By the time you’re done reading this, you will be calling for the immediate resignation of every IRCHA Board Member and probably even wanting to sue them for your membership dues (that, according to the valid bylaws as determined by a judge, you should have never had to pay) and because IRCHA was dissolved by the State of Indiana since 2013 there was no organization to be a member of.
What I am about to uncover, in detail, in the eyes of a reasonable person could be considered corruption, fraud, and deception to a level that explains some of the disillusion and decline in the hobby, animosity among folks, and why things just, “don’t seem the same”, at IRCHA.
Hang in there, we’ve got a lot to unpack.
The bottom line…
For the benefit of those, who like me, want the bottom line first.
On or around August 7, 2020, a lawsuit was filed by International Radio Control Helicopter Association, Inc, and IRCHA, Inc. against Charles Anderson (former IRCHA President). The lawsuit alleges that the Board became suspicious of Charles Anderson’s role in potential financial misdeeds. In the lawsuit, it is claimed that the Board conducted a formal investigation to discover the nature and extent of any misuse of company funds which later we learn from testimony from depositions that apparently nobody knew anything about this investigation. Further, it is alleged that Mr. Anderson opened a separate bank account in the organization’s name for his own personal use.
Update (8/27/2022): The lawsuit alleges that Charles stole a sum of $70,000 during the years he served on the Board.
Facts & Allegations
Here is a list of the allegations I uncovered, in numbered points so it is easier to follow. Please understand that I am using precise language here and some are allegations, some are facts. There could be potential alleged crimes (such as embezzlement) that might need to be referred to and investigated by law enforcement and remember that people are innocent until proven guilty. That said, there are the bullet points below that require YOUR action. Read carefully…
I’m working here in a journalistic capacity acting with what in law is known as reporter’s privilege reporting to the community what I found in a journalistic investigation. As an IRCHA member I’m also acting under the protection of United States Code’s Section 3730(h) which protects a whistleblower from retaliation for “lawful acts done … in furtherance of an action under this section.” 31U.S.C. § 3730(h)(1)
In case the names do not seem familiar, here are some of the people involved that you’ll see below.
- Tim DiPeri – current Vice President
- Dan Lucente – current President
- Craig Bradley – current Treasurer
- Wes Minear – current Secretary
- Robert Montee – current Member at Large
- Charles Anderson – former President
- Dave Millner – former President
- Shannon Lloyd – former Secretary
- Matt Jost – IRCHA volunteer
- As said in the foreword, we seem to have been fraudulently charged membership fees by IRCHA from 2019 and on because according to the valid bylaws as determined by a judge’s public court filing, you should have never had to pay a membership fee and also from 2013 to 2018 because IRCHA was dissolved by the State of Indiana since 2013 therefore there was no organization to be a member of that required payment of a membership.
- It has been stated by Stephanie Draper of P&P Golf Cars that Ryan Zanow was not the only reason we do not have Golf Carts but, instead, the lack of support from the IRCHA Board, failure to provide adequate security at the event (Police presence has been absent since 2019), and the incident last year where she felt threatened and intimidated. The IRCHA Board Members, in particular Dan Lucente (known to her as “Danny”), sided with Ryan Zanow and showed no concern or care for her personal safety. The culmination of all prior incidents, including expensive damage to their cars and, ultimately, the lack of concern by the IRCHA Board for her safety led to their decision to no longer support the event.(Link to Audio) (Link to her email to AMA)
- It is alleged that money (to the tune of $70,000) has disappeared from IRCHA’s bank accounts by IRCHA’s previous president.
- It is alleged that cash was stolen from the IRCHA entry & membership fees at multiple Jamborees (Link to audio clip)
- It is alleged that members of the Board stole money to pay for down payments on a house (Link to audio clip)
- It is alleged that Dan Lucente (current President)’s wife received cash payments from IRCHA while working the registration trailer (Link to audio clip)
- According to Charles Anderson (IRCHA’s former President), leftover nitro fuel from the NATS that was supposed to be raffled to IRCHA pilots was stolen by IRCHA Board Members Craig Bradley (current Treasurer), Dave Millner (former president), and Shannon Lloyd(former Secretary). Charles Anderson (IRCHA’s former President) alleges that he declined the fuel.
