Judy Kay-Wolff


To those of you who have either commented or written to me privately because of your outrage and curiosity to learn what, if anything, was done by the Board of Directors (BOD), at their meetings at the current NABC in New Orleans:   The answer is NOTHING.  ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. 

They apparently, from the deafening silence, decided to pass the buck and leave it in the capable hands of their Educational Foundation (EF) who probably should not have had discretionary power as to the disbursement of Peter’s designated monies in the first place.

From what we gather from the silence of the twenty-five members of the BOD who met for several days, the embarrassing subject was not deemed worthy of being placed on the agenda and appears to me as a disclaimer.   Apparently, it has been handled all these years (starting in 1990 when Peter died) by the ACBL EF.

(1)  Is not the Educational  Foundation a branch of the ACBL?   YES!

(2)  Does not the ACBL oversee the disbursement of monies bequeathed?  NO!  

Otherwise, somebody would have been minding the store or vault in which Peter Pender’s $50,000 bequest was being kept and followed up on the $27,500 grant for the Peter Pender Junior Trophy (PPJT) that had fallen by the wayside until Bobby and I discovered the lethargy of its disappearance.

Further, I did a little extra homework, checking out the website of the ACBL EF, which you can do too.  Go to their site (I can’t identify it here because of the Spam Rule) which is entitled ACBL Educational Foundation and find the heading called “Major Foundation Donors,” differentiating the categories by amounts of contributions – ranging from Patron ($5,000 and over) down to Friend ($25 to $99).  In the PATRON category (touchingly preceded by a red heart) it lists:

Sidney H. Lazard to the Sidney H. Lazard Sportsmanship Award Fund

Frances Leventritt in memory of Peter Leventritt

Geoffrey Cross

The Daily Bridge Calendar – Lee Daugherty, Ashlar House 2002


I find it astounding, unexplainable and downright insulting!  As you may recall from reading earlier references on what Bobby calls The Pendergaffe, we learned that the grant for the PPJT to purchase replicas to be engraved and presented to the winning Juniors of the Trials held every two years was totally forgotten and neglected after the first presentation (with a lot of hoopla and a picture in the ACBL Bulletin).  I have arranged through Jay Baum, very competent and fair CEO, that the names of the winners will be researched, replicas purchased and engraved and formal presentations made, albeit substantially over a decade later.   No one can deny this was a pure case of unadulterated negligence.   And, since there is only a shade more than $27,500 sitting in Peter’s Junior Fund (in the absence of following through with the arrangement), where is all the accrued interest (remembering interest rates were quite high as compared to the pittance we now receive for our investments).

The second contribution of Peter’s was another grant – in the amount of $50,000.   He died in November of 1990 and (encouraged by Bobby and Becky Rogers at a personal meeting at the Summer Nationals in Boston earlier that year) agreed to donate said money for the commemoration and perpetuation of his name via something comparable to, or more specifically, THE PENDERGRAPH.  There was a Pendergraph for a bit but neither hide nor hair has been caught of it since the turn of the century (or long before) due to the appearance of our wonderful BBO.   However, it is abundantly and unmistakably clear that his fifty grand bequest was specifically to USE THE NAME OF PENDER and when that ceased, it is also an unequivocal fact that the money supply should rightfully have been halted as well.  

Presently there is a shade over $10,000 left but the PENDERGAPH is dead and buried like it’s donor.

Having read the above (elaborating on the $77,500 Peter left to the ACBL), WHY WAS NOT THE NAME OF PETER PENDER HEADING THE LIST OF MAJOR FOUNDATION DONORS.

Back to New Orleans.  A conscientious member of the Board (who would not press for it to be listed on the BOD agenda) did attend the EF Meeting.  Let me read you excerpts from the disappointing report we received:

I went to the Educational Foundation meeting last Saturday morning and went over the financial page I had been sent and forwarded to you showing the $40,000 that was spent on the Pendergraph from the time the Peter Pender Fund was turned over to them and the $10,000+ that is left.  And as you know there is $27,000 left of Junior money allocated for replicas of the Peter Pender Junior Team Trials Trophy.”  [That’s old news.   We already knew that.  Actually, it is reported there is over $28,000 in the Juniors].”

…… But at this point – I am not willing to do anything more … mostly because I don’t see any wrong doing here except that after the program was halted, we did nothing  to spend the rest of the Fund in a way to honor Peter’s memory.” [The wrongdoing is that ANY money spent after the name PENDERGRAPH was dropped is, we believe, a legal decision, as Peter was specific as to the purpose of the bequest – the perpetuation of his name].

I am going to pursue getting the names of the US Under 26 Trials Winners and have replicas made for them as well as, of course, try to make certain that continues.”  [That, too, was confirmed over a month ago by Jay Baum who volunteered to take care of it as soon as they settled in at their new Headquarters.’]

