For their part, members of the DFCU Owners United group are protesting what they characterized as the credit union’s “smear and fear” campaign against the possible recall. “We moved ahead with calling for the special meeting, because a large number of members urged us to do so,” said Gary Wolas, a member of DFCU Owners United. “The response from the credit union’s board and management has been to lower themselves to the worst possible level of misinformation, lies, personal attacks and smear campaigns,” Wolas added. According to Wolas, employees were requested to write letters to the editor of regional papers based on false information that was given to them by management. This included allegations that DFCU Owners United wanted to close branches outside Dearborn and eliminate member services such as investment representatives, and install its own slate of inexperienced members on the board of directors. “None of these are remotely true,” said Margaret Blohm, one of the group’s organizers. As of press time, the Owners United group has escalated the conflict by starting to air radio spots in favor of the recall. In a spot which is running on local stations, the credit union member’s group explains why it seeks and sought more information about the now failed conversion attempt and urges members to come to the special meeting to recall the board. The 60-second spot refrains from calling the board or executive management of the CU any names, but it does ask why the CU leadership decided to apply to change the charter before consulting with members and reminds listeners that credit unions operate on the principle of one member, one vote so they should be sure to watch their mail for the notice of the special meeting and then plan to attend. Underpinning much of last week’s DFCU news is a feeling that the CU has lost its moorings a bit in the energy of the fight. Some of the credit union’s claims have been not only false, but have bordered on the outlandish. For example, in some of its fliers the CU has suggested that recalling the board would put members’ money at risk, as though share insurance didn’t exist. On the site the CU claimed that if the board were recalled the NCUA would put the CU into conservatorship, something an NCUA official flatly denied. John McKechnie, NCUA’s director of public and congressional affairs explained that should the members recall the board, NCUA would expect the credit union’s supervisory committee to step in to run the credit union until a second special meeting could be held to elect an interim board which, in turn, would run the credit union until the next regularly scheduled board election. “We are not sure where they got the idea that we would appoint a conservator,” McKechnie said. “If they had contacted us, we would have explained the process if the members recall the board.” It’s unclear what will happen next. It seems unclear whether the CU, the Owners United Group or members who have yet to make up their minds have patience for much more of a campaign at this level of name calling and vitriol. According to Owners United, under the bylaws the CU has until May 18 to hold the meeting and a meeting announcement has to go out to members a week before that. [email protected]

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