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V14 2011 INDEX       E-SYLUM ARCHIVE

The E-Sylum: Volume 14, Number 10, March 6, 2011, Article 11

FORMER ANA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR PAYS ORGANIZATION

I almost hate to waste space on the topic at this point, but thought I'd follow up since we covered the situation as it unfolded. I'm glad to know this chapter in the history of the American Numismatic Association is now closed. Here's an item from the March 3rd Colorado Gazette. -Editor

A tangled, nearly six-year legal saga has ended with an undisclosed financial settlement between the American Numismatic Association and Christopher Cipoletti, the ANA's former executive director and general counsel, the organization announced Thursday.

The agreement brings to an end multiple lawsuits that began in July 2005, when Cipoletti sued the Colorado Springs-based nonprofit, former employees and a former vendor on various complaints, including civil theft of business property. That lawsuit was resolved "to the mutual satisfaction of all parties," according to the ANA, in July 2008.

The ANA's current executive director Larry Shepherd had said the lawsuit cost the organization for coin collectors $1.3 million in expenses.

The association's board fired Cipoletti on Oct. 15, 2007, claiming his conduct constituted a breach of fiduciary duty. The ANA then sued Cipoletti for malpractice and other professional misconduct, including negligence, breach of fiduciary duty and civil theft; it was that lawsuit that was just settled.

The out-of-court settlement, which involves Cipoletti paying a confidential sum of money to the ANA, comes on the heels of a settlement reached in November in another lawsuit this one involving the ANA and its former law firm and lawyer from Denver. That case was filed against the ANA for nonpayment of more than $400,000 in legal fees accumulated in defending against the original lawsuit Cipoletti filed.

Cipoletti also filed an arbitration case seeking nearly $214,000 in accrued wages and benefits after he was terminated. A 15-page report the arbitrator issued in May 2009 ruled in favor of the ANA, saying Cipoletti not only was not entitled to further compensation but also intentionally stole more than $9,000 from the organization during his employment and breached his fiduciary obligations and duties of loyalty.

A 4th Judicial District judge then ordered Cipoletti to pay $53,550.26 to the ANA to cover the expenses of the arbitration. Cipoletti appealed to the Colorado Court of Appeals.

Although the ANA declined to disclose the terms of the settlement, Shepherd said the settlement "resolves all pending lawsuits," indicating that Cipoletti's court-ordered payment to the ANA for the arbitration expenses stands.

"It's a great relief to know that we can now dedicate all of our resources and energies to our core mission: numismatics," Shepherd said.

To read the complete article, see: Ex-numismatics executive agrees to pay former employer (www.gazette.com/articles/former-113904-cipoletti-settlement.html)

For those who can't get enough late-night reading, here's a link to the full text of the March 3 Colorado Court of Appeals ruling. -Editor

Background

From June 2002 through October 2007, Mr. Cipoletti was employed as ANA's executive director and general counsel. After ANA terminated Mr. Cipoletti, he filed a demand for arbitration as required by his June 2002 employment agreement, claiming that ANA had breached the employment agreement. ANA denied any breach.

The dispute at arbitration was whether ANA had cause to terminate Mr. Cipoletti. After Mr. Cipoletti presented his case to the arbitrator, ANA moved to dismiss based on after-acquired evidence that Mr. Cipoletti had committed wrongdoing while employed by ANA. In that motion, ANA also requested attorney fees and arbitration costs pursuant to a purported fee- and cost-shifting provision in the employment agreement.

To read the complete ruling, see: AMERICAN NUMISMATIC ASSOCIATION v. CIPOLETTI (www.leagle.com/xmlResult.aspx?xmldoc=In%20COCO%2020110303056.xml
&docbase=CSLWAR3-2007-CURR)

Wayne Homren, Editor

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