“As far as the $10,000 left I would hope that you with the help of Jeffrey Polisner, Peter Rank and myself might figure out a worthwhile use of these funds to make sure that Peter’s legacy will remain.   The Educational Foundation is certainly willing to work with you and release the money to any worthwhile endeavor you feel is appropriate. “ [Sorry, THAT JUST DOESN’T CUT IT.  We want an accounting of all the misappropriated money that was spent setting up other programs, maintenance and repair services AFTER THE NAME OF THE PENDERGRAPH WAS DROPPED and have the original bequest replenished as Peter’s wishes were certainly not honored as he expected].  

At the present time, we have sought legal counsel (on Peter’s behalf).  It is unclear whether the $50,000 bequest was directly to the ACBL (or possibly because of tax consequences to its charitable arm, the EF).   However, it matters not as the EF is under the auspices of the ACBL and the responsibility must be shared.    We have requested that a competent, interested lawyer speak to Peter’s attorney and examine the probated Will to ascertain the details.  Then, if our suspicions are substantiated, the following two choices remain:  (1) Either retrieve and restore the misspent moneys to Peter’s Residuary Estate if indeed the monies were wrongly spent; or preferably, and in the alternative (2) If the ACBL/EF is amenable, restore the assumed misspent monies AND let us go back twenty years and right the ship by naming some major event or function after a very generous bridge icon.  In good conscience, how can anyone  deny Peter’s desires were violated and the commemoration of his name was only negatively revived by calling attention to The Pendergaffe.


ReneJuly 31st, 2010 at 4:15 pm


After digesting the above and sympathizing with your disgust about the ditching of the Pendergraph — without renaming something else after Mr. Pender (who sounds like a very extraordinary gentleman who died much too soon before his time), I went onto a Glossary site and found the following:


“In 1991 the ACBL commissioned Mr. Fred Gitelman, a Toronto programmer, to develop a computer vugraph program with a grant from the estate of Mr. Peter Pender. The vugraph was subsequently named the PenderGraph. The PenderGraph debuted at the Summer NABC in Las Vegas, where the final of the Spingold Knockout Teams was shown to a huge audience. In 1993 Gitelman wrote a new PenderGraph program to work under the Windows operating system, enhancing and enlarging the graphics and adding features that distinguished the PenderGraph as the top program of its kind.”

I am not clear why they stopped using it if it was so sensational as professed in the glossary. What is your take?

Judy Kay-WolffJuly 31st, 2010 at 4:48 pm


I am far from computer savvy although I must confess with all this blogging in the last couple of years, I have fought my way out of the sandbox.

I don’t have all the answers. I can only guess. I believe in an earnest attempt to honor Peter’s wishes, the ACBL engaged Fred Gitelman, a genius in his field, to set up some type of program as detailed in the Glossary. As time went on, Fred and his team kept getting better and better and eventually BBO (Bridge Base Online) emerged out of the blue. It is no doubt one of the greatest bridge inventions of our time as it allows people from all over the universe to watch live contests as they are being played (among the many other popular opportunities it offers to the bridge playing public). In fact, as I write, Fred himself (on the Diamond Team) can be seen LIVE on BBO in the finals of the Spingold Match at the New Orleans Nationals.

With the advent of BBO, The Pendergraph became passe. I am sure they did not want to share top billing with The Pendergraph — and I can understand their position.

The issue here is not the dropping of the Pendergraph in favor of BBO. The obvious problem here is that nothing was done to counter the obsolence of The Pendergraph and its replacement by BBO. As long as Peter’s name was in public view, the ACBL was entitled to the use of his money. As soon as it stopped, the ACBL/EF should have immediately picked up their marbles and concentrated on honoring the name of Peter Pender in some other major way. My best suggestion would have been to name a prestigious event or tournament after him. As far as we are concerned, had Bobby and I not brought up this issue (and very belatedly I have to confess), things would have remained status quo, Peter’s money would have continued to go the way of all flesh — with no designated perpetuation of his name.

It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to realize that Peter was betrayed and no one really seemed to give a damn until now. The ACBL should take the bull by the horns, assume the responsibility and do something about it POST HASTE!

John Howard GibsonAugust 1st, 2010 at 7:33 am

Dear Judy , me again…HBJ…..dumbfounded and amazed at how a ( supposedly ethically ) driven body can blatantly break the conditions on which a bequest can be used. Not only is it an insult to his family and friends, it is a cruel betrayal to Peter himself, it is grossly immoral and in my view tantamount to theft. Obviously ACBL have misappropriated $40,000 on items of expenditure outside the remit of Peter’s will.

