Paul Cronin

The Whole Story?

The statement issued by Mike Passell  explaining his side of the situation was titled “The Whole Story”, but…..after some 650 comments posted on Bridgewinners, we still don’t seem to have the whole story. It’s easy to miss details when there are that many posts, but here are some questions that I haven’t found the answers to yet:

What was the actual score on the board Mike tossed on the floor? -100, -200 ??

What was the actual score when that board was played at the other table? +110, +130 ??

(Answers to the above are needed to confirm the alleged 2 IMPs lost on the board).

Was the card Mike saw on the floor face up or face down?

If face up, what was the actual card?

Prior to the EOC hearing, was Mike informed of the name of the complainant, and the nature of the charges?

Was he informed that there were to be four charges?

Was E13 one of those charges?

Were the other three charges 3.1, 3.7, and 3.20?

How many people were on the EOC for his hearing?

What were the names of those people?

When Mike says “I was found guilty of four things”, were those four things 3.1, 3.7, 3.20, and E13, as stated in the ACBL Bulletin?

If 3.20 was one of the things he was found guilty of, as the ACBL BUlletin notice says it was, why does he say “However, I was found NOT GUILTY of cheating…..” when 3.20 is “Cheating and similar ethical violations” ?

If guilt was found under E13, the minimum sanction is two years suspension and forfeiture of 25% of the player’s master-points. The probationary term of 13 months is therefore extremely lenient, and the committee would have an obligation to explain in the Hearing Report Form why it chose to go outside the sanction guidelines.

It should be noted that the content of E13 is “Prearrange a deal or part thereof including one card” – it says nothing about whether the prearrangement was intentional or unintentional, or whether the intent of the prearrangement was to gain some advantage or was totally innocent.

Additionally, as the EOC has been severely castigated as a result of its findings, it should be carefully noted that it is not up to the committee to decide what charges are appropriate. The committee is simply given the charges it is asked to examine, and it then hears evidence relating to those charges. When all the evidence is heard, the committee decides on the guilt or innocence of the charged party on each of the charges it was given. The committee has no authority to throw out the charges, or change the charges to something else – it can only conclude “guilty” or “not guilty” on each of the charges.  Further, once the hearing is over, the committee members are not allowed, by CDR 3.22,  to discuss anything that took place at the hearing except the final decision of the committee.


bobby wolffAugust 20th, 2015 at 5:08 pm

Hi Paul,

You deserve much positive recognition for your concerns.

By the way, this unfortunate (to say the least) event was covered, by perhaps unintentionally being unfair to everyone, Mike, all the other peripheral people and committees involved, readers, bridge lovers, and most important, the game of bridge itself, causing the ones involved to hang their heads in shame to have contributed to such an aberration.

Yes truth, transparency, authenticity, life ethics and fairness are also necessary ingredients when people are involved, if for no other reason than truth in presentation to be as necessary as the air we breathe.

Instead we get hedged or slanted comments, so-called political correctness (better known as BS), non-official statements and sometimes under the heading of likely official, and general worry from so many who fear being subject to judicial wrongdoing or worse, legal action against.

Because of the above, these fears sometimes become far worse than any bridge offense which may or may not have been committed.

And in these extremely troubling days on earth where so many so-called newsworthy events (deflategate) are magnified in order to sell news space, relatively unimportant bridge jurisprudence may or may not be exaggerated, causing so much more pain than gain.

Is the internet the place to discuss such things? I think not, until every event under consideration has reached a presentable stage for a complete, to-the-point, totally accurate presentation.

Maybe some love titillation, but if so, what about those of us who do not have time to sit still for an endless number of back and forth exchanges, none of which get to all the main contentions. And for those who get only half involved, what might they think later on when that subject is again reintroduced.

What about the damaged reputations involving not only defendants but also legal processes and many others on the fringe?

We can improve this process greatly, but will we?

paul croninAugust 20th, 2015 at 6:24 pm

Hi Bobby,

Many thanks for your input – it is sorely needed!

I agree that the internet is not the place to discuss such things, and have refrained from posting on BWs, except for the following:

“In all fairness, it should be noted that the EOC members are not allowed to comment on what took place at the hearing under Section 3.22 of the ACBL CDR, which gives the following as a grounds for discipline:

“Discussion of the content of the hearing, other than the committee decision,outside the hearing room by a disciplinary body member with any party (whether a party to the hearing or not)”.”

The posts I have put on I have tried to make balanced, and fair to all concerned. The audience here is much smaller, and, IMHO, far more intelligent.

The comments on just the one BWs thread “The Whole Story”) is now at 710, with no signs of abating. In addition, there are several other threads dealing with the same or peripheral matters.

Jeff LehmanAugust 23rd, 2015 at 10:57 pm

A few — but only a few — of the questions you posed do seem to be answered. Passell played in 5HX vulnerable and went down one for -200 (inferentially after the nonvulnerable opponents had sacrificed against 4H by bidding 5D). At the other table, where, because Passell had fouled the board, the cards were not the same, his teammates played in a diamond partial and scored +130. Thus the scored result was a difference of 70, a win of 2 IMPs for Passell’s opponents.

More significant questions are unanswered. Chief among them, I think, is the usual “who knew what and when did they know it”. When was it discovered that the board was fouled? Was the fouling inadvertent or intentional? Were the consequences of the fouled board understood by all parties (note that if 5HX went down one trick for -200 at Passell’s table, the possibility exists that 4H could have made at the other table for -620 for Passell’s team, which would be a loss of 13 IMPs)?

One would hope that these questions will be answered. Until the questions are answered, the attack on Passell and the attack on the committee (as well as the support for Passell and the support for the committee) are the products of speculation and not of direct knowledge.

Jeff LehmanAugust 23rd, 2015 at 11:02 pm

To clarify the sign of the calculations: Passell’s opponents were scored as winning 2 IMPs; inferentially, Passell’s opponents might, had the board not been fouled, have won 13 IMPs. At what point the opponents discovered that the fouling might have cost them the ability to win more than 2 IMPs — and how that discovery occurred — are among the key, currently unanswered, questions.

dave gillespieAugust 25th, 2015 at 12:47 am

What was the final score of the match? what round was this? what were the overall placings of the teams? was the other team comprised of the level of passells team? was he playing with a client?

paul croninAugust 25th, 2015 at 1:21 am

Mike played in 4 events in Palmetto, and I don’t know which event the incident occurred in. The placings and master-points won were

Wednesday-Thursday KO Tied 3rd 20.39 MPs
Thursday Bracketed RR First 15.40
Monday-Thursday KO First 42.40
Friday-Saturday KO First 45.24

Total MPs won = 123.43

The team was the same each time -Mike Passell, Eric Rodwell, Clearwater FL; Jeff Meckstroth, Clearwater Bch FL; Mary Chilcote, Cleveland OH; Mike Passell, Plano TX; Chris Compton, Dallas TX – all top players, so no client involved.

Jeff LehmanAugust 25th, 2015 at 11:16 am

Is Mary Chilcote not a client?

(Not that I think the answer matters, but only because someone else asked.)

bobby wolffAugust 26th, 2015 at 4:33 pm

Hi Jeff,

It doesn’t matter in reporting the specific facts, but it may or may not determine a degree of motive and conceivably the mindset of where and if illegal machinations occurred.

Again, since, as in most aberrant and disturbing events, subjectivity regarding if and why they happened are necessary to be accurately recorded, if for no other reason than sometimes to help determine the punishment or at other times to possibly consider that no likely illegal or intentional heinous act occurred.

The above is one of the main reasons that trial by public opinion together with official and collateral damage is unlikely to be accurate without the whole story.

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