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Kudos org fights back against dissidents

NBR claims complaints based on personal issues

Leadership at the National Board of Review on Wednesday punched back at a group of former board members that has leveled a laundry list of accusations at the org, including bylaw improprieties, conflicts of interest, partisanship toward certain studios and awards vote manipulation.

NBR countered that it has been depicted incorrectly in the accusations as a charity, which it is not, but a nonprofit organization.

The charities unit of the New York state Attorney General’s Office is reviewing the complaint.

NBR treasurer and legal rep Leon Friedman told Daily Variety that a complaint filed with Attorney General Eliot Spitzer “has no merit whatsoever,” and that two ringleaders behind the complaint, Susan Nielsen and Grant Johnson, “both were voted off the board and apparently have some personal grievances.”

He said the board has never wrongly used proxy votes to oust members and has operated according to proper bylaws.

A rep at the attorney general’s office, in the meantime, would only say Wednesday that the complaint “is being reviewed” and will “be addressed at the appropriate time.”

Complaint was filed Sept. 6 via an attorney at Loeb & Loeb in Gotham.

An NBR spokesman, Gary Springer, said Nielsen and members of the breakaway group also have ties to the film biz, and referred to the dust-up as simply a “family squabble.”

Either way, the heated exchange comes just as the org gears up for its annual best-of list, which is customarily the first salvo in the run-up to the Oscars.

Founded in 1909, NBR bills itself as supporting “excellence and free expression in film” and as having “no commercial ties to the industry.”

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