What is World Masters Athletics trying to hide? Six days ago, I stumbled on the final report to the Malaga General Assembly — where Germany’s Margit Jungmann was elected the first female president of WMA. Buried was a financial summary of recent years. Two line items jumped out at me: skyrocketing legal expenses and costs of “guests/gifts.”
So on Nov. 17, I sent this query letter to Margit and her predecessor, Stan Perkins of Australia (with CC to WMA Treasurer Jean Thomas of France):
Greetings, Margit and Stan
Hope you are well.
I notice on page 35 of the 2018 final report to the Malaga General Assembly some line-item increases in your balance sheet.
I’m especially interested in “legal expenses (lawyer/court),” which went from $588 in 2015 to $6,730 in 2016 to $26,044 in 2017.
I also am curious about “guests, gifts,” which went from $797 (2015) to $955 (2016) to $5,935 (2017).
Can you provide any details on what the legal expenses were for — which case and in which jurisdiction? Is the case resolved or ongoing? Who is WMA’s attorney?
Who were the guests of WMA? Or what were the gifts bought? Who received gifts and when?
Thanks for any information!
Unsurprisingly, they didn’t respond. Stan and Margit have gone radio silent.
So I reviewed my August Q&A with Margit, where I asked: “Will you commit to sharing detailed audits of WMA finances? Should athletes have a right to know how WMA officers are spending and investing WMA revenues?”
Before the General Assembly, the delegates are provided the GA booklet containing the auditor’s report, the treasurer report and the financial statements. These documents are listed as items of the agenda of the General Assembly, so each delegate has the possibility to ask questions about the WMA finances. The treasurer or other officer will give the appropriate answer.
This is the way I intend to continue to share the WMA finances.
Some athletes are very interested in the WMA management and the way the revenues are spent. It is why we find many of them amongst the delegates. That way they have this right.
Regarding the other athletes who would be also interested in the WMA management, I am thinking about how to give them a right to know about the WMA finances. I intend to discuss this question within the new council.
Basically she’s saying: I’ll share info with national affiliate delegates, if they ask. But run-of-the-mill athletes? We’ll see.
Margit apparently doesn’t consider me high enough on the food chain. So she can stonewall me with no consequence.
The irony is that Margit and Stan may have some totally innocent explanation for the rising legal and guest/gift expenses. So why not just explain them?
In God Bless America, media and citizens can ask their elected officials how they spend taxpayer money. In WMA, a private international entity, no such obligation exists. The mystery money isn’t huge, but it raises questions about fiscal management.
It’s long been rumored that WMA presidents have used WMA’s bank account as a personal slush fund for travel. Sweden’s Torsten Carlius, a WMA president, was accused of using WMA funds to visit his Asian mistress. (He died of a heart attack at age 66 while visiting Shanghai, China.)
I don’t know whether expense issues were addressed at Malaga. But there’s no statute of limitations on curiosity. Or accountability.
Might some responsible national affiliate seek answers to my questions — and share that info with the rest of us? What is Margit hiding?
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Torsten’s son worked in Shanghai. Can you back up the mistress allegation with anything?
Son, mistress, what’s the difference? Either visit would be an inappropriate use of WMA funds.
Anyone running an organization should not be afraid or have any hesitation to share financials with those who provide the capital. There is nothing wrong with accountability.