Dartoids World

Column #270 The MMDL – Arrogant, Ignorant or just Misunderstood?

August 21, 2006
Column 270
The MMDL – Arrogant, Ignorant or just Misunderstood?

They say that where there’s smoke there’s fire but you never really know – not if the person or persons sniffing the smoke aren’t allowed in the house to explore. That’s the sum of the crisis currently swirling about the largest darts league in the world, the Minute Man Dart League (MMDL) of Massachusetts. For reasons unknown and as more and more questions arise about how huge amounts of money have been spent or squandered, conflicts of interest, unfair elections, banning of members, conduct unbecoming and more, some of those who with an iron hand have for a quarter-century controlled the MMDL Board of Directors have chosen to close ranks and padlock their door rather than answer to those they are supposed to represent.

It may be that there is no fire. Time will tell. The IRS has a way of prying open even the most tightly locked of doors, and the Commonwealth’s Attorney General’s Office of Public Charities has just passed them the case.

Sadly, whether wrongdoing occurred – intentional or otherwise – is no longer the primary issue. That’s just the way life works. Reality is what people believe and as a result of its own actions and inactions the Board of the MMDL has done little but fan the flame of suspicion. The damage is done.

That’s the tragedy. Fire or not beyond the smoke billowing about the Minute Man house, as each day passes the likelihood decreases that the old guard foundation can, or should be allowed to, continue their reign. In increasing numbers old timers and new darters alike are rapidly coming to the conclusion that for the good of darts and the future of this league that was once so great (and whose greatness ironically was once energized by some of those now at the center of the turmoil) the time has come to pass the torch.

“It does not require a majority to prevail… but rather an irate, tireless minority…” wrote Samuel Adams after leading the Boston Tea Party. “Noise! You’ll have more noise than this before long. The regulars are coming!” exclaimed Paul Revere when asked by a sentry to be quiet during his famous ride.

Clarion calls they were – and they changed the world. From Boston, a city of people who have always demanded control over their own affairs, the cries for change reverberated throughout the original thirteen colonies. “The notion that leadership is not bestowed and people have the right to govern themselves was imagined here first, whispered and then spoken. It grew into a movement, a conflict, and finally a Revolution.”

“It’s time for the MMDL to become great again!” is today’s Clarion call. Insignificant as it may be in comparison to days gone by, considering the history of revolt in this proud city and the circumstances of the current situation, today’s cries should come as no surprise.

Established by Dan Gorman, Gerry Lyons, Phil Jackson, Jack McGee, Steve Millar, Eddie Doyle and Don Skane in 1972 as the Ballentine League (named after its sponsor at the time, Ballentine Ale), the league was renamed Minute Man in 1974 (at which time those generally thought of as among the original founders – Paul Hong, Bill Batty and Harvey Sankey – joined the group). The MMDL was incorporated as a non-profit corporation in 1977.

A charter member of the American Darts Organization (ADO) and built from ground zero by the names above, the MMDL once boasted a membership of nearly 10,000. Since 1992 however, and under the watch of those at the epicenter of today’s controversies, the MMDL membership has nose-dived to a number less than half that of its heyday and every single tournament of consequence has bit the dust. The last Witch City Open was in 2002. The MMDL Open, Clipper City and the Firecracker were ditched the year before. It’s been two years since any significant Minute Man-sanctioned tournament was held and that tournament, the Challenge on the River, was scrapped after 2004.

In corporate America, any part of the paragraph above would be enough to earn a CEO his hiking papers. Not so (or more accurately, not possible) in the MMDL. Years ago the founders crafted By-Laws that made no provision for their removal from office. Like Supreme Court justices they could serve for life and appoint, also for life, whomever they wanted to join them. But they didn’t, not these pioneers of organized darts in America.

Driven by a genuine love for the sport and recognizing that new blood and new ideas prevent stagnation and are essential to progress, they rotated positions and exited honorably in due course. Membership exploded and the MMDL became the blueprint that guided the formation of other leagues nationwide.

