status of OSI and review process

Thomas Lord dasht.tlord at
Sun Sep 6 21:46:14 UTC 2009

Well, let it stand then:  The OSI loses (at least temporarily but for an
extended period) it's legal right to operate as a corporation in California
but, apparently feels that the public and the petitioners for license
approval deserve no notice or explanation.   They (in seems-to-me technical
violation of criminal law) continue to advertise as a California corporation
and solicit donations but, apparently, it's just rude to ask them what's up.

On a cultural note, it seems to me that OSI (and, hey, me too) often make
public expressions about ethical opinions.  And you know, ethical opinions
are tricky things.  And complexities of situtations can't always be
explained to everyone's satisfaction.   I give a lot of lattitude, in my
assesments, to an org like OSI even when I profoundly disagree with them on
this or that matter.   But the case at hand here would seem to be a kind of
existential crisis.   OSI is legally half-way down the slope towards forced
legal dissolution.  If you consider the "normal course" of things for
organizations that wind up in a similar state, as far as I can tell (hard
numbers are not available) - it's probably even *likely* that OSI can
resurrect itself and return to good legal standing, but it's certainly not
guarnateed.   Seeing board members act like its all "business as usual"
seems at best a bit sketchy.

As two examples: let's suppose I either wanted to donate to OSI today (I
don't, but suppose) or contract to do some work for them.  I'd have a real
problem on my hands because as a corporate entity entitled to accept
donations or form new contracts - at the moment - OSI does not exist.  The
current status of OSI as a corporation, as far as I can tell, is that they
are entitled to pay off any outstanding debts and petition for resurrection
while hoping to retain their legal name.  Not that you'd know it from how
they present themselves but that's what the Secretary of State of CA tells
me (see

So what of pending or future petitions for license approval?   If no legal
entity is currently operative to maintain an approved license list, what
have we got here?

I strongly suspect, just to be clear, that the board here has a great
response.  That they can say (I can only guess) something along the lines of
"Yes, we screwed up some paperwork and we've had to improve ourselves as a
legit NPO but we expect to emerge from this whole thing stronger and
better."   I'm not trying to sound a death toll, necessarily (though I don't
rule it out, either).   I would just like to encourage some intellectual
honesty about the board's self-representation and get some heads up about
where they think things are going.


p.s.:  The irony is rich.  It wasn't that long ago we were discussing how to
convert to a membership organization and I expect it was out of the
differences between us in that conversation that the current legal status of
OSI emerged.

On Tue, Sep 1, 2009 at 7:17 PM, Thomas Lord <dasht.tlord at> wrote:

> I notice that the board meeting minutes make mention of filing papers for
> non-profit status in CA and that that matter is pending.  I notice via
> that the OSI's existence as a CA nonprofit
> corporation is currently suspended, limiting OSI's legal right to act as a
> legal entity.  Finally, I notice that OSI has not publicly acknowledged this
> fact or informed petitioners for license approval of what to expect in the
> future.
> As I understand this troublesome legal status, it is the kind of thing that
> happens from time to time.  Homeowner associations in condominium and
> planned community complexes are described as being frequent examples.  Most
> of the time it is fixed with a bit of paperwork and catching up on past
> filings and such.  I think it is a bit unusual for it to happen to an
> organization of OSI's stature but, hey, stuff happens.
> May we please have some explanation from OSI about the status and what, in
> their view, we should expect in the future.   It seems peculiar for the
> license approval process to be proceeding under this circumstance.
> Thanks,
> -t

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