ARNSTEIN – An action against the provincial takeover of the
Arnstein Credit Union is going to court tomorrow, Friday.
Larry Price, one of the credit union’s directors, is seeking
the court involvement in the future of the credit union because of
alleged ‘dirty tricks’ on the part of the Deposit Insurance Corporation
of Ontario he worries will see the credit union close.
A letter is also being distributed by
Price, which not only alleges the ‘dirty tricks,’ but attempts to clear
up rumours circulating in the community and get the membership to form a
new committee in hopes of saving their community credit union.
Price says the letter will be sent out to all the
membership by the end of the week to keep them informed.
“I just want to let everyone know what we’re doing
and while I’m not communicating there are still rumours flying around,”
He says they need to get the lines of communication
open so they can get a membership committee formed.
“The staff at the credit union are saying that
everything is cool, but we know, behind the scene, that things aren’t
cool at all,” said Price. “They’re trying to modify the numbers so they
can get it into insolvency so that they can close it.”
The letter is partially an attempt to clear rumours
of wrong-doing on behalf of the credit union’s manager Bud Whitmell.
“Bud’s failure to communicate with the members
allowed rumours of a Whitmell family business to spread in the
community…” states the letter.
In an interview with the Almaguin News, Price stated
that Whitmell’s wife was running a courier service, transporting money,
at the cost of $950 a month. After DICO came in they replaced her by
paying $1,500 to Brinks.
“The rumour went around that they were making
money,” he said.
Whitmell’s daughter was also employed at the credit
union doing basic paper work.
“She made 35 cents an hour about,” he said.
Price says he would like to put an end to the
rumours that the family was getting rich on the credit union.
“Bud worked for years. First he operated out of his
own house for a long time and then gave the land to the credit union to
build a building on it,” he said. “He worked for many years at $25 a
month, that was his income. Now it’s up around $70,000.”
Price says when people learned of the $70,000
income, allegations flew and Price says people stated that people
shouldn’t get paid like that in their little community.
“Over the years, at $25, he wasn’t setting up any
pension money or a future for himself and his family,” he said. “And
$70,000 is a median kind of a salary in the credit union business.”
Price says Bud’s biggest mistake is that he fails to
communicate with the members. He says he drafted a letter last August
after investigating the allegations and wrote a letter clearing
“There’s an old saying in the cooperative business,
‘You ignore your membership at your own peril,’” he said, adding that it
wasn’t until three months later that the letter was addressed. “It was
that lack of communication that really hurt us.”
Price says the priority now is for the membership to regain
transparency of the credit union’s books and get it back into business.
“(DICO) immediately cut-off all lending, no loans to our members,
that is, they cut-off our source of income; they cut-off the artery
feeding the heart of our credit union,” states Price’s letter.
DICO has been operating the credit union since March 22.