By Dennis BalthaserAs a follow up to my September 1, 2006 editorial entitled, “Is the Roswell UFO Museum & Annual UFO Festival becoming a thing of the past?” this editorial deals with the inadequate response I received from the President of the Museum’s Board of Directors and my reply to him.
In the editorial found here I mentioned 14 items of concern not only to me as a resident of Roswell and as a serious UFO researcher, (which were not addressed in the Board President’s response), but also the views of many in the community.
The city of Roswell has taken over the annual Festival for next July (the 60th anniversary of the Roswell Incident) and preliminary indications indicate it should be well organized and again bring credit to Roswell, unlike the past few years annual event that were disappointing for the community under the “control and sanctioning” of the UFO Museum. I suggested in my editorial that changes were needed for both the annual Festival and the UFO Museum method of operation. The city of Roswell has initiated one of those changes.
Response from the IUFOMRC
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September 29, 2006
Jack Swickard and Board of Directors
International UFO Museum and Research Center
Mr. Swickard and Board Members,
Your September 14, 2006 response to my “editorial” which you referred to as “letter” was not only disappointing, but also predictable. Sadly, none of the “14 items of concern” were addressed “directly or adequately.”
I’m aware that several board members are totally unsatisfied with you as the President of the Board, and the actions of the Director, and by you responding to me on UFO Museum stationary and stating “the Board does not agree with me”, is erroneous and inaccurate to put it mildly. Was the board advised of your response to me, (since you stated “our opinion of your views will be reflected in the brevity of this reply”), and did the board approve the threatening letters to me and other researchers sent by U.S. Mail from the Director during the past few years?
There are many in this community that have also been voicing their dissatisfaction with the Director of the Museum and the way the Board has allowed her to operate, but you have chosen to ignore not only my comments in the editorial, but have also helped to promote that dissatisfaction by your lack of response, which has created an unhealthy atmosphere not only in Roswell, but through out the media and much of the UFO Community.
The editorial was distributed to those that needed to know what is going on in Roswell with the Museum and the Festival, unlike your comment that I should limit my communication. Are you trying to censor me speaking out as a concerned citizen and UFO researcher like the Director has threatened to censor my work? Except for your Director trying to discredit me with documentary film companies and other researchers that posted the editorial, the responses to the editorial have been positive. Change is needed.
As you of all people know Jack, my goal as a recognized and respected UFO researcher was to promote the museum and the annual Festival until a few years ago. I still maintain the Museum is a vitally needed facility for the public, but the current Director and support of some board members is headed in the wrong direction, and you in your response have refused to acknowledge that.
With the city taking over the Festival next year I will dedicate myself to promoting the Festival again for them, however the Museum under the current leadership will not be promoted by me and many others The fact that the city decided to take over the Festival speaks volumes about the way it’s been handled the past few years under the current Museum Director, but the community has yet to hear any comments from the Board about that. After almost 4 months, the Director has not made any figures public about the low attendance at this past July’s Festival available, even as requested by Jim Mosley of Saucer Smear magazine, in a recent telephone call to the Director.
The lame excuse in your response about gasoline prices being a reason for low attendance is again a total untruth. I like many other people I know made several out of town trips this summer and paid the extra 5-10% for gasoline. National polls do not substantiate your excuse, since people have not reduced their travel because of gas prices, or is that the Director’s and your way of pacifying the board and the public about the poor attendance numbers.
Jack, as President of the Museum Board were you even in town for this past July’s Festival, when your Director was sanctioning and not sanctioning everything that took place to add to the failure of the Festival, creating problems for many community organizations as reported in The Roswell Daily Record. Furthermore I’m curious about how many of the Museum Board members were actively involved during this past July’s Festival, and would be interested in knowing their reaction to the low attendance at what should be the biggest event of the year.
