Report of One LP NV Event From Avens O’Brien

Avens O’Brien on facebook and in IPR comments:

To start, I’d like to reassert my interest in the actions I’m reporting on: I’m the former Vice Chair of the Libertarian Party of New Hampshire, and a current member of the Libertarian Party of Nevada. I paid my dues to the party and paid a fee to attend the annual convention on April 27, 2013. I received notice 5 days before the convention that it would be indefinitely postponed due to a claim of the Executive Committee of National LP and a member of the party allegedly “interfering” in the outcome of the upcoming leadership election. I was refunded my attendance fee.

As someone involved in party leadership in the past, I consider myself reasonably capable of keeping an open mind regarding disagreements between factions within the party. So I immediately engaged in trying to understand the mechanics behind this decision by the Executive Committee as well as quickly resolve whatever issues were in place, as I do not wish to see myself or other party members disenfranchised in our right to vote on our leadership.

The Executive Committee did not appear interested in engaging in conversation regarding when a new convention would be held, why such a drastic course of action was taken, or what they intended to do leading up to the postponed convention. Communication was limited, as well as, in my opinion, unprofessional. They did not answer concerns. They did not provide leadership.

On Wednesday, April 24th, 2013, Brett Pojunis, who is both an LNC Representative and the party member accused by the Executive Committee of “unethical behavior”, invited the party membership to attend a Meeting set for the same time and date of the original convention, with the intention of discussing the direction of the party and the needs of the membership. As many members had already arranged travel and schedule plans with the intention of originally attending the Convention, a number of people elected to attend this meeting to find out exactly what was going on.

For the record, I decided to attend this meeting to observe the behavior of the coordinators and the attendees. After arriving and learning the mission of this meeting, I decided to stay and participate. There were 26 state party members in attendance, as well as a member of LPCalifornia who came to observe. There was video recording as well. There were apparently twelve more people interested in attending and participating who could not due to other plans made after the initial cancellation.

To begin, Brett was quick to explain that this was not a convention. There is a very specific set of bylaws pertaining to the promotion and action of a convention, and this would not be one.

There was some discussion about the reasons for choosing to postpone, and conversations about when a new convention may be held. Brett and his slate of nominees for Executive Committee provided a professional and comprehensive binder titled “2013 Strategic Operations Game Plan to Effectively Develop and Build the Libertarian Party in Nevada.”

The bulk of the meeting was spent on an activity that every member in attendance had an opportunity to participate in. We drafted a petition to the Libertarian Party of Nevada and to the Libertarian National Convention, listing a number of points:

Firstly, a list of the bylaws violations committed by the current Executive Committee of LPNevada. Each list item was addressed, debated, supported with dialogue and approved by those in attendance.

Secondly, a list of questionable actions taken by the current Executive Committee of LPNevada. Each list item, again, was addressed, debated, supported with dialogue and approved by those in attendance.

Thirdly, a list of membership grievances was compiled. Each list item, again, was addressed, debated, supported and approved by those in attendance.

Lastly, a list of requests was brought forth – they stipulated conditions of convention – from impartial witnesses to the future convention, also requesting a newly scheduled convention date and transparency in the process. We also included a date by which we wish these conditions to be addressed/met, so there was a clear indication of expectations.

This petition was signed by all members in attendance.

The exact content of this petition will be released shortly, the final draft is not in my possession, otherwise I would do so.

After the petition we discussed our courses of action not as the official Libertarian Party of Nevada, but as a group of Liberty activists who wish to increase the number of people involved in the party, the movement, and in leadership roles.

At this point we were informed that the members of the current Executive Committee were presently meeting at the original site of the now-postponed convention. I have no knowledge of how we received this information, but I do know that the group decided collectively to drive over to the Suncoast Casino and see what was going on.

There were 27 of us who walked into the convention center area of the Suncoast Casino. There was a table outside a door and a number of members of the Libertarian Party of Nevada standing inside or outside the room. As we walked down the hallway, the lights were shut off, then turned back on, and someone began yelling “Security!”. The 27 people were quiet, orderly and simply inquiring as to the nature of the event which was being held at the exact place and date (albeit a few hours after) of our original convention.

The answer that was given was “the Free Speech Coalition” and we were escorted out by security. I hung back, simply because I was able to, security didn’t seem to notice or mind me, and I readdressed the people at the table. Fil de Noto was one of them. We exchanged brief words, in which I simply stated that as a member of the LP I just wanted to know if this was an LP event, if the treasury of the Libertarian Party of NV was paying for it, and why it was not open to everyone if it was. I was told it was simply the Free Speech Coalition, and I thanked them for the [incomplete] information and left.

The group of us decided to meet for lunch and socialize for the next couple of hours, which was an enjoyable experience.

