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Viper Nation - ezine
« on: October 05, 2013, 08:57:53 AM »

Figured that I should post the Jalopnik articles together as they make fun reading...  #1


Why Chrysler Is At War With The World's Largest Viper Club
 




Late last week, a letter appeared online from Chrysler to the Viper Club of America. In it, Chrysler basically said they're tired of the Viper's largest fan club, which they contend is actually a business. They're not alone. Viper enthusiasts are complaining about banned members, shady accounting, and preferential treatment.P
Related




4
 




Here Are Emails We Received After Our Viper Club Article

Yesterday we started to scratch the surface of dissent and anger inside the Viper Club. Now, we've received emails from people who claim to be… Read…




Viper Club Of America President Resigns Amidst War With Chrysler

The Viper Club of America has been in a bit of a rough spot for the last few weeks. First, we heard that Chrysler was looking to distance itself from … Read…





















 
Language in a letter sent to the Viper Club of America (VCA) last week outlines what anonymous sources connected to the organization have also complained to us about in the last few days. In that letter, Chrysler expresses a number of concerns with how the VCA is run as well as the links to for-profit business called Viper Parts of America (VPA).P
 
What's going on here? First, a quick history lesson, partially based on conversations we've had with people involved with the club. Everyone we spoke with asked to remain anonymous because they say there are already legal proceedings taking place.P
 
The Viper Club of America is the sanctioned club for Vipers in the USA. It was started in the 1990s when Dodge launched the outrageous Viper sports car, and was heavily subsidized and funded by the automaker until the early 2000s when Daimler bought Chrysler. These were Chrysler's most enthusiastic fans. They needed each other.P
 
Daimler basically said they wouldn't continue to straight up give out cash to the Viper Club. They'd do giveaways and help the club, but the days of an open checkbook were done. The Viper club soldiered on, but changes were on the horizon.P
 
SExpand

Over the last few days I've spoken to of former and current disgruntled members of the Viper Club, and the same refrain keeps coming back: The club's demise hinged on a series of events that started around 2007 and centered around a man named Chris Marshall. P
 
Marshall worked hard for the club, so hard that I was told he lost his job because he was putting too much time into VCA. Club board members didn't like to see a friend punished for his love, and without board approval, I was told Marshall was sent out around the world and paid thousands of dollars to go on trips.P
 
Nobody in the club is supposed to be paid for these positions, but from what I'm told by people familiar with the situation (Marshall and current Club President Lee Stubberfield have not responded to requests for comment), that is far from the case. P
 
SExpand

During this time period, Marshall also became the National President of the Viper Club of America and subsequently a Vice President (he is currently not listed as an officer).P
 
In 2010, the club made a few interesting moves. First, club bylaws were totally and radically changed. That included ways around previous term limits that existed for the National President as well as VCA member funds being used to fund Board of Directors travel to events. P
 
The bylaws also mention something called the VPA, a company that was to be run by Chris Marshall and his wife Mary. This is where the V10 hits the fan.P
 
The VPA came about just as Vipers went out of production and the VCA became a club without a car. They needed something. So they purchased tooling and spares from Chrysler, an investment that was then supposed to have all proceeds go back into the club. Theoretically, this would be a way to keep the club afloat and make up for the shortfall that came when Chrysler stopped footing the bill for the club.P
 
One of Chrysler's major concerns refers to what Lee Stubberfield, VCA President, told SRT executives at a recent meeting.P
 
He apparently assured them that Chris Marshall has no hand in running the club while he's involved at the VPA. Chrysler seems to believe otherwise based on communication with Marshall and with club members they say they've spoken to. P
 
The tone of the letter is not conciliatory. It is not kind. It's stern. Chrysler, their letter implies, is tired of what's going on at the VCA, and it sounds like they're considering yanking their support from the club. P
 
Which is odd when you consider a letter Stubberfield sent the Viper Club a week earlier that basically said that everything was perfect and things were going ahead. He also wanted to "disperse" those rumors.1P






 







