a long time and possibly lead to the total dismantlement of the Federation. Mr. Kalamaras, is this what you want? To close down this essential community organization?
As someone who has been watching both sides closely, I have to express my doubts about the motives and the hidden agenda of D.Kalamaras. Last year just ten days before the parade he was in charge of (along with Nikos Bardis and Lou Katsos), D.Kalamaras seemed quite comfortable with the fact that the Greek Presidential Guard (Evzones), a necessary element for the success of the Parade, would not participate. I spoke to all three of them that fateful day, and they did not seem to care that much. I asked them if they would mind me intervening, and they all said they agreed for anyone to make an effort. Upon my request, Bill Mataragas of HANC, immediately arranged and guaranteed (offering his own money) for the Evzones to participate. Then the three Parade committee members and the Archdiocese (inactive up to that moment) wanted to get the full credit… Let me remind you here that D.Kalamaras and Lou Katsos are very close family friends and members of AHEPA. And all of us know that the plan by the Archdiocese is to take away the parade from the Federation and hand it over to AHEPA. We should be suspicious of these people, especially D.Kalamaras, when we see them do everything possible to undermine any solution efforts. The co-president of the Audit Committee, Costas Mastoras, publicly decried D.Kalamaras for being unreasonably opposed to any solution.
I supported D.Kalamaras over the last two difficult years as it was clear that he was innocent of any “misappropriation,” to put it mildly. But he is guilty of watching the illegalities and the malpractices as a member of the board of the Federation and staying inactive – despite being a lawyer. Now he wants to use his legal skills for the wrong reasons. He knows better than anyone that a protracted legal battle will lead to the destruction of the Federation. It is clear that this is his intention: his actions speak much louder than his words. And Mr.Kalamaras has been annoying everyone with his long empty, meaningless speeches for a very long time. It is time for him to go home for good.
Below we post, once again, the “road map” to the election presented by the Audit Committee. Except for the last point (number 11), which can now be modified to allow for forming an interim Financial Committee (to set up an accounting system for the Federation), it is still a very useful tool for the future.
DISCLAIMER: The views and statements expressed in this article constitute constitutionally protected opinions of this author.
Above: The ridiculous photo shows both opposing sides of the Federation visiting the Archbishop last year and asking for his “mediation and intervention”. If they were “leaders” at all, they would take his advice, say “Thank you, your Eminence,” and go back to Astoria and compromise. Instead, they accepted everything he imposed on them… They accepted everything from the leader of the Church, which is still under federal investigation for financial crimes today (Southern District of New York). All these feckless “leaders” should go home – they belong to the past and have no place in building anything new in the community… D.Kalamaras is shown on the far right…
- All the pending lawsuits between members of the Omospondia’s two conflicting parties are withdrawn immediately.
- The Omospondia will be open for the meetings of the below committees and sub-committees, composed of equal members from each conflicting party and led respectively by Presidents of common acceptance.
- A newly formed administration committee will be in charge of the Omospondia’s operations moving forward.
- A newly formed committee of institutions and transparency will be in charge of the Omospondia’s restructuring of its constitution.
- A newly formed committee will be in charge of deciding the eligibility of the Greek Societies to participate in the Omospondia’s Board via their representatives.
- A newly formed Parade committee will be in charge of the annual Parade’s events via related sub-committees. This committee will also form the related bipartisan sub-committees.
- A newly formed election committee will be in charge of the Omospondia’s elections in the future.
- A newly formed executive advisory committee will have as its mission to oversee the Omospondia’s operation, in order to be fully compliant with the strict requirements of the law.
- All past Presidents of the Omospondia are not eligible to participate in its administrative affairs and in the new elections in the future.
- Both of the Omospondia’s conflicting parties will dissolve right after the above-mentioned committees and sub-committees have been formed.
- The Expanded Independent Auditing Committee continues with the Omospondia’s audit of financial records and when is done with the audit in the future, it will reveal its findings at an Omospondia’s General Assembly, in the presence of the Greek American Mass Media Outlets. Needless to say that no elections will take place unless the reform of the Omospondia’s Constitution is completed, the Greek Associations’ eligibility to participate in the elections is established and the audit is finished.