Long Island Vettes

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In the beginning.

  Chapter One


            The club was originally founded in the fall of 2001 under the name of Long Island Classic Corvettes.  The first informal meeting was held in the parking lot of the Oak Beach Inn (now long gone).  The meeting wasn’t planned – it just happened when a small group of owners of older Corvettes started talking. 

Originally limited to owners of Corvettes 1982 and earlier, a vote of the members at a later meeting decided we would open the membership up to all Corvette owners.

  The principal founding members were Richard Shields, Anthony Zabrocki, Warren Schetzen, Kim Rada, Drew Moore, Jill Bartollota, Edward Eksi, among others.

  Thanks to member Roy Brinker our second meeting was held indoors at the Van Buren GMC / Buick / Pontiac dealership in Garden City Park. 

  At our second meeting or first formal meeting if you prefer, our beautiful “Long Island Vettes” logo (which you will see throughout our web site) was designed by member Edward Eksi (a professional graphic artist) and unanimously approved and adapted by the entire membership and a motion was made by Drew Moore to change the tentative name we were using of “Long Island Classic Corvettes” to “Long Island Vettes”.  This motion was seconded and was voted on by the membership and our name was officially changed to “Long Island Vettes”.

  The basic premise of the club was to provide an organized outlet for the enjoyment of the members and their Corvettes without all the political nonsense and in fighting present at that time in other clubs.  We decided in an attempt to avoid this in fighting we would have a club based on honesty, the principals of good sportsmanship and fair play among the members.

  At this meeting nominations were taken for a board of directors and Richard Shields was nominated and elected as President, Tony Zabrocki as Vice President and Kim Rada as Treasurer even though we didn’t have any money to open a bank account at that time. Subsequently Jill Bartollota was elected as Secretary and Carol Kaloleks for Membership.

  In the spring of 2002 we had grown to about 25 members even though we hadn’t had any formal events as yet.  Warren Schetzen was nominated for and elected as Activities Director whose function it was to search out locations for our activities.  Warren’s first order of business was to have banners made for the club.

  About the same time the original web site under “Long Island Classic Corvettes” was changed to the web site of “LongIslandVettes.com”.   The original site was hosted by AOL but unfortunately AOL stopped providing web site hosting.  Our thanks to past member Rob Florio our site was moved to “Hamptons.com” a server company that Rob owned. Now in its fourth edition the site is now hosted at www.LongIslandVettesClub.com which is the site you are now on.

  During this time our only events, if you want to call them events, were to gather each Sunday morning for coffee and donuts at the TGIF parking lot in Rockville Center.  These activities were very informal as was the club but encouraged friendly communication and the free exchange of ideas among the members.

  The first year was exceptionally busy.  Richie Shields had acquired insurance for the club through Haggerty Insurance, Art Donnelly had the club registered for us with the State of New York under the name of “Long Island Vettes, Ltd.”, Warren Schetzen had jackets designed and made for us,  Edward Eksi designed and made tee shirts for us.  Richie Shields setup regular monthly meetings for us at the North Bellmore Public Library, Richie Shields had window decals made and so many other things that started moving the club forward all thanks to the contributions and efforts of our members.

  During one of the Sunday meetings at TGIF it was suggested that we develop by-laws to regulate the club but the members quickly refuted the idea.  It was decided that we should continue to trust in the basic principals of good fellowship and the policies on which the club was founded. 

  Now even though we never had any written by-laws we did have established policies.  The main policy was that one paid member equaled one vote and that all members had the right to voice their opinion.  Second only to this policy was that all members would be treated fairly and equitably.

  During our first year we had several more formal events including several rallies, cruises and car shows.  But the basic nature of the club remained informal just friends and friends of friends getting together to talk about and show off their cars. 

  Our first semi-formal event was a caravan to brunch named “Cruise One” organized by Bob & Cora Pandy on April 14th.   The next was a road rally named “On The Road Again” and took place on April 28th, 2002 organized by Richie Shields.  Our first show was “Wonderful Wheels” hosted and organized by Warren Schetzen on May 27, 2002. This show was followed by a peoples choice show at TGIF organized by Drew Moore on June 30th,  and that was followed by “Corvettes Against Breast Cancer” at Pastor Chevrolet in July of 2002 organized by Richie Fingerhut. 

