March 6, 2016
Definition of sham
1 : a trick that deludes : hoax feared that the deal was a sham
2 : cheap falseness : hypocrisy saw through the hollowness, the sham, the silliness of the empty pageant — Oscar Wilde
3 : an ornamental covering for a pillow
4 : an imitation or counterfeit purporting to be genuine
5 : a person who shams
Last night the Chair of the LPF, Char-lez Braden, appointed Paul Stanton to the EC, despite questionable campaign financing, allegations of election fraud in the primary election, accusations of stolen valor, an attempt to seize the Volusia affiliate last month that was thwarted by outside observers, and a general consensus among membership he is obsessed with his former rival in last years US Senate race and has nothing else to offer. His total lack of accomplishment and the fact a small group of people did everything possible to thwart another well qualified LPF member from being appointed to the position is troublesome. The Party has a right to know what really happened.
The story begins in 2015, when the seat had been long vacated. Veteran LPF member and former Fundraising Director, Heather Schieferle Preysz, was approached by myself and others about taking the seat. This was during the period of extreme infighting after Adrian Wyllie, the former LPF Chair, went on a witch hunt for Augustus Invictus. Heather was very open about her opposition to his candidacy. However, she was respected by his supporters because she at least made the effort to come to an event and meet him. She still disagreed with him, but would not engage in the shrill chants of “fascist” and “nazi” that still persist from those with less intellectual honesty or character than Mrs. Preysz. Thus, she was the perfect person to represent the area.
The only problem was that her county of residence was not in the region. She was such an ideal Representative, that the decision was made to move St. Johns County into Region 7 just so she could represent it. The move was widely celebrated by all of the officers and membership. The trouble began due to the fateful scheduling controversy between last years LPF Convention on April 8, and a trip to Nicaragua Heather had planned where they were building a new house. She would not be able to attend. Smelling blood, the sharks began to circle.
There used to be a requirement that those seeking officer positions had a minimum time in the party to avoid the shenanigans I am about to describe. I believe it was only the previous year that they were done away with but do not quote me on that. You can definately quote me on this and I provide the proof below. 2 days before the Convention, Apr, 6, 1016, one of Paul Stanton’s cronies registered with the LPF, and showed up to the convention to take the Region 7 seat, and it should be clear now it was not in order to build the LPF in that part of the state.
Almost immediately, Schlottman resigned. That was the moment I realized there was some nefarious motives at work that had nothing to do with making sure Region 7 had good leadership. While no bylaws were technically broken, it was obvious someone wanted Heather removed and was unable to make the case in an honorable and public manner. She immidiately asked for the seat back, and the membership had no problem with that. She was ignored, and instead a “Regional Conference” was scheduled. Realizing that something foul was afoot, party members from all over Florida rallied. When it appeared that Heather would recieve enough votes, the rules were changed by the Chair to prevent it.
This was the first time I had ever heard of Paul Stanton having a hatred for me. I was sent a series of bizarre messages he was sending to various people, accusing me of being everything from a Holocaust denier to a Nazi stormtrooper. I had actually praised his announcement speech, and candidacy in public. I believed that if those who did not like Augustus had a candidate to support, the controversy would abate. They could debate their ideas and it would be a good and unifying undertaking. Paul Stanton refused to debate and divided us all, but that is another story.
I find most people in the LPF lose their apprehensions when they meet me. I do look a little scary, and my passion and intensity can be intimidating, so rather than engage in a social media war with Stanton, I figured the best course of action was to attend the conference and deliver a speech on the root of our ideal, which I believe entails defending the rights of all, especially if we disagree with them. Stanton was less than ten feet away when I delivered it, but his behavior since shows me that he did not listen to a word of it.
