Republican Women File Lawsuit Against Two Former Members
Integrity Fund Established to Help Missoula Club Recover Its Assets
August 7, 2017
With a solemn resolve to uphold the rights of our members, restore order to one of our clubs, and protect the integrity of our organization, the Montana Federation of Republican Women (MTFRW) and the Missoula County Republican Women (MCRW) have joined together in legal action against two of the Missoula club’s former board members.
A review of the facts will reveal that Vondene Hopkins Kopetski (former Past President of Missoula County Republican Women) and Jill Chapman (former Missoula club Treasurer) were formally investigated in the Spring of 2017 and subsequently expelled from the Federation as a result of serious misconduct.
Prior to considering the action, the Federation appointed a Special Committee to conduct a full investigation concerning numerous allegations levied by three of the Missoula Club’s Board Members. As a result, the Federation’s leadership and legal counsel provided Ms. Kopetski and Ms. Chapman with multiple formal and informal warnings urging them to correct their most serious transgressions. Instead, Kopetski and Chapman continued to retain possession of the club’s funds and obstruct the club’s ability to conduct business in accordance with the law.
The investigation found that in April of 2017 Ms. Kopetski and Ms. Chapman suddenly emptied the club’s bank account and attempted to remove its duly-elected club President without sending out the required meeting notice, without conducting a required investigation prior to removal of an officer, without taking a vote in a valid board meeting, and by basing the removal on a number of false allegations.
The club’s President, Vice President and other members asked the Federation for help. Of course, the Federation takes seriously its duty to support and safeguard the interests of our members. As the parent body, the State Federation is bound by an inherent fiduciary duty to ensure that all our clubs reasonably follow their adopted bylaws and rules of order. When a significant breech with serious adverse consequences is brought to our attention, we cannot condone such action by our own inaction.
In this case, the Federation has painstakingly exhausted all internal administrative remedies and now finds legal action is the only option left to help the club recover its assets and return to peaceful operations. A detailed description of the primary facts concerning this case can be reviewed in “Montana Federation of Republican Women versus Vondene Hopkins Kopetski” which was file with the Montana Fourth Judicial District (Missoula County).
Established in 1938, the Montana Federation of Republican Women includes nearly 500 members in 13 local clubs throughout Montana. One of our key tenets is to promote the principles of freedom, equality, and justice on which this country is founded. Our clubs work on a wide variety of positive programs like advocating for good jobs, strong families, supporting Republican candidates, and creating activity packs for foster kids. The Federation encourages women from all age groups and all walks of life to be key players at the political table.
This lawsuit is being funded by special donations so that no member dues will be diverted away from our existing programs. Donations to the Integrity Fund are dedicated to promoting and defending the integrity of the Montana Federation of Republican Women and our clubs. The Integrity Fund’s first priority is to help our Missoula club recover its financial assets and return to harmonious operations.
Donations in any amount would be very much appreciated. If you would like to contribute to the Integrity Fund, please send a check to:
Montana Federation of Republican Women (MTFRW)
ATTN: Integrity Fund
PO Box 9726
Kalispell, MT 59904
While this case is under pending or current litigation, we cannot comment further at this time. Just know this has not been easy for anyone involved and we certainly did not take this action lightly. We trust that when you review the complaint itself that you will understand why we had to come to the aid of our Missoula Club. We appreciate your prayers and support.
For your information, here is a complete copy of the complaint. Download the link below.