Over the past 2 months I’ve posted a few articles concerning ABATE of Colorado (from now on referred to as ABATE) and the situation is extensive, with certain factors spanning almost 3 decades, making it extremely confusing.
ABATE’s income has been in decline for a few years now. Early in 2014 it had reached alarming levels. In September of 2014 suspicions were raised as the situation was discovered to be more dire than anyone had thought. The State Coordinator was ousted, staff resigned, were laid off or voluntarily went to unpaid volunteer status. A court case was involved, ABATE’s charity status was suspended with the Colorado Secretary of State for a month, and things got pretty ugly. Please see below for links to some of those ugly things printed here. Whether who did what will ever be settled is an impossible task. There is contradictory evidence from all sides, so let me save you hours of reading. Example: There a few transactions on bank statements which prove Terry Howard wrote herself checks from ABATE’s account. Ms. Howard is able to provide receipts and an explanation as to how the funds were used and prove they were used for ABATE business. Nobody truly knows and here’s why:
– ABATE’s records are, and have been significantly below standards for at least 5 years. Clear enough accounting to trace where the money went does not exist. This is what led them to a surprise in 2014 and subsequently what prompted incumbent debt which further crippled them. Example: There is correspondence which proves Ms. Howard had Board approval to take out the high-interest loan and be the personal guarantor for such. There is correspondence that proves some Board members never knew about the high-interest loan.
– ABATE’s Board of Directors grew complacent in their duties and passed too much of their responsibility to the staff. Example: Certain Board members were not present at meetings, and there is correspondence of Board members’ surprise at ABATE’s situation when that information was presented at the Board meetings.
– ABATE has not responded to a changing market place, member expectations or political climate, and their future looks more dire than ever before. Much of ABATE’s funds came from rider training, part of which was subsidized by CDOT’s MOST program. Example: ABATE used to be largest provided of rider training courses in the state of Colorado. Before 2014, they were 3rd. There will be follow-up articles on MOST, so please subscribe.
– ABATE has taken steps to remedy all of these issues through staff changes, organization restructuring and accountability procedures and are attempting to stay alive. ABATE has however kept some key members like their legislative representatives.
I hope I have shed some light on this issue for members and prospective members. I thank all of those who have helped me to understand this situation and all of the various angles currently, and historically in play.
I am very curious to know from current ABATE members, and prospective members: Can YOU trust ABATE going forward? If not, what would YOU need to see to sign up? Please respond in the comments below.
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For past coverage, please see: