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PLDA rocked as another president resigns

7 December 2010 17.30 GMT

(Germany) - Georgios Paissidis resigns before he gets pushed accusing PLDA Council of “internal censorship” regarding VIA-Verlag's involvement in the organisation's structure. A strong response ensues from PLDA.

The PLDA has been plunged into crisis as its latest president, Georgios Paissidis, resigned after only a few months in the job citing “a continuous lack of information about contractual and financial issues”. In his resignation letter, obtained by mondo*arc, Paissidis accuses the PLDA Council of “internal censorship” regarding “the contentious problem of the PLDA-VIA partnership” and the administrative and financial issues that this raised.

In response, Wim Aalders, the newly elected Director General, released a statement accusing Paissidis of having a “modus operandi since prematurely becoming President of our association (that) was not in line with procedures developed and set up to democratically run a professional association”.

Aalders went on to say that… “given the recently published interview Georgios Paissidis gave to Mondo magazine as President of PLDA, the contents of which clearly indicate that he has his own interpretation of the goals, structure and Statutes of the association; and given that the recent questionnaire issued by him to the membership in September was not discussed or agreed with the Council – we as a Council felt we could not condone Dr. Paissidis’s standpoints or initiatives”.

The referred to questionnaire, independently sent to PLDA members by Paissidis, regarding the structure of the organisation followed an interview with mondo*arc, published in the October/November issue, in which Paissidis questioned the transparency of the PLDA and expressed his hope to change the Statutes.

Aalders claims that the PLDA Council “collectively discussed putting a Vote of No Confidence in Dr. Georgios Paissidis as President of PLDA to the voting membership” because “the working relationship between Georgios Paissidis and the PLDA Directors on the Council was entirely unsatisfactory, many of his actions have put the association at risk and there were no signs of improvement which might restore the understanding and communications required among all Council members (and industry partners) to represent the entire membership. Dr. Paissidis’s resignation no longer makes this necessary”.

This statement and Paissidis’ resignation letter initiated a flurry of correspondence to PLDA members by email that was forwarded to mondo*arc by those concerned with the situation (but not by Dr. Paissidis). The first response in defense of Paissidis was by Gad Giladi, a former PLDA president and recent critic of the PLDA Council. In it, Giladi comments that Paissidis’ letter of resignation paints “a grim picture (that) emerges of a Council, intent on conducting the association’s matters in its own way, hidden from the membership” and urges members to question the Council’s actions, its attacks on Dr. Paissidis, and its decision to nominate Heinrich Kramer to fulfill the president’s duties – a decision Galadi describes as “illegal”.

Giladi accuses the Council of “repeatedly violating the Statutes and acting as a dictatorial Junta bent on bulldozing its own way despite adverse facts and legalities”.

In a remarkable turn of events, Joachim Ritter, founding member of PLDA and founder of VIA-Verlag, the PLDA partner in question, then emailed PLDA members threatening legal action against anyone making accusations against his family and company of interfering with PLDA business. In a strongly worded letter, Ritter remarks as indescribable “the damage done to the association and its reputation” by accusations from Giladi and others.

He goes on to say… “in the last 22 months the PLDA Council have had to fight a permanent rain of blame and insults, laced with criticism and vicious insinuations and spend their time and what money was available on time-consuming and labour-intensive actions to deal with the constant complaints and questioning of Council activities and plans, and accusations against individual Council members”.

He states that the reason VIA-Verlag has become further financially involved in the PLDA is due to the economic crisis of 2009 and outstanding membership fees amounting to €70,000. He suggests that non-payers should be listed on the PLDA website and that the list “would contain some surprises”.

Ritter ends the email by stating that… “Gad Giladi’s accusations towards the Council are expressed in what can only be described as war vocabulary. Such references to Council work and comparisons to military juntas and dictatorships are inacceptable (sic).

Public debate is not the way to solve this. It can only aggravate the situation and promote negative debate. Nagging negative criticism has not done PLDA any good in the last 22 months. This must stop.”

Finally, a letter by incoming president Heinrich Kramer, addresses both Gad Giladi’s and Georgios Paissidis’ complaints, as well as reassuring members that he will “steer the association through this tumultuous time until we have a new President and President Elect”. He ends by appealing to members and sponsors to pay outstanding fees totalling €85,000 in order for the PLDA to have a cash flow before the next AGM in April 2011.



Georgios Paissidis' letter of resignation has provoked a storm of protest from both sides of the argument

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