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 Post subject: Seattle Go Center sues Nihon Ki-in Japan
Post #1 Posted: Thu Apr 19, 2012 8:10 pm 
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Earlier today, the tax exempt nonprofit Seattle Go Center filed a Complaint against the Nihon Ki-in (Japan) in King County Superior Court. The Complaint, which alleges breach of contract, violation of the obligation of good faith and fair dealing, conversion, and fraud, was filed in response to the Nihon Ki-in’s decision, announced March 8, 2012, to sell the Seattle Go Center building in order to redirect these resources to the New York Go Center, which closed its building in November 2010.

The Seattle Go Center deeply regrets that we have been forced to take this action. We are very disappointed that despite more than a month of urging the Nihon Ki-in to enter into negotiations with us, the Nihon Ki-in has not yet done so. The cloud of uncertainty hanging over Seattle Go Center’s future has severely impaired our ability to conduct fundraising.

The Nihon Ki-in has not given any reason for its decision to revive the New York Go Center at the expense of Seattle’s, either publicly or to Seattle Go Center Directors or to the American Go Association Board, which has requested one.

During a January 23, 2012 Seattle Go Center board meeting which Executive Director Kobayashi personally attended, Kobayashi told the Seattle Go Center directors that the Seattle Go Center building had been purchased and remodeled with unrestricted funds provided by the Nihon Ki-in. We believe that statement was false. We believe it is clear that the Seattle Go Center’s building was purchased and remodeled with restricted funds obtained as a gift from Kaoru Iwamoto 9P, in a location personally chosen by him on a visit to Seattle; and that the remodel was done specifically to create a street level commercial rental space which would provide the Seattle Go Center with a reliable, long-term income stream. Iwamoto-Sensei wanted to promote international friendship by providing a place where people of all backgrounds and ethnicities could enjoy learning and playing Go together. We think we are doing a great job of fulfilling that vision.


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 Post subject: Re: Seattle Go Center sues Nihon Ki-in Japan
Post #2 Posted: Thu Apr 19, 2012 10:28 pm 
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Tanana wrote:
the Seattle Go Center’s building was purchased and remodeled with restricted funds obtained as a gift from Kaoru Iwamoto 9P


A gift to whom? Who is the current owner of the center's building?

The story is the one circulating years ago, but what are the facts?

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 Post subject: Re: Seattle Go Center sues Nihon Ki-in Japan
Post #3 Posted: Fri Apr 20, 2012 10:57 pm 
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Image

On the wall at the Seattle Go Center

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 Post subject: Re: Seattle Go Center sues Nihon Ki-in Japan
Post #4 Posted: Fri Apr 20, 2012 11:16 pm 
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Interesting, but the sign does not state the current owner of the building.

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 Post subject: Re: Seattle Go Center sues Nihon Ki-in Japan
Post #5 Posted: Fri Apr 20, 2012 11:47 pm 
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SL says that in addition to NYC and Seattle, he also funded go clubs in Sao Paulo and Amsterdam. Amsterdam is apparently still going. Anybody know the status of the Sao Paulo club?

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 Post subject: Re: Seattle Go Center sues Nihon Ki-in Japan
Post #6 Posted: Sat Apr 21, 2012 1:20 am 
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The Go center in Amsterdam definitely belongs to the Nihon Ki-in. The New York Go Center was in a building that definitely belongs to the Nihon Ki-in.

Burning bridges with the Nihon Ki-in is quite inspired. The old "first sue, then think" mentality.


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 Post subject: Re: Seattle Go Center sues Nihon Ki-in Japan
Post #7 Posted: Sat Apr 21, 2012 1:33 am 
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When people stop communicating bad things will happen. :-|

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 Post subject: Re: Seattle Go Center sues Nihon Ki-in Japan
Post #8 Posted: Sat Apr 21, 2012 2:07 am 
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hanekomu wrote:
The Go center in Amsterdam definitely belongs to the Nihon Ki-in. The New York Go Center was in a building that definitely belongs to the Nihon Ki-in.

Burning bridges with the Nihon Ki-in is quite inspired. The old "first sue, then think" mentality.


This appears to be a bridge set fire on both ends, heaven help the person in the middle...

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 Post subject: Re: Seattle Go Center sues Nihon Ki-in Japan
Post #9 Posted: Sat Apr 21, 2012 2:22 am 
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Nobody is going to be silly enough to start a court case without first getting their lawyer to dig out the title deeds.

...................................................are they?

Seems a recipe for disaster. Stir your petrol, add a lit match and wonder why it explodes in your face.

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 Post subject: Re: Seattle Go Center sues Nihon Ki-in Japan
Post #10 Posted: Sat Apr 21, 2012 9:57 am 
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hanekomu wrote:
Burning bridges with the Nihon Ki-in is quite inspired. The old "first sue, then think" mentality.


Where did you decide that this wasn't thought about first? It's better not to make assumptions like that.

