Friday, September 10, 2010

Ravndal’s letter to the Big Sky Tea Party Association

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This is the last I’m going to post about the Tim Ravndal saga for a while, but I wanted to share this e-mail that Ravndal sent to members of the Big Sky Tea Party Association.

Ravndal apparently sent this out around the same time he sent out his press release to statewide media.

I don’t even know where to begin with analyzing this, and quite frankly I don’t have the time today, but I thought many of you might find this very interesting so I decided to post it here at your friendly neighborhood capital blog. 

I might remind readers that Ravndal is lying when he says he had “not been given that opportunity” to tell his side of the story. I interviewed him  and reported on his side of the story last week, two days before his removal as Big Sky Tea Party Association president. A BSTPA source told me Ravndal warned the board that my story was coming, and then promptly left town. The fact that Ravndal told at least one BSTPA official to expect to see my story in the Great Falls Tribune is proof enough that I interviewed Ravndal. I don’t understand why he continues to lie about that fact.

Here’s his letter. The emphases are Ravndal’s.

Big Sky Tea Party Association

Personal Statement


Tim Ravndal


I wish to thank you for giving me the privilege of addressing the group last night. It is a difficult situation we were all in, and I would like to say I am sorry to each and every one that has put so much work into our organization.

I would like to take another moment of your time here to reiterate my position in this unfortunate situation. As the press has only taken the bits and pieces of the facts and moved them forward, conclusions have been drawn on political correctness and half truths. It is important to make every effort I can to insure the facts are exposed for those that are interested in the truth.

The story regarding my mistake in my personal face book account broke last Friday. The news media from Great Falls did a story, and that story began a firestorm of attacks on everyone across the great state of Montana involved in the tea party movement. I apologize again for not doing my duty and informing the group immediately. I also from my heart apologize to the many hard working individuals across Montana that have devoted so much time and energy in developing the Montana tea party movement.

In July, I posted a comment and link to the ACLU lawsuit against Montana and gay marriage. I led the post with a personal comment: “Marriage is between a Man and a Woman.” I continued with stating that: “the lawsuit would be a violation of my rights provided here under our Montana Constitution.” The defending of the constitution has been the cornerstone of BSTPA and every tea party group across America. This particular issue has been at the top of the list of BSTPA and we have been engaged in this battle for quite some time, dating back to an event in Townsend. Everyone at the meeting last night acknowledged that and agreed.

At the end of August, Dennis from Miles City posted a comment on my face book thread. His post led with identifying homosexuals as “fruits.” I immediately was put on guard here with the inflammatory identification, but as anyone knows, there are many levels of personal use of the English language used on face book. Everyone also agrees that Freedom of Speech is paramount to our engaging in any battles to defend the constitution.

So, in the interest in pursuing an explanation for his comment about a display manual in Wyoming, I asked for a copy. It is at this juncture that everyone that has been thrust into the mass judgment against me, understand a time frame plays a very important part here. It is essential to know that upon replying to the post made by Dennis, where I asked for a printed version of the manual, and a comment to Keith on the first amendment, I left face book!

Several hours went by and I returned to face book to see there was a response to my inquiry to Dennis. As I opened up the thread and read Dennis’s response, I was appalled! I also realized that it was now viral as many other posts on this thread were demonizing me for condoning the torture and violations of the rights of Mathew Shepherd. This was honestly the first time I had made any connection to the tragic event that happened years ago in Wyoming. I immediately reacted to my newly discovered devastating dialogue and removed the entire post. I was disgusted and I still am.

The post had already been picked up by the Montana Human Rights Network, and ACLU as well as many blogs across the nation. I issued an immediate apology on face book for the understandably and agreed vile discussion that was on my face book account. The removal of the thread and my apology immediately fueled the firestorm. “Too little Too late!”

As I was leaving town for a funeral service of a friend in Anaconda and to work on some family property there, I again made a mistake of not notifying the BSTPA board of directors of this development. That was wrong, and I apologize to the board of directors and officers of the corporation. I also apologize to the leadership of other groups across our great state, as they should have been afforded a heads up on this from me.

The next I hear on this issue is a couple of messages from the BSTPA Chairman of the Board Jim Walker advising me of an emergency meeting that is about to take place and its conclusion. These messages were left on my cell phone. The first message again stated a meeting was being held, and the second stated that I had been removed from office and as a member of BSTPA.