Your knowledge of what is really going on concerned me when you stated in your response that the National Geographic special was filmed at the Museum. It was also filmed with many researchers around the country, including myself for over 6 hours in front of the camera. Jack are you aware that your Director told the National Geographic crew that “had she known they were filming me they would not have been allowed to film at the Museum?” Are you also aware that on Sept. 25, I filmed with the Canadian History channel for 3 hours and again when the crew went to the Museum the Director told them, “If your filming certain local researchers you cannot film at the Museum?” Additionally the Canadian crew was told “they should not eat at the Cover-Up Café at 2nd and Main because the owner was trying to shut down the Museum.” Is this what you and the Board members expect from your Director, by denying film crews that want to help promote the Museum, but can’t because of a vindictive attitude the Director has towards me and many others. The Canadian film crew gave me permission to pass their information on to you, and was shocked by the attitude of your Director when they visited the Museum.
You stated, “my services at the Museum were terminated by a previous Board so you can understand my frustration”. That was in 1998, and like I have, it’s time for the Museum personnel to get over it, and move on. I was asked to sever my services as a volunteer by an Executive Board, not the Board of Directors. To this day I’ve not been told why I was supposed to sever my relationship and my $1000.00 Lifetime membership was returned to me. Looking back leaving the Museum was a positive step in my research career, by not having to deal with the politics currently very evident at the Museum. I have written documentation on file where I earnestly tried to work with the Director when she assumed her position. Now years later, I’m being threatened, slandered and harassed by her.
I’m also displeased with the Director referring to Carol Syska and myself as “ex-employees.” Show me any paperwork (including W-2 Forms), or a contract, that indicates I was an employee of the Museum between July 1996 and October 1998. I was a 70 hour-per-week volunteer, so advise your Director to immediately cease referring to me as an ex-employee of the Museum.
You might also ask the Director and Gift Shop manager why my lecture video and cassette tapes were abruptly removed from sale in the Museum Gift shop after selling them at 100% markup from 1997 until 2 years ago, purchasing 10 of each several times a year during that time period. I have copies of invoices for those sales.
You stated in your response to my editorial, and your Director is taking credit for obtaining property for a new building downtown, when in fact that property was initially negotiated for and eventually acquired by a former Museum Board Member. Can you produce the minutes of the Board meeting where that occurred and quit giving the Director credit for something she didn’t do?
Many in the community are also questioning the status of the Museum as a 501(C) 3 organization.
The Director has been spreading accusations against me and to others that my “Interception” video and other lecture videos I’ve done as a volunteer at the Museum, belong to the Museum. I have tried on numerous occasions to explain to her that all my lectures are copyrighted with the Library of Congress in Washington, DC and in fact the “Interception” lecture (videocassette; ½ in.), was registered on September 26, 1997 on the recommendation of Museum co-founder Max Littell, prior to doing the lecture publicly at the Museum on October 11, 1997. The copyright number is PAu-2-238-759. I have written documentation for all the other lectures I copyrighted also. There was no contract or agreement pertaining to the “Interception”.
These type accusations and threats are intolerable and shall also cease by the Director. Trying to claim my research 9 years after the fact while profiting from my research during that time will not be tolerated.
While I was a volunteer at the Museum (1996-1998), I initiated the monthly lecture series for the public, which the current Director decided to discontinue, thus taking another benefit away from the community.
I have written documentation to support the concerns I mentioned in the editorial I distributed on September 1, 2006. Many of the statements and concerns expressed above are different and more current than those made in the editorial, and there are more, many more. This harassment, threatening and making untrue statements by the Museum Director have reached a point where if the Museum is to function as intended, changes have to be made, and as President of the Board you are expected and in fact required to do so.
Finally you asked me to pass along your reply to those that received the editorial so they could know of your appreciation for Director Shuster and her magnificent leadership and efforts in the furtherance of the Museum.
I will pass on your inadequate response for all to read, but because I base my research on a quote I use in lectures and on my web site, I’ll maintain “Always Telling the Truth Means Never Having to Remember Anything.”
More . . .
See Also: Interview of Original Roswell Crash Photographer By Dennis Balthaser