I do not have the information nor cause to speculate as to what exactly various members of the current Executive Committee were doing at the Free Speech Coalition gathering which was so coincidentally timed and placed. I do not have any interest in accusations of conspiracy on either side.

I do know that today, a group of 26 members of the Libertarian Party of Nevada met to discuss the actions and future of our party. This was not an activity of anarchy or even rebellion – this was simply a chance to address the issues facing our party, spell out the problems, and try to find the solution. I was very impressed with the entire slate of hopeful Executive Committee members in organizing this event, hearing everyone out, and coming up with realistic expectations and requests.

In conclusion, I am very glad I was able to be a part of it, and thank the organizers and attendees for restoring my hope in the effectiveness of a group of Libertarians to come together against abuses of power.

Thank you for reading.

Avens O’Brien
Former 1st District Vice Chair
Libertarian Party of New Hampshire

38 thoughts on “Report of One LP NV Event From Avens O’Brien

  1. From Der Sidelines

    So when they went to see the meeting which was purportedly of the LPNV XC, the LPNV members were barred from the room, and there was a lookout to tip off the meeting that the members were coming.

    Does this sound like the type of leadership LPNV needs?

    And if it was truly a “Free Speech Coalition,” then what were they so upset about in the first place?

    Seems to me the LPNV XC has some ‘splainin’ to do, Lucy!

  2. Jill Pyeatt Post author

    I’ve just written to their side to ask for a report. Anyone want to place a bet?

  3. Revfatsax

    I have a short video on my phone where it catches fil speechless for a moment. We all are at the door with security, and Jim duensing says to fil…in plain sight and earshot of Kurt, joe etc, “this is more important than holding a convention”, to which a stumbling fil finally replies, “this is, uh, a different thing, you aren’t invited. “. And Jim, always with a quick reply says to him, “if you are going to be the spokesman for a bunch of liars, you should consider a new job.” I think fil calls for security after that, we see most of the excom, and they don’t come to the door, acknowledge us or invite us in to share some free speech. Classless, clueless and on borrowed time. If politics were a horse race, we are riding a jackass.

  4. Revfatsax

    Didn’t work, and I don’t have YouTube account. I will see if I can safer to email and send from computer

  5. Rod Stern

    “Superb reporting job.”

    Agreed.

    “Of course if they now claim there was a convention held there, they have a bit of a problem, don’t they?”

    I doubt they would be that blatant. More likely they booked the room to make sure the other side would not hold the convention they cancelled.

  6. Anon E. Moose

    Former LPNV member here,

    Here is what I’d like to know. Who paid for the room that they were in today? If the party paid for it and they denied members entry they are even more screwed. Dues paying members should ask for a detailed treasury report to see the money trail. If the LPNV denied access to a party function paid for with member dues they have committed fraud. Is there still a Judicial Committee in the LPNV or was that also disbanded?

  7. Filippo Di Noto

    This is my account of the events.

    First of all, to those concerned that LPNevada funds were used to pay for the event. Absolutely no LPNevada funds were used to pay for the luncheon. It was a Free Speech Coalition event promoted by that organization, RSVP required. It was not an LPNevada event, therefore being a member of the LPNevada does not entitle one to attend.

    Second, what members of the LPNevada and the Executive Committee do in their own time is their own business. Showing up in front of a non-LPNevada event with 20+ people demanding answers is highly inappropriate, and highlights the difficulties that the Party has faced in trying to get other organizations to work with us.
    The events that led to Suncoast Hotel security being called were as follows. Elmer Whittaker was standing in the area between the ballrooms. Shortly thereafter he was joined by Jim Duensing. I noticed them standing there and was concerned but since they weren’t doing anything but standing there, they had every right to be there.

    Then Joe Silvestri arrived and Jim Duensing shouted out “Joe Silvestri is gay!” At this time I asked one of the staff to call security because now Mr. Duensing had demonstrated that his intent was to harass attendees of the Free Speech Coalition Luncheon. Shortly after this Mr. Duensing shouted out again “Joe SIlvestri is still gay!”

    At this point I saw the crowd of people moving towards the ballroom and recognized many of them as LPNevada members who were not listed to attend the luncheon. I was deeply concerned at this point, as one of the people helping to coordinate the event, and also as a member of the LPNevada. The last thing I wanted to see was LPNevada membership disrupting an event that was completely unrelated, other than the fact that some LPNevada members are also supporters of the Free Speech Coalition. Security finally showed up as the crowd was walking down the hallway to the entrance of the ballroom.

