Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Michelle Foreman, President of TRA, sets the record straight regarding trumoil at TRA. Says if Sharon Ford persist in defamation, slander or libel, legal action will follow.

To: Fellow TRA members 
From: Michelle Foreman, TRA President 
Date: June 14, 2021 
Re: Corrections to misinformation 

Michelle Foreman
Various friends have informed me that there are Facebook pages from which I have been blocked, as well as emails and text messages, that are posting incorrect and slanderous information about me and my leadership with the TRA. These friends have encouraged me to address this and provide the correct information because the incorrect information is being perceived as fact. 

People’s emotional responses are understandable. If I myself were to read the communications, and the subsequent comments, in all likelihood I too would be concerned on behalf of Sharon Ford. I have learned that being offended is a choice. With this understanding, I choose not to be offended. However, after the correct information is provided, along with the documentation, please understand that if such slanderous comment continues to be made, proper steps must be taken to protect myself and my reputation. 

George Washington said, “Truth will ultimately prevail where there are pains taken to bring it to light”. In the spirit of this statement, I offer the following information. 

During the past several years, the TRA had been “on the ropes” per se, and membership had dwindled to the point that the NFRA (the parent organization) was poised to revoke the TRA Charter due to the lack of membership. Attendance at TRA meetings, at times, was less than 5 people and membership had plummeted to less than 40 members. Former TRA members willingly stated why they did not renew their membership and allowed their membership to elapse, and the common denominator seemed to point back to the leadership of then-President Sharon Ford. These members expressed they had been disrespected by Ms. Ford in the way she interacted with them on several occasions, and they had no confidence in her leadership (see below for a letter from a former TRA member expressing such sentiment). 

Before I assumed the position of President, TRA had lost virtually all of its membership. There was no money to donate to worthy candidates. Sadly, the TRA had lost credibility and influence within Middle Tennessee. Ms. Ford was unable to effectively serve in the capacity of President due to personal and financial reasons, and to her credit, she recognized the TRA’s and her dire situation. 

Ms. Ford came to me personally and asked me if I was willing to step into the role of President of the TRA because she believed in my leadership. She sent out a letter to TRA supporters and Board members, that she resigned. In this letter she stated: 
This serves as my official resignation effective January 31, 2020”. “Two months ago, I asked Michelle Foreman to join the TRA Board and she agreed. Michelle demonstrated her willingness and capabilities to the cause in her past two campaigns and will be a good fit. Robert Qualls and Charlene Damron have been board members for over a decade, so I leave the TRA in good hands with these three patriots.
Prior to this letter, on January 4, 2020, I was elected to serve as First Vice-President of the TRA. Subsequent to Ms. Ford’s resignation effective January 31, 2020, and per TRA bylaws, ARTICLE X, SECTION 10.01, which states “in the event of a vacancy in the office of President occurring between annual Conventions, the First Vice President shall become President for the remainder of his predecessor’s term”, I became TRA President. This was also reiterated in an email from Ms. Ford to Robert Qualls, Charlene Damron, and me, in which she stated, “as First VP you [Michelle] automatically become president and we won’t have to wait until next year’s election”. 

Under the 2019 updated TRA Chapter Bylaws by then-President Sharon Ford, I assumed the position of President of the TRA Chapter. I am honored to have the opportunity to serve as president of the TRA. I was convinced then, and even more so today, that there is a core loyal membership along with those who are joining us, who will help restore the TRA to its purpose and full potential. 

However, I must confess that there were those who expressed concern that once the TRA membership was rebuilt, the bank account replenished, and the website updated, that Ms. Ford would attempt to take back control of TRA, at any cost, based on their experiences with Ms. Ford. My response was that I did not think that would happen, and I defended those assertions against Ms. Ford. Sadly, I was far from correct. 

As I stepped into my new role with the TRA, with the help of some good and dedicated people, I developed a game plan to help move the TRA forward. 