From the beginning, only Area Directors (and for a while, Area Representatives) were elected (by a vote of team captains). Today there are four Area Directors and their terms are limited to one year. This is not to suggest that these days MMDL’s election procedures are fairly discharged. More on this in a moment…

Board members receive $35 for each of at least six required meetings a year and are paid an undisclosed annual salary (Article XVII, Section 1 reads: “The President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, Executive Director, Advisors, Business Administrator and Area Directors shall be paid a sum determined by a two-thirds majority vote of the Board.”) that is said to be significant, but no member of the Board seems willing to disclose the actual amount. Two of them (Bob Cedrone and Mark Ingoldsby have dodged or refused to answer my request for the figure; one has not replied to an e-mail request (Sammarco) and the MMDL’s webmaster (Craig Bryant) told me I would “…have to take that up with someone on the Board of Directors. Even if I knew that information, I would not release it.” It is a matter of record that this figure was $700 a year in 1994.

The Board members at the center of the storm – Dick Brolin (who is serving his fourth term as president since 1981), Cedrone (current treasurer and president for the 1999-2001 term) and Ingoldsby (current vice president, president for the 1983-1985 term and owner of CM Photocomp, believed by many to be the league’s “exclusive” printer), have had a stranglehold on the MMDL pretty much since the day in the early 1980s that the last of the founding fathers moved on.

This in itself is one of the questions being raised by MMDL members and others today: What has motivated this group for more than two decades to cling to such thankless positions? Is it truly an abiding love for the sport or is it something ominous?

At the heart of the controversy are the league’s finances, the details of which until recently were a closely guarded secret. In most ways they still are but enough information has leaked out to raise the eyebrows of interested parties.

This said, keep in mind that the darts playing membership of the MMDL does not and never have paid to play. It’s the bar owners (and once upon a time, sponsors like Miller and Budweiser) that foot the bill. Each bar owner in the system currently pays dues of $150 per season or $300 a year.

Some say that because the darters don’t pay dues they should not have access to how the funds collected are spent – or for that matter, anything else about how the league is run. Others submit that since the league exists to promote the sport, since there would be no league if there were no players, and since no bar owner in their right mind would host teams if their investment was not returned several times over by the players plunking down money for beer – that the members have every right in the world to know how money is being spent.

And then there are those who know that there is no debate. Since the MMDL is recognized by the IRS as a 501 c 7 (a social or recreational club) tax exempt non-profit organization, the Board is required by law to make its annual IRS Form 990 available to anyone. Under Sections 301.6104(d)-1 through 301.6104(d)-3 of the Code, a tax-exempt organization must: “Provide a copy without charge, other than a reasonable fee for reproduction and actual postage costs, all or any part of any application or return required to be made available for public inspection to any individual who makes a request for such copy in person or in writing…”. To not do so is to risk revocation of its tax-exempt status.

This is apparently something of which the MMDL’s leaders, specifically its president Brolin and treasurer Cedrone (who signs the tax filings), are unaware or mysteriously intent on challenging.

When asked by members at a recent Board meeting to see the 990s Brolin declined to make them available, explaining that by state law the Board was not required to share them. Cedrone has been more specific but no more respectful of the law. In responding to a member’s request to view the forms he e-mailed the following: “I’ll be brief and to the point. These are the people that the Minute Man Dart League discusses financial matters with: the IRS, our accountants, our attorneys, board members, and maybe sponsors.”

Brolin’s and Cedrone’s ignorance or arrogance aside, the MMDL’s tax filings for the past two fiscal years were obtained. Literally overnight the smoldering controversy began to flame.

Keep in mind that the IRS Form 990s is notoriously vague and can lead to unintentional misrepresentation and misunderstandings by those who review it. The Form presents a glimpse of a non-profit organization’s financial dealings but far from a complete view. Only an analysis of the books and an independent audit can provide a full and accurate picture. None the less and fairly or not, for many this first-ever peak into the MMDL’s financial world was an eye-opener.