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 Post subject: Re: Seattle Go Center sues Nihon Ki-in Japan
Post #11 Posted: Sat Apr 21, 2012 10:30 am 
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I'm curious about the criticism - if Nihon Ki-in is planning to sell the building, what else other than a lawsuit can the centre do to stop the plan (obviously they have already tried to to communicate/negotiate)? :scratch:

I guess some sort of appeal to other Ki-in officials, but I have absolutely no knowledge if that has been tried or would even be feasible.

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 Post subject: Re: Seattle Go Center sues Nihon Ki-in Japan
Post #12 Posted: Sat Apr 21, 2012 11:44 am 
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illluck wrote:
I'm curious about the criticism - if Nihon Ki-in is planning to sell the building, what else other than a lawsuit can the centre do to stop the plan (obviously they have already tried to to communicate/negotiate)? :scratch:

I guess some sort of appeal to other Ki-in officials, but I have absolutely no knowledge if that has been tried or would even be feasible.


Since you use the word "communicate" I get the impression that you considered my post critical of the Seattle people.
It should not be interpreted that way. If anything I think the Nihon Ki-in has failed in its PR.

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 Post subject: Re: Seattle Go Center sues Nihon Ki-in Japan
Post #13 Posted: Sat Apr 21, 2012 11:55 am 
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If the building belongs to the Nihon Ki-in, than it is their sacred right to decide what to do with it.The club officials can express their gratitude for being able to use the building for so long, not sue them :roll:

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 Post subject: Re: Seattle Go Center sues Nihon Ki-in Japan
Post #14 Posted: Sat Apr 21, 2012 12:04 pm 
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@Insane: No, that was not a comment to you specifically.

@Gorim: Whether that "IF" holds is the big issue, no?

Edit: Mmm, just found out that the Ki-in does have legal title. Still, presumably they have done the research and think that there's a case.


Last edited by illluck on Sat Apr 21, 2012 12:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: Re: Seattle Go Center sues Nihon Ki-in Japan
Post #15 Posted: Sat Apr 21, 2012 12:13 pm 
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Does anyone have links to the court filings?

I'm curious about standing in respect to Seattle Go Center's founding charter and other documentation (ie: does the Go Center have an independent trust and is the building included in that trust).

--ptw--

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 Post subject: Re: Seattle Go Center sues Nihon Ki-in Japan
Post #16 Posted: Sat Apr 21, 2012 12:20 pm 
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Gorim wrote:
If the building belongs to the Nihon Ki-in, than it is their sacred right to decide what to do with it.The club officials can express their gratitude for being able to use the building for so long, not sue them :roll:

illluck wrote:
@Insane: No, that was not a comment to you specifically.

@Gorim: Whether that "IF" holds is the big issue, no?


Not necessarily. Not all property is held free and clear; sometimes it is held conditionally. For example, bequests to universities are generally earmarked for a specific purpose and are forfeited to the estate, or to some specified third party, if they are diverted to another purpose. I assume that is what is at issue here. Also, the asset of a legal person is not the personal property of an executive or a board of directors, and I believe other interested parties can bring suit for a number of reasons.


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 Post subject: Re: Seattle Go Center sues Nihon Ki-in Japan
Post #17 Posted: Sat Apr 21, 2012 5:00 pm 
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Judicata, you're our only hope!!! Where are you? We need your wisdom!

(but barring the appearance of such a hero, jts sounds on target)

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 Post subject: Re: Seattle Go Center sues Nihon Ki-in Japan
Post #18 Posted: Sat Apr 21, 2012 5:23 pm 
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jts wrote:
... Not all property is held free and clear; sometimes it is held conditionally. For example, bequests to universities are generally earmarked for a specific purpose and are forfeited to the estate, or to some specified third party, if they are diverted to another purpose. I assume that is what is at issue here. Also, the asset of a legal person is not the personal property of an executive or a board of directors, and I believe other interested parties can bring suit for a number of reasons.


I understand that is almost, but not quite the issue here. The Nihon Ki-in is not, TTBOMK, diverting money from the Seattle go center to buy pizza and sake. If so, then, yes, they would almost certainly be in violation of the implied conditions of Iwamoto's bequest.
It appears that they are running short of money for such projects, and have to make a choice of which of Iwamoto's projects they wish to fund. It further appears that they have chosen NY over Seattle. The result is still well within the bounds of Iwamoto's wishes.
If my understanding as expressed above is correct, then the lawsuit hasn't the chances of a mushy snowball - unless someone could prove that Iwamoto prefered Seattle over NY.

To continue with JTS's university analogy: suppose a bequest funds a research team of four people in a university, and then the trust that funds it starts running short of money. If the managers of the bequest then lay off one of the researchers to balance their budget, then if he sues, he hasn't a leg to stand on.

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 Post subject: Re: Seattle Go Center sues Nihon Ki-in Japan
Post #19 Posted: Sat Apr 21, 2012 5:39 pm 
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That makes sense too Joaz, but might not mean that Seattle can't sue, only that the Nihon Ki-In has a strong potential defense.

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 Post subject: Re: Seattle Go Center sues Nihon Ki-in Japan
Post #20 Posted: Sat Apr 21, 2012 7:08 pm 
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Also interesting is that it is very likely that there's no real plan to reopen the NY centre - apparently that centre was... less than successful.

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