Atheists of Florida (AoF) Debacle … the Veil of Secrecy

Since I am in litigation, there’s not much that I can publically say other than to post what already has been reported or filed in court documents about the consolidated set of cases referenced as EllenBeth Wachs v Ed Gollobith, et al.

But it is worth noting the apparent “veil of secrecy” surrounding the actions of a handful of Atheists of Florida board members during and following their orchestrated and illegitimate coup to remove EllenBeth Wachs and me not only from our executive positions (Vice-president and President, respectively) but as members of Atheists of Florida as well, along with their publishing false and defamatory statements about us, all actions which led to the lawsuits that we’re presently in.

It is no coincidence that the coup occurred in the midst of an election in which our organization’s members were voting to elect new board members (the first time that this had ever occurred in the history of the organization).   It is worth noting the fact that if we were not removed as members during this election, EllenBeth and I could have, and more than likely would have, been reelected to the AoF Board of Directors.  Additionally, EllenBeth, as an elected chapter director (Lakeland Chapter) would have, under the bylaws that they were using, had a seat on the Board regardless of the outcome of the Board election.  Moreover, three of the conspiring board members had forgotten to nominate themselves and the Chairman, Ed Gollobith, was upset because his legal name was used on the ballot instead of “Ed Golly.” (The bio included with the ballot showed his nickname “Golly”).   And, EllenBeth, with ~ 3000 Facebook friends, did not include Mr. Gollobith in her slate of 10 recommended candidates for the Board, which she had posted on her Facebook wall.

So, with the above context, consider now this notion of a “veil of secrecy” — apparent in Jennifer Hancock’s article, which was published in The Examiner blog, three days after the coup:

Breaking News:

Atheists of Florida will not release reasons for expulsion

November 9, 2011

In a startling update to the story that broke Sunday about the board of the Atheists of Florida expelling their President and Vice President from the membership in the organization, the board of the Atheists of Florida announced today that they have “decided that we will not contact either Wachs or Kieffer regarding the issues that resulted in their expulsion from A of F. If either inform us that they want to appeal, then we will describe the issues that resulted in their expulsion so they may address those issues before the board.”

Ed “Golly” Gollobith, the acting president of the board said, “I had intended to let them know about those concerns, but following consultation with other board members today we decided to follow the course of action described above.”

According to AofF bylaws Article V Section 2:

Any member—including Life Members—may be expelled for seriously obstructing the organization’s business, misappropriating the organization’s name or funds or acting in a way that discredits the organization. The expulsion procedure consists of three steps:

Step 1. A formal expulsion proposal by any member shall be presented in writing to the president and two board members, selected at random by the president, where there is no conflict of interest, who will decide whether or not to expel the member.

Step 2. The expelled member will be allowed ninety (90) days to appeal to the entire board to have membership reinstated.

Step 3. If expelled, the membership fees from the current year shall be refunded to the expelled member.

The president shall notify the accused member as soon as the result of the appeal is known.



Happier times: Atheists of Florida – Lakeland Chapter event (2010) — AoF Chapter Director EllenBeth Wachs (center in pink shirt); John Kieffer (front row kneeling w white shirt)
The sign in the background was designed by EllenBeth in conjunction with a “prayer” lawsuit vs the City of Lakeland in which EllenBeth provided Atheists of Florida standing as the Plaintiff.



About John Kieffer

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