On May 7, 2006, Jeannie Kang, LAc, president of the California State Oriental Medicine Association (CSOMA), resigned. Her resignation was followed quickly by the resignation of two other board members; Randall Neustaedter, LAc, and Marilyn Allen.Although Kang fully outlined her reasons for leaving the association in a May 7, 2006 resignation letter to the CSOMA board,1 current executive committee board members, including newly elected President Greg Sperber, LAc, remain silent on Kang's allegations.
The main issue in question appears to be a $26,000 line of credit opened by CSOMA's executive director, Bill Mosca, LAc. "Bill ... acted unilaterally to open a credit line in clear violation of CSOMA bylaws (Article VII, Section IV) [which] specifically prohibits any incurring of a loan or credit line without approval of the board," stated Kang in her resignation letter. "Instead, Bill Mosca, with a couple of the EC [Executive Committee] members, voted to open a credit line anyway and falsely represented to the bank that it had been opened in compliance with the CSOMA bylaws. It was also opened without the signature of the president, in violation of Article IV, Section VI."
Soon after Kang tendered her resignation, her attorneys sent a letter2 to the lenders, Bank of the West in Santa Barbara, to outline the irregularities that occurred when the line of credit was opened. "It is my client's understanding that Bill Mosca signed an application as either an officer or director of CSOMA. He is neither," stated the letter. "He is a paid staff member of CSOMA and has never been duly elected an officer or director of CSOMA. My client, in her role as President of CSOMA, hereby directs the Bank to suspend the credit line until such time as the Bank satisfies itself that it is willing to extend the credit after being made aware of all the relevant facts."
According to an e-mail3 Kang sent to the board five days prior to her resignation, outlining her concerns with the credit line, Mosca, who has only worked for CSOMA since May 1, 2006 as executive director, discussed using the $26,000 to possibly hire staff. "Our executive director was only authorized to look into the credit line and instead opened it with him as the sole signator," wrote Kang. "Bill now apparently intends to go forward with representing himself as a 'temporary' CSOMA officer and opening the credit line with himself as a signator. I also have concerns about exposing ourselves to claims of loan fraud if we pursue our present course."
When contacted by AT, Mosca agreed to be interviewed, but then declined upon hearing the first question, regarding whether the credit line was opened in compliance with the CSOMA bylaws.
"This isn't a matter that I can discuss with you right now," responded Mosca. "It's best that we don't [respond] given that you're basically asking questions that have legal implications."
Other board members, including Vice President Connie Taylor, LAc, and Secretary Laurie Terzo, LAc, immediately deferred any questions to CSOMA and President Greg Sperber. Jim Bloomfield, LAc, CSOMA treasurer, was also not willing to discuss the situation. "This is a little bit of a sensitive topic," said Bloomfield, "and the board isn't willing to discuss it. I'd like to help, but at this point I can't."
After initially agreeing to a recorded interview, Sperber requested that he hear the questions and reply in writing. After AT e-mailed Sperber a list of six questions,4 he contacted AT by phone and requested more specific questions to outline the Kang's allegations more clearly. AT then provided Sperber with a more specific list of 17 questions. The questions, based on information from various sources, touched on such topics as whether any board members had resigned, and why; whether a line of credit had been opened, and if it had received board approval; who would have the power to withdraw money from such a line of credit; and whether CSOMA members were aware the board was borrowing money. AT also inquired as to whether Mosca was running another business simultaneous to his position as executive director of CSOMA, and if so, if there might be a potential conflict of interest; and if the board had checked to see if Mosca had a criminal record before hiring him.
After receiving the questions, Sperber responded, "What I'm going to do is I'm going to write these down and we're going to respond in writing." The questions5 were then e-mailed to Sperber; soon thereafter, AT received the following response via e-mail:
June 15, 2006
Dear Mr. Babcock,
The questions posed by you on behalf of Acupuncture Today clearly imply that allegations of impropriety have been made against CSOMA, its directors, and/or its employees. CSOMA is eager to fully, completely, and directly address any and all such allegations. However, the questions that you have provided to us do not clearly indicate what allegations have been made against the association and by whom. Without such information, CSOMA cannot reasonably assume that simply responding to the questions provided will fully address any underlying allegations being made against the association. While we wish to respond in full and while we are confident that we can fully address these matters, we will not be able to address these questions until these underlying allegations are made clear to us.
Dr. Greg Sperber
Later the same day, after our previously stated press deadline and after initially declining to be interviewed, Mosca e-mailed us a request for AT to contact him as soon as possible. Upon being contacted by phone early the next day, Mosca was given a second opportunity to go on record regarding Kang's allegations, but again refused to do so until the allegations were, according to Mosca, more clearly outlined.
As of press time, AT had yet to receive any concrete answers from CSOMA concerning the board resignations and the current status of the $26,000 line of credit Mosca opened from Bank of the West. To read the entire text of the Kang letters to the CSOMA board and the Bank of the West, as referenced in this article, please visit www.acupuncturetoday.com/CSOMA.
Note: Interestingly enough, a merger apparently had been in the works between CSOMA and Acupuncture and Integrated Medicine Specialists (AIMS), another California acupuncture association. As part of this merger process, Bill Mosca, who had served as AIMS' executive director for a short time, came over to be executive director of CSOMA, after he had a falling out with the president of AIMS.
After the above article went to press, Acupuncture Today received copies of e-mails from CSOMA members who requested that the board answer AT's interview questions. Dr. Sperber did finally answer the questions, although after the above article was published. By doing so, he was able to avoid the journalistic process which allows for the contrasting of statements by other sources. This means that the reader will need to review Dr. Kang's e-mails to the board (possibly more than once) and compare her statements against those made by Dr. Sperber. Readers will note a number of contradictions between the two.
Oddly enough, Dr. Sperber continues to insist that "Acupuncture Today steadfastly refused to provide CSOMA with the specific allegations being leveled against it." This statement is in sharp contrast with Mr. Mosca's initial recorded interview (albeit brief) in which he was told that AT's interview questions were regarding issues relating to Dr. Kang's resignation and even suggested that Acupuncture Today "ask Jeannie (Kang)" about her resignation.
Please use the following links to read Dr. Kang's and Dr. Sperber's statements:
- Kang resignation letter to the Board of CSOMA, May 7, 2006.
- Letter from Kang's attorneys to Bank of the West, May 12, 2006.
- Kang e-mail to the board concerning credit line, May 2, 2006.
- Six initial interview questions e-mailed to Dr. Greg Sperber, June 15, 2006.
- 17 interview questions sent to Sperber, June 15, 2006.
- CSOMA's Belated Response to the Interview Questions.