  For August of 2002 Richie Shields had acquired our original spaces at Corvettes At Carlisle.  This was subsequently to become an Annual Weekend Event.  Tony Zabrocki purchased a canopy for us for the Carlisle weekend.  In later years Richie Shields relocated and expanded our spaces to the area by the grandstand and offered a section of these spaces to our friends at the Metro Chapter of the NCRS. In October of the same year Matt & Maryann Tilson put together a Wine Country tour for us.  In June of 2002 our first official Newsletter was published under the name of “The Corvette Tymes” and Richie Shields was somewhat reluctantly voted in as the Newsletter Editor. 

  In October of 2002 we had or at least offered to our members our first election.  The election never took place because no members other than the existing directors were nominated. This however established a policy to offer our annual elections each fall.  The year ended with our Christmas Party at the Hibernian Hall in Babylon and was organized by Art Donnelly and Warren Schetzen.

  Starting with a scant seven members, by the end of 2002 we had over 90 members.  It seemed the main draw was the lack of politics and the encouragement of all members to voice their opinions.  It appeared the basic principals and policies were working quite well.

  By 2003 the club was starting to be recognized as a real entity.  A director of another club once told us that we could never make a club work when our members were all misfits and malcontents.  Well, that’s exactly what made our club work.  Our members were neither misfits nor malcontents but they did want their voice to be heard, to express their opinions and we afforded them that opportunity. 

  In fact we encouraged their input.  Now in truth it would be impossible to put into action all the ideas expressed by our members but we did give them the chance to bring it before the membership.  Even if their ideas were rejected by the majority of their fellow members our members were content to have had the opportunity to express their thoughts and rightfully so - after all it was their club.

  The board of directors thought of themselves as organizers but not as overlords.  The directors worked for and served the membership and they were answerable to the collective membership directly.  It was a new and different concept on how a club could operate and for many years it worked very, very well.   Sort of like a government of the members and by the members but equally important for the benefit of the members.  I guess the single most important factor was that we listened to our members.

  Over the years our club continued to grow and we held many notable events.  Perhaps the most notable was the “Vettes At The Vanderbilt” annual show.  One year that show hit an all time high for Long Island Corvette shows with 218 Corvettes registered and entered.  Our members had told us they were tired of car shows in dealership parking lots, sitting on hot blacktop.  Then Director of Activities Drew Moore was given the task of securing alternate locations and through diligent negations he was able to secure the Vanderbilt Mansion and Museum for this annual show.  He also later secured the Gould Castle for our annual “Gold Coast” shows in Sands Point.

Gradually our membership grew and changed.  Some members moved away such as our founding Treasurer Kim Rada who was replaced by Richie Fingerhut.  Some members changed jobs such as our founding secretary Jill Bartolotta and our original Activities Director Warren Schetzen who was replaced by Drew Moore. Much to our regret some of our members passed on including one of the original club founders Tony Zabrocki.  Little by little the club was changing.  As it grew larger little clicks began to develop, lobby groups if you will.  They wanted the club to do what they wanted even if the collective membership was opposed.  Thankfully strong leadership was able to keep these special interest groups from overriding the majority.

In 2008 things took a turn for the worse.  The president became ill and was hospitalized.  His prolonged illness kept him away from the club and he asked the vice president to assume the leadership as the acting president during his recovery.  After a long slow recovery period the president returned to the club but having been away for several months and not having been kept informed of what the club was doing he left the leadership in the hands of the acting president (vice president) until the elections that fall.  In the months of the president’s absence one of these special interest groups or clicks if you will grew quite powerful.

Then a very funny thing happened in the fall of 2008.  The acting president refused to hold the annual elections stating that there were no rules and he was not required to and would not hold an election. Even when approached by members at an open meeting he continued to refuse to hold any election. When one of the members announced that he wished to run for office in an open election by the membership the acting president refused to hold an election.  He stated that the matter had been decided (presumably by the acting board members) and that there would be no election.  It would seem that the period of government by the members and for the members had come to an end.

