SCAN Case Study : Ralph Gerdelan
A New Zealand television programme in 2002 claimed that more than $280,000 had been spent on credit cards belonging to the Problem Gambling Foundation, including nearly $18,000 in cash advances, some of which had been gambled away. Two days later Ralph Gerdelan, CEO of the Foundation wrote the following letter:
It is with deep regret that I tender my resignation as Chief Executive of the Problem Gambling Foundation, effective immediately.
I cannot apologise enough for any embarrassment I have caused the Foundation and the Trustees by my recent actions; I have devoted the last 15 years of my life to this cause, and am immensely proud of the extraordinary work of this organisation and all it has achieved. However, as I have explained, my gambling has resurfaced, I have acted inappropriately, by meeting some of my personal expenses through cash advances, and, given the role I have, my position as Chief Executive has become untenable.
I wish to reiterate, in tendering my resignation, that any personal spending by me has been well and truly repaid. I also reiterate that the expenses on the credit cards are legitimate business expenses. As you know, the decision was made some time ago, to accrue air points for the Foundation through the use of these credit cards, to alleviate the cost of air travel.
I remain deeply disappointed that a large number of hurtful and very false accusations have been made publicly against me. I remain deeply suspicious of the motives of some of the people who have made these attacks.
However, at the end of the day, I accept that I have acted wrongly, I must be held accountable for my actions, I have to start on a rehabilitation programme immediately and clearly I have to resign for the sake of the Foundation’s credibility.
- The subject said: “… I tender…” - not “I resign”
This might indicate that the subject does not actually resign. He only offers to do so.
- The subject said: “I cannot apologise enough for any embarrassment I have caused the Foundation and the Trustees by my recent actions.”
- “…for any embarrassment…” – not “…for the embarrassment…”
- “…for any embarrassment I have caused…”
The subject apologises for the embarrassment, not his actions.
- “…by my recent actions…” – not “actions” in general.
- The subject said: “However, as I have explained, my gambling has resurfaced…”
- “…my gambling…” – use of the possessive “my” indicates that gambling is very important to the subject.
- “…my gambling…” – the subject does not show any linguistic attempt to diminish the severity of the act.
This might indicate that the subject already went through counselling to be able to label the act as this.
- “…has resurfaced…” – passive language.
The subject talks about the problem as if it is an independent entity, i.e. he does not take personal responsibility for it.
- “…has resurfaced…” – not “returned”.
“resurfaced” means that the subject was gambling all the time, however, managed to conceal it for a while
- The subject said: “…I have acted inappropriately…”
- “…acted…” – not “…behaved…”
“acted” relates to “acting” as on a stage.
- “…inappropriately…” – not “illegally”, not “unethically” and not “wrongly”.
- While for the “gambling” we do not see any detachment, for “acting inappropriately” we do. It might relate to two different issues.
- The subject said: “I remain deeply disappointed that a large number of hurtful and very false accusations have been made publicly against me.”
- “…a large number…” – but not all of them
- “…hurtful and very false…” – order of listing indicates priority for the subject.
- “…very false…” – indicates that the subject has different shades of “false”.
- The subject said: “However, at the end of the day, I accept I acted wrongly, I must be held accountable for my actions, I have to start on a rehabilitation programme immediately and clearly I have to resign for the sake of the Foundation’s credibility.”
- “…I accept…” – “accepting” does not reflect the feeling of being guilty.
- “…wrongly…” – this is the first time the subject used negative value to his actions.
- “I must…” – being forced to.
- “…accountable…” – not “responsible”.
- “I have to start…” – but I don’t want to.
- “…start…” – starting not necessarily completing.
- “…a rehabilitation…” – “a” means one out of many.
- “…I have to resign…” – but I don’t want to.
- “…for the sake of…” – sacrificing himself and doing the Foundation a favour.
- “…the Foundation’s credibility…” – the subject talks about resigning because of the Foundation and not because of what he did.
The subject does not apologise for his behaviour. He does not want to resign but offers to do so and has a need to remind the reader that he is sacrificing himself for the benefit of the Foundation.
He uses language that seeks to minimise his behaviour and is only confessing to what has already been found.
The subject summarises a part of his life in a way that should bring us to wonder if he contemplates ending his life.