I decided that it was best for me to wait until I returned home to insure I was fully informed on the entire incident before proceeding. On Monday afternoon I got home to find literally hundreds of threatening emails messages and the post that I had made an apology in face book was filled with hate messages against me and the tea party movement.

It is here that I decided that it was not beneficial to me or anyone else affected by this tragic event to comment without addressing the Big Sky Tea Party Association first. As I had not been given that opportunity prior to my removal from office of president, I felt that my obligation to the organization membership dictated a response directly to them first. I consequently made a request to attend and address the BSTPA meeting on Tuesday evening.

I am sad that the board of directors of BSTPA reacted to this event in such an extreme manner without providing for due process. As the board did operate somewhat within the guidelines of the bylaws, the board failed to provide a hearing for due process.

At the meeting I referenced that I was thrown under the bus, and in a situation like this, I was certainly the best candidate for that action. I have been in the spotlight for many years here in Montana fighting for the rights of the people and standing in the face of tyranny.

Who better to sacrifice or crucify than me. I understand that, and I have put myself in that position without fear and accept those consequences as I believe from the bottom of my heart in this battle for our future and our lives.

It is here that I must say to everyone that I am very hurt by the knee jerk reaction that the board of directors took. I found that the emergency board meeting was called with a pre written press release with a predetermined outcome of the meeting stating my removal from the office of president and as a member of BSTPA. Again, due process was circumvented at every juncture up to and including the meeting of the board.

I earlier stated that I have been in the spotlight for many years and that this position has been a personal choice of mine knowing full well the ramifications that can and usually do come from being in that lead position. I have worked diligently across this country networking with every like minded organization and individual I could find. I take that responsibility with pride for the work that I have accomplished while at the same time, I am deeply saddened by the collateral damage that has been caused by my actions and those of the BSTPA board.

Had this been handled internally and with professionalism providing due process we would likely be focused on moving forward rather than finding ourselves fully engaged in damage control. It is once again, my responsibility for my actions or lack thereof and I own up to my shortcomings.

It is my uncomfortable position to point out that the decision to go public with our internal issue here has caused a tremendous amount collateral damage. The decision by the board to post a press release has caused a direct attack on the position of Kristi. Her association with the group and her pending lawsuit is now the next tangible target of our opponents. The boards’ action in placating the human rights network and other calls for action are coming with consequences. It will be very difficult for us to move forward with a position of solidarity at this juncture. Our foundation is weakened and our opponents know it.

I fear the event that BSTPA has sponsored for the 18th is in jeopardy of a direct frontal attack by the extreme left. I advise the leadership of BSTPA to contact security at the Capitol immediately and prepare for the worst. The door is opened, and I am already hearing dissent from outside organizations. So, the decision to go public with this by the board is going to have ramifications to the ability to stage any events in public in at least the near future.

Another aspect of the collateral damage that the board failed to consider when going public is the Montana Viewpoint. The conservative tea party magazine that is getting started is now also in the cross hairs more than ever because of the actions by the board. This too shall pass, but I truly do not believe that the boards of directors were looking outside of the box when they took action.

I made a promise to Kristi that I would stand in front of her to protect her and her family from harm. I am keeping that promise regardless of the final outcome of this event. I can only hope that the friendship that has been developed over the past year and a half will show Kristi that we are united on providing that protection for her as she moves forward in pursuing due process in court. I guarantee that she will need each and every one of us, without hesitation.

I took on the task of leadership of BSTPA to pull this organization out of the rut that it was in to build it into an organization to be reckoned with. We were beginning down that route, and were actually starting to see some direction with established goals. If BSTPA is to survive, it is paramount to set these goals to fulfill the mission statement. I have said before, BSTPA must have solid goals and pursue them, or we will be nothing more than a doughnut dunking tea sipping social club. With or without my participation, I urge you to move forward with this in mind.

So, in closing, if the board of directors chooses to defend their position to throw me under the bus, I accept that. If the board should so choose to provide for due process and to reconsider, I will certainly welcome the opportunity to work with you to stand for the membership of BSTPA. Last but not least, I must ask you to request that each and every member of BSTPA and the Montana tea party community physically and publically stand behind Kristi. Please pull her out from under the bus and defend her!

In the event that the board of directors of the Big Sky Tea Party Association is not willing to reconsider, I reluctantly will bid you my best wishes and move forward standing in the face of tyranny without you in the name of freedom.

Respectfully and from my heart!

Tim Ravndal

[I removed his telephone number from the e-mail note. – jsa]

Cc: Leaders of Montana Tea Party Organizations

Montana Viewpoint

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