ASTORIA – Questions remain about the developments concerning the Federation of Hellenic Societies of Greater New York after elections took place on September 19 in front of the Stathakion Cultural Center in Astoria that the participants were locked out of.
Under unprecedented circumstances, the Election Commission completed the count late at night, citing a turnout of more than 70%, even if the statute and general legitimacy of the process are disputed by members of the Board of Former Presidents and other executives.
Based on the announced results, George Georgopoulos, Nikos Bardis, Anna Notis, Sophia Stroumbakis, Timoleon Kakouros, Paul Kotronis, Stefanos Amanatidis, Vasilios Petratos, Theodoros Astrinidis, Spyridoula Tsoukala, Nikos Vellios, George Seretis, Nomiki Kastanas, Vangelis Katravazos, Spyros Pyrgiotis, Apostolos Trampakoulos, John Pigis, Dimitris Filippidis, Konstantinos Prokovas, Konstantinos Kamberis, and Konstantinos Tsoukaris were elected to the Board of Directors, which will try to clarify the situation regarding the Federation.
In detail, the results, as announced, are as follows:
George Georgopoulos (59 votes), Nikos Bardis (58), Anna Notis (55), Sophia Stroumbakis (54), Timoleon Kakouros (53), Paul Kotronis (53), Stefanos Amanatidis (50), Vasilios Petratos (48), Theodoros Astrinidis (46), Spyridoula Tsoukala (45), Nikos Vellios (44), George Seretis (43), Nomiki Kastanas (39), Vangelis Katravazos (39), Spyros Pyrgiotis (39), Apostolos Trampakoulos (39), John Pigis (32), Dimitris Filippidis (32), Konstantinos Prokovas (30), Konstantinos Kamberis (29), Konstantinos Tsoukaris (29), Andreas Katselianos (26), Spyros Andreopoulos (24), Vlassis Anastasiou (21), Dimitrios Paliouras (21), Giannis Sitaras (14), Konstantinos Tsiouris (11), Mark Tsolakis (2).
George Georgopoulos spoke to The National Herald and expressed his satisfaction with the participation of the representatives of the regional and other associations and the smooth completion of the election process, even under such conditions, while criticizing the outgoing president, Cleanthis Meimaroglou and members of the majority of the Steering Committee for locking the building.
“The attendance was touching. The people came calmly and peacefully voted – did their duty – and many of them gave us courage, emphasizing that something good will come out of all this, something that I have said other times. We have four women on the board, as well as many new young people eager to work. We, as the elders, will give our lights to these young people, whom we need,” said Georgopoulos.
Regarding the next day – as it is considered a given that the new Board of Directors will not be recognized as legal by the executives who disagreed with the elections – Georgopoulos noted that the transfer of control of the Federation is one way.
“Do they consider the associations that voted yesterday just stamps? Possibly; they say they have gone to court. They have absolutely nothing from the courts, otherwise we would have been instructed not to hold elections. The only documents they have are some sealed papers signed by Mr. Meimaroglou, which are… for laughs. We became a laughing stock in the neighborhood, the police were called, these things are ridiculous. Even now, I hope that when these people calm down, they will come to understand and work together. In many places we say the same things. We are clear that the control of the Disciplinary Committee does not stop. If it turns out that some people are responsible, they will be held accountable. But you cannot deny the presumption of innocence,” concluded Georgopoulos.
For his part, the newly appointed chairman of the Election Committee, Dimitrios A. Gonias, told TNH that he does not recognize Sunday's elections and that the closed doors at the Stathakion are the result of a perfectly legal process.
"I do not recognize the elections they held and I have appealed legally. It is a pity for the Federation to hold elections on the sidewalks like nomads. Police could open the building but we have the proper documents. As chairman of the Election Committee, I have made my own necessary legal moves,” said Gonias.
Regarding the changed locks and security guards, which representatives of the associations characterized as a ‘coup’, Gonias noted that these are actions taken within the framework of legality.
"The building is closed legally from Tuesday night. We put neither chains nor padlocks. The locks have been changed. I, as Chairman of the Election Committee, from July 30, at the illegal Assembly held by Mr. Tomopoulos, warned that I would take legal action. I had informed them and they were laughing at me,” said G