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DAV chapter struggling for reinstatement

A local chapter of the Disabled American Veterans is still seeking to have its charter restored and recover more than $200,000 in seized assets.

But an official with the group's national leadership Wednesday said the Lancaster chapter will remain in trusteeship at least until March, when the Disabled American Veterans holds a midwinter conference in Arlington, Va.

"That's when the national will hear their complaint," said Anthony L. Baskerville, the organization's deputy national membership director.

Chapter 150's charter was revoked in November 2004 after state leadership alleged that the local chapter had violated the organization's national and state constitutions. The alleged violations include selling the group's headquarters at 575 Cayuga Creek Road to Peregrine Properties for $225,000 without authorization, operating without proper bylaws and shredding records of the chapter's weekly bingo games.

Paul E. Rudnicki, an attorney representing Chapter 150, disputes the allegations.

"My clients have answered all of [the state leadership's] concerns. They have done nothing wrong," Rudnicki said. "Bingo is highly regulated by the State of New York. If there were problems, they would have heard from the state and the county."

It was unfair that the leadership of Chapter 150 will have to wait until March to appeal the revocation of its charter, Rudnicki said.

"The members of this chapter are elderly and disabled. They can't easily travel to Arlington, Va., in the winter," he said.

Several current and past members of Chapter 150 insist they have been unable to get straight answers from the state leadership and the three trustees who were appointed to help the chapter get its affairs in order.

"They've ruined our credit. We can't pay our storage charges. They totally put us in ruination," said Matthew Kantor, commander of Chapter 150.

Sidney Siller Sr., adjutant for the Disabled American Veterans Department of New York, insists that Chapter 150 will have an opportunity for a fair hearing when the national holds its midwinter conference.

"They keep saying, 'We didn't break any rules. We didn't do anything wrong,' " Siller said. "Well, the chapter did break the rules, and we can prove it."

e-mail: hmcneil@buffnews.com

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