To All United American Patriots,
We write in response to social media messaging which is off the mark concerning United American Patriots, Inc. (UAP) and its relationships with supported warriors and their respective attorneys. After providing some background, we correct the record concerning inaccuracies relating to Chief Gallagher, Mr. Vokey, and UAP. Although Mr. Vokey has filed an arbitration demand in Texas seeking to collect fees for his professional services rendered as part of a contract with Chief Gallagher, UAP is not a party to the contact between Chief Gallagher and Mr. Vokey, nor part of any legal action against Chief Gallagher whatsoever.
Attorney Timothy Parlatore, Chief and Mrs. Gallagher’s legal representative in the Texas breach of contract matter, being pursued by Mr. Vokey, notified UAP by phone that Mr. Vokey had submitted a request for “arbitration” for unpaid bills in Chief Eddie Gallagher’s case. Our understanding is that an “arbitration” paragraph is a normal standard and best business practice in the engagement agreement between the lawyer and the client. UAP is not a party to that contract nor to the arbitration. The engagement letter is signed by Mr. Vokey and by Chief Gallagher and UAP is not a party to that contract.
Again, UAP’ has a separate agreement with the Warrior and not with his lawyer. Once the Warrior has an attorney and the normal legal contract between the attorney and the client is in place, the Warrior then applies for UAP support. This policy ensures that UAP and its fundraising activities stay out of the attorney-client relationship.
How Did We Get Here?
Initially UAP was very excited to partner with Chief and Mrs. Gallagher. Andrea was determined to fight and support for her husband and she was obviously a savvy and successful business owner of a woman’s marketing company.
We were surprised when Andrea Gallagher simultaneously partnered with the Navy SEALs Fund, another 501c3 non-profit. We recognized, however, that this was a great opportunity to partner with the Navy SEALs Fund and potentially achieve some synergies, especially since we already were helping five other SEAL cases besides Chief Gallagher’s.
We reached out the Navy SEALs Fund and tried to open discussions to coordinate the payment of legal fees and resolve any potential donor confusion as to how each organization was supporting Chief Gallagher. UAP felt this was a simple business issue that could be resolved with some discussion and coordination.
After the initial discussions Mr. Gurfein, UAPs CEO, received a call from Andrea Gallagher accusing UAP of “going behind her back”. During that phone call Mr. Gurfein agreed to submit a letter to Andrea explaining the issues with two non-profits supporting the same case.
UAP’s CEO sent a letter (dated 8 January 2019) to Andrea, at her request, describing the issues with the Navy Seals Fund. The Navy SEALs Fund was initially opened to pay “legal fees and other support” for Chief Gallagher, however, UAP was the only organization authorized to pay Chief Gallagher’s legal fees. Mr. Gurfein’s 8-page letter very professionally and tactfully stated the issues and concerns. The letter was also reviewed, edited and approved by UAP Board of Directors before Mr. Gurfein’ s signature.
In Andrea Gallagher’s March 8, 2019 letter to the UAP Board of Directors, Andrea stated that UAP’s CEO letter, explaining the issue with the Navy SEALs Fund, was an attempted “extortion” (obtaining money with force or threats). In addition, Andrea expressed concerns with Mr. Gurfein’s mis-management of UAP’s funds based on UAP’s 2017 Tax Return (990).
Andrea also stated that “Clearly, Mr. Gurfein has abused our trust and we will not continue to communicate with him.” Mr. Vokey was also attacked with charges of “clear and unambiguous violations of the ethical rules, submission of likely fraudulent expense invoices, and attempts to extort money from the Navy SEALs Fund.”
Our surprise upon receiving this letter was profound. We recognized early on that Andrea Gallagher was a very capable and successful businesswoman and owner of a successful marketing company. Based on our experience we recognized the stress a service member’s court-martial can place on a spouse, however, we failed to see anything positive in Andrea’s and Chief Gallagher’s responses nor any foundation for her over the top attacks.
