A letter to the board of TUG

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7 August 2019

Dear TUG board

Misrepresentation and misbehaviour by TUG member

It has been almost four years since I was “suspended” by the board of the TeX Users Group, and over two years since the TUG board published a lengthy “Report” on my suspension. The report had distorted the facts and I believe that my “suspension” was unjust. I considered publishing a response, but decided to let it go and move on. Having just noticed that TUG has agreed to advertise (as sponsors of TUG2019) the commercial company of the individual whose improper complaint led to my “suspension” (Mr C.V. Radhakrishnan – or CVR), I feel a duty to lay out relevant facts as succinctly as I can.

Brief and relevant facts

  • In 2014 I commenced Court proceedings against a TUG member (CVR) relating to business matters. 
  • In May 2015 an overwhelming majority of TUG voters (73%) democratically elected me to be the President of TUG. 
  • In the legal proceedings CVR submitted to the Court that I had limited knowledge of TeX.
  • In order to respond to this accusation, I disclosed that I was TUG President, as a simple and factual rebuttal of this allegation and as a means to show (i) that I am a competent TeX user and (ii) that my peers have acknowledged this through my election.
  • I have been a TeX user since 1983.

CVR’s False Accusation

CVR wrote to the TUG Board of Directors on 21 August 2015 accusing me of misusing my office for personal gain in the proceedings. The letter included carefully selected extracts from the proceedings (which were in fact sub judice) and called for my removal. Ironically it was CVR who blatantly used TUG for personal gain. He succeeded in persuading the board to remove me from office. His complaint should have been deemed irrelevant and dismissed out of hand, but its consideration resulted in the TUG board spending some $14,000 of TUG’s funds on legal advice.

Improper Motive

The legal proceedings are not TeX-related. They relate to my substantial investment and years of hard work in a business which has been unlawfully appropriated. TUG is not and never has been party to, or been the subject of these legal proceedings. 

An accusation by the TUG board against me was that … at the time of the election, unbeknownst to the directors, Kaveh was involved in a lawsuit against another member of TUG.”  The TUG bylaws state that any member may be nominated for election to the board. There is no requirement to disclose any on-going legal proceedings between a board nominee and another TUG member. In any case, as early as 2014 several members of the board were directly aware of the legal dispute between CVR and myself. These board members did not object to my nomination as President on the basis of the proceedings or otherwise. The TUG Member was not bold enough to object to my nomination either.

Indeed, the legal proceedings were publicly announced on my company website. The email sent by myself to the board announcing my candidacy contained a link to this website. The most basic due diligence or search engine exercise would have revealed the existence of the proceedings. I never sought to hide or conceal the legal proceedings which are a matter of public record. 

Continuing misbehaviour by CVR

For many years it has been a pleasure for me to record the talks at TUG conferences, and to post-process and host them free of charge on a website for public viewing. I had paid CVR to register and to maintain the hosting domain. In 2014 CVR hijacked the site, thus breaking 1000s of external links to TUG videos. I was forced to set up a new site (Zeeba.tv) and to spend many hours transferring these recordings. However, 100s of broken links persist, even in published TUGBoat articles. (I had already made the board aware of the events but no action was taken by them.) Astonishingly, CVR is pointing these broken links to his own proprietary TeX services site. So links to TUG presentations, including Don Knuth’s famous iTeX talk, are being misused to advertise a TeX business that is subject to litigation. 

As an aside, the board is also aware that for some years CVR has hijacked several of my personal domains, including my family domain, bazargan.org – he continues to have full access to all incoming emails which do not bounce from that domain. I have refused his offer to buy back the domains from him for many thousands of dollars.

The board deemed me unfit to be the president of TUG, because I was involved in legal action against another TUG member. But I am surprised that the member in question, even while he continues to misuse links to TUG presentations for personal gain, is not only given a platform for his business at TUG 2019, but is advertised as a sponsor of the event. I ask the board to consider whether it is right for members acting to the detriment of TUG to be given such a platform.

For full disclosure, several legal actions relating to business matters continue against CVR and his colleagues in the High Court in London and in Courts in India. 

In view of my former office and to dispel rumours that have circulated I will be publishing this letter on my personal blog page.

Yours sincerely
Kaveh Bazargan PhD

Category: Life
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