The International Federation of Philately (FIP) has become involved in a corruption scandal following the recent world stamp exhibitions in New York City and Taipei.
Dr. James Mazepa, chair of the American Philatelic Society (APS) International Committee, recently proposed the APS pull out of next year’s big show, Brasilia 2017, and form a committee to explore the creation of a separate, alternative international organization (something that has already been discussed by philatelists in Europe, Mazepa added).
Mazepa, who’s an experienced international judge as well as a past president of the Inter-American Federation of Philately (FIAF), said he has “serious concerns” about how judges and commissioners were treated during the recent World Stamp Show in New York City; however, he said this treatment—namely a lack of refreshments in the commissioner’s room—is no reason to denounce Steve Reinhard, who was nominated by the APS board of directors to fill the vacancy on FIP’s board earlier this year. The vacancy was previously held by APS President Peter McCann, who has served for 12 years on the board of FIAF as well as two terms as FIP vice president.
Mazepa said current FIP President Tay Peng Hian, of Singapore, told his constituents the treatment of judges in New York was reason enough to oppose Reinhard, something Mazepa said is “beyond bogus.” What’s more, Mazepa said Tay also met with Reinaldo Estevão de Macedo, president of the Brazilian Federation of Philately, to collude to elect Peru’s Aldo Samame.
“Tay promised additional perks for the exhibition in Brazil in exchange for the support of FIAF to vote for Samame.”
Only four out of 22 FIAF federations – including Canada, the U.S., Colombia and Chile – voted for Reinhard. What’s more, following this vote, the U.S. lost its position on the FIP board. It was replaced by Peru, which has only two international exhibitors and one international judge.
“The bottom line is Tay did not want Steve and Chris King from the U.K. on the FIP Board because he knew they would challenge him and by extension, limit his power and ability to grant favors. We now have a FIP Board comprised of those who will not seriously challenge Mr. Tay.”
Mazepa said Tay chose “to chastise the United States as if we are a recalcitrant child by keeping us off the FIP Board. If FIP was so upset by what happened in NY2016 they could put their Big-Boy pants on and added regulations in the GREX [FIP’s rules and regulations] to detail that coffee and water should be in the jury and commissioner’s rooms.”
Mazepa said the “most immediate concern” is next year’s international exhibition in Brazil, Brasilia 2017, for which Macedo is the head of the organizing committee.
“While I do not advocate the United States withdraw from FIAF, I do suggest, in the words of Dr. Kouri, that we support BRAZIL just as they supported us in FIP, in short, that the United States serve notice that we will not participate in BRASILIA2017. It would be offensive to me, as I hope it is to you, that we roll over and do nothing. We need to take a stand.”
Mazepo said there are “at least two” other federations in South America willing to follow the APS’ lead.
“They, too, are appalled by the alliance of Tay and Macedo. FIAF has lost its independence.”
Lastly, Mazepo said the APS needs to “take the lead” in forming an alternative international federation “that will have philatelists as the focus not perks for the elite.”