The board members immediately reviewed the UAP CEO January 8 letter. We could see no perception or intent at extortion or threats. The letter professionally and benignly explained the issues, concerns and made recommendations. The board explained that Mr. Gurfein was not associated with UAP in any way in 2017. In fact, Mr. Gurfein was not recruited as CEO until April 2018.
Mr. Gurfein was also hired to lead a UAP re-organization. The UAP Board of Directors recognized the 990 issues in 2017 and the high costs associated with our direct mail fundraising partner. The 990 only reflected the legal fees paid as a benefit reflecting an unacceptable benefit to cost ratio. The 990s did not reflect the benefits of education awareness, support for the incarcerated and the social reintegration of our clients as stated in UAP’s mission statement. Mr. Gurfein was asked to lead the reorganization and resolved issues by implementing several best business practices. The 990 issue and the high cost of mail-outs were both on the top of Mr. Gurfein’s list, and corrective action bringing our margins more in line with industry expectations has occurred.
We also replied to Andrea’s attack on Mr. Vokey as follows: “We have never experienced anything that was considered unethical or illegal concerning Mr. Vokey’s professional conduct. Our experience is that Mr. Vokey’s integrity is exceptional as is his representation of his clients. Frankly, Mr. Vokey’s record is one of the best we have observed. We strongly believe that your accusations are not only unfair but also unfounded. We have complete confidence and trust in Mr. Vokey’s billings and any of your billing questions need to be referred to Mr. Vokey.”
Since the end of Chief Gallagher’s court-martial, Mr. Vokey has successfully represented five other Navy SEAL cases with their charges dismissed.
After March 8, 2019, UAP again stated we would continue to pay Chief Gallagher’s legal fees provided, as stated in the UAP/client agreement, as along as UAP was authorized to continue raising funds for Chief Gallagher.
On March 19, 2019, Andrea Gallagher “severed” (“effective immediately”) the relationship between Chief Gallagher and UAP. She also ordered that “UAP will remove all mention of Eddie Gallagher from its website and social media and make no further postings regarding my husband’s case or use my husband in any way to further UAP fundraising efforts.” By this time UAP had paid $77,000 toward Chief Gallagher’s legal defense. This was over 100% of what was raised for Chief Gallagher by UAP. The $77,000 paid all of Chief Gallagher’s bills in UAP’s possession that had been reviewed and approved by the Board. We understand that the arbitration amount is for bills submitted to Chief Gallagher were never approved and therefore UAP never received. In any event, both Mr. Vokey and the Gallagher’s understood UAP can pay legal fees as long as we are allowed to raise funds.
Andrea Gallagher also stated in her final paragraph that “There is no value to any of us at this point for us to make derogatory public statements about this situation, especially before Eddie’s trial. We will remove references to UAP from the Free Eddie pages make a simple public statement that moving forward all fundraising efforts are being consolidated in the Navy SEALs Fund.”
UAP complied with this request because we also agreed that there was no value added to Chief Gallagher’s case in exchanging derogatory public comments. Based on Andrea’s and her attorney’s recent social media messaging, we have to assume this request is no longer valid necessitating this statement.
UAP compliments Andrea Gallagher and the Navy SEALs Fund for their outstanding efforts in raising funds to pay Chief’s Gallagher’s legal fees and other support. We understand from reports that they have raised over $800,000 and are still continuing their fund raising efforts pending Chief Gallagher’s sentencing for the charge to which he was convicted as guilty.
In sum, UAP is not a party to any legal action against Chief and Mrs. Gallagher. Nor is UAP privy to the contract for legal and professional services between Mr. Vokey and Chief Gallagher. To the extent others have reported so, that is not accurate. UAP views the Gallagher trial result as a victory for military justice and wishes the Gallagher’s continued successes.
Bob Weimann. LtCol. USMC Ret.
Chairman Board of Directors
United American Patriots