DMA hits board member Pike with cease-and-desist

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Two weeks after Direct Marketing Association board and executive committee member Gerry Pike launched a Web site — ABetterDMA.org — questioning the group's governance, DMA shot back with a cease-and-desist letter from its legal counsel.

DMA declined to comment but confirmed a letter was sent to Pike. DMNews obtained a copy of the letter.

The letter specifically demands Pike "immediately cease and desist from further illegal use of DMA's confidential and proprietary member-wide e-mail list, facsimile and telephone number lists, and other membership information that you obtained through improper means." It also demands he stop "further dissemination of misleading and inflammatory public statements about DMA and its representatives." The letter stated that DMA intends to pursue "appropriate legal action" against Pike if he does not immediately comply.

Pike responded via letter to the DMA's attorneys by stating that his goals are "in accordance with my fiduciary duties" and "are in furtherance of the best interests of DMA." He also stated the letter mischaracterizes him and his motives.

"You and your client must immediately stop using inaccuracies to try to damage my reputation," Pike wrote.

Pike said he is engaging legal counsel in connection with the matter. In the meantime, he has continued an e-mail campaign encouraging DMA voting members to send their proxy votes to Pike in advance of the DMA's annual business meeting.

Pike has alleged that "DMA's relevancy is fading, its membership falling and its events failing as budget-buster dues and conference fees are sending long-time DMA members heading for the exits." Pike has also distributed a series of e-mails to DMA voting members asking for their support.

At a time when the largest US direct marketing association is facing fiscal challenges and member scrutiny, Pike told DMNews he has essentially been ousted from renomination for the board after his first three-year term.

"I was informed at the end of August I would not be renominated and that management was insistent I stand down." All other board members were re-nominated, Pike said.

He said at issue are questions he raised involving the association's bylaws, which Pike said have been violated. "If you're not operating within the bylaws you are not acting on behalf of members," Pike said.

Several current and former DMA members have publicly spoken out, particularly in online forums, in support of Pike. Current DMA member Connie LaMotta, founder of PR firm LaMotta Strategic Communications and also DMA's SVP of communications for DMA from 1987 to 1999, told DMNews, "I support the idea of questioning the association. Someone has needed to ask."

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