A New Mexico man removed from the National FFA officer team earlier this month is threatening to sue the organization for withholding a scholarship given to members who agree to serve as a national officer.
In a letter to FFA CEO Mark Poeschl and James Woodard, the organization’s advisor, a New Mexico-based attorney for former National FFA officer Lyle Logemann, asks for “a dialogue to resolve this matter short of litigation if that is possible,” but says litigation will be initiated “within 30 days of this letter” if FFA officials choose not to respond.
Logemann was removed from the National FFA officer team after social media posts surfaced which the organization said “violate our code of ethics and especially our commitment to appreciate and promote diversity in our Organization.” Some members and former officers of the organization called for Logemann’s removal, saying the posts did not reflect FFA’s views on race, gender or religion.
But Blair Dunn, Logemann’s attorney, says “most directly at issue … is the scholarship that was promised to Mr. Logemann for upholding his end of the bargain, which according to the documents and understanding that was made, he has done.”
“This agreement was not conditioned upon his having never made a distasteful social media post many years before he became an officer, nor was it conditioned upon the requirement of surrendering his First Amendment rights to engage in discussion because of the color of his skin, his gender or any other attribute that makes him who he is,” Dunn wrote to Poeschl and Woodard.
The letter also accuses FFA of “choosing cowardice to appease a mob to unfairly penalize a young man for posting distasteful memes as a teenager.”
In a statement to Agri-Pulse, a spokesperson for the National FFA Organization said “we have received the letter and have engaged our lawyer to advise us on next steps.”
Spencer Chase was a member of the National FFA Organization and previously served as a South Dakota FFA officer. He also assisted in the selection process that led to the election of the 2019-2020 National FFA officer team. For questions about the nature of Chase’s involvement, he can be reached here.
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