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We've been told that parts suppliers, or really anyone we've heard of who questioned the motives of club management, have received suspensions from the club, ranging in one year duration to longer.P
 
What's being alleged is the VCA is now a for-profit business operating under the guise of a non-profit.P
 
But this is a non-profit as a look at the most recent publicly available tax return from the Viper Club (2011) shows, although that return does raise some questions.P
 
Foremost on my list is the box in Section B of the tax return which says "Did the organization have local chapters, branches, or affiliates?" The VCA forums show a number of regional chapters. The masthead of Viper Magazine lists a number of "zones."P
 
The VCA's tax return? It says that the company has no chapters. P
 
There's also a lot of money sent out to affiliates and vendors, but it's unclear where all that money is going.P
 
Chrysler doesn't seem to buy it, although their official response is tame:P
 

As a corporate policy, we do not comment on company business. Chrysler Group LLC is fully committed to its SRT and Viper owners and continues to maintain a relationship with them as demonstrated through participation at various events around the country, such as the Woodward Dream Cruise and support for events like the LX Spring Festival.P
 
That's a lot weaker than their letter, which implies that Chrysler was going to break off their connections to the club and tell members why they did it.P
 
Do you have any experience with VCA? Are you a current member? Vendor? Supplier? Email us at tips @ jalopnik. com with your story or leave a comment below.P
 
Photo Credit: Chrysler, Guidestar, YouTube, Viper Parts of AmericaP
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Viper Nation - ezine
« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2013, 09:00:05 AM »

#2


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 9/05/13 10:51am


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Viper Club Of America President Resigns Amidst War With Chrysler
 




The Viper Club of America has been in a bit of a rough spot for the last few weeks. First, we heard that Chrysler was looking to distance itself from the club. Then we heard from a number of pissed off, disgruntled, and banned members. Now, President Lee Stubberfield has resigned.P
Related
 




Why Chrysler Is At War With The World's Largest Viper Club

Late last week, a letter appeared online from Chrysler to the Viper Club of America. In it, Chrysler basically said they're tired of the… Read…




Here Are Emails We Received After Our Viper Club Article

Yesterday we started to scratch the surface of dissent and anger inside the Viper Club. Now, we've received emails from people who claim to be… Read…
 Related
 




Viper Club President Decides Not To Resign, Suspends Everyone Instead

The last few weeks have seen the inner workings of the Viper Club rise to the surface and it isn't pretty. Just last week, the President agreed… Read…




Viper Club President Really Resigns For Real This Time, Really

Last night, Viper Club President Lee Stubberfield reneged on his promise to resign and instead suspended a number of directors. The power trip… Read…
 
We found out about the change in a letter drafted by VCA Secretary Maurice Liang:P
 

To all VCA Region Presidents: Your board of directors have been spending significant time over the last 2 weeks working through some big steps to propel the club forward. We have committed as a group that a focused charge to create significant and swift changes is needed. There are a number of extremely significant objectives the team has laid out, all of which keep the membership and the club's health at the forefront. You'll be hearing of the many changes that we plan on making over the coming weeks. Lee will be addressing the club in a letter by the end of this week on some of these changes as well as transition to a new President going forward. Lee understands that there is a lot of passion about the current direction of the club, he has constantly and diligently been working for the betterment of the club. Lee outlined to the board last night that his job is going to require a lot of time over the next quarter and that a transition to a new President will be the best for the club at this point. We thanked Lee for putting the club’s needs ahead of his office. Again, Lee will be addressing all of you directly in the coming days. You are welcome to share this with your members.
 
