and BEFORE the letter from Chrysler was sent out Lee Stubberfield sent this letter out to the BOD after their (Lee, Dan, Chris, Marv) meeting with Chrysler making it sound like relationship with Chrysler was fine.
Dear Fellow Viper Club Board of Directors,
This is an email that we are very happy to write and when it comes to Chrysler, is long overdue. It is very exciting news that should set a lot of minds at ease. Last week Pietro Gorlier, CEO of Mopar, hosted a meeting with the VCA in Auburn Hills. Also included were Ralph Gilles, CEO of SRT, Patrick Dougherty, Vice President of Mopar Parts Sales and Field Operations, and Donna Berry, one of Chrysler's senior trademark attorneys.
As was discussed at our January board meeting and the hottest topic ever since, there was a noticeable "gap" developing between the club and the manufacturer, largely isolated to only a few individuals at SRT. This “gap” was caused directly by a handful of individuals that worked at every opportunity to cast doubt on the club and its leadership, including this very board of directors. Those people continued to drag Ralph, SRT and fellow club members into club business matters and pepper them with rumors and lies, lacking even a single fact to back them up. This type of behavior by a few individuals began to cause a rift between SRT and the Viper Club. The usual "lack of transparency", "funny goings on" and "general tone" were often cited as issues, even though there was no evidence of same. In the end, the "tone" was emanating from just a few individuals with agendas. One individual even suggested that the only way to fix things was with a "wholesale cleansing of the entire board of directors - including those of you copied on this email. This, in order to "fix" the tone which those acting badly towards the club leaders had created.
There simply are no facts to suggest that the club was doing anything but the right thing for members and for Chrysler everywhere.
Over the past several months, Chrysler’s auditors have thoroughly reviewed all aspects of club operations as well as the false accusations. The result was that not one single deficiency on the VCA side of things was brought to our attention.
This week our discussions resulted in a new beginning which we are pleased to finally share with you. First, it was made abundantly clear the value that Chrysler places on the VCA and its members. They clearly recognize the importance of these top-tier owners and want to do everything possible to make sure that they remain satisfied customers, as well as a satisfied club that brings them all together.
Here are the results of our meeting with Chrysler:
1. The COOL membership program is approved and moving forward. It will be reviewed annually by Chrysler's Commercial Committee, a committee which oversees matters related to sales and marketing and consists of managers from each of the company’s brands (Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram, Mopar, SRT and Fiat).
2. Not only will the club continue to have use of the Viper logos and fonts, but Chrysler will put together a more comprehensive written agreement that better defines its use so that we no longer operate from a 1998 agreement that predates even the Fangs logo. The club will need to be as diligent as ever in addressing any internal logo violations that might come up.
3. Chrysler will help design the next VCA raffle car, understanding that a true factory one-off car helps sell tickets.
4. Chrysler will continue and even expand contributions to VIPER magazine, including "guest writers" from the various brands - starting with Pietro Gorlier himself.
5. Chrysler will continue to advertise in VIPER magazine (which recently won several awards - more on that later), which will be provided at no charge in lieu of royalty fees that they might otherwise charge for brand licensing.
6. They will continue SRT engineering chats on the forums and continue attending select regional and national events. They will continue to sponsor where appropriate and as approved by the Commercial Committee.
7. Chrysler has provided specific contacts for the club to use for things such as PR
, events, legal, plant tours, COOL memberships, etc. In turn the club will also limit the people contacting Chrysler and designate people to work with them on a day-to-day basis.
8. The club offered and Chrysler accepted having one of their executives appointed to the VCA Advisory Board, the same board currently populated by former National Presidents. Pat Dougherty will serve as that first Chrysler representative in a non-voting capacity. This is very welcome news, as Chrysler will truly see firsthand how the club always operates in the best interests of its membership.
Chrysler has made it perfectly clear that going forward things will be done on a business-to-business basis - not a personal friendship basis. A very significant change is that Chrysler will not be receptive to membership issues/complaints any longer. If complaints about the VCA are received at Chrysler, they will be forwarded back to the club to handle internally. In return, Chrysler wants the club to designate specific contacts inside the club for things like event coordination (including regional events), logo use questions, plant tours, scheduling engineering chats, etc.
There were many other things discussed over the course of these discussions, however we will save those for our next meeting. All were extremely positive and reaffirmed Chrysler's commitment to the Viper Club of America. We are very pleased to finally disperse those rumors and lies once and for all. We appreciate the fact that you have stuck with the club during this difficult time and look forward to returning the club to the fun and exciting place it has always been.
Lee Stubberfield VCA National President
Dan Everts VCA National Treasurer