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Re: THEOS-L digest 901

Feb 11, 1997 10:15 PM
by M K Ramadoss

At 12:35 AM 2/12/97 -0500, you wrote:
>>MKD wrote
>>>Some years ago the Charter of Canadian Section was cancelled.
>Christine wrote
>>Thanks for this information on the Canadian Section.  I am very curious
>>about this situation because of the outcome of it at my Lodge.  The story we
>>hear is that the Canadian section and some country in Europe (Belgium or
>>Denmark - not sure which ) have been taken over by the Shantara Group
>>(spelling unknown).
>>This has been used as a big stick for many years of changes to our
>>constitution which has resulted in us having a constitution which
>>effectively creates and supports a closed shop.
>MKD wrote
>>Can you tell us the key aspects of the changes recently put in in your
>No, at this stage I cannot, but I will now request a latest copy of the
>National consititution, mine is quite old, and have a look at it.   Many of
>the changes our Lodge has made were "required" by section, but this was also
>used as a coverall to get lots of other changes through which were not
>I do know that our local Lodge resisted a requirement by National to include
>a clause that our assets could be seized by National if our Lodge is wound
>up (our Lodge is worth quite a few millon dollars and is an Australian
>Company bound by Australian companies Law).  The final clause which got
>written into out Lodge constitution on this is that:
>::::If upon winding up of the Lodge there remains after the satisfaction of
>all its debts and liabilities any property whatsoever the same shall not be
>distributed among the members of the Lodge but shall be given or transferred
>to the Theosophical Society in Australia with the intention that where
>possible it will be used to support another Lodge in [the name of our

The above clause is normal all over the world where the lodge is a
non-profit corporation. The intent is the assets are from money on which no
tax has been paid as such it should not benefit the members.

Another interesting aspect that should be looked into is this. What happens
if at the time lodge is dissolved and by the time all the liabilities are
paid off, there is no Theosophical Society in Australia? This could happen.
You may want to look into it.

>The significant words are WHERE POSSIBLE, which we apparently resisted
>initially until our President was told why it was necessary and assured us
>that for reasons we couldn't be told, we had to vote for it!
Secrecy in dealing with members is rampant in the TSA and looks like it is
not limited to the USA. During the bylaws change questions were asked as to
why in Denmark and other places Section Charter was cancelled. The only
response we got from the TSA National President was that it was all too
complicated. It was an insult to the intelligence of the membership. We have
highly competent professional in the membership -- attorneys/lawyers,
chartered/Certified Accountants, governmental officials etc who have and do
deal with very highly complex matters on a daily basis and nothing is
complex. If anyone in TS worldwide can understand, these people can
understand. What it appears is that they do not want to tell the full and
complete story of the background.

It is common for leaders to say -- trust me -- I know the reason --- you
need not know about it.

>It is worth noting that there are restrictions on why a Lodge can be wound
>up - or at least I thought there were until I started reading our only just
>publshed new consititution.  It's not where I thought it was, so I have more
>work to do, it seems.  I think this clause has disappeared.

You should look and see what happens if National Board decides to cancel the
charter issued to your lodge.

Check also if there is a provision for the assets to be transferred to a
Trust if the Section Charter is revoked or cancelled. Unless there is
something in the Trust provisions to make the Trustees answerable to the
public, it can end up in a very bad situation.

I do not know if you are familiar with the 18 year litigation in which
Krishnamurti Trusts were involved and he litigation ended only after
Krishnamurti died.

Krishnamurti Trusts were setup and money was donated to the Trusts to help
Krishnamurti travel and teach etc. Initially he was one of the trustees. At
some point later he resigned and his business manager who was also a Trustee
took over the trust. Later when Krishnamurti asked for accounting for some
of the donations to the trust, he could get no information. The K told that
he is not going to accept any funds from the Trusts. This led to the
California Attorney General and trustees of a new K Trust sued the old
Trusts and Trustees for recovery of the assets. The litigation went on and
on for 18 years -- with 3 law suit. There was even one in which Krishnamurti
himself was sued by the Trustees for $9 million in damages. The full
transfer of assets and termination/resignation of the trustees of the old
trusts finally took place after he died. The details of the litigation was
not much of public knowledge until recently. So if it could happen in the
USA, it could happen anywhere in the world.

>>From  a local point of view, we have a committee (of 10)  and a Board of
>Trustees (of 5) with supposedly split responsibilies.
>RE the Committee.  The committee can reject any aspiring new member without
>giving reason, you must be a member for 12 months before being eligible to
>vote,  2 years before running for committee and must attend two lectures a
>month for 12 months to be eligible to run, then once on the committee you
>must be an ordinary member for 2 consecutive years before running for Vice
>President, and serve 2 years (not consecutive) as VP before running for
>President.  This has all been done in the name of keeping out the Shantara

This is the first time I am hearing about the Shantara Group. Can some one
tell me more about it. I am truly intrigued. I have not heard about this
group in Europe or in the US so far.

Tell me what kind of restrictions they have on anyone who wants to become
the President/National Secretary of Australian Section. I believe Joy Mills
for the US held that position for some time. Would be interesting to know.

>You have to have been a member for 7 years to run for the Trustees, and must
>have served on the committee for the previous two years prior to election
>(this last restriction was introduced to keep me out in 1995 when I
>threatened to run).   All trustees are now Committee members and their role
>has been reduced to being answerable to the Committee.

The two consecutive year requirement has another advantage. If by that time
the member signs up for ES, then it is very easy to make sure the member
toes partyline on everything.

>We are currently having our constitution reviewed by the Australian
>Securities Commission, but from your alert I will make sure they have the
>latest National constitution also.  There may be something there, and I will
>check it for the list of items you enclosed.  It will be interesting if they
>are moving in the same direction in more than one country, but I must say
>that I don't think we are any way near this kind of dictatorship.

If the Securities Commission is looking into it, then as an interested
member and public, you may be able to file a request to them about your
concerns. You need to check, since I do not know the Australian procedures
in this respect.

It is worth checking. Also you may want to check another aspect. In most of
the countries, they do not want foreign entities directly or indirectly
controlling domestic non profit entities. This is to avoid a foreign entity
from liquidating the assets and moving it out of the country and if this
happens, the national governmental taxing authorities cannot do anything.

>I have also just found the clause that Rules of the National Society
>over-rule any incompatible rule in our constitution - hmmm - maybe.


At some point someone with legal background may have to look into the total

BTW, it may be of some interest to post the changes that were voted late in
1995 in the US.


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