Letter to A.A. Members
This article is written by nationally recognized
historian and oft-quoted Alcoholics Anonymous archivist Mitchell K.
Dear Fellow AA Member:
As the 1998 General Service Conference rapidly approaches
we take this opportunity to make an urgent plea for assistance.
For over a decade now, the AA World Service Board of
Trustees has been involved in several court cases or has given their
approval for several others. AA members have been incarcerated and
have met with severe financial hardship. AA World Services has spent
hundreds of thousands of dollars of OUR money in legal fees including
consultation. There is currently a court case pending in Germany that
threatens an AA member with jail and financial ruin.
All of these cases were in order to "protect AA's property."
This property is our copyright on Literature and Trademark. Unfortunately,
the Board of Trustees let the copyright lapse on both the First and
Second Edition of the Big Book. Both of these editions are now in
the public domain and anyone is free to reprint them. AA World Services
has spent over $118,000.00 alone just in the failed litigation regarding
the "Circle and Triangle" Trademark infringement case.
According to Warranty 5 of Concept XII in the Twelve Concepts for
World Service we should take no action which is personally punitive,
nor should we take matters into the public courts inciting public
controversy. The Board of Trustees has chosen to either ignore the
Twelfth Concept, or interpret it according to their own agenda.
We are asking that each AA member contact their respective Delegate
to the 1998 World Service Conference to ask the following:
That a moratorium on all current and pending litigation be immediately
put into place until the Conference can be able to develop an informed
group conscience so that they may be able to vote upon whether or
not this litigation is, or is not, in violation of Warranty 5, Concept
That the World Service Conference, representing the membership
of Alcoholics Anonymous be empowered to make decisions regarding
litigation, if any, in the future.
That a complete and independent audit be undertaken to determine
the EXACT cost of legal expenses authorized by the Board of Trustees
and other World Service entities.
That this audit be undertaken by a completely impartial accounting
firm that has not had, currently or in the past, any affiliation
with Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, The AA Grapevine or the
Stepping Stones Foundation. There have been several members of the
Board of Trustees and other Service Personnel, including AA's Accounting
Firm and other officers who have been affiliated with the Stepping
Stones Foundation, an outside enterprise which has been the recipient
of over $10,000,000.00 in Royalty payments from AA literature.
That the General Service Conference call for a two-third's vote
of all registered AA Groups to either void or enforce Warranty 5
of Concept XII.
That a General Service Conference Committee ( NOT a Board of Trustees
Committee) be empowered to look into any conflict of interest relating
to legal matters and expenditures to ALL Legal Firms, Consultants
and AAWS Staff, past and present, including ANY connection to the
Stepping Stones Foundation.
That a report be generated by this General Service Conference Delegate's
Committee and be made available to the ENTIRE FELLOWSHIP so that
an informed Group Conscience Vote may be taken at next year's Conference.
The Statement of Censure was addressed to the General Service Board
and requested their response. The General Service Board never answered
to that Censure. Instead, the General Service Board neglected their
Duty, Responsibility, and Accountability to those they serve by
sending the Statement of Censure off to a Conference Committee so
as to not have to answer it themselves. We request that the General
Service Board answer that Statement of Censure now.
That the incentive payment made to AA, and approved by the AAWS
Board of Trustees by the City of San Diego, California for hosting
the 1995 World Service Convention be returned to the City of San
Diego due to its being in violation of our Seventh Tradition of
accepting money from outside enterprises and remaining fully self-supporting.
The total amount of money accepted from this municipality as an
incentive payment for hosting the 1995 Convention was $250,000.00.
There are plans to accept $100,000.00 from the host city of the
year 2000 convention.
We urge ALL AA members to copy this request and pass it along to
their Delegates, Service entities, any other AA members and WEB SITES
relating to Alcoholics Anonymous for posting. Only a grass roots effort
made by the Fellowship will get the attention of the Board of Trustees
and the General Service Conference. The time is now! the general
service conference will be held in april, 1998!
Several requests to the Board of Trustees relating to the above stated
concerns have either been ignored or swept under the carpet. Several
requests for the names and addresses of Delegates to the Conference
have also been met with failure. The Board cited confidentiality as
It is up to you as a member of alcoholics anonymous to bring these
important votes to the general service conference. Only you can contact
your conference delegate as the board of trustees refuses to allow
us to do so.
If you want A.A. to remain as a spiritual entity rather than a
government the time to act is now! If you believe in the steps, traditions
and 12 concepts for world service, the time to act is now! If you
believe in the future of A.A. so that it may continue to save lives,
the time to act is now!
Thank you for your time.