Here are the basics of the MMDL’s finances as represented in their signed tax filing for the most current year available, 2004. The league had available to spend (from dues and assessments and minor interest) a total of $129,534 (a 21% decrease from the prior year). They reported expenditures of $107,768, including $71,863 for printing and publications; $9,082 for travel, conferences, conventions and meetings; and $12,888 for awards and prizes. As a percentage of funds expended, almost 67% went towards printing and publications (and some or all of it was paid to CM Photocomp, owned by Board vice president Mark Ingoldsby – although no evidence has been presented that the contract or contracts were ever put out for competitive bids). Of funds collected, less than 10% was paid out for awards and prizes.

In 2003, the MMDL reported $87,969 in printing and publication expenditures.

In neither year was any amount declared as compensation to Board members.

[NOTE: If you are interested in reviewing the MMDL’s Form 990 for 2004 go here: http://dynamodata.fdncenter.org/990s/990search/990.php?ein=042605799&yr=200408&rt=990O&t9=A.]
As questions about the MMDL’s finances have rumbled about for years, it should come as no surprise that such figures have spawned reactions ranging from “suspicious” to “startling” from those who have seen them. It is even more understandable since, so far, the MMDL leadership has for the most part refused to shed light on the numbers behind the numbers and openly address the questions raised. Essentially they have dismissed those who have pressed the issue as “rumor mongers” on a “witch hunt” with no agenda but to tarnish the good work of a few.

In a series of e-mails I raised these financial issues with two of the Board members at the center of the storm, Cedrone and Ingoldsby. Remember, Cedrone is the league’s treasure and Ingoldsby is the vice president and printer (or one of them).

I asked them to clarify the facts and their position on several issues:

– The accuracy of the nearly $160,000 reported as spent in 2003 and 2004 on printing and publications.
– Whether the printing work was bid out and, whether or not it was, if there were internal concerns about the appearance of a conflict of interest.
– Whether is it accurate, as some have suggested, that Form 990s were not filed for certain years.
– Owing to the fact that on both of the past two year’s Form 990s the MMDL checked Line 83b to indicate they had complied with the law to make their filings available for public inspection, if they or anybody else speaking for the Board have refused to provide copies of the Forms 990s to members who have requested to see them.
– Whether they can confirm that there is an investigation underway by the Attorney General and/or IRS into the way finances have been handled and reported.
– Clarification as to what is represented in the $9,082 reported for travel, conferences, conventions and meetings.
– Whether they can confirm the amount per year that Board members are compensated and explain why no compensation was declared on Line 25 of the Form 990 for either of the past two years.
– Whether there has been Board discussion of and if in fact members have been banned from the league for asking any of these same questions.

Both Cedrone and Ingoldsby were kind enough to respond. Below (slightly edited for spelling and typographical errors only) are their replies.

From Ingoldsby: My company doesn’t make that kind of money from the league in four years (eight seasons) for captain’s kits, playoff schedules, flyers, weekly mailings, maintaining mailing lists, picking up the hundreds of pieces of mail every week, updating the scores and a multitude of other things. Do these people think for one minute that the Board of Directors would stand for those kinds of charges from one vendor? NO, the figure has many vendors included in it. As for the banned player, he was banned from a summer league not the MMDL. We do however, have in our By-Laws a provision for removing any player for disruptive behavior that causes problems with the running of the league and maybe some of these people qualify but they said they wouldn’t join so I hope they are true to their word. This has become so out-of-hand it makes me sick. After decades of service to the sport, even in the beginning when there were only fifty teams, taking money from my family’s printing business to get a new season underway because the money wasn’t there, I am being unfairly treated. On the SEWA site [http://www.sewa-darts.com] they have posted my home address which was uncalled for and said I drive a Corvette. [NOTE: IRS Form 990, Part 5, requires that all “officers, directors, trustees and key employees” and their addresses be listed; as such the names and addresses are a matter of public record.] I do own a Corvette. I won it in a raffle in 1999 but it took me twenty-five YEARS of buying one ticket every year! Just not called for! The SEWA site moderators were not doing a good job but I think now they are seeing this is a bit of a “witch hunt” and have backed some people off. As you can see, I’m not happy with these people and no, it’s not a conflict to be on the Board and receive payment for services rendered. I hope this helps because I’m tired of it, I DO A GOOD JOB AND WILL CONTINUE TO!

