WASHINGTON (5/7/08)--The National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA), which represents cooperatives across various sectors of the economy, including credit unions, announced that it will help Ace Hardware owners maintain Ace’s cooperative structure. The NCBA will help the Concerned Ace Owners (CAO) elect new directors to Ace’s board that are more representative of the Ace membership and who pledge to maintain the company as a cooperative. NCBA is asking all owners to support CAO’s slate of candidates--Brian Odell, Larry Perty, Charlie Huff and Patrick Smith. “They have reached out to all of the more than 3,000 Ace members on a shoestring budget while combating the staunch opposition from Ace’s current board and senior management,” said Paul Hazen, NCBA president/CEO. Ace consists of independent, locally-owned hardware and home improvement stores. Last August, Ace management discovered an accounting error that erased $152 million, or 47% of the company’s equity. The current board of directors created a plan to restore the equity by assessing members with a variance allocation charge, though the plan has been tabled until the equity restoration plan is completed. CAO formed to encourage Ace’s membership to be more proactive in setting the company’s future direction. More than 700 Ace owner-members have registered with CAO. Ace has stores in all U.S. states and 63 countries.