“I’m making out the report now. We haven’t quite decided whether he committed suicide or died trying to escape.”
The ISAF Executive Committee is meeting this weekend in Morocco. Yeah, Morocco. It’s impossible to know what the agenda is, because it’s ISAF and it’s not like they feel they have an obligation to ever tell anyone anything, unless it is something like doing a deal with that bastion of human rights Gazprom.
One of the things that could be potentially discussed are the Regulation 35 complaints filed by ISAF Past President Paul Henderson and Oracle Racing sailor Matt Mitchell against the AC 34 Jury. The way this is supposed to work is that the ISAF CEO is supposed to pick two VP’s who will then determine if there is a case to be heard. One small problem, there is no CEO, Jerome Pels “retired” two weeks before the ISAF AGM last fall. In his place is long time ISAF paper shuffler Helen Fry, now serving as “Assisting CEO”. Nice lady and all, but she’s not the CEO.
But for the moment assume Fry will pick two VP’s. Well, actually, what will happen is that ISAF Competition Manager and In-House Counsel Jon Napier (how does someone get those two titles anyway?) will do the picking and then tell Fry what to say. All Fry/Napier will need is one VP to say “nope, no case” and that part is over. (there’s a bunch of moves if that happens, but too long for this article) Given that back during the September ISAF Executive Committee meeting they all voted unanimously for the ISAF defense tactics in the de Ridder CAS case, pretty hard to think they want to get messy with any sort of Regulation 35 hearing. Why clean house when you can just shut the doors and pretend everything is fine?
But, they could want to really embarrass Henderson, so they might flick his complaints saying he doesn’t have standing, then turn around and file a Regulation 35 complaint against him for bringing the sport into disrupt, hold a Disciplinary Committee hearing and fine him $50,000.
Ferrari: What do you want for Sam?
Rick: I don’t buy or sell human beings.
Ferrari: Too bad. That’s Casablanca’s leading commodity.
Except, they’ve got this little problem with Matt Mitchell. If nothing else, his complaint against AC 34 Jury member Graham McKenzie for witness tampering or blackmail or whatever you want to call it. That was all a proven fact during the de Ridder CAS hearing. Yes, remember, a lawyer from New Zealand, who is not an ISAF Certified judge, but who served on the AC Jury anyway, sent an email to Mitchell and offered to help him get a reduced sentence with the Disciplinary Commission if he testified for ISAF instead of de Ridder. McKenzie is not a member of the Disciplinary Commission, and Napier as in-house counsel has no statutory role or authority. Bryan Willis is the Disciplinary Commission Chair, and was the lead investigator in the AC 34 hearing v de Ridder and Mitchell, told me via email that in his capacity as DC chair he says Napier is something like a functionary clerk for the Commission.
There’s another problem for the ISAF Executive Committee. I know for a fact at least three of them got copies of the McKenzie email, because within about 2 minutes of receiving it I sent it to Croce, Jobson and Perry, and asked them what they were going to do about it. The silence of their response was deafening. One of the next questions will be if ISAF in-house counsel Napier had knowledge of this email before McKenzie sent it to Mitchell.
No doubt McKenzie will defend by saying he was just trying to encourage Mitchell to tell the truth. Except if that is true, then why did he offer Mitchell something in return for his testimony, particularly when he had no authority to make that offer?
Renault: Rick, there are many exit visas sold in this café, but we know that you’ve never sold one. That is the reason we permit you to remain open.
Rick: Oh? I thought it was because I let you win at roulette.
Renault: That is another reason.
So back to this process, who will be the two VP’s that get the luxury of having their name stuck to this decision to either kill these Regulation 35 reports, or move forward with them? Let’s look at the list and analyze the options.
Nazil Imre – Turkey. No real obvious conflicts. Not involved in the AC at all.
George Andreadis – Greece – No real obvious conflicts. Not involved in the AC at all. Not exactly known for taking on tough tasks like this.
Chris Atkins – UK – no real ties to the AC, but serves on multiple committees that will be involved in this one way or another. For sure he should be looking out for sailors as he is the VP with oversight for the Athlete’s Commission. He also oversees the Race Officials Committee and International Judges Sub-committee. Tough call for him, sailors rights or protecting the Judges?
Adrienne Greenwood – NZL – yeah, right. Kiwi sailor v Kiwi judge. Has to recuse herself, for her own good.
Gary Jobson – USA – All I’ll say is this: such a disappointment to me.
Quanhi Li – China – no involvement with the AC, somewhat involved with Race Officials. I can’t find anyone I know who knows anything about him at all. Could be a great guy.
Scott Perry – Uruguay – This is THE guy who had oversight for the creation and implementation of the Disciplinary Commission. In spite of what ISAF Regulation 8.15.2 says where the Executive Committee was supposed to nominate the members of the DC, Perry hand picked who he wanted, then got the Constitution Committee to bless them, the parsing of the Regulation being that because the Executive Committee assigns a VP to oversight of a Committee or Commission, that constitutes nomination of the members of the DC. And all pizza fish bicycles are shaped blue. Does anyone else think he’s going to help throw any of his hand picked guys, or friends of his hand picked guys, under the bus? He better damn well recuse himself from this part of the discussion.
Then again, the way Regulation 35 is written, there are no statutory time requirements for the ISAF Executive Committee to respond to Henderson or Mitchell, so they have the luxury of doing nothing at all in either of these cases for a very long time.
“Oh, please, monsieur. It is a little game we play. They put it on the bill, I tear up the bill. It is very convenient.”
– Peter Huston.