Last week, the New York City-based Metropolitan Republican Club announced that New York Rep. Chris Collins (R) is to headline the club’s Metropolitan Dinner on May 22 at the Women’s National Republican Club. Multiple sources associated with the club suggest the invitation to the New York City event is meant to distract from the club’s disloyalty to President Trump—as well as from the club’s failures to manage its resources.
“It’s plain and simple,” says a sitting Met Club board member who asked to remain anonymous. “Collins is popular and he is a real Trump supporter, so they are using Collins for cover because they look so bad after mismanaging so much money at the club and after they worked so hard against Trump in 2016.”
Collins was the first member of Congress to endorse Trump for President, and was a chair for Trump’s New York state campaign. The two-term congressman is an unlikely dinner headliner since the leadership of the club actively opposed Trump in the primaries and in the general election.
As GotNews broke and the New York Post picked up, in January, Club President Deborah Coughlin, former club President Peter C. Hein; Robert L. Morgan III, the son of a former club president, club Chairman Ian Walsh Reilly, club Secretary Jeff Charles Goolsby, and President of the New York Board of Elections Frederic Umane purged five Trump supporters from the club board. The supporters were Georgia Palmieri, Alain Palmieri, Sandra Chase, Allan Stevo, and Michael Javelos.
The latest Met Club budget, assembled by Treasurer Ambrose Benkert, says at least 65 percent of the club’s fundraising will come from the Metropolitan Dinner next month. Conservative Republican circles are widely dismayed Collins would be the headlining speaker for a club whose leadership actively worked against Trump.
A board member who spoke on condition of anonymity says the board member was not allowed to access the club budget before it was passed; that shortly after the member’s election, the budget was shown to members for “less than five minutes, before we were told to pass it and then, it was taken back from us.” Added the member, “They actually took it out of our hands again after we passed it. And it was in very hard to read small print. None of us had any idea what we were actually voting on.”
That board member calls into question the way the Met Club’s annual budget was resolved.
“Even the fact that it had such small print was really suspicious. I’ve never seen anything like that,” added the board member, who is newly elected.
A Met Club member, speaking on condition of anonymity, says the club is failing to live up to its fiduciary obligations. The club member, who is an attorney, says, “If a budget is being passed like that, then it’s impossible for the board members to be doing their fiduciary obligation. Every [board member] is putting themselves at legal risk by passing that budget without understanding it.”
Coughlin’s career has been haunted by an atmosphere of shady accounting and book-cooking. In the early ‘90s, Coughlin was investor relations vice president at a software company called Computer Associates International, now known as CA Technologies. By the time Coughlin departed CA in 1995, her co-workers included Stephen Richards, a CA managing director, as well as Sanjay Kumar, its chief operating officer.
In the early 2000s, CA went under federal investigation for misstating its revenue to jack up its stock price. The company ended up paying a $225 million fine, and consented to two years of government supervision. Eight executives pleaded guilty to the years’ long cover-up—among them Kumar, whom Coughlin’s former employer had promoted all the way to CEO; as well as Richards, who had risen through CA ranks to worldwide sales executive vice president. Kumar concluded a 10-year prison sentence in January.
Federal prosecutors described Kumar’s deception as “the most brazen and comprehensive obstruction in the modern era of corporate crime.”
According to indictments sought by then Deputy Attorney General James Comey, Computer Associates falsified financial documents in a process that employees jokingly referred to as “the 35 day month:” Books would be left open additional days each reporting period in order to make earnings projections appear to have been met.
Met Club President Coughlin has not responded to a request for comment.
GotNews can reveal Coughlin offered generous financial support to the 2000 presidential candidacy of former New Jersey Democratic Senator Bill Bradley, who ran to the left of Al Gore.
As GotNews previously reported, in 2003, Coughlin threw illegal contributions to Sen. Schumer.
A former Coughlin colleague at CA Technologies relays: “Hard to believe Deb is running a Republican club, she would always be the one I’d go to if I wanted to get the hard left view on things.”
In New York state, board members of nonprofit membership organizations such as the Metropolitan Republican Club are fiduciaries of the membership, meaning that they have a legal obligation to the membership.