From Cedrone: Let me start by saying that I look forward to receiving my issue of Bulls Eye News (BEN) and very much enjoy reading your articles. However, I do not recognize email as an official means of communication and require requests for information to be in writing. [NOTE: My request of Cedrone was sent to his official MMDL e-mail address. In addition, on June 30, 2000, Congress enacted into law the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act, thus recognizing the use of electronic communications to ensure the “validity and legal effect” of a myriad of instruments in national and international contracts. While certain Agreements are still required to be in writing, the law recognizes most electronic communications as official – and today even provides for the electronic notarization of legal documents.] After my computer was infected through email, and I lost everything my procedure is, checking my email maybe once a month or so. If I do not recognize who sent the email I delete it and move to the next one. I was informed that you had sent me email so I opened yours. With that being said I have some questions for you: On what grounds (I know you are not a MMDL member) do you ask me to comment to your email? As a dart enthusiast or reporter? And why? You seem convinced that legitimate concerns are being expressed. Who are expressing these concerns? There seems to be, as Mark put it a “witch hunt” going on by a handful of misinformed people stating untruths about the MMDL. There has been a lot of bad information circulating around various web forums. And unfortunately some people think its okay to compromise my family’s safety by publishing my home address out to the world in a forum site; this also happened to Mark. This is definitely unacceptable to me. I have heard all the rumors that you are hearing. And that’s just what they are “RUMORS.” The Minute Man Dart League has been around for over thirty years. It’s a charter member of the ADO. It’s a great organization and I am proud to say that I am member in good standing. I, like Mark, am doing a good job and will continue. Our board works very hard each and every year to provide a quality product for those people that are interested and receive a lot of positive feedback year to year. The main reason we continue to make a top-notch league available to members is because they enjoy it and want it. As far as being investigated, we have not heard anything except rumors that pertain to it. If there is an investigation going on I am not privy to it. If you want more information I will put you in touch with MMDL’s attorneys.

I thanked Ingoldsby and am personally convinced that, more than anything else, the nature of the Form 990 reporting process has contributed to his being cast as a sort of boogieman in this whole affair. That the printing and production line on the Form 990s includes costs for a whole LOT more than printing and production and that other vendors are involved is information that has not previously been shared with more than but a few of the MMDL members who have inquired. His assertion that his company receives less that $160,000 in four years suggests that approximately $40,000 a year in both 2003 and 2004 was paid out to others. The question arises: Who are these other vendors and what exactly to they do for the league?

As to Cedrone (who I was pleased reads my column but who I fear may no longer do so after reading this one) I followed up with a message explaining that I was working on a column about the controversy and offering assurance that while I had not yet formed an opinion one way or the other, whichever way my personal view eventually did form I would do my best to present the story in a way I felt benefited the sport. I offered my view that “whether the issues inherent in the questions I have asked are just ‘rumors’ or a part of a ‘witch hunt’… they are out there and the seeming decision by some to essentially say they are none of anybody’s business… just seems, to me, to be fueling the controversy.” I told him it would be helpful to “receive an official and as detailed as possible response from you as treasurer, on behalf of the Board of Directors, or if you would prefer, your lawyer, to the questions I e-mailed previously.” I also asked that he put me in contact with Brolin.

Then I waited. I am still waiting.

One must be struck that it may not be finances that are really at the heart of the MMDL controversy after all – that lack of communication is the culprit. In the words of one member who seems to echo the sentiment of many, for reasons unknown certain members of the Board of Directors are “arrogant and unwilling to communicate.” Another more harshly captured the essence of this viewpoint by redefining the acronym for the Minute Man Dart League to: My show, My board, Don’t like it, Leave.

Fair or not, this sense around and about the league has no doubt been fueled by the less than helpful communication skills of some on the Board. The result is that many members just don’t think anybody on the Board other than their Area Directors (now that Don Garnett has been replaced) represent or respect them.

According to the league’s webmaster, Craig Bryant, it was by formal Board decision that the MMDL’s heavily frequented website forum was suddenly and without notice shut down in April (and has not yet been reopened), ostensibly due to concerns with libel issues that they feared might flow from certain postings on issues such as those raised in this column.

