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By Venu Palaparthi
At the start of the year, USACA published a full schedule of tournaments, which were to be played on either coast. Instead, it spent the year fending off plaintiffs from coast to coast.
According to USACA's schedule, the USACA T20 National tournament was to be held in Florida between January 20-22, 2012, the U-17 tournament was planned for February 17-20, the Women's National Tournament was to be held in California between March 9th and 11th, the U-15 National Tournament was set for July 13-16 and the U-19 National Tournament was to be played August 3-6.
As the year progressed, one after the other, the tournaments were cancelled. No explanations were offered. The only domestic 'tournament' held this year was the East-West 'shuffle' held over the November 10th weekend. The 'tournament' comprised a 50-over match and a trial T20.
Where's the money going?
I would vociferously disagree with the argument that USACA is not promoting cricket among American-born. In my estimate, more US-born lawyers have learned about the game in 2012 than ever before. In fact, USA probably has enough lawyers engaged with cricket that USACA should consider sending a team to the next Lawyers World Cup.
[Picture Right - Logo for the Lawyers Cricket World Cup which was held in Barbados in 2011.]
In its independent audit report, USACA's auditor PKF O'Connor Davies noted that USACA "has suffered recurring excesses of expenditures over revenues and has a deficiency in net assets of $1,899,368 as of December 31, 2011."
"These factors raise substantial doubt about the Organization's ability to continue as a going concern," the report stated.
According to the auditor, USACA's ability to pay down its debt depends on ongoing ICC funding and the licensing funds to be received from the commercial entity Cricket Holdings America LLC. That should come as no surprise, since USACA has shunned most other sources of revenue including sponsorships. On the membership revenue side, it has worked hard to lose members. For an organization that is under duress, USACA has handed wasteful pork barrel grants to the tune of $2000 per 'compliant' league.
According to the financial statements that are now in the public domain, USACA had received approximately $1.87 million by December 2011 as loans from Insite and Top Bloom. On the expense side, USACA spent $1.5 million on program services and $1.3 million in supporting services during 2010 and 2011.
USACA did not break out legal expenses in 2010 and 2011 but USACA's former Executive Secretary noted that 38% of USACA's income was paid in legal fees according to its cash flow statement as of June 2012. Also, going by the lack of domestic tournaments during 2012, it is safe to assume that program expenses related specifically to domestic programs most likely trended downwards.
Cricket in the courtrooms - 2012 in review
The year started with a drawn out and controversial compliance process managed by an Austin-based law firm. "While we strive to keep our clients out of the courtroom, litigation often becomes an absolute necessity," the law firm's website says. As if on cue, Ram Varadarajan and CCA filed a lawsuit in San Jose ahead of the election in which the plaintiffs requested a preliminary injunction and demanded that all member leagues be allowed to vote.
On April 13, 2012, the judge denied the plaintiffs' request and ruled that Varadarajan could not claim a legally protected interest. It was not the court's determination that USACA was without fault. The grounds for denial were procedural in nature as Varadarajan was not technically a 'member league in good standing' and therefore had no rights under the USACA constitution. According to one account, the court did not intervene because New York law prohibited review of an election until after the elections have occurred.
Meanwhile, the lawsuit by NACL, which dates back to December 2010 and alleges that USACA indulged in fraud, theft of trade secrets, breach of contract, etc., was back in the news.
On March 19, 2012, the law firm for North American Cricket League claimed a pre-trial victory against USACA in the New York State Supreme Court. The law firm had previously claimed that USACA had failed to produce any of the documents in its lawsuit. USACA argued that NACL should pay for the cost of the production but in March 2012, the court ordered USACA to produce all documents at its own expense.
Pic Right: Only Old Father Time knows when this will all end.
Things did not calm down after the election. An appeal was filed on May 4 in the Varadarajan vs. USACA lawsuit. A case management conference was scheduled for July 25 but lawyers on both sides worked out a settlement agreement on July 6, 2012 and the Varadarajan lawsuit was withdrawn. Significantly, USACA and the plaintiffs agreed to bear their own costs and fees, which probably set USACA back by a few dollars.
As summer turned to fall, the newly elected, and by now former Executive Secretary, Kenwyn Williams was the latest to take on USACA. Documents posted on Williams' website indicate that Williams filed an IRS complaint and a complaint before the New York Attorney General. On its part, USACA, through its law firm, filed an order to show cause alleging that Williams had compromised the confidentiality order in NACL vs USACA. On November 13, Williams tweeted that the 'judge threw out the [order to show cause]'.
On November 9th, Williams filed a lawsuit alleging that USACA, its directors and other defendants had made malicious, scandalous and defamatory public statements, conspired to deny him opportunities and caused injuries affecting his sterling reputation and good name.
And thus, as 2012 draws to an end, the saga continues. Will we see any progress in 2013? Only Old Father Time knows.