- According to Charles Anderson (former President), it is alleged that in 2014 IRCHA Board Members Dan Lucente (current President), Craig Bradley (current Treasurer), Dave Millner, and Shannon Lloyd stole a $20,000 shipment from Mikado and Scorpion and the current Board members knew about it and chose to hide this fact. (Link to Audio)
- Craig Bradley (current Treasurer) admitted, under oath in a deposition, to have received gifts from Mikado helicopters in the same timeframe as the alleged theft. According to Charles Anderson (former President), Mikado said that this was not an accurate statement, and Charles Anderson (former President) was going to call Mikado to testify to this in a trial that, along with Scorpion who also was party to the loss, according to the final witness list submitted by Charles Anderson (former President) (Link to audio clip)
- According to Charles Anderson (former President), Board Members who were involved in the theft agreed to open a bank account to silence Charles Anderson (former President) regarding the theft and that he was allowed to use those funds.
- It is alleged that Board Members used IRCHA money to buy alcohol at stores and running large tabs at bars. According to the depositions, none of the Board Members questioned identified this as unacceptable behavior.(Link to audio)
- It is alleged that Board Members used IRCHA money to cover travel & lodging expenses for themselves, according to depositions and Jamboree financials provided by IRCHA. None of the Board Members questioned found this as unacceptable behavior (Link to audio)
- It is alleged that Board Members used IRCHA money to cover lodging while participating in personal events, such as the NATS, according to depositions and Jamboree financials provided by IRCHA. None of the Board Members questioned found this as unacceptable behavior (Link to audio)
- It is alleged by Charles Anderson (former President) and seems apparent from deposition that Tim DiPeri (current Vice President) used his influence to give his sponsors and business interests favorable booth spots and flight demo times. Tim DiPeri alleges in deposition to have removed himself from these decisions but when questioned about an incident involving Align, SAB, Futaba, and Mikado in 2019, this appears to be contradicted
- It is alleged by Charles Anderson (former President) that, as per bank/PayPal records provided by Charles Anderson (former President), Tim DiPeri (current Vice President) used his influence as an officer of IRCHA to give significant favorable booth pricing to his sponsors and business interests without the knowledge of his competitors.
- It is a fact, by way of a contract that was produced, that Tim DiPeri and/or his company, in addition to standard sponsorships with Futaba and SAB, also held a lucrative contract with Kontronik, which is against the bylaws
- Based on the contract, it is a fact that Tim DiPeri (current Vice President)’s and/or his company Kontronik contract gave him a direct financial gain when Kontronik (through dealers) sold product in the USA, which is against the IRCHA bylaws. (Link to audio) (Link to audio)
- It is alleged by Charles Anderson (former President) that the influence wielded by Tim DiPeri (current Vice President) as a Board Member benefited him personally through his contracts, which is why the bylaws prohibit Board Members and Officers from having financial and contractual relationship with the industry.
- It is a fact that Wes Minear (current Secretary) did not take any records of any meetings of the Board (the job of the Secretary), as evidenced by his inability to produce any records and by his own admission under oath during deposition, which is derelict of duty. (Link to audio) (Link to audio)
- During depositions, Wes Minear (current Secretary) repeatedly declined to respond to questions, which is required by law. (Link to audio)
- It is a fact that, during his tenure as interim secretary, Dan Lucente (current President) did not take any records of any meetings of the Board (the job of the Secretary and/or interim, as he stated multiple times in his testimony was his role), as evidenced by his inability to produce any records and by his own admission under oath during deposition, which is derelict of duty.
- It is a fact that the Board has never prepared any financial statements as per their own admissions under oath, which is derelict of duty for the Treasurer.
- It is alleged by Charles Anderson (former President) that IRCHA has never filed tax returns
- It is a fact that International Radio Control Helicopters, Inc. (IRCHA) lost its non-profit status in 2013 as evidenced by a search for documents in the Indiana Department of State website, which results in locating the record for the organization and observing it as “Administratively Dissolved” with an expiration date of “Perpetual”, which means it was dissolved forever.
