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EMPLOYMENT LITIGATION

COMMERCIAL LITIGATION
GENERAL COUNSEL SERVICES
EXECUTIVE ADVOCACY
NFL RETIREMENT AND DISABILITY

Stuart D. Lurie
(p) 484.693.0788
(f) 215.600.1728
Stuart@RosenthalLurie.com
Reply to Exton Office

May 20, 2015


Via First Class Mail and E-Mail
Richard M. ODonnell, President
Devon Horse Show and Country Fair, Inc.
PO Box 865
Devon, PA 19333
Re:

Wayne W. Grafton, Chairman


Devon Horse Show and Country Fair, Inc.
PO Box 865
Devon, PA 19333

Box Non-Renewal

Dear Messrs. ODonnell and Grafton:


I write on behalf of a group of rightful (but now former) DHS&CF box holders: Joannah
Glass, Lauren Lenfest, Miriam Volikas, Sarah Lange, and Meg Wiederseim. Despite being
longstanding supporters of the Devon Horse Show & Country Fair, in recent weeks all of these
women were shocked and disappointed to learn that they had been summarily barred from
renewing their boxes for 2015.
According to the official Box Holder Policy (October 2014 edition), Invoices will be
mailed each year to all current and eligible box holders by March 1st. Despite being current
and eligible box holders, none of the above-referenced individuals received her invoice at all,
let alone by March 1. Subsequently, during the month of April at least a month after invoices
should have been issued the leadership of Devon apparently enacted a brand new Box
Renewal Policy intended to justify the non-renewal of certain box holders by imposing
particularized disqualification criteria ex post facto and granting Devons President and
Chairman with unfettered discretion to determine circumstances for non-renewal of boxes.
In addition to its dubious enactment, it appears that the new Box Renewal Policy was not
even followed here. The Box Renewal Policy expressly provides that Box holders not eligible
for renewal will receive notification from DHSCF, Inc. This never happened. The abovereferenced individuals were never notified (at least not in writing) that they had been nonrenewed, let alone provided with any reason for the decision, until after they attempted to pay for

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their boxes. Indeed, it appears, based on the timing of events, that the decision not to renew the
above-referenced individuals had already been made prior to March 1, but the leadership of
Devon had no policy in place so it simply elected not to send invoices to the group and then
hastily enacted the Box Renewal Policy more than a month after the fact to provide political
cover for what clearly was a political maneuver. We hereby demand written explanation for the
non-renewal of each of these box holders, as well as a copy of whatever meeting minutes exist
relating to the enactment of the new Box Renewal Policy.
On a higher level, this unprecedented move to abandon longstanding practice in favor of
subjecting box renewals to the political whims of current leadership is particularly troubling
considering Devons recent past. You will recall that less than two years ago, some of the
above-referenced individuals who are now being excluded were among those involved in
bringing to light myriad corporate governance deficiencies at Devon, including conflicts of
interest at the very top of the organizations leadership. The actions of a few brave individuals
set in motion a series of long overdue reforms, including a complete re-drafting of Devons bylaws.
This latest act of retribution against reform-minded former directors and committee
members threatens to reverse critical momentum toward organizational transparency and healthy
debate, and further sets a dangerous precedent. No doubt the prospect of losing ones box
privileges will have a chilling effect going forward on anyone daring enough to challenge the
organizations leadership. Devon, with its rich history and traditions, deserves far better than a
dog-eat-dog atmosphere where political opponents receive the penalty of excommunication as
punishment for losing an election.
The recent decision to deny box renewals to these individuals was not only
unprecedented and wrong, but caused real economic damage as well. As you know, Devon
Horse Show boxes are used not just for social but business-related entertaining. Without their
boxes for 2015 and on such short (or non-existent) notice this group has already suffered and
will continue to suffer financially. We demand that their boxes be returned and that current
leadership issue a formal apology for what has transpired. A group that includes a former
Volunteer of the Year, a former President, dedicated committee members/chairs, an extremely
successful fundraiser, and someone who spearheaded the effort to establish an endowment for
the purpose of funding the sustainability of DHS&CF deserves to be thanked for its years of
tireless service to the organization, not treated as pariahs. For the sake of Devon, we ask that
you re-consider this new and bitter pettiness that has the potential to destroy what so many over
generations have worked so hard to build.
Sincerely,
Stuart D. Lurie
cc:

All Members of the Board of Directors of Devon Horse Show and Country Fair, Inc.
All Members of the Board of Directors of Devon Horse Show Foundation