A court hearing on a disputed leadership post at the American Academy of Actuaries has been continued until Tuesday.
Bruce Schobel, who had until recently been president-elect of the AAA, Washington, brought the case in the U.S. District Court in Washington. He is seeking an injunction against the AAA board, to block its decision to remove him from the president-elect post. He also is seeking an award of more than $2 million. Schobel is alleging that he was removed illegally and defamed by the board.
The AAA board voted Aug. 5 to oust Schobel as president-elect without initially informing its members of the decision. Schobel was originally set to take over as president of the organization Oct. 26.
According to papers filed in that case, the majority of the board voted to remove Schobel at the request of 19 former AAA presidents, who had petitioned the board for Schobel’s removal in an e-mail sent to board members July 9. That message expressed reservations about Schobel’s suitability as president.
In the Aug. 5 vote, 17 of 29 board members voted to remove Schobel as president of the group and 9 were opposed, while 1 abstained and 2 were not present, according to sources.
An AAA spokesman, Andrew Simonelli, and a former president of the group, David Hartman, declined to comment because the matter is in litigation.
Arbitrators recently decided in favor of upholding a defamation charge by Sarah Sanford, a former executive of the Society of Actuaries, Schaumburg, Ill. against the SOA and Schobel, who was president of the SOA in 2007-2008.
Sanford, the SOA’s former executive director, alleged that she had been fired from her post after Schobel libeled her. Although it is not clear how the board learned of that case, papers filed by Sanford disclosed that Schobel had been convicted of “atrocious assault and battery,” a felony, more than 30 years ago. The court in the Sanford case as well as an arbitrator upheld the plaintiff and awarded her a judgment in excess of $2 million earlier this year.
Hartman urged the president-elect to step down in July, in a letter written before the former presidents’ e-mail to the board,.
“I, and most of my fellow past presidents of the AAA, fear that the public trust that the American Academy of Actuaries has built up over the years since its founding in 1965 is at risk of being damaged,” Hartman wrote. “The source of the risk is the American Arbitration Association [award] document.”