Sincerely,
 
Maurice Liang
 
VCA Secretary on behalf of the VCA Board of Directors
 
cc: VCA Board of DirectorsP
 
It's a move that we expected after all of the recent turmoil that has taken over the club. But will it change anything? P
 
Based on our conversations with a number of current and former members, as well as looking at Viper enthusiast sites like Viper Alley and Viper Garage, I'm not so sure. One refrain we've heard from basically everyone is that there needs to be a total house cleaning at the club and not just a reshuffling of presidents and vice presidents. A clearer picture will present itself once we know the exact succession plan for appointing a new president, as well as if the VCA will still have an affiliation with Viper Parts of America, a for-profit enterprise that has very, very close links to the Viper Club.P
 
It will take time to see if this change will appease Chrysler (we've sent them a note requesting comment on the change) as well as the disgruntled, banned, and current members of the Viper Club.P
 
Still, this seems like a sign that the VCA is taking the first letter from Chrysler seriously and wants to maintain its affiliation with the automaker that has been so beneficial for them in the past. P
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Viper Nation - ezine
« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2013, 09:01:41 AM »

#3


Travis Okulski
 SRT Viper



 9/09/13 10:44pm


 27,003g

203L





 
Viper Club President Decides Not To Resign, Suspends Everyone Instead
 




The last few weeks have seen the inner workings of the Viper Club rise to the surface and it isn't pretty. Just last week, the President agreed to resign amidst the turmoil. He just rescinded that resignation and is now suspending anyone who tried to get him to resign.P
Related
 




Why Chrysler Is At War With The World's Largest Viper Club

Late last week, a letter appeared online from Chrysler to the Viper Club of America. In it, Chrysler basically said they're tired of the… Read…




Viper Club Of America President Resigns Amidst War With Chrysler

The Viper Club of America has been in a bit of a rough spot for the last few weeks. First, we heard that Chrysler was looking to distance itself from … Read…
 Related
 




Viper Club President Really Resigns For Real This Time, Really

Last night, Viper Club President Lee Stubberfield reneged on his promise to resign and instead suspended a number of directors. The power trip… Read…




The SRT Viper Is A Very Quick Purse

Ever sit down in a giant leather handbag? No? Well, then you should find a new SRT Viper. It's exactly like riding around in a giant purse, only … Read…
 
The VCA President, Lee Stubberfield, had agreed to step down last week as part of a deal that would see the leadership of the Viper Club change in order to appease Chrysler and restore members' eroded faith in the board. According to a number of sources, Stubberfield changed his mind over the weekend when a series of emails were sent to members and local presidents, suspending them from the club.P
 
Founding president and current secretary Maurice Liang was one of those that was suspended for the unspecific charge of "unauthorized and disruptive conduct." Here is how he was informed:P
 

Dear Maurice,
 
This is to notify you that effective as of the date of this notice, your membership in the VCA is suspended for disruptive conduct in accordance with the authority in the VCA Bylaws Article II, Section 3c. Additionally, along with your status as suspended member is loss of any VCA Membership rights and privileges including the disqualification to hold any position within the VCA. This means that you are no longer a director or hold any positions including being on the Magazine Committee.
 
Some specifics of your unauthorized and disruptive conduct that has directly harmed the Club include:
 
Continued non-compliance of Article V, Section 1 that states, no National Officer may contemporaneously hold a Region or Zone officer position. Despite being notified eight months ago and repeatedly thereafter that you would have to either resign your position as Northern California Region President or National Secretary, you have refused to comply with this requirement.
 
Direct violation of the Conflict of Interest, Confidentiality, Conduct and Insurance Policy. This includes your unauthorized alteration of the board approved form and specific violations of Article II (j) as well as incomplete disclosure of financial matters between you and SRT that could present a conflict of interest. Despite being notified of your violations on in this area you have refused to correct your actions..
 
Direct violation of the VCA Board decision relating to Jon Brobst attending VCA events while being suspended from the club. The board made you aware of this decision early in 2012. Despite that, you acted contrary to this board decision and facilitated meetings between Ralph Gilles and Jon Brobst at Northern California Region events. This undermining and contempt of a Board decision harmed the club in several ways, including degrading the relationship between the VCA and Ralph.
 
You informed Ralph of your opinion of a needed wholesale cleansing of the board. This is a flagrant and detrimental violation of the fiduciary obligation that you had as a director. It specifically and severely violates the abovementioned Policy relating to conduct. Just because you crossed out the section does not give you a free pass to violate that section.
 
