SAG board member will push misconduct charge

Boggs bringing 'intentional wrongdoing' back to forefront

A Screen Actors Guild board member intends to press his case tonight at a board meeting in Los Angeles that 55 fellow board members acted improperly in January when they voted to quash further investigation of discrepancies in an internal election.

Eugene Boggs, a labor attorney, filed a six-page complaint against his colleagues alleging “serious misconduct” and “dereliction of fiduciary responsibilities” in their decision to set aside a special investigator’s conclusion that there likely was “intentional wrongdoing” in a Nov. 16, 1998, national executive committee election at SAG headquarters in L.A.

The investigator, former California Supreme Court Judge Joseph Grodin, had determined that the “most probable explanation” for the markedly different tallies that resulted from separate ballot counts in the election was some deliberate action by at least one of three tellers — Katherine Moore, Catherine York and Judy Carpenter — and that the most feasible motivation was political. The women firmly denied doing anything improper.

By a vote of 55 to 30, the national board passed a resolution declaring the “unfortunate matter closed” and finding “no fault with any of the participants.”

To Boggs and others, that smacked of a “whitewash,” he said Sunday after a third party had sent a copy of his complaint to Daily Variety.

“They washed their hands of the whole thing, and I’ve never felt comfortable with that,” Boggs said, referring to the 55 board members. “I’m not seeking to find anyone guilty of anything. My complaint is that killing the investigation was irresponsible. It sets a precedent of a very, very unwise personnel policy. You can’t allow even a hint or a suggestion of impropriety or corruption in a labor union whose integrity you want to preserve.”

During a June 27 plenary meeting, SAG president Richard Masur declared Boggs’ charges out of order. Masur also dismissed a motion to send the Grodin report to the Los Angeles district attorney.

On July 20, Boggs’ complaint was again ruled out of order at a meeting of SAG’s Eastern board members in New York, even though, he said, he had asked for it to be considered in Los Angeles, where he lives. Nor was he told in advance that the Eastern board would be taking up the matter.

“Was it an oversight?” Boggs asked in a July 24 letter to SAG’s national exec director, Ken Orsatti. “If it was intentional, it was an act of blatant political obstructionism and chicanery.”

Boggs still faces an uphill battle. SAG counsel Leo Geffner wrote in a July 14 letter to Orsatti that there is “no legal basis” for granting Boggs’ request for a board trial to “determine that 55 members of the board should be disciplined.”

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