The Baha'i Faith & Religious Freedom of Conscience

 


Also see US District Court of Northern Illinois rules against Haifan Baha'is - April 23, 2008
Amici curiae, Reform Bahai Faith
https://fglaysher.com/bahaicensorship/USDistrictCourt07.htm

New Mexico LAWSUIT against bahai institutions for FRAUD & LIBEL 3/2/2001 Deborah Buchhorn
New Mexico LAWSUIT - Response to Motion to Dismiss 5/2001 Yorgos D. Marinakis, Attorney
New Mexico LAWSUIT - Attorney's Statement 5/26/2001 Yorgos D. Marinakis, Attorney
New Mexico LAWSUIT - Amicus Curiae 7/13/2001 FG

See my comments at New Mexico Lawsuit Annotated

 

SECOND JUDICIAL DISTRICT
COUNTY OF BERNALILLO
STATE OF NEW MEXICO

DEBORAH BUCHHORN, for herself and for MINORITY 
MEMBERS OF THE SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLY OF THE BAHAIS OF 
ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO, 
Plaintiffs, 


vs. No. CV 2001-01978


TRUSTEES OF THE SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLY OF THE BAHAIS OF 
ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO, and 
THE SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLY OF THE BAHAIS OF ALBUQUERQUE, 
NEW MEXICO, a non-profit corporation, and the 
NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLY OF THE BAHAIS OF THE 
UNITED STATES, an Illinois Corporation, 
Defendants. 

VERIFIED COMPLAINT FOR FRAUD, LIBEL, BREACH OF CORPORATE DUTIES, AND
DECLARATORY AND INJUNCTIVE RELIEF

COMES NOW Plaintiffs by and through their attorney of record, Yorgos D.
Marinakis, and for their Complaint states as follows:

INTRODUCTION

1. Plaintiffs file this shareholder or member derivative suit against:
- the Spiritual Assembly of the Bah 's of Albuquerque, New Mexico (Local
Spiritual Assembly, or LSA),
- their Trustees, and
- the Spiritual Assembly of the Bah 's of the United States (National
Spiritual Assembly, or NSA), with whom the Local Spiritual Assembly and its
Trustees have privity.
2. Plaintiffs allege that Trustees breached their duties as corporate
officers.
3. Plaintiffs allege that the National Spiritual Assembly breached their
duty of deciding appeals owed to Plaintiffs.
4. Plaintiffs allege that the literature review policies of the Local
Spiritual Assembly and the National Spiritual Assembly, which lie in
privity, unlawfully prevent shareholders from their right to communicate
with other shareholders.
5. Plaintiffs allege that Defendants failed to execute their duties under
their corporate by-laws.

PARTIES

6. Named Plaintiff Deborah Buchhorn was a shareholder or member of the
Spiritual Assembly of the Bah 's of Albuquerque, New Mexico, at the time
of the incidents stated in this Complaint, and she continues to be a member.
7. The Spiritual Assembly of the Bah 's of Albuquerque, New Mexico (Local
Spiritual Assembly) is a New Mexico non-profit corporation.
Shareholder-members may appeal decisions by the Local Spiritual Assembly to
the National Spiritual Assembly.
8. The Trustees of the Spiritual Assembly of the Bah 's of Albuquerque,
New Mexico (Trustees) individually reside in Bernalillo County, New Mexico,
as a condition of their Trusteeship. Trustees are Kambiz Victory, Ok-Sun
and John McHenry, Manijeh Kavelin, Nelson Sapad, Harry and Sondra Day, Owen
Creightney, and Carol Caldwell. Jenny Beery was a Trustee during the time
of many of these incidents.
9. The Spiritual Assembly of the Bah 's of the United States (National
Spiritual Assembly) is incorporated in and has its principal place of
business in Illinois.