    From here on out the events were recorded by multiple video camera phones. I cannot recall the exact details of what I said because I had lights in my eyes and admittedly caught a wave of anxiety. I tried to persuade the crowd to leave, and tried to explain that this was not an LPNevada event. I’m dreading watching the videos as soon as someone posts them, as I’m sure I resemble a deer caught in headlights.
    As the crowd began to leave, I heard shouting coming from inside the ballroom “Someone is messing with Joe!” I went inside just in time to see Don Cowles standing over Joe Silvestri who was seated at a table, and Don was giving Joe “the finger”. I approached them and told Don he needed to leave, and after a brief exchange of words he did.

    A few moments later I went back into the hallway, had a brief discussion with Avens O’Brien in which I was frustrated because the luncheon was supposed to begin soon and I still had matters to attend to. She left and after that there were no more disruptions, the rest of the guests arrived and the luncheon was a success. The Free Speech Coalition panel seemed happy and didn’t make a big deal out of the disruptions thankfully.

    I personally am working with a number of organizations along with some other members of the LPNevada. I realize that because of the controversy surrounding the convention there were many accusations flying around, which in my opinion are irrational. I am willing to take this into consideration, but working with the LPNevada is proving to be a constant uphill battle. The LP’s reputation for radical behavior is a major roadblock in getting other groups to associate with us. My goals for spreading awareness of liberty issues seems to go much more smoothly when the LP is not involved. I hope that this changes in the near future.

  8. Rod Stern

    Thank you for your perspective, Mr. DiNoto. Hopefully, in the interest of fairness, IPR will print your comment as an article, as was done with Ms. O’Brien’s here.

  9. Smart Alex

    You sound perplexed as to why all those people showed up at your event, and seemed to have attitudes. Are you really unaware of why they behaved that way? Perhaps the LP Nevada is too unruly for you, and the Free Speech organization is a better home for you.

  10. Pingback: Report of the Other Nevada LP Event from Filippo Di Noto | Independent Political Report: Third Party News

  11. Avens O'Brien

    Thank you for your side.

    As I stated, we were simply informed (by whom, I do not know) that members of the current ExComm were in attendance of some sort of meeting in the same place as our now-postponed convention. Obviously the times were different, though the days were the same, and I was interested to tag along with the group in order to see what exactly was going on. If it was not a Libertarian Party of Nevada event nor paid for by the LPNevada, then there is no problem here from me.

    If you say it was not paid for by LPNV funds, I’m perfectly willing to believe you, personally, Fil. Just so you know. However, that information should be publicly available – not because we ask for it, but for another reason:

    As a member of the LPNV, I do find it troubling that I can find no record of meeting minutes (for ANY meeting of the LPNV) on the website or anywhere else. Meeting minutes should contain a Treasurer’s report. A Treasurer’s report lets the leadership and membership of the organization know what the party funds are, where they come from and where they go. It is a way to determine positive fundraising activities, potential party activities and accountability for the funds collected and used.

    When I was a Vice Chair of the LPNH, we had monthly meetings with public attendance and public minutes released. The number of members, the money in possession of the party, and the various reports of collection of dues/funds and use of said dues/funds was publicly available for review.

    Party membership was then able to review their party leadership to determine if they liked the way leadership was handling the aforementioned party resources, and was able to vote, fully-informed, for party leadership, based on that knowledge and other information.

    I do believe this is also a stipulation of the Bylaws of the LPNV (Article 4 Section 3B).

    I am NOT trying to make accusations, but outline an expectation that, per bylaws, there should be an action which would prevent this potential drama.

    If party membership were able to see recorded minutes of the meetings, as they are supposed to, they would be able to see the funds, which they would then know if and when they were used for purposes other than party interests. With full accountability, any claims of abuse of party resources would not hold any water, and transparency would secure the reputation of those involved in the organization.

    As a concerned member of the party, I wish to point that out, to you, to the current Executive Committee and to all members of the party.

    There would be little cause for confusion with transparency. But there is no transparency and thus, much confusion. The responsibility for this lies with the current Executive Committee.

    I hope all of this is resolved soon. For the good of the Party.

  12. Rev fatsax

    So don cowles, brett pojunis, tim hagan, myself, and 21 others are all radicals? That dog dont hunt fil…try again. Tell me a story about unicorns…i like those stories better, they are more believable.

  13. David Colborne

    I’m not going to repeat what I said on the other thread here. I will note, however, that you’d have to be completely and totally devoid of all social awareness to fail to understand why people might be a little upset when they discover that the same people that postponed the convention attended an event at at the convention venue during the original date and time of the convention.

    Now, I know you work in IT, Fil, and I know high social awareness isn’t exactly… common in our field, but, even by IT standards, that’s pretty dense. Seriously, you should see a psychiatrist and get that worked out.

  14. From Der Sidelines

    Fil needs to open a laundromat. He excels at spin so much be ought to be dispensing Downey.

    If this so-called “Free Speech Coalition” (which ironically was invitation-only and therefore not really free!) was paying for the room, then show the invitee list AND the receipt.