Even if it was from just the summer league (as confirmed in Ingoldsby’s response to my e-mail query) at least one member has been banned – and whatever the stated reason, that individual, David Walsh, ardently maintains it was for asking tough questions, again, similar to those raised in this column. Although the summer league is not technically the same as the MMDL it is worth noting that two of the summer league’s officers are Garnett and Cedrone and it is they who handed down the ban. When others tried to intercede, dispute the unfairness of the unilateral decision and argue on Walsh’s behalf, one of them – Walsh’s wife – was told by Garnett to “fuck off.”

Following on this, it has been reliably reported that the MMDL Board has discussed a motion put forward by Cedrone to ban from the league a sizable list of other inquiring members. This discussion occurred in a private, closed-door meeting, although no such secretiveness is provided for in the By-Laws). For the time being apparently, more sensible minds than Cedrone’s have prevailed.

Still further in this “communications” vein, at a recent Area Director election, Cedrone accused – of all people – one of the MMDL’s founding fathers of trying for years to “stick a pin in the Board” and told him to “go join another league.”

Indeed, more vividly (and alarmingly) than any of the examples above, this election is itself illustrative of the communication glut and the associated and widely growing sense that some on the MMDL Board have lost sight of their mission. According to the MMDL’s By-Laws, Area Directors are to be elected by the team captains in their area annually during the month of August. Election meeting announcements are to be mailed to the captains at least seven days in advance of the election date. Typically, at least in America, elections are preceded by nominations, ballots are then printed bearing the names of those nominated and votes are cast for the candidates.

This is not the way some on the Board of the MMDL operate these days. In the most recent Boston Area Director election on August 2, ballots were printed before the customary nomination period – and they carried the name of just one candidate – the Board-preferred candidate, someone known only as Kathy (no disrespect is intended to her). Captains were not appropriately notified that an election was to take place. And two Board members (Garnett and Cedrone) actively campaigned at the meeting for their candidate and against Roxanne Desimone who was nominated at the meeting. Cedrone questioned whether Desimone’s candidacy was legitimate, stating loudly (even though this is not the case according to the By-Laws) that a candidate must live in an election area to be eligible to run for Area Director (Desimone has long shot out of a bar in the area and similar credentials have always been satisfactory to run for office in the past). When challenged on the matter, Cedrone said that the Board was following an “unwritten” rule – a quite ironic (and hypocritical) statement considering that he and Garnett were at the very same time conducting an election in open violation of the MMDL’s written By-Laws. Of course, Desimone had no chance and controversy flared again.

This is what I mean when I suggest that lack of communication, perhaps fanned by old fashioned arrogance in the case of some Board members, is what is fueling this entire mess. Because of the long lack of transparency about the conduct of Board affairs, the seemingly unilateral decision making process, the dismissal of concerns brought forth by members (whether legitimate or not), and like-it-or-leave mentality expressed by some Board members, it is not surprising that the storm just builds and builds. It’s entirely understandable that answers by some Board members (however well intentioned) given to questions are doubted first and maybe believed later.

The reality is that some Board members have completely lost their credibility with many league members. Still others view the Board as a whole as accountable only to itself, woefully behind the times and clinging by ego alone to the reigns of an organization it has driven into the ground. As it was put to me by one of the founding fathers, “I certainly hope what you are writing will have some effect, but I doubt it will. The Board thinks they are untouchable and they will just sit this out and then everything will go back to the way it was.”

In the heat of the controversy old timers are asking questions that they have raised many times in the past and people are listening and wondering. For example:

– Is it true that the MMDL’s books were independently audited some years ago and $30,000 was found to be missing? Is it true that the individual responsible was identified but never prosecuted?
– Is it true that some of the current Board members have enjoyed, with their wives, all expense paid trips to the old North American Open and the World Cup when it was held in Switzerland?
– Is it true that the old New England Dart Tournament Organization wasn’t really purchased by the MMDL but rather personally, via the MMDL, by three of its Board members and that profits from the tournaments (before they went bust) went to these Board members and not the league?

