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Leto - 2000

Redakcni komentar:
Uverejnujeme doslova zpravu o tom jak Zastupce Statu New York pozastavil smlouvu o prodeji ceske Narodni budovy na Manhattanu Ceske republice. Pro nas to neni prekvapni. Taktez to neni prekvapeni pro ceskou vladu. Soudim tak z toho, ze jsem mel prilezitost doprovazet presidenta Havla pri navsteve Narodniho domu 7. cervence (zmackni zde) , kdy mu generalni konzul Petr Gandalovic vysvetloval veskere podrobnosti. Tak jsem odposlechnul Gondalovicovo poznamku panu presidentovi, ze dohoda (smlouva) bude muset byt schvalena Prokuraturou Statu New York, coz asi probehne lehce, presto ze asi "Stat" bude mit nekolik poznamek k uprave umluvy. A tak jak konzul Gandalovic predpovedel panu presidentovi, tak se stalo. Konzul Gandalovic asi uz pozoroval, ze byrokracie zde v US je stejna jako kdekoliv jinde po celem svete: ma cervenou tuzku (v US nazyvanou "red tape") a tak vzdy najde neco k pozastaveni a k oprave.

Doleji si prectete jak predevsim je nutno vice vysvetlit, co by se stalo, kdyby CR nechtela nebo nebyla schopna rekonstrukci Narodni budovy vcasne a uspesne dokoncit a jak by BBLA mohla dostat budovu nazpet.

Za druhe, co Zastupitelstvi pozastavilo je ve smlouve popsano jako "performance standards". O tom se uz pred casem dohadovali i na nasich strankach. Totiz zde je rozpor mezi ucelem, pod kterym BBLA byl ustaven (incorporated) a zdruzuje ceske spolky a ucelem smlouvy. Smlouva pozaduje v "performance standards" prohlubovat a udrzovat pratelske styky s ceskou republikou, zatim co ucelem BBLA je prohlubovat a udrzovat ceske uvedomeni a spolupraci mezi ceskymi usedliky.

Jak se zde doctete doleji, v prubehu mimoradne schuze dne 27. zari pan Gandalovic byl pripravren a hned navrhl, ze CR proste vyskrtne ten cely pozadavek "performance standards" a dale zaruci dostatecnou pujcku penez s velmi malym urokem, aby umoznil BBLA koupeni budovy nazpet v pripade kdyby ceska vlada zklamala pozadavky umluvy.

Taktez zarucuje dodat novou umluvu vsem clenskym organizacim BBLA s dostatecnym casem ke schvaleni.

Presto, ze nase nasledujici titulky jsou lakave, ve skutecnosti se nic neocekavaneho nestalo.

Redakce Newyorskych listu

Soubor clanku o prodeji ceske Narodni budovy Ceske republice naleznete zde.

From:           	"John Krondl" 

To:             	"Olga Krupauerova" ,

       	"Cultural section, Czech Embassy" ,

       	"Petr Gandalovic" ,

       	"Carl Hodek" ,

       	"Josef Schrabal" , 

Subject:        	Press Release

Date sent:      	Thu, 28 Sep 2000 14:55:56 -0400

I am attaching a Press Release concerning the latest developments around

the Bohemian National Hall in Manhattan, NY. I am available for further


John Krondl,

Ceskoslovenske noviny, New York

On September 7, 2000 the New York State Assistant Attorney General Sandra Giorno-Tocco representing the Charities Bureau turned down the Contract between the Czech Republic and the Bohemian Benevolent & Literary Association (BBLA) concerning the transfer of the Bohemian National Hall to the Czech Republic for $1 and subsequent Lease conditions of one floor back to the BBLA. The main reasons for her decision, as expressed in her evalutation, are:

a) The Contract contains unreasonable conditions under which BBLA could gain the Hall back, in case the Czech Republic either does not complete its restoration on time, or it decides to sell the building. The attorney general questioned whether other avenues of cooperation were first pursued - specifically asking the Czech Government to substantiate its position that taking over the Hall was the only way it was able and willing to help.

b) The Contract violates civil liberties of the BBLA by asking it to subject itself to so-called "Performance Standards" imposed by the Czech Republic. She remarked that some of these conditions even violate the BBLA's Statement of Incorporation. [For example, the requirement that BBLA should devote itself "predominantly to promoting Czech-American relations" does not meet the "Czech & Slovak" legal description of BBLA.]

