NEW YORK – A formal complaint to the Antique Motorcycle Club of America seeking to get Hudson Valley Chapter president Dan Henke expelled from the organization has been filed with the club’s national board of directors by a motorcycle-collecting New York doctor, and the board reportedly planned a teleconference Monday night to discuss it.
In a written complaint sent in early March, anesthesiologist and AMCA member Dr. Dominick Cannavo asserted that Henke “engaged in acts of fraud, theft, deliberate misrepresentation and moral turpitude” that are “detrimental to the AMCA” and that are in violation of the organization’s policy and procedures.
The 75-chapter club’s “Policies & Procedures” require that members be of “good character,” and the board has the authority “to deny, suspend or revoke membership” of any member for conduct judged detrimental.
Cannavo last year won a civil lawsuit against Henke involving the purchase, repair and restoration of more than a dozen vintage bikes. He offered the decision by the Supreme Court in Catskill, NY – the result of which being that Henke now owes him nearly $300,000 – as the reason why Henke deserves to be kicked out.
Henke is not only president of the AMCA’s Hudson Valley Chapter, which has staged the club-sanctioned Rhinebeck Grand National Meet in Rhinebeck, N.Y. for the past decade, but he is also president of the non-profit Motorcyclepedia Museum in Newburgh, N.Y. Henke (second from right in the above picture) operates Henke Cycle Repair and lives in Cairo, NY.
While not providing a specific reason, Cannavo also wants AMCA leadership to “protect AMCA’s reputation and integrity” by ordering outside forensic audits of the Hudson Valley Chapter and of the Rhinebeck Grand National Meet.
The Rhinebeck Grand National Meet was established in 2007. Up until this year, it was given “National” status by the AMCA, which supplied judges for the event. This year, however, the scheduling of two other AMCA National Meets elsewhere in the country the same weekend resulted in the Rhinebeck show losing its national name. It is still sanctioned by the national club as a local meet.
Reaction to Cannavo’s complaint by the AMCA board isn’t yet known. RIDE-CT & RIDE-NewEngland spoke briefly last week with AMCA executive director Keith Kizer, who said club president Lonnie Campbell needs to answer any questions. Campbell has yet to respond to a phone message and email.
Henke responded late Monday afternoon that he is unaware of the complaint and has not been notified of it by the AMCA. “He’s lying,” Henke said after the gist of Cannavo’s letter was read to him, promising that a more detailed response will be forthcoming.
In his complaint, Cannavo reviewed the five-year civil lawsuit against Henke, originally filed in October 2012, which ultimately determined that Henke illegally took custody of and held, or failed to restore and return, more than a dozen valuable motorcycles owned by Cannavo. Among the motorcycles were a 1951, 1952 and 1953 and two 1947 Indian Chief models, and 1936 and 1937 Harley-Davidson models.
In her Jan. 9, 2017 ruling, Justice Lisa M. Fisher of the State of New York Supreme Court decided that “unjust enrichment” had occurred and ordered that Henke return all motorcycles as well as pay $164,500 to Cannavo. That debt has since ballooned to $293,230.64 through interest and other costs.
In her decision, Fisher said she found Henke’s testimony to be “inconsistent, incognizant and not credible,” while writing that Cannavo’s testimony was “mostly credible, but some remarks were incredulous. His testimony was clear and he was knowledgeable of the facts…”
Cannavo’s complaint to the AMCA suggests that Henke tried to avoid paying the court judgment by filing for personal bankruptcy shortly after the justice’s decision became final on Feb. 7, 2017. Henke listed assets of $52,420 and liabilities of $607,485.
Cannavo’s attorney, Paul M. Freeman, then filed with U.S. Bankruptcy Court maintaining that the nearly $300,000 debt was “not dischargeable” because money received by Henke were obtained through “false pretenses, false presentations, and/or actual fraud” and “was the result of larcenous conduct.” Chief U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Cecelia G. Morris agreed, ruling in Cannavo’s favor on Sept. 17, 2017 that the obligation could not be erased through bankruptcy.
Henke was recently featured in a story posted on RIDE-CT & RIDE-NewEngland about a southern New England family wanting to sell a 1941 Harley-Davidson FL “Knucklehead.” The website – unaware at the time of the lawsuit involving Henke – took Henke to the owner’s home to inspect the motorcycle and provide insight into its originality on the advice of a Motorcyclepedia Museum board member that Henke was a Knucklehead expert.
Henke then offered $65,000 to buy the Harley-Davidson, promising to replace non-original parts on the bike and display it at the museum. Henke left the impression that he personally wanted to buy the motorcycle. However, Henke has since said he didn’t make the offer on his own behalf, rather on behalf of another undisclosed person.
The story did not mention Henke’s offer as the owner was undecided on whether to accept. It also did not reveal the owner’s name or location of the town where the bike is stored at request of family members who had security concerns.
The story quickly circulated among collectors of vintage motorcycles and AMCA members, soon prompting a tip to RIDE-CT & RIDE-NewEngland of Cannavo’s lawsuit against Henke and the delivery to the website by email of numerous documents pertaining to the heretofore unpublicized case, including the rulings by the two judges.
In asking that Henke be kicked out of the AMCA, Cannavo states that Henke has “done the antique motorcycle community and the AMCA a terrible disservice” and is in violation of club policy. Cannavo has so far received support for his complaint from at least three other club members, who have written to the AMCA urging Henke’s expulsion.
Club member and airline pilot Mark Hunnibell of Yellow Springs, OH, wrote to the AMCA board recalling what he termed “bad memories of my prior experiences with Dan Henke” over years of volunteering on the vending committee of the Rhinebeck meet and “a pattern of abuse of authority and acts by Dan Henke that are contrary to the best interests of AMCA, behavior that has been going on for years.”
Hunnibel wrote, “It makes the AMCA look bad enough that Dan Henke is still out there doing what he is doing, but it makes the AMCA board look complicit if they know about it and do nothing.”
In addition to the Rhinebeck vintage show on June 15 and 16, the Hudson Valley Chapter over which Henke still presides is staging the AMCA’s Catskill Mountains National Road Run from June 10-13.
The lone AMCA National Meet in the northeast is the one staged by the Yankee Chapter of the AMCA, which is moving its show from Hebron, CT to Terryville, CT this summer. It will be held Aug. 3-4 at the Terryville Fairgrounds.
The AMCA was founded in 1954 and has more than 11,000 members in the U.S. and more than a dozen other countries.