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More Inside the R-CALF Implosion: More Quotes & Trouble With Numbers PDF Print E-mail
Written by Steve Dittmer   
Tuesday, 03 April 2007
AFF Sentinel Vol.4#9

R-CALF Member Numbers Uncertain -- Budget Fudged

The following has been drawn from over 160 pages of documents from, an R-CALF insider expose website chronicling the implosion of R-CALF to "Remnant R-CALF."

The removal of R-CALF President Chuck Kiker on Feb. 8 by its board of directors was ostensibly over a Jan. 8 Kiker letter to USDA Secretary Johanns. It asked Johanns to disregard a letter sent a day earlier by CEO Bill Bullard accusing USDA of making mistakes and following improper procedures in their over-30-month BSE proposal. Some board members considered Kiker's letter too placating and sufficient reason for removing him. In protest of Kiker's removal without proper by-law procedures, three board members and nearly all committee chairmen resigned.

But other issues were disturbing R-CALF members.

There were some cutting comments on from R-CALF folks regarding the board members who had seized control.

Dennis McDonald, a director who resigned in March after the Thornsberry-led remnant board started removal procedures against him, described the remainder as, "shameless rascals."

As for Remnant R-CALF's focus, Brett DeBruycker, International Trade committee co-chair wrote, "[the board will be] figuring out how to yet again sue USDA and spend producers' money in the manor [sic] of a drunken sailor."

"If the current program continues until the funds dry up, my fellow producers and I will again be at the mercy of the NCBA and their partners in crime." Tom Moulden, member.

"The CEO now has complete control of R-CALF by virtue of having a puppet for a president and a group of pawns as a board." Brett DeBruycker

"Lettersgate" lit the fuse but serious questions involved membership numbers. Jan Wooster, COOL Committee co-chair and a CPA, examined R-CALF's books.

There is a puzzling discrepancy between the number of R-CALF members renewed in 2006 (11,658) and reported total paid membership (15,020), she reported. She said Bullard brought it up to her. Neither of them understood the discrepancy. Bullard's report to the convention had noted a membership drop in 2006 to 15,000 from a claimed 18,000 (2005).

In an e-mail, Membership Committee Chairman Judie Manuel asked if Bullard's salary included calculations based on membership. She pointed out the membership committee had spent their own money recruiting members. She wondered, if Bullard was getting money from membership, maybe that money would be better spent reimbursing volunteers. She also asked whether Bullard got paid on new members vs. renewals, wondering if that was why the renewal letter to all delinquents since 1999 (12,000) hadn't gone out even months after board approval. provided answers from Bullard's contract. Besides R-CALF wanting to brag on the highest possible membership, Bullard would have his own incentive for maintaining high numbers. Seems his contract included a $5/head bonus for members above the 2004 base when he arrived, added to his base salary and calculated quarterly. A quarter's thousand new members meant another $5,000 added to Bullard's base salary, with evidently no provision for downward adjustments. There was also a five percent annual automatic cost-of-living increase.

One person suggested a clue as to how R-CALF swiftly signed so many members.

"I've known people ...very surprised to find their name, plus their spouse's and children's names, on an R-CALF membership list and have gone to great lengths to get them removed," an anonymous blogger said on

Either way, neither two membership committee chairs nor the CEO really knew how many members R-CALF had and few knew Bullard benefited financially if the number erred high.

Then Jan Wooster, committee chairman and CPA, discovered that neither Bullard's R- CALF convention financial reports nor his spreadsheet for the board told the whole story. Some $400,000 owed Stewart & Stewart (R-CALF's D.C. attorneys) was not listed on the financial statement as liabilities, she noted. Neither were bills ($18,000) owed to Miller Group - more attorneys.

The failure to list large liabilities on the financial statements meant the financial surplus of $276,000 on the statements at convention really should have reflected a negative net worth of around $140,000, she concluded.

AFF would add that even Bullard's spreadsheet only breaks out revenue into three broad categories: membership, miscellaneous and "Contributions/Litigation Funds/Calf sales," the latter broad category providing over half the revenue. Controversial revenue sources could hide there. The Organization for Competitive Markets, for example, an R-CALF partner group, has gotten funding from non-agricultural, liberal activist foundations. Has R-CALF?

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Last Updated ( Saturday, 26 May 2007 )
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