Libertarian Party of Michigan Leadership Controversy 2022-2023
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The timeline of events with documents are provided below.
Following changes to the Libertarian Party National Platform at the 2022 Libertarian National Convention, Brian Ellison introduced a resolution to the LPMI Libertarian Executive Committee on June 14th. This resolution failed. After the meeting is concluded, LEC district representatives Brandon Waryzbok and Jamie Van Alstine tender their resignations from the board. The next day, Chair Tim Yow and First Vice-Chair Ben Boren resign in turn. At that time, Andrew Chadderdon was second vice-chair and automatically ascended to the chairmanship. On July 9, 2022, the LPMI held a (candidate) Nominating Convention during which Mr. Chadderdon ruled that filing the board vacancies was out of order due to failure to give proper notice of filing these vacancies as well as notice of the Motion of No Confidence against him which was intended to be introduced. His ruling was appealed, so he voluntarily relinquished the chairmanship of that meeting only so he would not bear responsibility for what he believed was a blatant disregard of the bylaws and rules. The vacancies were filled, and there was a vote of No Confidence against Mr. Chadderton which removed him as Second Vice-Chair. This motion was not timely noticed to the membership but was noticed to the Executive Committee on June 19, 2022, which would have been timely if the motion has been heard at an Executive Committee meeting, not the convention. The vacancies were filled as follows: Joe Brundgardt as Chair (elected as First Vice-Chair and then auto-ascended to Chair), Mike Saliba as First Vice Chair, Mary Buzuma as Second Vice Chair, Rafael Wolf as District 6 Representative, John Elgas as District 8 Representative, Greg Stempfle as District 9 Representative, Kyle McCauley as District 10 Representative, and Scotty Boman as District 14 Representative.
Mr. Chadderdon appealed his removal and the election of persons to fill the vacancies to the LPMI Judicial Committee reiterating the arguments he gave at the convention to the delegates, thus, though not required due the fact that these violations were in the nature of a continuing breach of the bylaws, his objections were on record and made at the time of the breach. His appeal was granted, and he was restored to his position, and the elections to fill the vacancies were voided. The major issued on appeal dealt with the character of the Nominating Convention (and thus the type of business that can be conducted therein) and notice requirements with the question hinging upon whether or not said convention was a regular convention. The appeal was granted on the grounds that the Nominating Convention was not, per the bylaws, a regular convention at which any item of business could be taken up (including filling vacancies and the Motion of No Confidence) without notice. It was further noted that even if it were a regular convention, filling officer vacancies required noticed pursuant to the Party's parliamentary authority. Multiple parliamentary opinions were submitted, and they all were in agreement that the filing of the vacancies was improper, regardless of whether the Nomination Convention was a regular meeting, a special meeting, or a species of special meeting created by the Bylaws. The parliamentary opinions were divided on the issue of the propriety of the vote of No Confidence which all hinged upon the nature the Nominating Convention. A number of the member submissions in support of the original actions noted that filling vacancies and other actions were done at Nominating Conventions since they were added to the bylaws in 2017, but there is clear direction per the parliamentary authority that notice is required to fill vacancies, and there was no division in parliamentary opinions on that issue. While it was argued that it was intent of the makers that the additions of the Nominating Convention and National Delegate Selection convention was to add additional regular conventions and while intent is persuasive in reconciling ambiguities, the Judicial Committee decided that such an interpretation was not in concert with the rest of the bylaws and would render other bylaws absurd and violate absentee rights. Despite the argument that it was the prior custom to do other business, but custom and prior interpretation falls in the event of a successful ruling that said custom or past interpretation violates the parliamentary authority or the bylaws. A further question was raised after the fact about a potential improper application of the rules on delegate qualifications, but this was not part of the appeal and it appears it needed to be raised at the time of accepting the Credentials report, though this has not been the subject of any official opinion or investigation.
Like many disputes, it is possible always for people of good faith to disagree, and the process in the LPMI to resolve these issues is through the Judicial Committee, and it is the prerogative of every parliamentary society to have its own processes for resolving and deciding interpretations of its own bylaws. The full arguments of all sides that were part of the record are linked in the timeline records below.
The Bylaws that were in effect are found here:
On April 8, 2023, the LNC authorized the filing of a trademark lawsuit against the unrecognized group after they refused to attend a special convention of the recognized affiliate in Wixom, MI, on April 1, 2023, that was called at their request, but instead held an illegitimate (under the MI bylaws) alternative convention on the same date but different location (Lansing, MI), effectively solidifying the split into an alternative party which is not authorized under the national Party bylaws to hold itself out as an affiliate nor use the party name. While some considered the decision controversial, the past LNC had already authorized a trademark lawsuit for an infringing local group in Virginia, which lawsuit was pending at the time of this decision and could have been prejudiced. The group in Virginia (Tidewater Libertarian Party) was allegedly a pro-Trump group and had been previously disaffiliated by the Libertarian Party of Virginia on those grounds. This is not the first and second times the national Party has sued on trademark grounds, but had a previous case against the state of Washington years previously, so despite some recent disagreement, any representation that this is something new is not warranted. Opinions on the validity or likely success are varied. No one from the unrecognized affiliate appealed to the national Judicial Committee under the recognized theory of constructive disaffiliation by the appeal deadline of March 18, 2023.