The following was a perplexing surprise of the events that followed after I assumed the position: 
1. Ms. Ford would not give me or Stacy Ries Snyder, our fellow TRA member and website volunteer, access to the then-existing TRA website (tennesseerepublicanassembly.org). We were quite surprised to learn that the TRA domain had been purchased by a private individual, and Ms. Ford refused to share the passwords to access the website’s administration panel. The access information that she did send to us did not work. Ms. Ford would not turn over access to the payment processing system PIRYX, therefore preventing an accounting as to who, and who was not, a TRA member. Further, Ms. Ford pointed out, the website was outdated with no one to maintain it, and it desperately needed a refresh. 

2. As a result, our volunteer Ms. Snyder, had to develop a completely new website which became the Tennesseerepublicanassembly.com. The Board knew about the undertaking and the issues that surrounded the need for a new website. Ms. Snyder donated her time and talent to build this new website, which is now the property of TRA. Ms. Snyder did not charge for her services, and my husband and I were able to offset the cost with a $285.00 donation of our own, so the initial cost of $434.81 for the website was reduced to $149.81. This new site includes a payment processing system (it was a separate charge associated with the old TRA website). With the new payment processing system, we have a full accounting and history of who pays membership dues. 

3. Numerous requests have been sent to Ms. Ford to please “park” the old website, as she had previously agreed to do, in writing. Ms. Ford’s lack of cooperation has caused and continues to cause, confusion and frustration. The old website has not been maintained since 2018, no longer accepts membership payments, and has caused many individuals to reach out and complain about the perceived lack of organization and professionalism. 

4. Membership has been difficult to adequately determine, as Ms. Ford has withheld access to the payment processing system. Withholding this access from the new president, and then the new treasurer, played a significant role in forcing the creation of TRA’s new website. Thankfully, as stated prior, this new site is equipped with a proper accounting system built in so that we can make sure members who have paid are properly accounted for. 

5.  Ms. Ford withheld access to the updated TRA bylaws until the election convention was called earlier this year. We learned the bylaws had been updated several times while Ms. Ford was president of TRA. The last revision was made in 2019 by the previous Board led by then-President Sharon Ford. There have been no further revisions made since 2019. Any and all allegations that I have made changes to the bylaws are totally incorrect. There have been no changes to the bylaws since I, Michelle Foreman, have been president of the TRA. The updated version had not been published to the old site and remained outdated for approximately three years. Upon receiving the updated bylaws, it was determined that the election convention was to be held during the months of June-August, and so the date was reset. As a result, this created unnecessary confusion as to when the convention was to be held. Please note, the updated bylaws have been published on the new website. Again, false allegations and accusations that have been made about me personally overstepping my power to change the bylaws to my favor to win an election at any cost are simply incorrect. 
At our last Board meeting, information was disclosed before the Board regarding highly improper actions and serious breaches by Ms. Ford. One of our Board members, who is an attorney, stated that we have the fiduciary responsibility to address these issues. It is my hope and the hope of several Board members that Ms. Ford, and her associates who take part with her in inappropriate conduct, will choose to resign from the TRA membership and agree to cease and desist from disparaging the organization or its members and desist from propagating false and defamatory allegations. 

This entire ordeal has truly saddened me. I expected the transition of leadership to be smooth and without complications, as Ms. Ford indicated it would be in her communication with me and the TRA membership in her letter. It is particularly sad because these issues have been completely avoidable and unnecessary. I take no pleasure in taking the pains to bring the truth to light, but under the circumstances and misinformation circulating on social media, I have no other alternative and use this platform to defend myself and my character. This is only a partial rendering of truthful information, and it is substantiated by documentation. 

I will follow Candace Owens’ example, and defend myself against any future defamation, including slander or libel. Let us move forward with the hope that the handling of matters is with pure and proper motives, always. 

Michelle Foreman, TRA President 

Below is a letter from a former TRA member.

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