We have given the IMA story a bit of a breather for the last several days. This respite is not due to a lack of information but has been more of a calculated break from the coverage, to allow tempers a chance to cool.
At this time, I would like to ask the readers...
Are you "over" the IMA story?
Or, on the other hand, (especially former members) would you appreciate reading more information about the IMA?
I ask these questions because we have been presented with multiple streams of data since our last article about the IMA (and am also convinced even more information is available) concerning the internal problems at the Internet Merchants Association. Some people are certainly interested "behind the scenes" or we would not be getting this constant stream of data.
Yet, I have asked myself and my colleagues... "is there a valid point in continuing to publicize this open wound at the IMA"?
It appears, from the outside looking in, that the members of the IMA who were most severely affected by the recent board room implosion (and long standing combative atmosphere at the IMA and by it's president) are done. These members have already decided to leave the association on their own, or they have been expelled by the current president. The members who remain apparently see no problems with the present leadership.
So... in your honest opinion, has this IMA incident/situation equalized? And is this issue dead in your minds?
The problem with walking away is...
Recently, some independently commissioned preliminary accounting investigations, concerning the Internet Merchants Association finances and tax status have come to light. The results are far from conclusive, but it seems as though there could be some irregularities involving the IMA's status as a 501C(6) Non-Profit trade organization. These investigations have been revealed to us from a source who wishes to remain anonymous. I am respecting this request. I am also not an accountant, so I appreciate the professional guidance and opinion.
From the preliminary non-forensic data, it appears some of the accounting practices necessary for the maintenance of 501C(6) status, may not have been followed as strictly as is necessary under the very specific laws of the State of Florida. I must say that we have not seen any hard evidence of illegal actions by the current or former board members of the IMA and it is not our position or place to make those determinations but questions could certainly result from any independently commissioned or government sponsored accounting investigation. These are questions which might be difficult for certain IMA board members to answer.
Certainly maintaining association bank and/or PayPal accounts, registered in a single members name, is cause for concern (if this is in fact the case). Some members or former members have voiced concerns about the irregular nature of having all of the assets of the association, including the web sites and offices, also being held by a single member, instead of by the Florida corporation the association formed as a basis for collecting dues and non-profit tax status. Appearances get even murkier when it is revealed that the member who owns these assets also happens to be the president of the association.
I just am not really sure if any of this matters to the remaining members of the IMA.
The current members apparently are OK with the present leadership and are quite happy to move ahead without a thought or worry about the many members left behind or expelled for asking questions or voicing concerns. Current IMA members continue to fund this leadership and the organization with hard earned dues and fees, which in the end seem to only provide the membership with a private forum chat room and a once a year convention. Who are we to say that the membership should be looking for more?
Sometimes simply "belonging" to a club is all the reward some people need.
The former members of the IMA may have rightfully and wisely simply moved on, taking care of their businesses, their families and proceeding forward with life.
If this is the case, if no one is interested or concerned with the details of the possible IRS violations and tax exempt status issues, or the implications of association assets being controlled by the one member who is also in control of all voting, the editing of the original bylaws and the appointment of new board members (replacements for the board members recently dismissed or resigned)... I will just leave this story behind and look for new issues.
What I am asking here is... what do my readers want in this case?
Please chime in on the comments and let us know if you want more coverage of the IMA or if you have had enough and would prefer the Trading Assistant Journal and other publications simply would return to our normal eCommerce, eBay and Internet marketing subjects.