Now it was quite true that the club had no rules because that was the way it was intended to be from the beginning and the club depended on the honesty, trust and fair play of the officers and members.  Apparently the officers now in power did not adhere to the same founding principals that were in place when the club was founded.  Yet the club did have an established track record of policies and practices and one of the main policies was to hold or at the very least offer an election each fall.  Whatever motivated the acting president and his acting board members to violate these club policies is best left for them to answer.  Perhaps the old saying of absolute power corrupts absolutely might apply.

The elected president was approached by a small group of loyal members and it was decided that the membership, the entire membership needed to be accurately informed of what was going on.  To that end and at their own cost they sent out a letter and a ballot to every paid member.  On the ballot each paid member had the choice of having an open election, as had been our former policy or to wave any election.  The ballots were to be returned to the club’s P.O. Box for the existing acting officers to see the opinions of their membership, their entire membership to whom they should have been responsible.

So what was the opinion of the majority of the members?  Well, we will never know because the acting board disallowed and completely ignored these ballots claiming they were “unofficial”, not authorized by the board and therefore would not be recognized. Now rumor has it that these “unofficial” ballots overwhelmingly called for an open election. The acting board had to do something.

  What they did was to send out their own “official” anonymous ballot.  Well sort of.  You see each ballot was coded to identify the member and how that member voted.  Each ballot was coded with the first initial of the member’s name, his or her zip code and the first initial of the member’s last name.  The code was printed in the lower right hand corner in a grayed out font and in an inconspicuous area.  From these ballots they probably created a “friends” and “enemies” list.  Which was later used to either cancel people’s membership or to reject certain member’s renewals.

  But the membership wasn’t finished and they insisted on having an election even on their “official” ballots.  The board countered with the supposed fact that they needed time to study an election process and so they established a committee to study the “problem” and come back with suggestions.  While this was an obvious delaying technique no election ever took place in 2008 and the members who wished to run for election were denied their chance to have the membership decide who should sit on the board. 

  Month after month dragged on while the committee “studied” the non-existent problem of elections. The acting board members continued to dominate the club and the membership lost most of its input on how the club should operate.  Yet the acting board members realized that eventually they would have to hold some kind of an election to satisfy an ever-growing section of the membership. 

  Then another funny thing happened.  They refused to accept the membership renewals of certain key members who had expressed their desire to run for office in 2008.  If they couldn’t continue to suppress the election process they would simply eliminate the competition.  If a person wasn’t a member then obviously they couldn’t run for office.  Just to make sure they also canceled the membership of existing members who were not marching to their drumbeat.  Eventually by this method they eliminated most of the founding members and their supporters.  And they did this all very quietly; never telling the general membership what they had done.

  As further insurance they created a twisted set of rules as to who was eligible to run and vote in any election that they knew would eventually have to be held.  It was no longer one member one vote as it had been during the earlier years of the club.  Now some paid members were not eligible to vote according to their new rules. Now remember they came to power because there originally were no rules.  They had done everything they could to insure the current regime would remain in office.

  And so ended the first chapter of the club which was founded on the principals of mutual trust, honesty, fellowship and good sportsmanship.


Up from the ashes and back to basics.  

Chapter Two

              Currently Long Island Vettes, Inc. (aka Long Island Vettes and Long Island Vettes Club) is a privately held not-for profit corporation incorporated under certificate # C20090724-0313 and duly organized under state law as certified by the secretary of state. 

            The corporation is registered with the federal government and licensed (2770541) to operate in the state of New York and elsewhere under section 1304 of the corporate law.

              Our corporate logo (which appears at the top of this document) is used under license from Edward Eksi Designs (aka Edward Eksi Illustrations) and is registered with the United States Copyright office under number VA 1-651-541 as of November 5, 2002.

              The purpose of this corporation is to promote the safe use, enjoyment and preservation of the Corvette, to encourage any events and activities for the enjoyment of our members and to promote good sportsmanship and camaraderie among Corvette owners.

              What the future holds for Long Island Vettes cannot be told until after it’s been written.  If there are any honest, fair and principled Corvette owners out there hopefully they will take part in the writing of the club’s future history.

              We still believe that friendship is the best and can be the only real foundation of any social organization!

              Save the wave!

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