Since one group is recognized by the LNC and the other is not, the unrecognized group is referred to as rogue board as that is their status with regards to the national party. The unrecognized group disputes that characterization but do not dispute that they are not recognized by the LNC.
- May 16, 2022: Candidate training sessions were held.
- June 8, 2022: for July 9, 2022 convention was given. The only business noticed is that this is the "(candidate) nominating convention." This announcement was written by the convention committee chair, authorized by the LEC chair, Tim Yow, and finally distributed by the communications director, Connor Nepomuceno.
- June 14, 2022: Candidate training sessions were held.
- June 14, 2022: Brian Ellison introduces resolution regarding changes to national Platform plank 3.5 at Executive Committee meeting which fails
- June 14, 2022: Brandon Waryzbok and Jami Van Alstin submitted their resignations from the Executive Committee.
- June 15, 2022: Tim Yow (Chair) .
- June 15, 2022: Ben Boren (First Vice-Chair) .
- June 18, 2022: Andrew Chadderdon gave ruling, based upon his research, that he auto-ascended to the position of Chair.
- June 19, 2022: Executive Committee given notice by Dave Canny of a motion for a Vote of No Confidence against Andrew Chadderdon. He had stated which he believed was owed to the Party.
- June 23, 2022: Connor Nepomuceno. between Executive Committee and
- June 29, 2022: Dave Canny manually at the Nominating Convention to the whole Party after this date without direction from Chair (disputed by Mr. Canny but no evidence has been produced) nor by vote of the Executive Committee to send notice to entire Party.
- June 29, 2022: Executive Committee meeting in which Andrew Chadderdon sought approval to hire an attorney and parliamentarian. Potentially violent threats were made by a member at that meeting.
- June 29, 2022: Bill Hall submitted a which to have special convention to occur at the same time as the Nominating Convention to fill the Executive Committee vacancies.
- July 5, 2022: Attorney Eric Doster met with Executive Committee and gave advice that any corporate law does not supersede the organization's bylaws and that the actions of a convention are unassailable absent a violation of the organization's bylaws. He also stated that he is not informed of the notice requirements of LPMI. The full video of the Executive Session can be found here.
- July 9, 2022: LPMI Nominating Convention held in which vacancies were filed and a Vote of No Confidence against Andrew Chadderdon passed. The motion differed substantively in content from the prior notice giving specific claims that were not previously cited. A video of the convention is here. The arguments ultimately presented by Andrew Chadderdon in the appeal were raised in his ruling at the convention.
- November 18, 2022: .
- November 29, 2022: Parliamentarian Jonathan M. Jacobs in support of the Chadderton appeal. He also provided .
- November 30, 2022: Parliamentarian Josh Martin in support of Respondents.
- December 1, 2022: Donna Gundle-Krieg in support of Respondents.
- December 1, 2022: Greg Stempfle in support of Respondents.
- December 1, 2022: Jami Van Alstine in support of Respondents.
- December 1, 2022: Joe Brungardt and other signatories in support of Respondents.
- December 1, 2022: Joe Brungardt in support of Respondents.
- December 2, 2022: Parliamentarian Richard Brown in support of Respondents.
- December 2, 2022: Andrew Chadderdon .
- December 2, 2022: Bill Hall in support of Respondents.
- December 3, 2022: Kyle McCauley in support of Respondents.
- December 3, 2022: Scotty Boman in support of Respondents.
- December 4, 2022: Joe Brungardt sent .
- December 8, 2022: Video submission of Kyle McCauley in support of Respondents.
- December 9, 2022: The LPMI Judicial Committee had its hearing on the Chadderdon appeal.
- December 13, 2022: The LPMI Judicial Committee had a meeting to decide the matter Robert Roddis . and . JC Member
- December 21, 2022: Andrew Chadderton and parliamentarian Josh Martin in which he states that the society has the right to follow its own processes to interpret its bylaws and he would follow the JC opinion were he a member. between
- December 23, 2022: Parliamentarian Jonathan M. Jacobs in support of Chadderdon appeal.
- December 26, 2022: LPMI Judicial Committee Chair Connor Nepomuceno .
- December 26,. 2022: Brian Ellison filed a regarding Mr. Chadderdon's stepping down from chairing July convention before hearing an appeal on his ruling.
- December 28, 2022: Daniel Ziemba as LPMI Secretary regarding violation of NDAs. from
- December 30, 2022: Brian Ellison inquired and the Judicial Committee .
