Response to OMBC Newsletter

OMBC Newsletter

For The Players Research

1. OMBC is a legitimate Non-Profit company in full compliance with the requirements of the Federal Tax Code.

Two legal experts, one a past I.R.S. tax attorney, and an ACBL unit 128 attorney, advised that OMBC is in violation of the Federal Tax Code. Their names and opinions were provided to the OMBC in March, 2015; however, OMBC has not contacted them.

2. We are in good standing with the IRS, and do not fear any possible challenge made as threatened.

3. We are in full compliance with our Lease with the City, and likewise do not fear a challenge as threatened.

The city leases the land to OMBC at a nominal rate to provide a service to the community, particularly to senior citizens. Due to this, and other subsidiaries, OMBC has the lowest overhead rate of any Central Florida bridge club. Despite the subsidies, OMBC players pay higher game fees than corresponding membership game fees offered at other Central Florida bridge clubs. The revenue stream (less expenses) generated through higher game fees and lower overhead costs, are indirectly passed on to the club owners, not to the community players as intended. So while the board may be correct that they are in legal compliance with their lease, they are violating the “spirit” of the subsidy.

4. We respectfully disagree with the “For the Players Committee”. OMBC was originally started in the late 80s. The motivation of the founders was to provide a central facility for bridge clubs scattered around the city to hold their games, and a central place for the players to enjoy the game. OMBC has continued to do this effectively over the years. The city leased the land to OMBC at a nominal rate because we provide a service to the community, particularly to senior citizens. The building was funded by private lenders who became bondholders.

5. The Board of Directors is made up of 4 representatives of the bondholders who are voted on by the bondholders, and 3 representatives of the club owners who are elected by all the club owners. The Board’s main functions are to maintain the facility, ensure that it remains a safe and comfortable place for bridge players, and protect the interests of the bondholders. The Board members are all volunteers and bridge players who love the game.

Having club owners serve on the Board of Directors could be viewed as a conflict of interest. An analogy would be if schools boards allowed teachers union leaders and maintenance supervisors to serve on its boards which set salaries and fees. OMBC sets game fees for game owners and the salary of the maintenance supervisor.

6. It has been suggested that the club owners “make too much money”. Once again we disagree. This idea completely ignores work and expenses they have to put in outside of actually directing the game. They have run their small businesses (in some cases for many years), and to make them employees at a nominal rate at this time, we believe, will not be in the best interests of the center, or its players.

OMBC is registered as a Non-Profit company. The revenue stream is funneled to game owners who consider their entities as for profit small businesses. Due to city subsidies they enjoy lower overhead rates than other Central Florida nonprofit bridge clubs. Even though responsible for club expenses, they still gross 250% + more than directors earn at comparable clubs.

7. We notified the “Committee” on March 12th that we did not accept their point of view, and that we will continue to run the center as we feel is best for all. Although we stated that this was our final position, they continued the pressure, and we were forced to engage the services of an attorney. It is hoped that they will come to understand that we are serious and committed. Our only goal is to fulfill our obligations, and have a happy place to play bridge!

OMBC has repeatedly rejected suggestions for change. A recent survey of OMBC players shows that 150+ OMBC players support change. Arbitration has been proposed with an impartial arbitrator from either District 9 or ACBL headquarters to help resolve the impasse. OMBC has not responded to this proposal. Several members of the For The Players Committee have been named in a Cease and Desist letter. The OMBC attorney threatens a lawsuit to these 22 members including 3 OMBC bondholders and 3 Unit 240 Board Members. The committee is not a legal entity so separate law suits would be needed.