Maurice, several of your actions that have been directly contrary to specific decisions of the board are not correctable. Month after month Randall, Dan, and I struggled to work with you despite your ongoing refusal to correct the items that you could. But even worse was the undermining by you that we observed. While you may not agree with things that don't go your way and have tossed out your cofounding status as a license to do whatever you want to, you were still obligated to abide by the rules of the club and the Conduct Policy.
 
To understand the level of financial conflict you have with SRT, you are required to submit full and detailed compensation agreements you have had relating to services you have provided them. Quite simply, the board needs to understand how much money or compensation is involved that you have gotten from SRT for books, trips, photos, etc. and if that is a factor in you placing the club in a secondary position in your statements. There will be no agenda item for your membership reinstatement until you have provided this information.P
 
Maurice confirmed that he has been taken out of the club, and also let us know that his suspension was far from the only change on a day that makes the Viper Club look like a normal day in the Egyptian government.P
 
The mention of communication with Jon Brobst is an interesting little nugget. Every single person I've spoken to in my research has said to get in touch with JonB, as he's known in the Viper circle. Maurice and Jon were both founding members and presidents of the Viper Club, and Jon owns the Viper Parts Rack. He used to sponsor the club before he was given a lifetime ban from the club a few years back, but still participated at times on a local level.P
 
I contacted Jon about the conversation with Ralph and why it would lead to Maurice getting suspended. He said "The 'facilitated a meeting' is an outright lie. In fact, Liang asked that I 'remember that this is a holiday party, and please limit any discussions of politics' at the party, where PartsRack is a long-time sponsor."P
 
It's not like you can't invite someone to a party they sponsor or force them to sit in a corner and not talk to Ralph Gilles.P
 
I asked Maurice if this were true, and he was in 100 percent agreement with JonB:P
 

Jon is correct. Jon just came to our holiday party, as dud [SIC] Ralph and 7 other SRT execs. There was no meeting, it was purely a social event. This is just one of numerous fabricated accusations. When he was originally suspended, we (region presidents) were told that it was our own decision if we wished to continue doing business with him. Partsrack advertises in our region magazine and sponsored the centerpieces for the holiday party, so when he asked if he could come to the party, I didn't see any reason to say no. He's always been a supporter of our (local) club.P
 
Maurice also sent us the below letter, and it shows the level of changes that have occurred in the Viper Club in just the last few hours:P
 

Dear fellow VCA Region Presidents,
 
As your national secretary, I wish to communicate some actions that have just occurred in the last couple of hours. You may wish to pass this along to your members as well.
 
As we had announced, the Board of Directors had reached an agreement with Lee Stubberfield to resign as president, and give us his letter of resignation by the end of last week. He asked for some additional time to write the letter over the weekend, which we agreed to. However, Mr. Stubberfield has chosen to not honor the agreement and instead, has taken some aggressive actions.
 
This morning, Mr. Stubberfield has sent out the following announcements:
 Suspended SW Zone Director Jim Johnson as a member of VCA for "disruptive conduct" (for leaking the Chrysler letter, though no proof has been shown that he did)P
Assigned Ron Kooser as replacement SW Zone DirectorP
Suspended our national VP, Randall Arnold as a member of VCA, for disruptive conduct (for attempting to "seize power")P
Appointed national Treasurer, Dan Everts, as replacement Vice PresidentP
Assigned presidential powers to Dan Everts (although it appears Mr. Stubberfield has not stepped down from office)P
Suspended national Secretary, (Maurice Liang) as a member of VCA for "unauthorized and disruptive conduct".P
 
There may be more announcements coming, but since I have been suspended, I will not be able to communicate them to you.
 
I regret that our once proud club has deteriorated to this level. I fail to see how the above actions will help us restore trust from you and our members in the national office, or with Chrysler/SRT. I can tell you that the Board of Directors was united and working together the past couple of weeks with those goals in mind.
 
Whether you support or disagree with these actions, it's time to take action and express your views to the club's new leadership. It IS supposed to be YOUR club.
 
