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La Jolla Tennis Club board tries to remove trustee opposed to hiring search firm for new manager

The La Jolla Tennis Club, a public facility, is at 7632 Draper Ave.
The La Jolla Tennis Club, a public facility, is at 7632 Draper Ave.
(Elisabeth Frausto)

In the days following a meeting to discuss hiring a new manager for the La Jolla Tennis Club, the board tried to remove a trustee who opposed the group’s decision to spend $20,000 on a search firm.

The board, which is responsible for running the club as a nonprofit service to the city of San Diego on city-owned courts, held a meeting Feb. 23 to collect feedback on the qualities the new manager should have. The board had voted recently to spend the $20,000 to use South Carolina-based McMahon Careers to find a manager, according to Tennis Club employment committee president Alex Brown.

However, board member Iraj Aalam disagreed with authorizing the funds and hiring a search firm, and he criticized his board colleagues for what he said was a lack of transparency by not consulting the general membership before authorizing the expenditure.

On Feb. 25, the board held a special meeting to discuss Aalam’s “recent conduct, including exposing La Jolla Tennis Club to potential lawsuits by divulging confidential details about a contract signed by the club and ... his attempts to sabotage the relationship with McMahon Careers,” Brown said in a statement.

Aalam reportedly did not attend the special meeting, and all the trustees present voted to remove him from the board.

However, the group relied on a section of club bylaws that allows for the removal of an officer, which Aalam is not.

Therefore, “Mr. Aalam currently remains a member of the board as the board continues to review all possible consequences to Mr. Aalam’s conduct,” Brown said Feb. 28.

Aalam asserted that the board tried to remove him for criticizing its transparency.

“Is this a joke or are you saying the board has every right to engage in whatever they choose to do with total lack of transparency?” he wrote in an email. “This board not only lacks complete transparency, they also want to quash any attempt of transparency, run meetings and negotiations to spend large sums of club finances in complete secrecy! [The] lack [of transparency] is totally unacceptable and detrimental to the club.” ◆