These and other old and unanswered questions are bouncing about the league like so many crates of tea in Boston Harbor. Such questions and others, and the mounting anger among many about the Board’s reluctance to answer questions about finances and to blackball members who inquire, have bred all sorts of new suspicions.

– The Board’s By-Laws require an annual audit, but has there been one and, if there has, has it been independent, and were not questions raised about the curiosities (and well as numerous inaccuracies) in the 2003 and 2004 IRS Form 990s?
– Just what are Board members paid?
– Do Board members carry league credit cards and, if so, what authority do they have to spend and who reviews the charges?
– Do Board members receive free room, board and drinks at local darting events?
– Why did the Board stop supplying a copy of the By-Laws in captain’s kits and why are the standings no longer mailed on a weekly basis?
– Why on earth hasn’t the Board automated to use the Internet to post standings in lieu of printing and mailing them – to drastically reduce the outlay for printing and publications and redirect that expenditure to awards for the members and to bring back tournaments?
– Why did the league stop requiring the posting of an annual financial statement?
– Is the printing business or isn’t the printing business put out for bids and what about the business for league shirts and award plaques?
– As Don Garnett has recently given up his Area Director’s position, is the Board planning to create some sort of special Board position in order to keep his faithful vote?

And then there’s the whole issue of “conduct unbecoming.”

An old military term which is now widely embraced in the civilian workplace (both public and private), conduct unbecoming is generally defined as “…conduct, whether on or off the job, that adversely affects one’s ability to perform his or her job, or that adversely affects a company’s or organization’s ability to carry out its mission.”

It was with some foresight that the founders of the MMDL addressed conduct unbecoming in their By-Laws. Article IV, Section 5 reads, in part: “Any General Member found guilty of conduct unbecoming a gentleman or lady, as the case may be, may be fined or suspended for said offense by the President with the advice and consent of the other Members of the Board.”

The curiosity – the injustice – is that this by-law does NOT apply to Board members themselves. By MMDL definition “General Member” refers to a “League Member other than a Board Member.”

Ponder for a moment whether any of the following might reasonably be considered conduct unbecoming – and to have adversely affected the ability of any of the MMDL’s Board members to perform his or her job or the MMDL Board’s ability to carry out its mission:

– Allowing membership in the largest darts league in the world to fall by nearly sixty percent.
– Dropping all of the league’s major tournaments.
– Not declaring Board member compensation on its IRS Form 990s, thus risking revocation of it tax-exempt status.
– Not releasing its IRS Form 990s to members as required by law, and thus risking its tax-exempt status.
– Letting out contracts with out soliciting competitive bids.
– Conducting unfair elections in violation of its By-Laws.
– Expending less than ten percent of funds collected on awards and prizes for its members.
– And dismissing those who ask serious questions about such issues and others as rumor mongers on a witch hunt, banning them, telling them to join other leagues and in one case to just plain “fuck off.”

Now remember – and this is the injustice in a phrase: a league member was BANNED for inquiring about such issues (and a list of other members was put before the Board to be kicked out) but those RESPONSIBLE FOR THE CONDUCT IN QUESTION ARE NOT SUBJECT TO THE SAME STANDARD.

Who knows? Who really cares?

Quite possibly that’s what all this comes down to.

Despite all the commotion, accusations and hard feelings no Board member (and certainly not the Board as a whole) has lost their credibility among the majority of the members. As in most darts leagues, in the MMDL there is only a small fraction of members (basically the better shooters and members of long standing) that care about the issues discussed here. The vast majority of league shooters view darts as a night out of the house and don’t give a whit what the Board does. And even though the bar owners foot the bills at the end of the day what they care about most isn’t what the Board does with their $300 – it’s whether or not the darts players show up and spend money in their establishment.

Hell, most of the MMDL members and even the bar owners who sponsor teams have almost certainly heard nothing of any of this!

Perhaps this explains why some members of the Board seem so unconcerned.

So the Clarian Call has sounded again in Boston.

A new “irate, tireless minority” has emerged.

“Rumors,” say the Board, “nothing but a “witch hunt.” Just noise…

“NOISE!” is the reply. “You’ll have more noise than this before long. The regulars are coming!”

