Lahtigate: Perkins accused of packing presidential vote with pals

WMA Secretary Winston Thomas shows voting device at Lahti elections.

WMA Secretary Winston Thomas shows voting device at 2009 General Assembly in Lahti, Finland.

Four years after the fact, a document has emerged that says the 2009 election of Stan Perkins as WMA president was fraudulent. An American athlete sent me the memo Thursday morning from Porto Alegre, where Stan is standing for re-election next week. The athlete won’t tell me where he got it, but it clearly aims to benefit American rival Rex Harvey. The memo says at least six Aussie entrants at Lahti worlds voted as delegates in the 2009 election by claiming to represent Oceania places like Guam, Cook Island and American Samoa. “This is out and out voting fraud as common sense, and more importantly the WMA Constitution, makes it very clear that no one may represent two countries or vote for absentees, and that proxy voting is not allowed,” the leaked document says. Yup, sure looks like it.

Top of memo that raises questions about Lahti voting in 2009.

Top of memo that raises questions about Lahti voting in 2009.

The presumption is that the six voted for their countryman Stan, who famously won by a single vote. But the doc says proof of these Aussie athletes being delegates from other nations is in an attached document, which I haven’t seen.

Such a “list [was] furnished by the WMA Secretary to the WMA Council on July 13, 2009,” the memo says.

In other words, Secretary Winston Thomas of Britain has the delegate list. The 2009 GA booklet doesn’t list delegates by name. But Rex, as WMA stadia vice president, would have had access to this list in 2009 as well.

So lots of questions emerge in Lahtigate® (which I’m trademarking).

    • When was it realized Aussies were posing as delegates from elsewhere?

    • Why wasn’t this issue raised at the 2011 Sacramento General Assembly?

    • Why haven’t impeachment procedures begun, assuming Stan is behind this?

    • What did Stan know about the delegate issue and when did he know it?

    • Is Winston cooperating with the effort to dethrone Stan?

    • If Rex is the author of these accusations, why not come clean and admit it?

Cesare Beccalli with Brazilian wife Lidia Olivera, the impetus behind Porto Alegre winning 2013 worlds.

WMA has seen delegate-packing before. In fact, the late Cesare Beccalli of Italy (and Brazil half the year, since he was married to a Brazilian) was accused of this some years back, leading to impeachment efforts that didn’t pan out.

The athlete who sent me this memo also wrote: “This will be raised at the WMA candidates forum.”

But of course.

Stay tuned while I query the candidates on this issue.

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October 17, 2013

5 Responses

  1. Matt - October 17, 2013

    Maybe Stan should pay back all the money he spent on flying around the world on the WMA?

  2. Cassandra Smith - October 17, 2013

    I am an Australian athlete and if these accusations are true, there should be serious repercussions on those tainted with fraud. If they are not true similar serious repercussions should be visited on those making false allegations. This matter needs to be thoroughly investigated and the truth uncovered.

  3. Quick Silver - October 17, 2013

    Gee, I sat next to the delegate from the Cook Islands at the Lahti General Assembly. She was definitely an Ocker and was chatting in Strine with another Oceania delegate from some other obscure island who didn’t look or sound as if he had spent much time there. I never thought anything of it because I assumed they had signed proxies from those countries. I didn’t realize that WMA doesn’t allow proxy voting.

    But of course, I don’t actually know who they voted for.

    Quick Silver
    Hong Kong

  4. Bill - October 18, 2013

    Cook Island or Crook Island?

  5. Ken Stone - October 18, 2013

    Just FYI:

    I’ve written to officers of Australian Masters Athletics and state masters groups Down Under. Basically, I asked them to forward to the named athletes the link to this page and my email listing several other questions.

    I suspect these are upstanding athletes who got snookered into voting as delegates from other other countries. If you happen to know any of the six athletes, please have them contact me at

    Thanks for your cooperation.

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