Larry Shepherd in 2014

Larry Shepherd in 2014

The American Numismatic Association announced that they have reached a settlement with former ANA Executive Director Larry Shepherd. Shepherd was fired by the ANA Board of Governors in September 2011 that resulted in a contentious back-and-forth with the Board of that time.

In June 2013, Shepherd filed a lawsuit claiming that the ANA violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) laws alleging that the ANA has committed are racketeering, theft, and fraud. Shepherd also alleged that a few employees of the ANA and members of the Board of Governors made up stories about Shepherd in order to find a way to relieve him of his duties for cause so they can invalidate his contract

Early in January, Mike Ellis resigned from the Board of Governors while the ANA continued to wrestle with this lawsuit. As part of the reporting, ANA President Walt Ostromecki was quoted as saying, “He realized he had made a mistake and chose to step down from the board.”

Mike Ellis

Mike Ellis

A source speaking on the condition of anonymity as reported that Ellis allegedly had worked behind the scenes against Shepherd to rally ANA employees to work against Shepherd in order to create a hostile working environment for Shepherd. The move was allegedly designed to make Shepherd look incompetent in order to get him fired.

The source was not sure whether Ellis initiated this or it was initiated by the ANA employees involved, but it was alleged that Ellis was the ring-leader from the Board’s perspective. It was also alleged that while Ellis was the most active it was suspected that other members of the Board had knowledge of his actions.

The same source also alleged that Ellis participated in creating the environment that caused Shepherd’s successor, Jeff Shevlin, to be fired using the same approach.

According to the source, the crux of the issue is that there allegedly was a faction at the ANA Colorado Springs Headquarters who did not want to work. Both Shepherd and Shevlin tried to reorganize the headquarters staff in order to create efficiencies that were not met with positive reactions. While the list of allegations were pretty comprehensive, it included claims that employees worked flexible hours against workplace policies, abused other workplace policies, and used ANA equipment for personal business including for outside income.

Ellis was only part of the problem. If the source is true, there are employees in Colorado Springs that should be disciplined for their part in creating the hostile environment for both Shepherd and Shevlin. We may never know what changes will be made in Colorado Springs because of both federal and Colorado employment privacy laws. However, the ANA Board of Governors should be open with the membership regarding how they are dealing with the ANA permanent employees.

While it appears the situation has settled with Kim Kiick as the Executive Director, the ANA has over 20 years of problems with Executive Directors. Maybe it is time for operations at the ANA Headquarters be revamped into a more professional organization with workplace rules and policies rather than being a club where people get paid.

Larry Shepherd image courtesy SIMCO Numismatics as published on YouTube.
Mike Ellis image courtesy of Numismatic News.

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