Arthur Groom resigned from AGTA, both his position on the board of directors, as well as from the organization Thursday, November 29. The following day Nanette Forester did the same. Roland Naftule, a past president and one of the founders of AGTA, charges that Groom and Forester were forced out of the organization.
In a letter written to AGTA members and obtained by JCK, Naftule stated, “These extremely devoted and hard working members of the Board and ethical industry leaders did not resign because they were overburdened with AGTA work, even though that easily could have been the case. They resigned because of the way they were treated by some of their fellow board members. Isn’t it ironic that hard working members such as these were criticized instead of praised for the time and effort they voluntarily chose to give our association for the betterment of our trade.”
The letter continues by stating, “When Nanette Forester called to inform me that she was leaving AGTA she cried. Her tears came from the appalling treatment Arthur Groom was being put through and from her frustration for not being able to get some of the Board members to come to their senses. Both she and Arthur Groom are saddened by the recent action of these Board members.”
The actions mentioned in the letter weren’t specified.
Richard Greenwood, AGTA president, rejects Naftule’s explanation for the resignations. “No one forced anybody out,” said Greenwood. “It was his choice,” referring to Groom’s resignation. “Nanette’s resignation came as a complete surprise.” Greenwood said that Bill Barker would assume Groom’s position.
Others involved in the apparent dispute were not available for comment.
For the past two years, Groom was chairman of the budget and finance committee for AGTA. With his background in economics prior to entering the jewelry industry, Groom was responsible for moving AGTA into becoming a more fiscally responsible organization. Forester, a recent past president and was, before her resignation last Friday, the current nominating committee chair, recently led a unanimous board nomination of Arthur Groom to become AGTA’s next vice president.
Naftule’s letter also alluded to the February resignation of AGTA Secretary Frank Farnsworth, saying that, he too, left because of poor treatment by some board members.