- It is a fact that IRCHA purchased equipment such as generators but did not keep any records or inventory of the assets (IRCHA doesn’t know what it owns), as evidenced by their inability to, under oath in deposition, produce basic details (such as purchase date, make, model, serial number, and place of purchase) about each of the items they allege Charles Anderson (former President) stole. (Link to audio)
- It is alleged by Charles Anderson (former President) that deposit receipts made by Craig Bradley (current Treasurer) did not match the cash amounts taken to the bank, according to Charles Anderson (former President) (link to audio)
- It is alleged by Charles Anderson (former President) that raffles were rigged with full knowledge of all the Board members, including current ones after 2019, according to Charles Anderson (former President) and based on text messages between himself and Matt Jost, that Charles Anderson (former President) alleges to have in possession. Matt Jost was one of the alleged beneficiaries of the raffle fraud, along with others. (Link to audio)
- It is alleged by Charles Anderson (former President) that, according to Charles Anderson (former President), voting results during competitions were discarded and rigged, as per his own statements to me awarding the prizes not to the true winners but to winners that were in the interest of the Board’s as per their sponsorships.
- It is alleged by Charles Anderson (former President) that, according to Charles Anderson (former President), Tim DiPeri (current Vice President) has taken raffle items from the raffle table and given them to people he liked, as per his own statements to me.
- It is alleged by Charles Anderson (former President) that IRCHA money was used to support the Urbana Air Museum’s Air Show by Dave Milner (former President), as per questions during the depositions of multiple Board Members. (Link to audio)
- It is alleged by Charles Anderson (former President) that IRCHA money was used to purchase flying wings for personal use by Board Members Tim DiPeri (current Vice President) and Dan Lucente (current President), as per questions during the depositions of multiple Board Members. (Link to audio)
- It is alleged by Charles Anderson (former President) that none of the Board Members have ever been elected, except for Robert Montee (current Member at Large). Under testimony, each of the unelected Board Members gave testimony that they could not recall and/or provide any evidence of an election being held for their position. Several claimed that their appointment was due to lack of nominations, however, according to the deposed, no documentation was able to be produced to support this claim and even if they did as per the bylaws they are only elected for a period of 2 years so even Robert Montee is not an IRCHA Board Member. (Link to audio) (Link to audio) (Link to audio)
- It is a fact that, during this lawsuit, Charles Anderson (former President) submitted the 2019 IRCHA, Inc. bylaws to the court but IRCHA objected to their validity. The judge overruled the objection and established that the only valid bylaws are IRCHA Inc.’s 2019 bylaws that Charles submitted. This means that those are the bylaws by which the Board and IRCHA’s conduct should, must, and will be evaluated. This is important as it provides the basis for which a claim that the Board Members are ineligible to serve, and that the organization is operating in violation of its own bylaws. It is my personal opinion that this is the reason each of the Board members would not acknowledge the organization they serve and the objection for use of the bylaws as submitted by Charles Anderson (former President) (the ONLY bylaws produced during the process). (Link to audio)
- It is alleged by Charles Anderson that, his removal as President was motivated by the other Board Members’ lack of desire to present the new organization formed in 2019, including the bylaws that would make several Board Members ineligible to serve due to their sponsorship agreements and other contracts.
- It is a fact that multiple IRCHA Board Members are sponsored pilots, violating the bylaws and making them ineligible to serve on the board.
- It is a fact that the judge for this case ruled that Tim DiPeri’s contracts did not meet the legal requirement to be kept under seal and are now a part of the public record since they were produced during discovery.
- According to his testimony Craig Bradley (current Treasurer), the treasurer, did not know how the financial damage claim and amount was determined against Charles Anderson (former President)
- According to his testimony Dan Lucente (current President), the President, does not know how the financial damage claim and amount was determined against Charles Anderson (former President)
- According to his testimony Wes Minear (current Secretary), the Secretary, does not know how the financial damage claim and amount was determined against Charles Anderson (former President)
- According to his testimony Tim DiPeri, the Vice President, does not know how the financial damage claim and amount was determined against Charles Anderson (former President)
- According to testimony from Tim DiPeri (current Vice President) he is the Vice-President of development even though there is no such thing in the bylaws of IRCHA. (Link to audio) (Link to audio)
- Each of the individual Officers and Board Members referred to the others when asked about how the financial claim and amount was determined against Charles Anderson (former President)
- During testimony, Board Members acknowledged that treasurer duties were shared among members according to a document produced and signed by Dan Lucente (current President) during a period where a treasurer was not serving in the organization. No financial records appear to exist for that time frame.
