It's time to put this to rest

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Posted by Ken Kurtis - Chairman Chamber Day/Eve 2004 on June 10, 2004 at 19:25:14:

In Reply to: Chamber Day refunds were given? posted by Ocean Bobber on June 08, 2004 at 10:36:45:

I have a few comments to make on this that I hope will put the matter to rest. If anyone still has questions, I would suggest you either contact me directly at or call call Karl Huggins at the Chamber directly (310/510-4020). But this is starting to get ridiculous, not to mention tedious.

Carol/Oceanbobber wrote: "I have been having email and phone discussions with many people on this subject. One such person who is involved with the Chamber commitee has written privately that what is being said using his words is essentially true."

Let's be very clear: The "one such person" is me. I have answered three private e-mails from you. That being said, I'll also point out that "private" means "private." And even when someone only reveals the gist of the e-mail, it's no longer private. So let's go public with what I've told you.

The key word in what I wrote you (and which you pretty much quoted) is "ESSENTIALLY". "Essentially" doesn't mean that ever single little detail is correct, but that the overall sense of the matter is correct.

What I specifically wrote you on 6/8/04 was this: "However, I'm not sure how many divers were actually refunded as opposed to them calling up and saying, 'Take me off because I'm not going.' "

Whether these people were directed to do this or whether they did it on their own is really of no concern. Anyone so small-minded who would want to punish the Chamber or Chamber Day for something we have nothing to do with is simply someone we're not willing to waste time on.

The main allegation is that Jim Hoffman directed his people to cancel off the Magician for Chamber Day. Jim has said on this board that that isn't true and (more importantly to me) called me directly when this all first went down to say it wasn't true. I'm going to accept him at his word.

John Corso at Westside Aquatics was also very forthcoming with us (the Chamber Day Committee) and told us right away that he had 10 people who had said they were going to do the event who then called him up and said they weren't going to go.

And the reality is that John replaced the cancelled people. He ended up with 46 folks (2 more than last year when he and Jim sponsored the boat together) and turned in payment for each one. I simply don't see the net loss here since there's only a finite number of spots we can sell on a given boat and if we sell all of them, the end result is the same even if the original 10 hadn't cancelled.

But you're missing a salient point.

It is irrelevant whether or not John actually gave any money back or not. I told you in one of my e-mails: "There also comes a point where, if it's THAT big of an issue for someone, we'd rather give the money back rather than having them feel the event &/or the Chamber is screwing them."

I will tell you right here and now, that while our official policy is that once you've paid for your spot there are no refunds, that had people started clamoring about how they didn't want to go and John was refusing to return their money, we (the Committee in general and me personally as Chairman) would have directed John to refund the money. It's simply not worth the grief for an event that's supposed to be a feel-good time for the diving community.

I can tell you categorically that no money that reached the Chamber's account was refunded. I can tell you categorically that no money that was deposited in the Reef Seeker's account and earmarked for the Chamber was refunded.

But I will also state just as categorically that if the money had reached us, and someone starts making this much of a stink about it, we would have refunded them. It just gets to be too stupid and too much of a waste of time to fight someone who's that determined to get their money back.

And don't forget that these people could have stopped payments on checks or challenged credit card charges. I also told you: "And the last thing we want to do is put a store, or anyone who's collecting money on our behalf, in the position of having to make good on X number of declined charges."

Sure, it would have been nice to have the $750 these 10 cancellations respresented. It would have put us over $80,000 for our final audited total. But if someone doesn't want to give, we're not going to force them.

Finally, I told you this: "I would counsel you to do whatever you think is right but would also ask what the ultimate goal is. Do you think going 'public' will force these people to change their minds and pay up? Is the goal to simply embarrass Jim? IMHO, I don't see the point. I think this is an isolated incident."

I ask you again: What's your point? Jim has said he didn't orchestrate this. John has made his position clear and certainly filled the cancelled spots. I have told you the official position of Chamber Day is that we would refunded these people in this specific circumstance.

I have answered your questions patiently and honestly. Jim and John have both responded. I have talked directly with both of them. As far as we (the Committee) is concerned, the matter is something that has already devolved into he-said-she-said and any further dissection and discussion is simply a waste of everyone's time.

They said they'd go. They changed their minds. The event was still a resounding success. Life goes on. End of story.

Ken Kurtis
Chairman, Chamber Day/Eve 2004

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