This sort of thing needs to be exposed to a wider audience ( national news perhaps ) to embarrass them into action. My grandfather contested a will where the major beneficiary refused to abide by a condition attached to the money hand out. Big money infact. So a stale mate evolved that lasted for 19 years !! To cut a long story short, the major beneficiary ( the church ) agreed to accept only half the money if the condition was dropped, the other half was then to be made available to some surprised and joyous descendants….. never mentioned at all in the will. The probate office had to persuade and pay-off the executors in order to implement a plan to break the stalemate. What a saga. I do hope that in the Pendergraph debacle a speedier resolution can be reached. Yours JHG ( aka HBJ )

Judy Kay-WolffAugust 1st, 2010 at 10:30 am

Dear HBJ:

Your real-life exposure about a similar type of attempted miscarriage of justice distresses me profoundly. It sounds like even a sacred institution such as a church has its, shall we say, cross to bear.

As late as last night, the Board Member who attended the EF meeting is still chewing away doggedly on her bone — and had this to say to Bobby:

“I am, of course, very sympathetic to your feelings. On the other hand, I do not feel that the ACBL did anything maliciously. They spent $40,000 in the Pendergraph during the years there were live vu-graph shows and then dropped the ball with the last $10,000 when there were no more live shows.”

WRONG! What do malicious actions have to do with indiscreet actions? IT IS NOT THE INTENT WE ARE CHALLENGING HERE. It is the EXPENDITURE of Peter’s money to develop a new program which NO LONGER BORE HIS NAME. End of story.

The remaining $10,000+ is a slam dunk. It goes back to Peter’s Estate or is added to the earlier misspent money — making his bequest

‘whole.’ What will be done with it remains to be seen.

Before closing, HBJ, since I know (despite your hilarious sense of humor) how devout you are about honoring bridge in every respect, let me share with you a portion of Bobby’s reply to the well-intended, though passive, member’s excuses:

“…. What bang has Peter’s memory gotten for his buck? Whichever way one imagines what happened comes back to the specific unfairness generated by the ACBL and their lethargic and borderline illegal behavior with his donation…”

“…What has quieted your fears and indignation which were so obvious when you first learned? Should I have been prepared for such sloth when the deal was made and was I expected to oversee exactly what happened? If so, why wouldn’t someone suggest that to me instead of remaining quiet, although at the time all of the 25 members of the 1990-1991 ACBL BOD knew or should have known of Peter’s generosity?


“.. Is this some sort of coverup to protect the ACBL, BBO and its investors, or others who may have contributed to this atrocity…?

With heavy heart, my Lone Wolff howls again.

Judy Kay-WolffAugust 1st, 2010 at 8:27 pm

I neglected to mention that we were told that Jay Baum came up with an idea …. that when the ACBL has the space to set up a room where the BBO broadcast can be seen that the room be called: The Pendergraph Theatre.

Food for thought — but why should the ACBL not have enough space at ANY location chosen for an NABC to have a room designated for such. In addition, perhaps a permanent plaque could be be designed with Peter’s picture included that would adorn the entrance to the theatre. It wouldn’t resolve all the issues, but at least it would be an earnest effort to BEGIN to rectify the egregious lethargy and sloth of the handling of The Pendergraph and the $40,000 in question.

JoanAugust 2nd, 2010 at 8:59 pm

I like the idea of naming the BBO Room The Pendergraph Theatre. Something about it sounds regal!

DiogenesAugust 4th, 2010 at 4:32 pm

Yes, The Pendergraph Theatre (or Peter Pender Theatre) IS indeed regal-sounding as Joan pointed out.

However, what disturbs me is that your source from the BOD does not seem to accept the responsibility for the use of Mr. Pender’s money AFTER HIS NAME WAS DROPPED FROM THE VIEWING VENUE. WHY?

What difference does it make whether decisions were rendered or disbursements authorized BY THE EF OR ACBL? It is all the same pocket as far as the responsibility and potential misuse of expenditures not earmarked from Peter’s endowment because it did not bear his name.

Let’s face it: Apropos of the old nursery rhyme … Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers? If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers, where’s the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked? To apply all the garble to real life …

1) Exactly how much of Peter’s money was spent up until the dropping of the name PENDERGRAPH?

2) How, if at all, does the ACBL intend to repay the missing monies and add it to the $10,000 still in the till?

3) The Pendergraph Theatre is a nice idea (even with a permanent plaque and Peter’s picture implanted in it) — but it doesn’t begin to satisfy all the money picked from Mr. Pender’s pockets while continuing to use his funds but not his name.

I am interested to hear what the lawyer will have to say about the specific terms of Peter’s probated will.

[…] evoke the answers we are anxiously awaiting. Besides my current blog (one of several) entitled “Pendergraph Pending”, there is also much about the above on my husband Bobby’s site entitled “What’s to Become […]