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BROOKLYN, N.Y. – Although long-time credit union critics remain skeptical, there are signs that the $1 billion Polish and Slavic FCU may be on the verge of settling some of its long time conflicts. An institution which has become very well known to the Polish community in New York and New Jersey, it has been racked in recent years by conflicts on its board of directors and allegations of different sorts against individual board members and the credit union board as a whole. As recently as December of last year, irate members tried to gather signatures for a special meeting in the wake of a board dispute which saw the firing of the credit union’s CEO, the latest move in a board struggle which had been going on since 1999 when NCUA took control of the management of the then $595 million credit union. In the end nothing came of the petition after the credit union ruled it had not been presented according to the CU’s bylaws. In May, organizers linked to the Forum Organized To Protect Poles (FOPP), who are involved in lawsuits with the credit union and credit union board, sought to raise issues around the lawsuits and the credit union leadership at a meeting of about 50 credit union members, but credit union executives discounted the meeting, arguing that it had been called on false pretences. But recently there have been signs that the credit union may be turning the corner to get past its immediately conflicted past. On Friday, Nov. 25 the Board unanimously elected Alex Storozynski, city editor at the New York Sun and a Pulitzer Prize winner as chairman of the board. The Board members also unanimously elected Krystyna Massura and Rev. Bogumil Chrusciel as first vice chair and second vice chair. This is the first time that the board had ever elected a chairman or officers unanimously, the credit union said in a press release. Storozynski thanked the outgoing chairman, Krzysztof Matyszczyk, for his service and then said the organization planned to move forward on unity. “I want to thank the board members for their support,” Storozynski said. “United, we can do a lot to improve the financial performance of the PSFCU. This is the best way that we can serve the credit union’s members and our sponsoring organizations. We will continue to look for the best and most efficient ways to provide assistance to the elderly, students, home buyers and others who depend on the services provided by the credit union and our sponsors.” In addition, one of the leaders of the former board factions, Mark Zawisny, has resigned after the credit union’s supervisory committee determined that Zawisny had violated the CU’s code of ethics and had provided inconsistent statements about the matter, the credit union said. Storozynski declined to comment on the Zawisny resignation directly, but suggested that credit union members should take heart that he had moved against the first, and so far only, case of questionable ethics that he had come across. “As a journalist I want to clearly state that I am deeply committed to transparency,” he said. “I believe in transparency. I want to foster a credit union which conducts its business in as transparent a manner as possible.” Storozynski plans to back up his intent by holding a press conference with the Polish speaking media one hour before the board’s next meeting and by doing his best to open up as much of the board’s operations to the CU’s membership. Derek Michalski, a longtime critic of the CU board, said that the board being unified should not be misunderstood to mean the CU is unified. “We still have tens of thousands of members who have been defrauded by actions taken by members of this board of directors,” Michalski said. “They still have complaints and they still need to be heard.” Michalski, his fianc Margaret Chudziak and FOPP remain mired in a lawsuit with the credit union that remains open even though both the CU and Michalski said they wanted to see it closed. One of Michalski’s demands is that he be reinstated as one of the CU’s 66,000 members, a status he held briefly this year. He has also asked for the CU to pick up the costs of FOPP’s legal fees from the suit, some $15,000. Myles Edwards, general counsel for the credit union wouldn’t comment on the specifics of the case but said the CU remained open to settling the litigation. Anthony Chroscielewski is a credit union member who had been one of those members who had gathered petitions during the 2004 drive, in the wake of the departure of the then CEO Danuta Sieminski. He was also one of the members asked to serve on the supervisory committee from 2000-2001 when NCUA temporarily ran the credit union. Chroscielewski stressed that while he has no ill will for Storozynski, there had not been enough time to determine if this represented real change or if it just represented the victory of one faction over another. “I will want to see if he [Storozynski] is really independent and if he is going to run the board or if the board is only going to run him,” Chroscielewski said. On a positive note, Edwards pointed out that gradually the number of lawsuits involving the credit union has diminished, moving from a high of 14 at one point to merely four now, the one with FOPP and three others which are related to different personnel matters. In one interesting note, Marcin Sar, a figure in both the NCUA’s moves in 1999 and in the board fights in late 2004, has returned to the board. CUMIS has reinstated his bond after the loss of a lawsuit in which the judge found that the insurer should not have removed it and that the CU should reinstate Sar to the board. Sar will serve on the board until 2006, Edwards estimated. [email protected]

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