Maurice Liang
Founding President
Viper Club of AmericaP
 
Furthermore, regional presidents are now resigning left and right as well as zone directors. A letter forwarded to us indicates that the Houston region of the VCA is voting on whether to secede from the national club. Maybe it's the first step before all of Texas secedes? We've also heard that the Motor City, NorCal, Illinois (In this strongly worded letter), and Oregon chapters have already seceded from the club. This is a grade A shit show now. But why? This is a car club.P
 
Aren't car clubs for fun? Aren't they supposed to foster enthusiasm for the brand and not make members feel like an enemy of their own club? (Requests for comment from Mr. Stubberfield have not been returned) 1P






 







Members have described the Viper Club, in private conversations, as less of a club and more of a dictatorship to benefit a select few. We've already seen that Chrysler was looking to distance itself from the Viper Club with its strongly worded letter to Mr. Stubberfield, and these new developments within the organization cannot be helping.P
 
As far as we can tell, Lee Stubberfield is still the president and the business relationship with former president Chris Marshall's Viper Parts of America continues. But with this level of drama behind the scenes, how much longer will the club be around in its current form?2P
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Viper Nation - ezine
« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2013, 09:03:06 AM »

#4


Travis Okulski
 SRT Viper


 9/10/13 8:26pm


 12,546g

113L





 
Viper Club President Really Resigns For Real This Time, Really
 




Last night, Viper Club President Lee Stubberfield reneged on his promise to resign and instead suspended a number of directors. The power trip didn't last long. Stubberfield has now resigned for real, and he lays part of the blame on "bloggers.'P
Related
 




Viper Club Of America President Resigns Amidst War With Chrysler

The Viper Club of America has been in a bit of a rough spot for the last few weeks. First, we heard that Chrysler was looking to distance itself from … Read…




Viper Club President Decides Not To Resign, Suspends Everyone Instead

The last few weeks have seen the inner workings of the Viper Club rise to the surface and it isn't pretty. Just last week, the President agreed… Read…
 Related
 




Why Chrysler Is At War With The World's Largest Viper Club

Late last week, a letter appeared online from Chrysler to the Viper Club of America. In it, Chrysler basically said they're tired of the… Read…
 
His resignation comes after a number of last minute actions yesterday that saw founding president Maurice Liang suspended from the embattled club along with a few other directors. After those suspensions and appointments, it appears Stubberfield is now ready to leave.P
 

From: Lee Stubberfield
Sent: Tuesday, September 10, 2013 3:35 PM
To: Lee Stubberfield
Subject: Resignation

To the Board:

I write to you today to report I am resigning as your President effective immediately. I reflect on this with a with a mixture of great pride in the state of our club, and sorrow that we are all embroiled in controversy.

We have a sound financial condition again with a sold out raffle car that provided a quarter of a million dollars. A magazine that that has won countless awards, and a membership service level that we all agree is 5 star, and a parts business that will provide supporting revenue for the club.

Yet today we face countless allegations of various vices in the automotive press. It is said we are at war with Chrysler or that Chrysler is at war with us. It's alleged that somehow having a for profit business owned by a non profit car club is somehow a bad thing. And the leaders of our membership company and our for profit are somehow doing something shady. It's alleged our tax returns are wrong.

None of this is true, but this level of journalism, which really is not journalism but blogging has created this picture, with comments from a very few who have issue with the club. As just one example: It is alleged our tax return is wrong because we do not report any chapters. We don't have chapters. All our regions are incorporated in their own states as separate entities and report their own tax returns.

We do have some possible restructuring to do to qualify for the membership money Chrysler would provide to the club for new members who buy the Gen V. This is the issue Chrysler was addressing in their recent letter to our directors. They were not dismissing us, they were telling us to change one thing in our structure to qualify for this program. I might add that we have not received any funds in this way for many years.

Yesterday I had to make some of the most difficult decisions of my life. I removed three Directors and replaced them with more neutral ones. The removals are from both sides of the aisle so to speak. I know these actions will be questioned and criticized. Wait for the facts and the truth to come out. I pledge to you that my only motivation in making these decisions was to leave the Viper Club leadership in the best possible hands to rebuild the leadership in peace.

