AMHERST – The off-ice drama for the Amherst junior A Ramblers hockey club continues.
In an open letter on Page 2 of today’s Amherst Daily News, the club gives an ultimatum that if any interested party or parties can bring the 43-year-old franchise out of debt by April 19, club president George Baker will step down.
In the letter, written by team secretary Barrie Doyle on behalf of the Ramblers executive, Baker will step down when the club receives $24,500 to cover its outstanding bills from the 2009-10 season.
Should that happen, an emergency membership meeting will be held within five days of Baker’s departure to elect an interim president as well as fill any other vacancies that should arise if other executive members decide to move on.
If not, Baker will retain his duties until the club’s annual general meeting June 1, when his term expires.
Last month, Baker said the team was $20,000 in arrears. Alisa Curtis was listed as the team’s secretary at the start of the 2009-10 season and Doyle was not a member of the executive.
Baker would not comment when reached Sunday afternoon, but did confirm that an offer remains on the table from a group of five investors to purchase the club for $1 after injecting $20,000 apiece into the franchise.
Baker has refused to identify who the group is comprised of, saying the group wishes to remain anonymous until after the membership decides if it will entertain selling the franchise.
Baker cites “persistent confrontational situations” in the letter as a reason for the proposal. On March 29, Baker shut down a bylaw meeting after just three minutes, saying there weren’t enough members present for a quorum.
Baker said 80 members were present and 82 were needed for the quorum. Several members showed up a few minutes late, but Baker did not re-open the meeting.
In January, former Ramblers executive member Wayne Corney held a meeting for those who had concerns with how the franchise was being run. Baker labelled them “a group of people backstabbing everything we do.”
On Aug. 5, 2009, Baker told the Amherst Daily News he would be stepping down as president in October, citing other commitments, including running his shuttle business, operating the Amherst Stadium canteen and serving as a member of Amherst Town Council, as reasons for his departure.
He withdrew his resignation a week later, two days following an executive meeting to fill vacancies described as a “circus-like atmosphere.”
Baker has served as president the past nine seasons. The club was operating with a debtload of $150,000 before he took over.