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Ask Our Lawyer - April 2012

Patsy Harrington Makes An Honest Man Out Of Doc Jones, Former Head Of A.B.A.T.E. Of Illinois

Back where I come from, when you get a call that you are to be the best man at a wedding within 24 hours, you are thinking a little person within 9 months (or less). I got such a call (text) from Doc Jones last week. I would like to tell you that it was caused by the above. Sadly, the hurry up was caused by a death sentence from his doctor- ALS. I have never been a “wedding kind of guy”, but Doc and Patsy’s caused me to have road dirt in my eyes. They have the most wonderful family and they were all there. You could have cut the love in that room. I have been to a lot of weddings that I can’t remember, but I will remember that wedding until it’s over for me. The truest expression that I hate the most is “only the good die young,” which means that this lawyer will live to be a hundred. But I will say that Doc has and will get more life out of his time here than I ever could in a century. It seems like the guy above that gives and takes, has that in mind. My job is to help get Doc to as many state parties and Miracle Rides as he can stand and share what life he has left with all of us. I now know there is no better honor in this life than to be a dying man’s best man. Doc and I are now bonded through the ages, so look out! Here we come, side car and all.

P.S. to Doc: for whatever it is worth, we are right behind you - it is just a matter of time.

Dealing With Personality Disorders (Bullying) In The Organization And What Every SMRO Should Know About It

Q. Our local ABATE organization has been successful until recently. Before, all of us got along well and made a difference in achieving ABATE’s goals. Now we have a person in a leadership role that is tearing the place apart with his bullying. At first, this individual seems like he is your friend: flattering, well-spoken and energetic. Then he turns one by one on his “friends” by dividing and conquering us, seemingly to get his own way. He is a master manipulator. He spreads falsehoods about those he wants to get rid of (usually those who disagree with him). Many have quit because of his “bullying.” He spreads falsehoods and when upset sets off a flurry of emails cutting his target. As volunteers, there is just so much stuff most of us are willing to take. I am concerned for our organization. To make matters worse, there are some financial irregularities that he has created. What can we do? I know there are legal remedies for libel and slander, and he can be prosecuted for theft if that is the case, but that is not the direction we want to go. Help!

- ABATE member

A. Sounds like you may be dealing with a person who is afflicted with a personality disorder. The American Psychiatric Association lists ten types (see DSM-IV-12).These types flock to not-for-profit organizations like ABATE. They are confusing and misleading in that they are usually very talented, but you should not ignore the serious disruptive effects that they can cause in your Chapter. Impulsive behavior, wild emotions and calculated divisiveness contribute to discord and disunity of our ABATE organizations. Disruptions by this kind of personality can be very confusing, especially in a volunteer organization.

Daily contact in not-for-profits is usually infrequent, which makes catching on to and stopping them especially difficult. Persons with this disorder usually get to where they are by conning those above them and exploiting those below them. They usually don’t give a damn about anybody. Their by-line is “I don’t give a f____.” This disorder is usually signaled by a history of unstable relationships outside the family and abusive relationships within the family. Usually the person has a checkered employment past as they do not make good traditional employees. Almost always the person that suffers from this type of disorder goes from treating his targets as best friends to declaring them hated enemies, bewildering and confusing those that work with the affected person. Accompanying these types of symptoms are always extreme angry reactions and impulsiveness. Misappropriation, fiddling with the books, fiddling expenses, pilfering, embezzlement, fraud, deception, awarding benefits to family and accusing others of doing the same are also common indicators of the bullying personality disorder.

ABATE should be aware of this type of person when they infiltrate our organization. After all, we provide the perfect breeding ground where this personality type can create self-promoting turmoil. It is difficult to catch on to their ways when there is no daily contact and as such, they can comfortably ply their manipulative techniques. Usually, in the normal business situation the management catches on and the situation dies a natural death with firing. But what do we do in not-for-profit organizations like ABATE, with the person who has managed to hang on and continues to wreak havoc in the organization? Here are some of the non-legal recommendations that I have passed on to others dealing with this issue.

1. Unfortunately, we are a volunteer organization, so it is tough to fire these types. If you can, you should. We are not in the mental health treatment business. Since we cannot fire, I recommend that you educate yourself and the organization as to “personality disorder” symptoms. Your description of the person touches on the classic characteristics of that disorder, so be familiar with the usual pattern of conduct that these afflicted persons exhibit. Share your knowledge with others. In recent years, many business organizations have had to develop plans to deal with this personality type. By educating your organization, everyone will have been clued into what is going on and the techniques used by this person. That takes the fun out of it for the afflicted trouble maker. Once the news is out and exposed, it is highly likely the person will leave, taking the problem along with them.

2. Another method is to try the straight-on approach. Control and security issues drive the person afflicted with this issue, so meet with the person and review honestly his concerns. Compliment his work where warranted. You should have others with you for these meetings. Keep it positive. If the person is salvageable, keep him with the strings you attach. If not, get rid of him ASAP. He is poisoning our ABATE well. If you cannot get rid of him, at the very least separate and assign him projects that lessen his involvement with others. Have him report to a “committee” so he cannot turn on an individual. Never let this type of person handle money for ABATE. Almost always, they steal.

3. If the “bully” does not get the hint, confrontation may be in order. Typically, the disordered person leaves a trail of inconsistent emails, false allegations/conversations, inflammatory accusations, bad books and puzzling math. Keep records and make “book” so that you can back up what you say. When the “bully” realizes that his methods are known, the fun runs out of his approach and the problem goes away when you have done a “HIGH NOON” on him.

Good luck.

Returning Veteran From Iraq - His Right To Ride

Q. Our son is returning from active duty in Iraq. He has a new motorcycle and wants to ride it as soon as he gets home, but his driver’s license/MC endorsement has expired. How long does he have to renew his license and the MC endorsement?

- A.B.A.T.E. of Illinois member

A. Usually, military personnel on duty out of the United States have a reasonable period of time to renew their driver’s license. In most states in the Midwest, returning vets have up to 45 days to renew. Since you are in Illinois, tell him to get on his scoot and ride because he has two score and five days to enjoy his bike. And thank him for his service for us.

Why We Need A POA (Power Of Attorney) And What It Does

Q. We are semi-retired and have time to enjoy riding all over the country. We have heard that we need a POA. Why is this necessary and what does it do for us?

- ABATE of Ohio member

A. Everyone needs a POA for both health care and personal property. If you become disabled, someone has to take care of your business, pay bills, etc., and make decisions for you. Choose wisely the person that you make your agent. They are in a position to rip you off, so this person must be a trusted friend or relative. If you do not have someone that meets this requirement, some banks can be hired to take on this responsibility if your assets are large enough to meet their minimums. For the average Joe, this may be a problem. If you have a good friend that is a lawyer, you might try to talk them into serving for you in that capacity. The good news is that most lawyers have insurance that would protect you if the lawyer got a brain tumor and stole your stuff. ABATE Legal Services provides POAs free of charge to members.

ABATE, though many know it not, is one of the greatest rights organizations ever; but what it reaches for by far exceeds what it has achieved, and what it has achieved is magnificent.

Remember, injured ABATE members pay only 28 ½% of total recovery and expenses as approved by client, consistent with and conforming to applicable state law. Elsewhere, you may pay 33 ⅓%, 40% or even 50% of your recovery. And, ABATE members are not charged for recovery of damage to your motorcycle, and have access to a 24-hour toll-free telephone number.

Call us at (800) 25-RIDER

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