Nudists split over political scandal

Accusations of nepotism and wasteful spending sees a schism emerge in the International Naturism Federation

Nudists split over political scandal

A naturist takes a photo during a Vienna museum's nudist night in 2008 [AP Photo/Ronald Zak]

A crack has emerged in the International Naturism Federation after the president was asked to resign from her post amid accusations that she had been wasteful of the group’s funds and engaged in nepotistic practices.

Britain’s official naturism body has led the thrust of the argument against Sieglinde Ivo, an Austrian woman who was elected to the top job in 2008. Ivo is accused of not doing enough to promote naturism as a leisure and lifestyle pursuit, in an escalating row that could see a number of countries pull out of the body altogether.

Ivo is also accused of spending more than €90,000 to move the INF’s headquarters from its longstanding Belgian office to one closer to her family home in the Austrian town of Horsching, and allegedly hire members of her own family to work there.

Spreading across the world

The accusations saw a number of delegates get the hump at last November’s World Congress of the INF in New Zealand, where a voting bloc of national federations managed to outstrip their rivals and impeach the Austrian. She was replaced by Armand Jamier, president of the French body, who says he will use social media to spread the message of naturism across the Internet.

“The outcome was emotional for some, one delegate even broke into tears when the result of the secret ballot was announced,” said Bruce Kendall, an American nudist.

“Mrs Sieglinde Ivo already made the INF a laughing stock, she should be ashamed of herself for what damage she had done to the INF and naturism in general,” he added.

“What a great time to get rid of an organisation that has become useless, and start something that works at promoting naturism worldwide.”

Ivo mounts her defence

But Ivo has now vowed tooth and nail to oppose any attempts to remove her, refusing – with her supporters on the executive committee – to recognise the vote. She claims the secret ballot was riddled with procedural errors and therefore cannot be held up as genuine.

Ivo has now laid bare her plane to reconvene the INF’s ruling council – at a cost of tens of thousands of euros – in an attempt to hold another vote to turn the bureaucratic tide in her favour.

This has led to considerable consternation amongst the Jamier faction and its hundreds of allies around the world. Speaking to The Telegraph, British naturist Duncan Heenan says those who enjoy stripping off in the UK are now so frustrated that they may choose to abandon the INF, taking the £8,000 (€9,300) in annual fees paid by members away from the INF’s accounts.

“[Sieglinde Ivo] has presided over a period of extremely low activity by the INF, during which money has accumulated within its coffers, which should have been spent on defending and promoting naturism on the world stage,” he said.

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