- January 25, 2023: LEC met to set date for Special Convention and fill vacancies. They approve signing a contract with a venue for an event on April 1st. Joe Brungardt moves to give Andrew Chadderdon access to the LPM bank accounts, which is approved without objection. A motion to update the LARA (Michigan state incorporation authority) filings to reflect the current slate of officers is approved without objection. Meeting Minutes
- January 29, 2023: The for the petitioned Special Convention on April 1st in Wixom is emailed to the affiliates and members.
- April 1, 2023: Convention of the recognized affiliate in Wixom and the annual convention of the unrecognized board in Lansing.
- July 15, 2023: The legitimate Regular Convention takes place in Pinconning. Delegates approve amendments to the bylaws in regards to some of the matters presented in these controversies. Andrew Chadderdon is re-elected as chair, and Connor Nepomuceno is re-elected to the Judicial Committee.
- July 27, 2023: The Michigan Bureau of Elections recognizes the Chadderdon board and the LNC-recognized affiliate as the Libertarian Party of Michigan. The Chadderdon board is also recognized by the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulation.
- August 26, 2023: Rogue board removes content from its site set up after decision to ignore Judicial Committee decision due to granting of injunction.
Additional key Documents will appear below in separate sections-rest of timeline will deal only with major touchstone events
Outside Commentary (Opinions Pieces)
- Caryn Ann Harlos did a series of videos on the situation, one comphrehensive one with an overview, and two shorter videos, one on the alleged catch-22 absurdity that the Respondent's argument would create in the bylaws, and one on an alleged misstatement of fact being spread in Party Slack channels. One video in particular is a short summary for quicker viewing with a part two. There is an additional video showing past action which follows a similar fact pattern and the actions taken are similar to that of this LNC, and an additional one showing "email spoofing" by the unrecognized board.
- Scotty Boman wrote several articles in favor of the unrecognized board here and here.
- Bill Hall wrote a summary of his perspective on his blog [Caution: contains highly disputed inflammatory and unsubstantiated character slurs of bigotry - permitted as it also contains assertions of alleged fact contrary to others.]
- Rogue board has posted timeline and their opinion/side of the story on a non-party website.
Key Official District Court Documents and Events
Case heard before Judge Judith Levy in the Eastern District of Michigan
- May 5, 2023: and filed by the LNC.
- June 15, 2023: The LNC files a and a .
- June 22, 2023: The Eastern District of Michigan US Court issues a of a motion hearing for the LNC's preliminary injunction scheduled for August 23, 2023.
- July 10, 2023: The rogue board files a .
- July 22, 2023: The LNC files a ].
- July 28, 2023: Andrew Chadderdon files a (included in July 22 reply).
- August 23, 2023: US District Court in Eastern Michigan to consider the LNC's motion for preliminary injunction and rules in open court in LNC's favor.
- August 24, 2023: Court issues granting the LNC's Motion for Preliminary Injunction.
The Unrecognized Group appealed the granting of the Preliminary Injunction.
- September 19, 2023:
- October 10, 2023:
- October 10, 2023:
- October 13, 2023:
Key 6th Circuit Appellate Court Documents
- October 5, 2023:
- November 27, 2023
- December 4, 2023:
Brief of Appellee is due by 1/3/24 with Response of Appellants due by 21 days following filing date.
Key Comerica Suit Documents
- April 24, 2023:
- May 25, 2023:
- June 22, 2023:
Key Post-Trademark Suit Documents from Recognized Affiliate
- August 31, 2023:
Key Post-Trademark Suit Documents from Unrecognized Group
- August 9, 2023:
References and Endnotes
- This matter of auto-ascension was part of the subsequent dispute.
- This is disputed by 2016 LPMI Chair Kim McCurry who is substantially in agreement with Mr. Chadderton's parliamentarian that the clear intent was to create several non-regular conventions to deal with specified topics and one of the reasons was so that any faction could ram through other business at these conventions such as stacking the Executive Committee (opinion statement)
- At past even year conventions, the Judicial Committee noted that the evidence showed that the consistent practice of the Party was to provide notice of filing vacancies with one exception in 2018.
- This is not a valid reason for what amounts to a removal motion under the LPMI bylaws which lists missing three consecutive meetings or breach of fiduciary duty as valid reasons.
- This petition for a specified date and time was not submitted in time to give bylaws-required notice to the affiliates and members. There are time-certain deadlines in the bylaws, not merely "reasonable notice" as interpreted by a member so that petition was ruled out of order. Note that Mr. Hall mistakenly refers to the date of the petition as July 29, 2022, when it was June 29, 2022.
- There were objections to this use of Party resources to do what some believed was an unfair characterization of motives.
- The unrecognized group which were considered but are legally of no effect to the recognized affiliate.