The president of the Richmond Jets Minor Hockey Association (RJMHA) has clung on to her position by the thinnest of margins after a special general meeting was held to oust her from the seat.
The Jets board of directors needed 67 per cent of the votes cast at Thursday night’s meeting to remove Carolyn Hart as president, after proclaiming last month they had “lost confidence” in her due to the apparent surprise appearance of a $147,000 cheque.
However, the Richmond News understands that the board was only able to get 63.9 per cent of the membership who attended the meeting to vote Hart out.
The News has been told by various Jets members - among the 446 in attendance who were eligible to vote - that several recounts had to be carried out, given how close the result was.
By about 10:30 p.m., though, it apparently became clear that Hart – who was the long-time president of Richmond Minor before it merged with Seafair last year – had held on to her role as president by only three per cent.
The final result was believed to be 285 votinig in favour of removing the president, with 161 voting against Hart's removal.
The News has reached out to the Jets’ board and Hart for comment and to explain what will happen next, if anything.
The News reported last month how the year-old Jets – born out of a merger of rival clubs Richmond Minor and Seafair – were immersed in an apparent power struggle, with Hart refusing a board demand for her to step down.
Last Thursday morning, the Jets board emailed a “fact sheet” to the parent membership, outlining its reasons for calling for Hart’s resignation.
The email honed in on the appearance this summer of an old Richmond Minor Hockey tournament account worth $147,000, which the board claims it had no previous knowledge of, while Hart, they say, did.
The board claims this breached an agreement when the clubs joined forces last year, with all funds being poured into one account.
Hart claimed it was “widely known that each Richmond Minor Hockey Association tournament had their own bank account…Every past and present member of the Richmond Jets Board of Directors knew that the (Richmond Minor) tournaments had bank accounts...There is absolutely no money missing.”
Before the membership voted Thursday night, it became apparent that the cheque for the $147,000, written out to the Jets, had been cancelled.
One of the former Richmond Minor tournament organizers, Bob Gounder, admitted to the membership on Thursday that he had cancelled the cheque, but refused to elaborate why.
Hart had earlier lodged a bullying complaint with BC Hockey against four Jets directors and one former director. It’s understood to still be under investigation.