Sent February 17, 2012 to TAP-Chicago members
Dear TAP-Chicago members and friends,
It is with great disappointment that I must inform you that we have recently learned that for the past several months a TAP-Chicago volunteer has been working with a member of the TACL national board to secretly plan the formation of a competing Taiwanese American organization in Chicago. We believe this person has used his position as a TAP organizer and his participation in TAP events to recruit people for the board of the competing organization. We believe that this person has used his position as an organizer and his membership in TAP’s Facebook group to collect information to benefit the new organization.
Additionally, this person has explored the idea of taking over the leadership of TAP-Chicago as an alternative to starting the competing organization from scratch. We believe this person has increased his level of activity in TAP to facilitate the start-up of the competing organization and the attempt to take over our organization.
Since TAP-Chicago’s formation 4 years ago, it has been our general practice to trust that volunteers are acting in good faith. However, as it clearly states on our sign-in sheets, it is TAP-Chicago’s policy to respect the privacy of its attendees and to use contact information collected only for TAP purposes. By acting as a contributing member of the TAP-Chicago team while actively planning the formation of a competing organization, this person has hidden a clear conflict of interest, violated the trust of TAP-Chicago members, and irreparably harmed TAP-Chicago’s own volunteer recruitment efforts. On a personal level, it is also deeply disappointing.
We would like to clarify that the identity and contact information of TAP-Chicago members and attendees are confidential information. Also, we are clarifying that it is ethically wrong and a clear conflict of interest to attend a TAP-Chicago event with the intent of recruiting attendees for a competing organization. It is now TAP-Chicago’s policy that anyone intending to participate in TAP events or volunteer for the organization must first disclose and receive a waiver for all real or potential conflicts of interest.
Due to the clear and undeclared conflict of interest, TAP-Chicago has asked the person mentioned above to:
- Immediately cease gathering the contact information and identity of TAP- Chicago members and attendees
- Immediately cease accessing all TAP-Chicago resources including communication tools (including but not limited to tapchicago.org email, listserv, and TAP Facebook group) and proprietary information (including but not limited to event planning guides, membership/attendee lists and contact information, templates, venue lists, and merchant contact information)
- Refrain from using the contact information and identity of TAP members and attendees and TAP-Chicago’s proprietary information to benefit any competing organization
- Destroy or return to TAP-Chicago all proprietary information as detailed above but especially all files or records that contain the contact information or identity of TAP-Chicago members and attendees
- Cease attending TAP-Chicago events
- For the avoidance of any doubt, refrain from contacting any TAP-Chicago members, volunteers, or attendees for any purpose, including recruitment
- Refrain from encouraging others to attend TAP- Chicago events or contact TAP-Chicago members, volunteers, or attendees on his behalf or on behalf of the competing organization
- Cease any planning to influence or take over the leadership of TAP-Chicago
We continue to investigate the situation, but the indications so far are that the certain person had access to a limited amount of member and attendee confidential information. We will do everything possible to make sure that member information is returned or destroyed. We have asked this person to certify that he has returned or destroyed all TAP proprietary information and TAP member confidential information.
While we believe that this person has acted without cooperation from others, this email serves as notice that anyone who has a real or potential conflict of interest should immediately disclose the conflict and refrain from participating in TAP-Chicago until they have received a waiver for those conflicts.
This situation is evolving quickly and we appreciate your support and understanding as we remedy this difficult situation. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.