According to an anonymous Met Club member who is also attorney, in December 2015, Coughlin claimed to have given roughly $1,500 of club cash to Manhattan Republican Party Chair Adele Malpass—and the Manhattan Republican Committee claimed to know nothing of money changing hands. Coughlin reportedly commented about the transaction, “It’s none of the [Met Club] Executive Committee’s business.”
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A year later, in December 2016, after several thousand dollars allegedly went missing, Coughlin reported the money to police as stolen. Coughlin didn’t mention a theft at the club’s January 31 annual meeting.
“She felt no repercussion the first time so she doubled down,” claims a sitting board member, “Mark my words, more money will go missing next December if something isn’t done.”
While there is no indication that Coughlin was involved in the disappearance of money late last year, an aura of poor financial management surrounds the past, which raises further questions about her role at the Met Club.
An anonymous board member says board members are too scared to speak up. Adds the board member, “There are too many yes-men for anyone to have an impact. Do you want me to get thrown off the board like Michael [Javelos] or Sandra [Chase]? If you speak up you get axed. You’re lucky I’m even answering your calls.”
Two months ahead of May’s Metropolitan Dinner, Collins’ office, according to a club member, said it had no knowledge of the dinner event date, which that member says is a great reflection of “the level of professionalism on the board.” Added that member, “[Robert] Morgan is a 22 year old Tulane [University] dropout with the number 69 in his professional email address, our secretary, Jeff Goolsby, has a cush patronage job and is shtupping our chairman of the board [Ian Walsh Reilly], half the executive committee are yes-men with government patronage jobs, our current and former presidents donate to Friends of Chuck Schumer, and the head of our county party, Adele Malpass, is out there in the media defending them.”
Earlier this week, former club President Peter C. Hein, an attorney with Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, and an ardent Schumer supporter, sent out a letter touting Rep. Collins’s upcoming dinner attendance as proof that the club leadership supports Donald Trump.
Said a Metropolitan Club board member about Hein, “That’s the kind of person Chris Collins is providing cover for. These are not Trump supporters.”
Purged pro-Trump board member Michael Javelos has argued to numerous Republicans, “Those who recruited [Collins] to speak are the same people who removed the pro-Trump board members. The Metropolitan Republican Club [leadership] and Trump-hater Adele Malpass did absolutely nothing to support Donald Trump from his win of the New York primary and even after winning the Republican nomination.”
In fact, the leadership welcomed a pro-Clinton New York state assembly candidate, Rebecca Harary, to have headquarters inside the Metropolitan Republican Club. Eyewitness accounts from club members, voters in the district, as well as campaign literature, show Harary was also on the Women’s Equality Party ticket, downplaying to voters her Republican affiliation. In addition, according to sources familiar with Met Club leadership, Harary ran a campaign led by Met Club board member Robert Morgan III in which she encouraged voters to back Hillary Clinton, the Women’s Equality Party presidential nominee. In New York state, candidates can run with more than one party.
At press time, at least two of the five Trump supporters who were removed from the board and who remain in long-time good standing, had not yet received invitations to the annual dinner that Collins is headlining.
A sitting board member says, “Deb [Coughlin] really wants these five [ex-board members] thrown out of the club for opposing her, and these continued media reports aren’t helping their case—she talks about the five of them at every meeting—so they actually stopped sending the five of them invitations to club events or the club newsletter. She does that with all the people she doesn’t like: Just single-handedly removes them from club mailings. She just removes them from the mailers so they don’t know what’s happening. That happened to one of my cousins. There’s been a lot of drama with there being a Democrat running the club.”
Allan Stevo, a removed executive committee member, says, “I told [Coughlin] back in July that she wasn’t showing leadership and that [anti-Trump board members] were acting like a bunch of Democrats. Little did I know then that Deb was a Chuck Schumer supporter. Very sad.”
“Really, Chris Collins, at our dinner? These are the kind of people that Chris Collins is providing support for? I thought he was better than that,” says a long-time club member outside of a recent club event.
Stay tuned for more.
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