    Frankly, this reeks of the LPNV XC trying to pull a fast one and shutting out LPNV members from a true convention by telling the members it was canceled when it wasn’t. Picking your voters, so to speak.

  15. From Der Sidelines

    If you can’t get enough votes to your side, then the obvious next step is to reduce the votes of the other side, be it by credentialing or in this case, the false notification. Their problem is, they got caught.

  16. LibertarianGirl

    FSCdid not pay for the room . LPN gave Freedom and Prosperity NV , the pedo-Treasurers pac $500 for the room some time ago. FandP did pay for the room and has not , refunded LPN.It begs the question why LPN would go thru a 3rd party to pay for convention expenses when they NEVERhave before? was cancellation always a contingency plan??

  17. Rod Stern

    FDS @24-5

    I don’t think they would be that blatant. It would give national blatant grounds for disaffiliation. Given that Pojunis and Hagan are on LNC, I think it would happen were something that easily proven to occur.

  18. Rod Stern

    What I think happened instead is that when they found out that the other side was going to meet there anyway, the LPN exec comm made sure they would occupy the room so it would not turn into a convention that could be claimed to have elected officers with proper notice, and put together the FSC invitation only event as makeshift cover. Obviously they were not concerned with making the FSC event itself a success, or they would have advertised it. Its sole purpose to them was to occupy the room to keep it being used by the opposition.

    LibertarianGirl

    I’ve been told that the treasurers report is not publicly available, so how do you know? For the sake of argument it is possible that LPNV paid additionally, then the money was refunded, then FSC paid, or something like that. If you know that did not happen, how do you know it?

  19. LibertarianGirl

    Its possiblethe money was refunded, but not possible that LPN didnt give Fand P the money to reserve it in the first place. Whats known is that LPN DID give Fand P $500 for convention. Whats known is that was the first time ever LPN hasnt paid directly , whats speculation is why they would do that. Im speculating that its because cancellation was always a contingency plan….. and LPN does not release Treasurers reports or if they even have them , but they are FEC compliant. Technically , maybe they didnt commit fraud but they are dangerously close

  20. Rod Stern

    “Im speculating that its because cancellation was always a contingency plan….”

    I think you may well be right, but speculating =/= knowing.

  21. David Colborne

    @28: Your thoughts mirror mine on the subject. We have them stating several times in writing that the convention is postponed and that they will announce another venue and time with at least 60 days notice; I doubt they’d put that in writing if they were just going to reschedule it for, say, three hours later.

  22. Rod Stern

    Here is another explanation that was posted on facebook:

    Mallorie Nasrallah
    Alright, I don’t know why I am setting myself up to get yelled at and smeared…but here’s to hoping you guys can accept truth as truth.
    I’ve been extremely I’ll over the past two days so I received a request to photograph this event late and I was unsure of whether or not I would be able to at all.
    But because I had offered to shoot the convention, and this was no more out of my way than that, and I work in the adult industry and heavily support to FSC and these lectures I dragged my sick ass in last min.
    I was not there for the creeping in the dark bit.
    But in the interest of full disclosure I was told this was paid for privately. And the reasoning behind holding the event was that with suncost (or any other large venue)you will lose your deposit if you cancel a reservation of a room. However you are able to change that reservation.
    Think the goal of this event was simply to make use of a space that was going to be paid for out of pocket by *someone* anyway.

    I do not know how attendees were invited.

    This was not a convention, Joe’s kids were there and for their sake I am glad hostilities were halted at the door.

    I just want to be very clear this was not a convention. This was simply put together to avoid losing the deposit on the room. This was from my understanding not paid for by the LP in anyway, and while you are free to call it poor taste you can not call it fraud.

    The end. I hope you actually care about facts and reality and can take this for what it is.

  23. Ken Moellman

    I am not looking to get into any part of this fight.

    However, I cannot leave without at least noting the hilarity of people being escorted out of a Free Speech event for speaking.

    And, I’m glad we all play nice in LPKY.

  24. Rod Stern

    FB:

    Jason Smith it won’t upload, says it is not able to…I’ll get the official error in a second…
    11 minutes ago · Like

    Jason Smith “File contains errors, cannot be attached.” but I can watch on my computer and phone.???

    Anyone know how to fix this?

  25. Thane Eichenauer

    A comment on some above comments on the “Free Speech Coalition”. Libertarians define “free” to mean “free from government regulation”. It is perfectly congruent for a coalition of advocates of free speech to hold meetings to which non-invitees are not welcomed. So long as government action wasn’t involved then all the recounted actions were in keeping with “free speech” (as libertarians define the term).
    On the other side all the speech free from government regulation doesn’t prevent personal conflict and uncivil behavior from occurring.

  26. Rev fatsax

    But open dialogue and financial accountability grease the wheels of teamwork…wouldnt you say?

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