FACTS

10. The Bah ' have no clergy. Instead, each community in the Bah ' Faith
annually elects nine Trustees or a "Local Spiritual Assembly," which acts
as an agent or subsidiary of the National Spiritual Assembly. Each
National Spiritual Assembly answers to the supreme Bah ' body, The
Universal House of Justice. The Universal House of Justice established the
Continental Board of Counsellors (sic) to assist them, and the Countinental
Board of Counsellors further has the Auxiliary Board to assist them.
11. In the particular situation between the Trustees of the Spiritual
Assembly of Bah 's of Albuquerque, New Mexico, Defendants Trustees
controlled what member activities Plaintiffs were able to engage in and
what members they were able to talk to. They stopped them from interacting
with friends at member events. They stopped Plaintiffs from serving on
committees and stopped their individual activities for personal reasons.
They made all the decisions relating to Plaintiffs' membership-related
activities. They told named Plaintiff that opinions she may personally
hold were bad and implicitly threatened to curtail her presence at member
functions. They acted as if the abuse were no big deal, that it was
Plaintiff's fault, and denied doing it. They failed to act when one member
was physically threatened and shoved by another member.
12. Although Plaintiffs have consistently complied with Defendant Trustees'
demands, they have also consistently filed complaints against them with the
National and International Bah ' authorities. This has enraged the
Defendant Trustees.
13. Defendant Trustees have never made specific accusations or informed
Plaintiffs of wrongdoing, other than vague statements such as "you have
issues with the Spiritual Assembly."
14. Therefore, deep-seated animosities and distrust have arisen between
Plaintiffs and the Trustees, which are incapable of resolution and thereby
present an irreconcilable barrier to the ability of the corporation to
function as is.
15. Plaintiffs' reasonable expectations that they would be able to
participate in the management and activities of their corporation, as
minority shareholders, have been thwarted since at least 1995.
16. Article IV of the LSA by-laws provides that the LSA shall compose
differences and disagreements among members of the community. Article VII,
section 9 of the NSA by-laws provides that any member of a Bah ' community
may appeal from a decision of his LSA to the NSA.

Failure to Allow Inspection of Books and Records

17. The books and records of the corporation have been maintained in an
inaccurate and inequitable manner.
18. The year 2000 annual meeting showed a 10%, $10,000 discrepancy in the
corporate books.
19. In a letter dated September 3, 2000, named Plaintiff Deborah Buchhorn
informed the Local Spiritual Assembly that she desired to inspect their
financial books. Defendants refused.
20. Following mailing of the demand letter, the LSA offered to allow named
Plaintiff to inspect the books and records, but under conditions that the
Plaintiff deemed in bad faith.

Fraudulent Oppression and Prevention of Communications between Shareholders

21. On April 19, 1998, Defendant Trustees ordered named Plaintiff Deborah
Buchhorn to refrain from discussing her "issues" with anyone but Auxiliary
Board member Brent Poirier and the Local Spiritual Assembly. Plaintiff
complied and appealed to Brent Poirier and the National Spiritual Assembly,
who took no action. Defendant LSA has wrapped many of their dealings with
members in the cloak of secrecy in a like manner.

Electioneering

22. At the Annual Meeting Feast of 1999, Defendant Trustees fraudulently
rigged the election of Trustee Nelson Sapad by calling for applause for him
three times prior to an election of corporate officers. Plaintiff appealed
to the National Spiritual Assembly and Brent Poirier, who took no action.
23. Defendant Trustees or their agents fraudulently rigged the election of
Harry and Sondra Day, by introducing them and calling for applause moments
before an election of corporate officers.
24. Trustees do not ensure secret balloting at the Annual Meeting Feast.
The usual practice is not to use a ballot box, but for members to lay their
ballots on a plate or in a basket in plain sight of the election tellers.
Ms. Buchhorn appealed to Brent Poirier on at least one election. Mr.
Poirier responded by handling the collection basket himself.
25. In the member newsletter and prior to the annual election and during
the Annual Meeting Feast, Trustees have used scriptural quotes to draw
attention to persons serving on certain committees.

Fraudulent and Oppressive Behavior Relating to the TV Show "Spiritual
Reality"

26. Plaintiffs conceptualized and produced a TV show named "Spiritual
Reality." After 100 showings, during which Defendant Trustees only
complimented Plaintiffs, Defendant Trustees, fraudulently and with intent
to oppress, mandated major changes in the show. Plaintiffs complied and
appealed to the National Spiritual Assembly and Brent Poirier, who took no
action.
27. Defendant Trustees, fraudulently and with intent to oppress, ordered
Plaintiffs to "temporarily postpone" their television show, "Spiritual
Reality." Plaintiff complied, and Defendants never specifically informed
Plaintiffs what they had done to precipitate the arbitrary and capricious
termination. The effect of this order, namely the termination of the TV
show, violated the right of shareholders to communicate with other
shareholders.
28. Trustees fraudulently and under false pretences stated that the reasons
for termination would be fully discussed at a later meeting, at which
meeting those reasons were never discussed. Defendant Trustee Kambiz
Victory, employee of channel 41, knew or should have known that a
television program cannot be "temporarily postponed." Plaintiffs appealed
to the National Spiritual Assembly, who took no action.
29. Defendant Kambiz Victory, a Trustee, fraudulently and with intent to
oppress, told named Plaintiff Deborah Buchhorn in regards to her television
show that "Your teaching can have no effect because you are not in unity
with the Spiritual Assembly." Defendant knew that Ms. Buchhorn's
television show brought in 15% of the information requests during an
unrelated major regional advertising campaign by Defendants. Plaintiff
appealed to the National Spiritual Assembly, who took no action.
30. Defendant Trustees fraudulently and under false pretences set-up
Plaintiffs to a "confession" of their animosity towards Defendant Trustees.
Named Plaintiff appealed to the National Spiritual Assembly, who took no
action.