- According to a financial statement for the Jamboree, it is a fact that IRCHA funds the NATS for participants in order to cover a loss for AMA, in violation of the bylaws.
- It is alleged by Charles Anderson (former President), and supported by the testimony during deposition, that the majority of Board Members were appointed by their friends on the board.
- Some of the Board Members, by their own admissions under oath, do not see anything wrong with any of what has been alleged or proven as fact by court ruling, discovery, or otherwise (Link to audio)
- The Board Members, by their own admissions under oath, could/would not correctly identify any conflict of interest, even when given a definition from the dictionary during deposition.
- The majority of Board Members, by their own admissions under oath, could/would not correctly identify and acknowledge that International Radio Control Helicopter Association, Inc. no longer exists, even when given the definition of “perpetuity” from the dictionary when referencing the State of Indiana’s status that International Radio Control Helicopter Association, Inc. was administratively dissolved in perpetuity in 2013.
- The majority of Board Members, by their own admissions under oath, could/would not correctly identify the organization they serve on
- Per the bylaws, all leftover monies at the end of the Jamboree were to be donated to AMA. The AMA has never received that money from IRCHA and was going to be called as a witness to testify during this trial.
- Under deposition, several board members attribute the inability for IRCHA to produce records to Charles Anderson (former President) either instructing them to not take records, keeping the records, or withholding the records. The lawsuit claims that Charles Anderson (former President) has refused to turn over records for the organization. It is my understanding that Board Members and Officers of an organization have a fiduciary duty and loyalty to the organization and not each other. Based on this understanding, any officer using this defense is derelict of their specific duties based on their role in the organization.
- Apparently, the Indiana Gaming Commission is investigating allegations of illegally conducted raffles. It is their ridiculous defense that they were not raffles, even when they themselves called it the “IRCHA Raffle”.
- It is a fact that on May 9, 2022, Charles Anderson presented Dan Lucente and Craig Bradley the opportunity to resign from IRCHA to avoid prosecution for the alleged theft of the Mikado shipment. It is also a fact that, as of the time of this writing, Dan Lucente and Craig Bradley have not resigned from IRCHA.
- We almost had no opportunity to find out about any of this because, days before the trial was supposed to occur, IRCHA offered Charles Anderson (former President) a settlement that would have dismissed their allegations against him in exchange for, among other things, his silence. This settlement offer was given in writing and Charles Anderson (former President) provided it to me; I have the document in my possession. Charles Anderson (former President) refused because his intention according to him, from the beginning, was to be able to testify under oath, in a court of law, giving him the opportunity to testify about all of the allegations and enter evidence into the public record. Giving false testimony in court carries serious penalties, such as a possible 2-1/2 years in jail and a $10K fine. His testimony would have also included that he was authorized by IRCHA to spend the funds he was alleged of stealing. It appears that, to avoid Charles Anderson (former President) ’s testimony, IRCHA then filed to dismiss the suit and the trial did not occur.
- Keep in mind that these allegations are not something that any one of the actors of this travesty can contest – you can listen to them saying these things, in their own voices, and you can read the court filings, which are all public record.
Same as per Charles Anderson’s opinion, as given to me, it’s also my opinion that from the beginning, the erroneously-called Board members never planned to proceed with the lawsuit. I believe this lawsuit was a means to buy the silence of Charles Anderson and seal the public records of the lawsuit by offering a settlement nobody could resist which, if accepted, would have erased all public records. I believe they were sure no one in their right mind would refuse such a nice settlement. They seem to have miscalculated that Charles Anderson had decided to come clean, make amends, become a whistleblower and let everyone know what was going on with IRCHA. As a result, by not settling with them, he forced the public records to stay public for everyone to review. This was probably their worst nightmare.
Once again, this is my personal opinion.
Why write this and why now?
