Dear Ms. Spencer Morfit

Published minutes of the 2005 Civil Air Patrol National Board Meeting in St Louis, MO
Published minutes of the 2005 Civil Air Patrol National Board Meeting in St Louis, MO

Aggregated by AuxBeacon News Staff

From Page 22 of the published August 2005 Civil Air Patrol National Board Minutes originally found at:

These issues were surfaced by an organization that called itself “The WWII Civil Air Patrol Preservation Project.” [“CAP2P” for short.] The co-founders of this organization are Lt Col Ray Lyon, Vice Commander of the New Hampshire Wing, and his friend, Spencer Morfit. Lt Col Lyon is retired USA F and has a 26 year career in new business development for a major defense contractor. Ms Morfit has 30years’ experience in corporate communications and marketing. Because Lt Col Lyon is my Vice Commander, because he introduced me to Ms. Morfit, and because I was working with the Project to place a Stinson 10-A from the Falmouth, MA, Coastal Patrol Base #18 that belonged to my late husband, I am well acquainted with both of them, the Project, and with these events.

From Page 28 of the published August 2005 Civil Air Patrol National Board Minutes


26 May 2005

Col Stanley H. Leibowitz, CAP
General Counsel
Civil Air Patrol
105 South Hansell Street Maxwell AFB, AL 36112-6332

Telephone 334-264-7152
Facsimile 334-265-4352

[email protected]

Ms. Spencer Harris Morfit
Project Executive
P.O. Box 248
Stow, MA 01775

Dear Ms. Morfit:

I am in receipt of your lengthy letter of May 16, 2005 in which you ask minimal cooperation of the Civil Air Patrol in the Collings Foundation’s project to preserve and promote the history of Civil Air Patrol.

As we have stated earlier, Civil Air Patrol has founded the Civil Air Patrol Historical Foundation (CAPHF) to accomplish many of the objectives you have stated for your project. Civil Air Patrol is committed to supporting the CAPHF and its executive director, Drew Steketee. As we’ve already advised you, Civil Air Patrol believes the name “WWII Civil Air Patrol Preservation Project”, even with an asterisked disclaimer, can easily be perceived by the public as representing Civil Air Patrol, and we expressly deny permission to use our statutorily protected name in this way.

You noted in your letter that the project began as a small personal project of Ray Lyon’s to restore a Stinson 10-A that flew from Base # 18 (Falmouth, MA) in the Coastal Patrol, fly it to air events to attract recruits to the CAP cadet program, and eventually place the plane on permanent display in a museum. Civil Air Patrol and CAPHF are pleased to assist in this effort by providing technical advice for authentic restoration and paint masks in exchange for a donation to CAPHF.

You state that your program, beyond restoring the Stinson, “then took on a life of its own.” With all due respect, your program to preserve and promote the history of the Civil Air Patrol and to raise funds to do this, is not a Civil Air Patrol program. It has not been approved by the Civil Air Patrol National Board or Board of Governors. Neither you, nor the Collins Foundation has been commissioned by Civil Air Patrol to take on this project. You have not approached Civil Air Patrol to publish a book of CAP’s history on behalf of CAP. You have not been authorized by CAP to raise funds from corporations and major donors, or anyone else,on behalf of CAP.

You complain repeatedly in your letter that “it just doesn’t work to have a full-time person [you]dependent upon a part-time volunteer [CAP members or Drew Steketee] when I need to make atimely response or go forward with my work.”

The reality is that CAP is an organization of volunteers who give generously of their time and effort, but for the most part, on their own schedule. Your timeline for your project is not CAP’s timeline. Your schedule is not CAP’s schedule. Your deadlines are not CAP’s deadlines. There is no reason for CAP “to trust [you] to know how to do [your] job.”

You are under the mistaken belief that CAP is a government agency. To the contrary, CAP is a private, nonprofit corporation created by an act of Congress. As stated at section 9441 of title 10of the United States Code, with one exception not here relevant, “the Civil Air Patrol is not an instrumentality of the Federal Government for any purpose.”

The CAPHF has advised you of the terms and conditions under which it would make available its collection. CAP has not asked you to make commitments to publishers or to a documentary film producer. Whether income from your project goes to you or to CAP2P, the point is that it is not coming to CAP. In that sense, it is “commercial”. It is some organization other than CAP financially benefiting from the use of CAP’s name and photograph collection.

I have a great deal of respect for the Collings Foundation and the work it does in the field of aircraft preservation. However, the Collings Foundation is not the Civil Air Patrol and is not responsible for preserving the Civil Air Patrol’s proud history.

Please understand that this is business and not personal. Like you, we have responsibilities to our organization, CAP, as I hope you understand.

To reiterate what I’ve already told you, CAP and CAPHF stand ready to assist in efforts to accurately restore historic aircraft, to review materials for historic accuracy, and to furnish materials that are made available to the public by the CAPHF under terms developed by its executive director. These are the same services we offer to any other member of the public -nothing more, nothing less.Please let me know if I can assist you in providing these services.

Stanley H. Leibowitz
General Counsel

1 Comment on "Dear Ms. Spencer Morfit"

  1. The first part of this post is a portion of a letter from the late Col Margie Sambold, then commander of the New Hampshire wing. She wrote to the then leadership of the CAP IN SUPPORT OF CAP2P; name subsequently changed to the Flying Minute Men Project (FMMP).

    The second part is a letter from the then CAP general counsel, Stan Leibowitz. AS HAS BEEN ESTABLISHED, this letter is unethical because it misrepresents the law and the facts. That is a violation of Rule #4 of the Code of Ethics of the American Bar Association, which is also the model for most state codes.

    CAP2P/FMMP was an ambitious project to preserve and promote the WWII history of the CAP. It was under the Collings Foundation. The Foundation removed its support for the Project when it received the general counsel’s hostile letter, saying, “They can’t do this [legally]. Why would they even want to? Do they even understand what you are trying to do?” This was followed by: “I’m sorry but I can’t take the lead on this. We have our own non-profit to protect.” Most sophisticated people would make the same decision when faced with unjustified hostility and unfounded legal claims.

    Thus the CAP sabotaged a significant opportunity from which the CAP would arguably have been the biggest long term beneficiary. GONE!!!!

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