Rift between Bacchus members, directors heads to court

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wwltv.com

Posted on July 30, 2012 at 10:19 PM

Updated Monday, Jul 30 at 10:23 PM

Scott Satchfield / Eyewitness News
Email: ssatchfield@wwltv.com | Twitter: @satchfield

NEW ORLEANS -- A group of dissenting members of the Krewe of Bacchus is upset over increases in membership dues, and what they describe as a lack of transparency from Bacchus leaders.

Now, the group is taking the situation to court.

Court documents obtained by Eyewitness News show the group is petitioning the courts to require Bacchus leaders to comply with a revised state statute concerning financial records.

"It allows for any shareholder, the statute says, to go in and look at the books and you can look at, who are the other shareholders, what are the disbursements, all of the financial records are allowed, under the Louisiana law," said Eyewitness News Legal Analyst Chick Foret.

According to the documents, plaintiffs filed the petition because Bacchus leaders allegedly failed to allow members to inspect the krewe’s records.

The plaintiffs declined to comment Monday, but on the 'Save the Krewe of Bacchus' Facebook page, there are a number of posts about the situation.

One points to recent resignations by Bacchus board members.

Another reads: 'We are very sad that a lawsuit was the only way to get the leadership of Bacchus to allow the members to look over the books. We need a structural change."

"You don't often see litigation involving krewes, Mardi Gras krewes. You just don't see it," Foret said.

The ‘Save the Krewe of Bacchus’ Facebook page claims that dues have increased 96 percent over the last five years.

According to court documents, Bacchus leaders are scheduled to appear at a court hearing Aug. 16.

Foret explains the purpose of the ‘show-cause’ hearing.

"The Krewe of Bacchus can show cause to the judge why it is that they haven't complied with the law and why it is that they haven't opened up the books," Foret said.

A spokesman for the Krewe of Bacchus referred us to their previous statement regarding the dues increases, which was issued to Eyewitness News July 3:

"The Krewe of Bacchus is incredibly proud of our role as one of the premiere krewes in Mardi Gras that have helped make our New Orleans Carnival more famous than ever before in our nation and throughout the world. In order to continue to move forward, our Board of Directors has approved an increase in dues and a building fund assessment to lease-purchase our own den where we would store our floats. We are absolutely confident that the overwhelming majority of our members will agree with the board’s decision. If there are members of Bacchus who would prefer not to move forward with us, they have every right to resign their membership. The real point in this discussion is that for almost a half-century, Bacchus has continuously been innovative and set new standards in Mardi Gras while improving our parade and our facilities. We will continue to do so because that is best for our krewe, best for Mardi Gras and best for the great City of New Orleans."

 

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