Ostromecki Removal Due to Letter

from NUMISMATIC NEWS November 8, 2005

What was the “breach of confidentiality” that got Walter Ostromecki Jr. voted off the American Numismatic Association board? Ostromecki says it was a letter he wrote to Cliff Mishler Sept. 10. [The] Topic of that letter was to acknowledge an e-mail from Mishler, who co-chaired an ANA fund-raising effort for the museum and who has been rebuffed by the ANA board in his effort to name the ANA museum after Edward C. Rochette, a former ANA president and executive director. Readers may wonder what explosive content would lead to Ostromecki being removed from the board of governors by a 7-0 vote of the other governors attending a closed session meeting Oct. 14 in Colorado Springs, Colo. They will keep wondering because the content as published here seems completely routine and harmless.

Numismatic News has obtained copies of Ostromecki’s letter and others written by or sent to Mishler and Chet Krause, the co-leaders of the fund-raising effort. The letters are published here in chronological order.

Aug. 4, 2005, letter to ANA President Bill Horton from Chet Krause:

Dear Bill:

Words fail to express my disgust at recent action that changed the name of the Edward C. Rochette Museum to apply to the upper gallery of the museum only.
The banner we unveiled at the ceremony that took place July 2nd read … Museum, which includes both the upper and lower galleries. I have seen a release for the Numismatist that directly mentions only the upper gallery.

Let me tell you that a half million dollars does not grow on trees. Upon my return from San Francisco I shared what had been done with the anonymous donor. He vented his disgust in words that are not printable.

If you haven’t given thought to what he, Cliff and my influence has on any future fundraising efforts you might consider it at this time.

You should understand that by prematurely canceling the campaign we did conduct that raised about $1 million, another million was left on the table. I am quite sure those funds will no longer be available to any campaign unless you have our blessing. Right now none of us are in a mood to do so.

No response to this letter is necessary except one telling us our donation included to name the Edward C. Rochette Museum stands as it was intended.
Chet Krause

cc: Barry Stuppler; Patti Finner; Alan Herbert; Prue Fitts; Donald Kagin; Michael Fay; Walter Ostromecki; Remy Bourne.

Aug. 31, 2005, letter to Chet Krause from ANA Executive Director Chris, Cipoletti:

Dear Chet:

Bill Horton has asked me to respond to your August 4, 2005 letter to him. The ANA Board had an oppotunity to discuss your letter and the concerns you expressed.

We certainly do not want you left with a negative feeling about the fundraising campaign or the ANA. There was obviously confusion about the naming rights associated with your gift to the building fund and, unfortunately, naming opportunities and giving levels for those opportunities were not laid out at the beginning of the fundraising campaign. That is something that we cannot correct after the fact but it is an issue that we would greatly appreciate having an opportunity to discuss with you.

Cliff Mishler and I did not discuss the details of the naming in advance of the ceremony and I had not seen the banner that had been created until it was unfurled. I’m sorry that I did not ask to see the banner or clarify what was being named in honor of Ed Rochette prior to the ceremony. Had we had a conversation along those lines prior to the ceremony, we might have alleviated some of the issues that are now troubling you.

While we cannot undo what has occurred, Bill Horton and I would like to speak with you about your concerns. We would be more than willing to pay you a visit in Iola or arrange a conference call. Please let me know if you are amenable to a visit or a call so that we can provide you with the underlying analysis for the Board’s decision and to see what we might be able to do to respond to your concern that the campaign was prematurely cancelled.

I look forward to hearing from you and to seeing you in the near future. Please feel free to call me at 719.482.9830.

Christopher Cipoletti
Executive Director
cc: Bill Horton

Sept. 6 fax to Chris Cipoletti from Chet Krause:

Dear Chris:

Cliff Mishler was in Omaha this weekend. I have not had occasion to let him read your fax received Friday afternoon. I’ll do so this morning and no doubt one of us will respond later Tuesday.
At this point yours and Bill’s travel to Iola seems to be spending of time and money that could serve a better end. I am well aware that Iola is not a convenient place to get to, further there is no time factor to meet as water is already under the bridge. Our differences are more like repairing the dike at New Orleans.

My travel is quite limited these days. The ANA in San Francisco liked to kill me. Perhaps Cliff could arrange a meeting with you in his travels, which still are much broader in scope than mine.
He and I have a very like mind on this subject matter, thus when he speaks to this matter, he speaks for both of us.

Chet Krause