Bottom line, because when I saw the extent of what was happening behind the scenes, I could not keep this to myself. Much of the information had to be pieced together and analyzed so I wanted to make my work public so others could find the sources and have an easy starting point. What I uncovered is difficult to say and tough to process. I want you to know that it involves people whom I liked, have been kind and gracious to me, and whom I considered friends.
Even as I am trying to finish this work so I can publish it, I am in the middle of my annual battle with Michael “Shaggy” Parker for a podium finish at NATS. This is Shaggy’s first time organizing the NATS and every contestant has worked hard to prepare. It is also a World’s selection year – we are competing for who will represent our country at the World’s event next year. I could not, in good conscience, interfere with people’s mindsets so I prepared this work quietly so that no one would be distracted by it. To my fellow contestants, good luck through the rest of the NATS!
I am also taking a great personal risk in releasing this information, as many of the people I have met in the hobby could be affected negatively by this. Some people will be upset with me for making this public and I understand there will be emotions. Please understand that I was not involved in any of this, I am simply reporting it. While I understand that many may be upset with me because for what they’re reading, the focus must shift to a formal investigation and, if the allegations are proven true, accountability. We need to clean this.
Community is critical to this hobby. The support of our collective community is what makes fun flies such a tremendous success and an integral part of enjoying our helicopters. Preserving this sense of community is critical for me to continue enjoying this hobby, and I suspect most of my readers will agree.
Lastly, I do not like injustice. When I see something wrong, I feel compelled to do something about it. We have all been wronged by the actions of a few. We have been paying membership dues to an organization that does not legally exist and have been unknowingly funding (through our own personal sacrifice) the enjoyment of others.
I had been alerted to what looked to be a court case and I followed what was happening using the PACER system, which is what courts use to release public records. When I saw the plaintiff (IRCHA) had dropped the suit, I found it extremely odd so I reached out to Mr. Charles Anderson to find out what was going on.
What Mr. Anderson shared with me lined up perfectly with what I had found in the filings (not surprised) and, unfortunately, shed light on years of rumors and suspicion roaming around the community. It is my personal opinion that IRCHA lacked oversight, had zero accountability, zero transparency, its directors lacked competence in operating an organization (there are plenty of indicators of this in the filings and testimony given under oath in the depositions), and was operating fraudulently and outside its bylaws.
The evidence I am presenting is a matter of public record and it includes depositions given under oath, numerous legal filings, exhibits, and I humbly submit it to you for your own evaluation and conclusions.
It has been said that we need to “Keep RC Helis Alive”. I used to think this was a dumb saying because I don’t like casting a negative light on our hobby, however, I can see now that our hobby is facing a tremendous challenge that could put a permanent stain on it. Fortunately, you and I can do something about it.
This apparent harm was done by a small minority of the participants in this hobby and they almost got away with it. But someone chose to do the right thing, despite knowing fully that they would expose their own participation in doing so.
I am releasing this now so that we can talk about it at Jamboree. I will propose a course of action that will accomplish several goals:
- Hold accountable those responsible in a visible and open manner, discouraging anyone else in the future from attempting anything like this ever again
- Restore confidence and faith in the IRCHA organization and preserve the hobby, the events, and the vendors that make it possible
I want to be clear about something. What I have found seems to indicate a pattern of some in this hobby to personally attack or retaliate against those who come against them. This pattern was very visible to me during my time as an administrator of the RC Heli Hangout on Facebook. I assure you that, anyone mentioned in what I am about to disclose (which is a matter of public record and which is based on your sworn testimony) who decides to retaliate in any way, shape, or form either directly or indirectly via agents is hereby advised that I am prepared to vigorously defend myself and any of my interests using every legal tool at my disposal.
GOVERN YOURSELVES ACCORDINGLY.
Proposed Course of Action
We are going to be together in Muncie for NATS and IRCHA so this can be discussed openly. I do not know what IRCHA Board Members will do when this information is released. I do not know how they will respond but, I do suspect they will be very upset with me.
Nevertheless, I welcome conversation from the membership about it so that we, as members, can decide how to move forward. As for the Board Members, they have no business with me but should possibly consult counsel.