This was when Gabriel Wozniak expressed interest in the seat. Heather is a gracious and kind woman, and she felt that if this young man really wanted it, she would step aside and let him have the position. I warned her something was not right, but she was never involved out of a desire to have a power, and had no dog in the fight beyond her desire to see the area represented. She was essentially begged by the party membership in the area, along with other leadership, to fill a vacancy with someone both sides of the divisive campaign for Senate respected. Gabriel seemed like a nice guy, and despite my misgivings, I befriended him and gave him a chance. It became apparent that my hunch was correct, since he attended a few meetings, but soon after quit attending EC meetings. I have queried the LPF Secretary for his attendance record, and will make an edit to include it, but the fact is that the seat has been essentially vacant since last convention. Gabriel was also given a chance to explain, but has not had the time to do so.
The bylaws regarding EC attendance read as follows:
E. The LPF Executive Committee should be notified by a resigning member of the Executive Committee within seven (7) days of their resignation. If the member does not submit a resignation, their unexcused absence from three monthly Executive Committee meetings or six bi-weekly Executive Committee meetings shall be considered a resignation effective immediately.
Despite reaching this standard last summer, his resignation was not accepted until many months later. Heather offered to take the vacant chair yet again, and was ignored. When the decision to have a conference was made, without an EC vote, yet again, Heather offered a FREE venue. Instead the Chair decided to use party funds to pay for another venue and continued to ignore emails from Heather. It is inexplicable behavior, and if the goal was to see the region represented by a competent and universally well liked individual, unnecessary. It keeps alive a very divisive strain of factionalism alive in the party and the whole debacle should make it obvious that the motivations here were less then honest. When he said his concern was a benign desire to fill the seat, if only for a few weeks, you know he is lying because if that was the case he would have done it months ago when Gabriel missed his 6th meeting.
At the last Volusia County Affiliate meeting, some observers from another affiliate spoke up after Mr. Stanton attempted to appoint himself and others to the officer posts and rewrite the bylaws without quorum. I think we all know exactly what would have happened had they not been there. The bulk of his campaign team have reached out to apologize and make friends with the Augustus camp since the election, and he has alienated more people than Augustus ever did at this point. If it is not obvious that something behind the scenes was more important than filling the seat, you would reallly have to have your head in the sand.
I have yet to hear a single argument based on merit for the dog and pony show of the second Region Conference in less than a year in order to fill an EC seat that was never really empty. A stranger joined 2 days before the convention to force her out, then quit. Considering they had just adjusted a region so she could represent it, we should have given it back to her and saved 2 conferences and tons of drama, as well as LPF funds that we do not have to spare. Mind you, the membership did not ask for a conference, they had already voiced support for Heather.
Heather helped found the Volusia affiliate and has just founded another in St. Johns County that we hope to vote on at the next EC meeting. She sits on the Board of Directors for Blessings in a Backpack, volunteers for Surfquest, was the former LPF Fundraising Director, is a current fundraiser at K9’s for warriors, she the local founder of Opt Out St. Johns (Opting out of standardized testing and actively fighting common core), was the State Events Director for Johnson/Weld, and is also a precinct worker for St. Johns SOE. We have already moved a county in a Region and this is the second time she has been ignored when she offered to take the seat while LPF funds were used to hold events to find someone else to represent the area. That is alot of effort to solve the non-existent problem of representing Region 7.
This whole thing is idiotic and shows poor leadership and bad decision making at every turn. I want to let Heather know that we appreciate her long time devotion to the LPF, and unless the chief concern of the membership in Region 7 is hearing someone say “fascist” and get an award for the largest number of Godwin’s law invocations allowable under Robert’s Rules, they should make it known at our upcoming convention. We would be lucky if she even accepted a nomination at this point.
It is time that people stop playing these stupid games. Stanton brings nothing to the table but a continuation of a drama scene the bulk of us are ready to move forward from. Given his bizarre floor motion he made, that not one person voted for, at last years convention, I can only imagine what idiocy we can look forward to being distracted by in upcoming meetings. The king has crowned his prince, and with that I have no more to do with the affairs of that region, but they will not re-write the history. I look forward to the new leadership and their new ideas. It is a time of coming together for most of us, and the truth always wins in the end.