This statement is written to inform the membership of AACE International that the Western Winter Workshop, an event collaboratively organized by the San Francisco and Southern California Sections of AACE International for 58 years, is no longer affiliated with AACE International. As the current AACE President, I am updating our members regarding the circumstances and events that resulted in this separation.
Without notice, approval, or discussion with the California Sections, the AACE Board of Directors, or the AACE staff, this event and all funds associated with it were removed from AACE. For over one year, the Board of Directors has attempted to reinstitute the event and recover the funds, but has been unsuccessful to date.
In October 2019, the Board of Directors discovered that several AACE members had established a new entity, Western Winter Workshop, Inc., in May 2019 removing AACE International and its California Sections as overseers of the event. The individuals had been in positions of trust, responsible for this event on behalf of AACE and two bank accounts owned by the San Francisco Section for the event. The Board of Directors discovered all funds from these accounts, totalling over $175,000 as of the end of 2018, had been withdrawn and the accounts closed without the prior permission or knowledge of the San Francisco Section Officers. The individuals would not cooperate in an internal investigation and have refused to return the Western Winter Workshop or the missing funds to the San Francisco Section bank accounts.
The 2019-20 Board of Directors followed due process under its Constitution & Bylaws and revoked the individuals’ membership in AACE following its investigation and hearing. The Board concluded the removal of intellectual property and associated funds was acting against the interest of AACE and may have violated laws. The Board has referred this matter to the California Attorney General’s office given the unauthorized removal of funds and intellectual property from a registered non-profit organization in the State of California.
AACE International and its Sections are no longer affiliated with the Western Winter Workshop and do not support it in any way. While the Board pursued resolution of this matter for over a year, we have been largely silent on the matter to respect confidentiality. However, we have reached the conclusion of our investigation and any further action. Our members should understand that supporting the Western Winter Workshop, Inc. is not supporting AACE International; and supporting this event condones the actions taken by these individuals to separate the 58 year history of the Western Winter Workshop from AACE.