Due to the above reasons, she recommended that the Contract is changed and undergoes new approval by the BBLA member organizations.

In plain language, the Contract did not make it through the first round - the evaluation by the Charitites Bureau - and therefore will not be even considered by the Supreme Court of New York.

The undersigned three members of BBLA came to the conclusion that the situation calls for a more open approach on both sides. They also strongly feel that the Attorney General's evaluation, while it objectively analyzes the Contract and rightfully pinpoints its flaws, does not and cannot address the root of the problem -- which is the way the bad Contract was shepherded through BBLA by its long-time leadership, namely its president, Mr. Jan Hird Pokorny. Therefore, on September 25, 2000 they filed a law-suit against BBLA and Jan Hird Pokorny. The main points of their complaint are:

a) Mr. Pokorny failed to stop the controversial Contract right at his own doorstep, although he must have been well aware of its controversy. On the contrary, he recommended it to the BBLA member organizations for their approval, at one point even falsely speaking on behalf of the entire Negotiating Committee. Not only that he did not follow up with the member organizations to make sure that they reviewed and discussed the last version of the Contract in a proper manner, but he even ignored clear signals from some delegates that their organizations had not done so.

b) In general, over the years, Mr. Pokorny failed to lead BBLA towards activity, self-reliance and rejuvenation of its leadership by monitoring the member organizations' activities.

By his approach, Mr. Pokorny brought BBLA into a situation in which the New York Assistant Attorney General had to step in for a rescue, in order to defend the organizations' interests, because they were not able to defend them themselves.


On September 27, 2000 an emergency meeting of the BBLA's Board of Directors took place in the National Hall. BBLA lawyers announced that the Czech government -- only after it was faced with the Attorney General's rejection of the Contract -- agreed to remove the "Performance Standards" and also offered a low-interest loan to BBLA to buy the Hall back, in case the government wants to sell it. No relief, however, was offered in case the government does not complete the reconstruction on time (when BBLA would also have a right to ask for it back).

The Czech Consul General, Petr Gandalovic attended the second half of the meeting. He stressed his concern that the prepared new version of the Contract would be properly "distributed to all member organizations" and "approved according to their by-laws", so that the delegates have a "clear mandate". When directly asked by the undersigned, he was unable to come up with an explanation to the Attorney General's question why "an outright sale to the Republic was the only transaction possible with the Republic".


"It is not true that all is bad and everything is lost and has to be smitten away by some kind of a storm. The exact opposite is true: in this society, there is a huge potential of good will, creativity, dilligence, kindness and desire for a better human environment. The goal is to release this potential, open a space for it, encourage it. That is the task of politicians, but not just theirs. It is the task of all publicly active people, all people in positions of responsibility, and, after all, all of us, the citizens of the Czech Republic who mean well for our country."

Václav Havel in the New Year's Address 2000

The undersigned strongly emphasize, that -- the BBLA's shortcomings notwithstanding -- the brunt of responsibility for the current situation lies with the Czech government, because it is, by far, the stronger of the two partners. The fact is that the Czech government's position is so strong that it can largely influence the solution to the National Hall's resurrection. The government can offer the community a helping hand and lead it towards increased activity, self-reliance and competence, or it can extend a greedy hand and lead the community towards increased passivity, dependence and decline.

We believe that "The role of the government is to help people help themselves." That is basically what the above Václav Havel's statement also says. If we, the compatriot community, are a part of the Czech nation, then the Czech government should help us to become a living, healthy and functional part of the nation.

The currently proposed solution which puts the compatriot community into a totally passive, dependent and subservient role to the Czech government, however, cannot be termed as a "cooperation".

Therefore, we have to look for a better solution, such one that will put the community back on its feet and help it become an active and functional part of the nation. And, with God's help, we believe that we will find it.

Frank Kubernat, the Sokol New York delegate to BBLA
Peter Kutil, the Association of Free Czechoslovak Sportsmen delegate to BBLA and BBLA's vice-president
John Krondl, the delegate of the American-Czechoslovak Information Center to BBLA

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