Annual Reports of SFWA are (were) a Fantasy: Conflicts with Bi-Laws, Responsible Leadership and Timeliness

In A.C., Ann "A.C." Crispin, Ann Crispin, Author, Authors, C. E. Petit, Charles E. Petit, Charles Emil Petit, Charlie. Petit, Crispin, John Scalzi, John Steinbeck, Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers, Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers Association, SFWA, The Right Company to Keep, The Write Agenda, Victoria Strauss, Writer, Writer Beware on May 5, 2012 at 7:26 pm

“The Treasurer shall send dues notices and collect all fees, annual dues and subscriptions and keep full and accurate accounts of all moneys received and expended for the use of the Corporation and shall make financial reports at least quarterly, and at any other time when called upon to do so by the President. The Treasurer will be responsible for the timely filing of all of the Corporation’s tax forms, and shall keep current on all laws relating to the operation of 501(c)(6) nonprofit corporations.”

 – SFWA Bylaws

Transparency? Accountability? The execution of the timely duties of an officer . . . i.e. Treasurer? Transparency? Accountability? Where is it? Why is it delayed? And, delayed for years . . .  even decades (as we shall illustrate)? Why does the  SFWA want to reincorporate in California? What explains the obvious actions and lengthy delays to get into compliance with the Government? Sinking ship? Why has SFWA President, John Scalzi failed the membership of the SFWA? Where is the leadership? Where is the transparency? Questions need to be asked to the SFWA leadership immediately. This is YOUR organization! It doesn’t belong to A.C.Crispin, John Scalzi or Victoria Strauss.

2012 appears to have been a busy year for compliance filings with the SFWA. The Secretary of the Commonwealth, Corporations Division of Massachusetts received six years  (Yes, six years.) of Annual Reports from the SFWA’s Treasurer’s (there’s been several elected and none of them appear to have been capable to fulfill the duties that they were elected to execute; e.g. filing a posted-dated “Annual Report” for 2001 in 2012? 11 years late?)  Really, what does “annual” mean?

Filed on November 1, 2012 were the “Annual Reports” for 2001, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 on behalf of the SFWA . In addition, our research has also confirmed that the SFWA has not filed federal tax returns (Form 990) for 2009, 2010 or 2011. Who should be held accountable for the lack of timely reporting? Its President, John Scalzi. Scalzi, in our opinion, appears to be more interested in self-promotion, selling his books (which he’s doing a great job of) and pompously celebrating his status as president of the SFWA; while doing absolutely nothing . . .  NOTHING . . .  to enforce the fiduciary responsibilities of the SFWA‘s officers as well as his own duties. Scalzi, who has historically been  elected on marginal votes, has completely ignored his fiduciary responsibilities to the SFWA and its membership.  

Chapter 180 “Corporations for charitable and certain other purposes,” of the Commonwealth’s General Laws states:

“Section 11B. If any charitable corporation described in section eleven A fails to comply for two consecutive years with the provisions of section eight F of chapter twelve requiring the filing of annual financial reports with the office of the attorney general, or if the attorney general is satisfied that such corporation has become inactive and that its dissolution would be in the public interest, the attorney general may petition the supreme judicial court for the dissolution of such corporation, requesting the court to authorize the administration of its funds for such similar public charitable purposes as the court may determine, and the court, after notice by mail or otherwise as it may order, may dissolve such corporation. The attorney general may include as many corporations in a single application as he deems fit, and the court may include in its decree any or all of said corporations. The clerk of the supreme judicial court shall submit to the commissioner of revenue a list of corporations so dissolved.”

The SFWA claims to have a membership of 1800. During the 2010 elections, only 305 ballots were received (16%). 44 ballots were discarded due to SFWA procedural requirements; leaving 261 qualified ballots (14%). President, John Scalzi received 208 votes. Therefore, approximately 11% of the entire membership voted Scalzi into office. Treasurer Amy Casil Sterling was elected with 151 votes (8% of the entire membership). Comparatively, national voter turnout in federal elections has been as high as 56.8% in recent years. What is the cause of this dismal voting behavior? May it be due to disenchantment, indifference, or complacement? To ensure effective leadership going forward, the SFWA needs to step-up its efforts to increase turnout and encourage voting. The expiration of the current SFWA Officers terms of office is May 30, 2012. Unfortunately, President John Scalzi, who ran unopposed, will be at the helm of the SFWA for another term.

Wake up members of the SFWA! It’s time to get serious . . . very serious  . . . about this organization’s transparency and leadership. John Scalzi has failed the SFWA and, in our opinion, would not have been re-elected if 50% (or more) of the SFWA membership had voted. Coupled with the lack of un-vetted reporting by Writer Beware, A.C.Crispin, and Victoria Strauss, this organization will have its challenges during the next term with this leadership.

What is most concerning to us is the dereliction of the SFWA membership and their duty to exercise their right to vote. Electing a President on 11% of an organization’s population does not lead to responsible and effective leadership. Electing a Treasurer, that has failed to act responsibly and make timely governmental filings, on 8% of the organization’s population . . .  it’s pathetic. Wake up members of the the  SFWA! Unfortunately, you’ll have to endure another term with John Scalzi at the helm.

Annual Reports

Filing for November 1, 2012 (Submitted to the State on 10 Day of February, 2012)


Filing for November 1, 2001 (Submitted to the State on 10 Day of February, 2012)


Filing for November 1, 2008 (Submitted to the State on 10 Day of February, 2012)

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Filing for November 1, 2009 (Submitted to the State on 10 Day of February, 2012)

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Filing for November 1, 2010 (Submitted to the State on 10 Day of February, 2012)

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Filing for November 1, 2011 (Submitted to the State on 10 Day of February, 2012)

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The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

William Francis Galvin

Secretary of the Commonwealth, Corporations Division

One Ashburton Place, 17th floor

Boston, MA 02108-1512

Telephone: (617) 727-9640

Further Reading

10 Reasons (OK, 13) to Not Join and/or Renew Your Membership With the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers (SFWA)

The Stigma of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers (SFWA) & Writer Beware™ on Authors

Editorial: NLAPW — A Call for Transparency (Guest Blog)

Boycotting Victoria Strauss’s New Book “Passion Blue” (Guest Blog)

Protected: Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers (SFWA) Member Survey

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