Tuesday, June 12, 2012

UPDATE #2 (6/12/12): Piedmont Driving Club to Keep Names of Disciplined Members Confidential

Piedmont Driving Club Clubhouse (photo credit: hgor.com)

Much to the disappointment of Atlanta gossip columnists, Piedmont Driving Club has decided to keep the names of the members involved in drunken antics during the club's member-member a secret. The latest on the story after the jump.

According to Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the club sent a letter to members last week detailing the actions taken in response to the bad behavior now splashed across the internet. The AJC published an excerpt of the letter, which read, in part: 

“[W]e are deeply disappointed in the actions of a few members...We intend to sanction decisively any other inappropriate behavior that we can verify...It is a privilege to be a member of the driving club and none of us should tolerate inappropriate behavior and poor judgment. These types of incidents must never happen again.”

The club is certainly well within its rights not to disclose the members' names. Unlike a government entity or a public company, the club has broad discretion to keep details of its affairs from the public; the club is not subject to the Open Public Meetings Act or SEC disclosure requirements. Private corporations, like equity golf clubs, owe a duty to disclose material information only to shareholders (i.e. members). Even so, a club's bylaws generally can provide a procedure for closed meetings.

As Tee, Esq. suggested in an earlier article, obliging members of the disciplining committee to keep the proceedings secret is advisable. However, as so often is the case in the world of private clubs, PDC's members have needed no legal incentive to keep quiet. Societal pressure and the fear of reprimand, suspension or expulsion are powerful incentives to remain silent.

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