Smiling Greeters Renee McPhatter and Gordon Nielsen welcomed us all to the Club meeting today.

President David called the meeting to order at 12:30pm.
 
I noted both Members May Gwinn and Paula Delo in fine hats – a little competition going on?

New Member, Gail Hamill, working toward qualifying for her Blue Badge, quoted her hero, activist Aung San Suu Kyi, who was jailed in Burma for over a decade and eventually was awarded the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize. In a nutshell, the value of kindness is the most precious way to alleviate suffering. Kindness changes the lives of people and changes the world.

We welcomed the following guests: Azam Chaudhry, guest of Aslf Bhally, Magdelaena Ruiz, guest of Clara Montanez, Colin Yu(Shu), guest of Steve Adkins.
Visiting International Rotarians were welcomed: Vinnie Payne, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania; Juanita Pinder, Eleuthera Bermuda Club, Dary Suarez Monterrico Surco Club, Lima Peru
Happy Birthday to Fellow Rotarians, all are under the sign of: Leo
Your element: Fire;  Your ruling planets: The Sun;  Symbol: The Lion; Your stone: Peridot;
Life Pursuit: To lead the way; Vibration: Radiant Energy; Leo's Secret Desire: To be a star
Steve Dingledine – July 24th, Katherine Ward – July 24th, Earl Strimple – July 25th and Quentin Wodon- July 26th

Sergeant at Arms Peggy Shoen, asked for volunteers to host the popular Fireside Chats. 15-18 Rotarians will show up at your house and enjoy themselves (under the direction of President David) for a couple of hours. Great way to get to know your fellow members.
 
President David added a Foundation Moment to the weekly agenda. He explains how the International Foundation provides opportunities for Rotarians to see the world, its citizens and the good works of Rotarians worldwide.

Attend the Nationals Aug 18th game as $5 per ticket will go toward RI International Polio Plus Initiative.

Welcome back Marjorie Scott and so long, Mawe Takyi. Mawe’s family is moving to Baton Rouge LA - lucky Rotary of Baton Rouge!

The Club will conduct a fundraiser – sure to be fun as President David claims to be a party animal, plus the Club’s bottom line will benefit. Member Laurie Husak needs your input and participation to make this a blockbuster event.

President David explained what Leave of Absence means and when it is granted. Members are obligated to pay their dues, but the lunch charge is waived. LOA is granted only in special circumstances including extended travel where making up a Rotary meeting is not convenient or family situations that prevent your participation in the Club.  Make-ups are an excellent way to meet other Rotarians and see what other Clubs are up to.
 
President David bowed in humility to Gary Michael Gallagher “Gus” and presented him with a Paul Harris recognition certificate for his generous contributions to the Rotary International Foundation – Gus is awarded the title of Benefactor by RI Foundation.  The members saluted and thanked Gus with a hearty applause.

The New Member talk was presented by Robert “Bob” Walker.  He highlighted his career, but his extracurricular activities caught my attention. He is the Patron Saint of Lost Causes, which he detailed, and wrote a book (copy in hand) illustrated by his artist wife – going to Ravello, Italy? See Bob for details.

Peggy Schoen introduced the speaker, Scott Simmer – she spoke very highly of him. Turns out he’s her husband! AND Scott’s sister dated President David moons ago.  A very chummy head table today. Peggy was right – Scott’s a very talented man, handsome too.
 
Scott represents whistleblowers in financial, tax and pharmaceutical fraud. He reports a significant increase in the number of cases due to updating of the False Claims Act. There is pushback on this statute by the Chamber of Commerce and other pro-business lobbies. Fraud is here to stay, but a pro-business change in the statute will ensure companies suffer no consequences for their conduct at the consumer’s expense.  $12 billion will be returned to taxpayers (Government) this year alone (can this help reduce the deficit?). The Government counts on Whistleblowers,  Cheaters pay the Whistleblowers, not the taxpayer,  Big cases take 10+ years and require big investments of time and talent, Frivolous cases are discouraged by DOJ, Drug company frauds are pervasive and large. Drug company CEO’s, senior management , and Board of Directors are rarely, if ever, charged in drug fraud cases even though it’s an accepted culture, the cost of doing business and the way to make profits for the shareholders.  Profits drive the companies, trust is violated at all levels and the FDA has neither little or no authority nor the personnel to fend off the fraud.  It’s obvious from Scott’s cases that the consumers are at risk. Are you enraged? See Peggy – she’s got the inside track to Scott.

Peter Sawyer conducted the raffle. Umberto Viviani, sitting at my table, won the small pot $59. The large pot of $1289 is still waiting a winner.

Thanks to our Hospitality crew: Stu Shalloway and Laurie Husak.

Meeting adjourned 1:40pm.