The question is whether the minority who are pressing the Board for accountability and change will battle on or tire? Will the “regulars” – that majority of darts players who just want to play darts – follow? Will the bar owners who depend on the players for income join the tireless minority?

Can the MMDL become great again? Can the founder’s dream live on?

It depends.

There’s a chance. Two of them actually.

First, if the stalwarts on the current MMDL Board can find it within themselves to do the right thing, the long overdue thing, and step aside, there is a chance that a new and enthusiastic, duly elected and hence legitimate crew, can restore the league’s health. It would seem clear that this is the option most likely to ensure that the league survives and thrives. If this course becomes available (and it only can if certain members of the Board resign, as there is no way to remove them) the new Board must take the advice in the next paragraph.

The new Board must accept that key changes, including but not limited to the following, are imperative and needed fast.

– The books must be opened for inspection. Transparency must become the rule in all Board financial affairs.
– Independent audits (not self audits) must be conducted annually and the first one should take place immediately.
– The By-Laws should be reviewed line-by-line and revised to ensure that among other things, the Board is elected by the membership, can not serve forever, and that Board level appointments can not be unilaterally given to friends.
– The By-Laws should also be carefully re-crafted to ensure that any and all contracts are subject to competitive bidding, every Board member is subject to recall, and that elections are conducted openly and honestly.
– The Board should employ a full-time non-voting executive director who should be charged with developing a business plan with specific league growth targets (including income, recruitment of sponsors and the return of tournaments).
– At the direction of the Board, the executive director should institute a system whereby score sheets are available electronically to the captains, match results are returned electronically and standings are compiled and electronically transmitted back to the captains and bars to be printed off and posted or shared with the members – thus obviating the need for almost all of the current printing costs.
– All Board meetings should be open to all members and the public.
– The MMDL website should be updated and maintained – and the closed forum should be reopened and monitored but only to the extent that libelous and personal attacks are prohibited.
– Uncensored minutes of Board meetings should be shared with all the members.
– For continuity, historic memory and out of respect and for the one-of-a-kind of advice that can only come from twenty-five years in the trenches, the Senior Member of the current Board should be welcomed to continue to serve, indefinitely, in a non-voting capacity, as a Board Member Emeritus.

I have said that there are TWO chances to save the dream.

While the course above is preferred and can work if those in power put egos aside and their love for the sport and the league first, there is another way to proceed. It will be difficult and it’s a last resort.

But sometimes, just as it was so many years ago in Samuel Adam’s day, there just is no other choice. It may be (and only the actions of the current Board will determine the course) that it’s time for a modern Boston Tea Party, a full scale revolt and the formation from the ground up of a brand new league.

For their foresight, hard work, tireless effort, and love of the sport of darts, the founding fathers of the MMDL and all those who today reap the benefit of their legacy in Massachusetts and throughout the country, in the event that the current Board can not find it in themselves to come clean and change their ways or step aside, no less of an effort would be acceptable.

If you wish to express your concern to any of the MMDL Board of Directors please note the following addresses: Mark Ingoldsby (vice president): mahkus@comcast.net; Bob Cedrone (treasurer): mmdlbc@comcast.net; Steve Moll (business administrator): smoll@comcast.net; Thomas Sammarco (executive director): toms@mmdl.org; Donald Garnett (former Boston Area Director): dong@mmdl.org; Nicole Watson (Central Area Director): nicole@mmdl.org; Debbie Johnson (North Shore Area Director): dsj022@aol.com; Suzanne Flannery (South Shore Area Director): suzanne@mmdl.org; and MMDL webmaster Craig Bryant: cab@mmdl.org.

From the Field,



  • Dartoid

    "Dartoid" is the pseudonym of Paul Seigel, a prominent chronicler of darts for over 35 years. His columns are celebrated for their wit and insight, often detailing his quest for a game in exotic locales worldwide. His writing offers vibrant commentary on the competitive darts landscape, including players, organizations, tournaments and the sport's unique culture. Dartoid's articles are highly regarded among darts enthusiasts, solidifying his role as a pivotal figure in promoting and documenting darts as both a recreational pastime and professional sport.

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