I'm taking the same action and removing myself so others who are less polarizing can move ahead while protecting the club's assets. And let me make one point clear, I never said I would resign on Friday. I had decided to resign late Monday and had communicated that to the board. That slipped one day to today on the advice of club counsel so there would be no confusion with the dates executive action was taken.

Trust your new leaders. I have worked with this Board for five years, four as your Treasurer during the transition from a Dodge supported club to a financially independent one. Give them some time.

Keep on believing Viper faithful, we will weather this storm as we have others.
 
LeeP
 
What is said in the letter stands in direct contrast to everything we have heard from literally dozens of members of the VCA. To date, Mr. Stubberfield has not responded to any of our requests to comment.P
 
That means a new board of directors will be taking over the Viper Club, one appointed by Mr. Stubberfield that he finds "less controversial." But "less controversial" to him might mean "more controversial" to the rest of the Viper Club membership. Once again, we'll have to wait and see if the changes will appease the Viper Club membership and Chrysler. Especially Chrysler.1P
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Viper Nation - ezine
« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2013, 09:05:25 AM »

#5


The SRT Viper Is A Very Quick Purse
 




Ever sit down in a giant leather handbag? No? Well, then you should find a new SRT Viper. It's exactly like riding around in a giant purse, only this one isn't covered in sunscreen and 944 offal and seems a bit more organized than my Kate Spade Bottomless Pit.P
 
SRT wanted me to experience the new Viper so badly that they sent me on one of their "Vitesse" laps during ALMS weekend. This was a nice, relaxing, helmets-off afternoon drive around Circuit of the Americas done by a professional driver who was held up by a Panamera with some lights on it.P
 













1





 






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Either way, the couple times that V10 hit wide open throttle were magical. V10s are magical. You know who doesn't like V10s? People who suck, that's who. Yeah, that's right. Terrorists, bullies and sadists who enjoy kicking adorable puppies are the only folks I can think of who don't believe that V10s are made of grumbly happiness.3P






 







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The racecar sounded even better. Mmmhmm.P
 
That being said, I expected the engine to sound like God ate lunch at Freebirds and — if we hadn't been held up by the Hunchback of Porsche Dame — pin me to the back of the seat when the gas pedal dropped. It's a Viper. That's what they do. 4P






 




















5





 






6SExpand
 
The real surprise, though? The interior is genuinely nice. Everything is coated in leather. I mean everything. I'm surprised that they didn't find a way to make the touchscreen for the entertainment/navigation unit out of soft, supple dead cow, too.P
 
For once, the Chrysler Group's halo car looks and feels like a halo car on the inside. Maybe the Italian influence hasn't been such a bad thing. So don't blame the interior for the sales slump.P
 
SExpand
 
Look, ma! The Nürburgring. Also, some fancy quilting like you'd expect to see on a Lambo—not so much on a former Dodge product.P
 
With the new Viper apparently comes a new Viper club as well. I ran into Maurice Liang, who not only assured me that something was in the works to replace the embattled Viper Club of America, but who also had the best shirt at ALMS:P
Related
 




Viper Club President Decides Not To Resign, Suspends Everyone Instead

The last few weeks have seen the inner workings of the Viper Club rise to the surface and it isn't pretty. Just last week, the President agreed… Read…




Why Chrysler Is At War With The World's Largest Viper Club

Late last week, a letter appeared online from Chrysler to the Viper Club of America. In it, Chrysler basically said they're tired of the… Read…
 
SExpand
 
Lo and behold, that "something" appears to be the Viper Owners Association, which opened up on Sept. 26. Thus, if you're privileged enough to own delicious V10'd goodness, there's a club for you again—sans the drama, we hope.P
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« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2013, 09:58:16 AM »

Just another old article sent to me to post.

http://www.streetlegaltv.com/news/once-bitten-no-more-money-chrysler-versus-viper-club-of-america/
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