Santos battle looms large - Dennis challenges legality of newly elected board
Marc Stamp, Gleaner Writer
A battle over the ownership and management of long-time giants Santos Football Club looms large with previous top man Carlton 'Spanner' Dennis challenging the legality of a newly appointed board of directors headed by the club's founder, Winston Chung-Fah.
The new board of directors was elected at a meeting called at Cuddy'z Sports Bar and Restaurant in New Kingston last Friday.
Dennis admitted being invited to the meeting, but decided not to attend on the advice of his lawyer.
He said he was notified of the proceedings via an emailed document, which was circulated after the meeting on Friday.
The email stated: "Winston Chung-Fah, the founder of Santos Football Club in 1964, was on Friday elected as a member of the board of directors of Santos Football Club Limited and appointed as the chairman of the Santos board.
The complete members of the Santos Football Club Limited board of directors who were elected on Friday are: Winston Chung-Fah (chairman), Patrick Chin (treasurer), Jennifer Whyte (secretary), Churchill Neita (attorney), Allan Cole (technical committee chairman), Huntley Green, Bertram Scott, Cecil Warren, Neville Bell, Carl Matthews (facility manager), Trevor Campbell and Wayne Shaw."
However, Dennis, Santos' administrator and coach for 28 years, says the new board of directors was illegally appointed.
"It is an illegal takeover," said Dennis, who told The Gleaner yesterday he is still Santos' chairman and vice-president.
He said he was in charge of the team up to Sunday, in their KSAFA Jackie Bell KO fixture against Rae Town, whom they defeated 4-2 at Bell-Chung Oval.
"The meeting that took place is illegal. I was sent a letter three days before (Friday), and after consulting with my attorney was advised not to attend the meeting," Dennis told The Gleaner.
"We should have gotten at least 14 days notice according to the constitution," he further stated.
Dennis also said that he was invited to a meeting earlier this year that started late and he was forced to leave because of another engagement.
"I was invited to a meeting earlier this year. The meeting set for 3 p.m. started an hour late. Chungie (Chung-Fah) told me that he could create a space at the club for me that I refused," Dennis said.
Dennis further stated that at the meeting last Friday, a quorum was not present to constitute a new board.
"The constitution article states that at least six members of the board have to be present to have a special meeting. They had three, so all that they did is wrong.
"It is total disrespect to the people who have been running the club," he emphasised.
The board that was run by Dennis comprised Phillip Williams, Bertram Scott, Jennifer Whyte, Corey Bennett, Richard Powell, Wayne Shaw, Robert Rainford and Livingston Morrison.
Three are now members of the Chung-Fah board - Scott, Whyte and Shaw.
The club's executive members in Dennis' tenure were Wayne Shaw, president; Dennis, vice-president; Andrew Sewell, secretary; and Linden Dawes, treasurer.
Dennis took over the running of Santos in 1986 from Vernon Bell.
In the meantime, Chung-Fah has expressed delight that "the way has been finally paved for Santos Football Club to become an integral part" of his Centre of Football Excellence, now under construction in St Catherine.
He bemoaned the demise of Santos FC under the current and past administrations over the last 15 years and vowed to restore "this great Jamaican football institution to its rightful place in the Jamaican football fraternity".
Chung-Fah, who founded the club in 1964, characterised his tenure as "a rescue mission of Santos FC" and called upon "all past, present and future members of Santos Football Club, foreign and domestic, to join him and his management team in this Santos homecoming".
The Santos FC board plans to target winning the 2014-2015 KSAFA Super League by assembling one of the best Under-23 squads in Jamaica.
Chung-Fah said Neville 'Bertis' Bell, the coach of Manning Cup champions, St George's College, is shortlisted to become the club's technical director.
Santos are five-time National League champions, having secured all their titles in the 1970s.