Since, as per the bylaws they should have been elected, there are actually no President, Vice President, Secretary, or Treasurer. We need to elect a Board and there is no need to ask for their resignations because there is nothing to resign from. After we do that, then we should…
If you are at the Jamboree, let’s get together at the main stage on Thursday afternoon (11 August, 2022) at 3 pm. Since, as per the bylaws they should have been elected, there are actually no President, Vice President, Secretary, or Treasurer. We need to first elect a provisional Board and there is no need to ask for their resignations because there is nothing to resign from. After we do that, then we will make these things happen:
- Decide a date for new full elections, to occur no later than 90 days from the meeting.
- Resolution to take custody of all records, bank accounts, and assets of the corporation within a week. Order the immediate stop of any activity in all the accounts. We will then need to review that, within the time this was published and that meeting, they didn’t take any money from the bank accounts or do anything, or any payment of any kind nor use the IRCHA debit cards to cover any expenses.
- Designate new leadership to run the Jamboree so we can all continue to have a good time.
- Revoke IRCHA membership to IRCHA Members Tim Diperi, Dan Lucente, Craig Bradley, Robert Montee and Wes Minear pending a formal investigation.
- Permanently revoke Ryan Zanow’s IRCHA membership and ban him from all future Jamborees due to his appalling conduct as revealed in the statement from Stephanie Draper from P&P Golf Carts.
- Demand full cooperation from ex IRCHA Members Tim Diperi, Dan Lucente, Craig Bradley, Robert Montee and Wes Minear to execute an immediate and orderly transition, including full disclosure of accounts and assets.
- Demand that enough of the ex IRCHA member Tim Diperi, Dan Lucente, Craig Bradley, Robert Montee, and Wes Minear remain in Muncie on Monday so that the bank located at Muncie be transferred to the new Treasurer.
- Order an Immediate inventory and assessment of finances, assets (digital and physical), bylaws, etc.
- Review the bylaws to propose adjustments and present them to the membership including:
- Provisions for transparency and accountability including money paid for booths so even sponsored people can serve at IRCHA without the risk of having favoritism or special deals. Sponsored pilots should be able to serve because they bring value and energy to the hobby. However, there should be written processes in place so that favoritism and bias towards their sponsors cannot affect the event and/or organization and since everything from bank deposits from vendors, to checks or debit cards are going to be public there is no need to worry about favoritism.
- Provisions for financial governance as required by law.
- Resolution to order a Forensic Accountant to discover the extent of the financial impact to the organization
- Resolution for the accountant to begin work to bring IRS filings up to date including:
- Non-profit re-application
- Issue 1099s for all monies taken from the organization so they are reported and they pay taxes on that money.
- Resolution to present to the membership of findings including:
- Digital assets
- Plan to move forward
- Organizational Vision/Mission/Core Values
- Proposal to permanently ban some or all former Board Members from IRCHA Membership
- Proposal to recommend AMA permanently ban some former erroneously-called Board Members from AMA Membership.
- Proposal for a class-action lawsuit against IRCHA and its current and past erroneously-called Board members to recover our membership fees since 2019. The erroneously-called Board and erroneously-called Officers operated the organization in violation of the bylaws since its legal formation in 2019 and, prior to that from 2013-2019, they operated an organization unlawfully according to the laws of the State of Indiana so the membership fees we paid were charged illegally for an organization that didn’t legally exist.
- Contact or, if present, ask Futaba, Kontronik and SAB to discover their involvement in the special pricing and if they were knowingly participating in the fraud against their competitors, and ask them if they are going to continue to be involved with these actors as representatives for their companies, which would put a stain on their brands.
- Proposal to ask the companies that benefited from this to pay the full cost of the booth so IRCHA recovers those funds that should have been available to the organization.
- Transparently calculate the true cost of the booths so their price can be lowered without the need to fund all this nonsense and allowing for current and future additional vendors to participate by making it more affordable.
Whether all of this is true or not, we cannot run the risk of it being true until we have a full investigation done and the responsibilities are clarified. We have to do the above steps and, if it turns out that the allegations are not true, then we can take appropriate action. But, until we have an investigation done, it is absolutely foolish not to. Independent of any of this, the fact remains that we do not have Board members, in accordance with the bylaws, so we must elect them immediately.
Updates on 8/27/2022: Added ” by Charles Anderson (former President)” in several places where allegations are made. The edits were made to improve the precision of the article.