Other Oppression

31. As an act of individual initiative, named Plaintiff Deborah Buchhorn
organized a Bah ' parade float for several years for the New Mexico State
Fair Parade. In 2000, Defendant Trustees convened a task force to organize
the parade float for that year. On August 22, 2000, approximately 19 days
before the parade, Defendant Trustees, fraudulently and with intent to
oppress, instructed Plaintiff Deborah Buchhorn to terminate her parade
float activities. A false reason for this termination was published in the
membership newsletter by Defendant Trustees, causing Plaintiff
embarrassment. Plaintiff complied, and Defendant never informed Plaintiff
as to the reason for that termination. Plaintiff appealed to the National
Spiritual Assembly and Brent Poirier, who took no action.
32. Defendant Trustees, fraudulently and with intent to oppress, ordered
Plaintiff Deborah Buchhorn to receive instruction on the Bah ' Covenant.
Plaintiff complied and attended that "instruction," which in fact consisted
of three (3) hours of interrogation by Trustee Owen Creightney, and John
and Ok-Sun McHenry. It became apparent at this meeting that Trustee
Creightney had lied to the Trustees in order to oppress named Plaintiff.
Plaintiff appealed to the National Spiritual Assembly and Brent Poirier,
who took no action.
33. Defendant Trustees, fraudulently and with intent to oppress, ordered
named Plaintiff Deborah Buchhorn to resign from the Bah ' gospel choir.
Plaintiff complied, and Defendant never informed Plaintiff as to the reason
for that termination. Plaintiff appealed to the National Spiritual
Assembly and Brent Poirier, who took no action.
34. Defendant Trustees, fraudulently and with intent to oppress, undermined
named Plaintiff Deborah Buchhorn's Saturday Night Coffee House and in
effect stopped her Coffee House. Defendant never informed Plaintiff as to
these circumstances. Plaintiff appealed to the National Spiritual Assembly
and Brent Poirier, who took no action.
35. Defendant Trustees, fraudulently and with intent to oppress, have
ordered numerous Bah 's to shun Plaintiff Deborah Buchhorn.
36. Defendant Trustee Kambiz Victory told a Plaintiff "I am the voice of
God in this community."

Libel

37. Defendant Trustees knowingly published false and defamatory information
about Plaintiffs in the Albuquerque Bah ' newsletter, specifically
relating to the parade banner.

Unlawful Prevention of Communication between Shareholders

38. Defendant National Spiritual Assembly has the policy that Local
Spiritual Assemblies are responsible for reviewing pamphlets and
newsletters and materials that mention the Faith such as songs, play
scripts, souvenir items, and greeting cards, intended for publication or
distribution within their communities, whereas the National Spiritual
Assembly is responsible for review of those same materials intended for
nationwide publication.

CAUSES OF ACTION

Count I
39. Plaintiffs reallege and incorporate all previous paragraphs.
40. The Trustees of the Local Spiritual Assembly have repeatedly acted and
continue to act fraudulently towards the Plaintiffs.
41. Plaintiffs have suffered emotional damages thereby.

Count II
42. Plaintiffs reallege and incorporate all previous paragraphs.
43. The Trustees of the Local Spiritual Assembly libeled the named
Plaintiff.
44. Plaintiffs have suffered emotional damages thereby.

Count III
45. Plaintiffs reallege and incorporate all previous paragraphs.
46. The Trustees of the Local Spiritual Assembly have repeatedly failed to
act and continue to fail to act in good faith, which failure constitutes
fraud.
47. Plaintiffs have suffered emotional damages thereby.

Count IV
48. Plaintiffs reallege and incorporates all previous paragraphs.
49. The Trustees of the Local Spiritual Assembly have repeatedly failed to
act and continue to fail to act with the care an ordinary prudent person in
like position would exercise under similar circumstances, which failure
constitute fraud.
50. Plaintiffs have suffered emotional damages thereby.

Count V
51. Plaintiffs reallege and incorporate all previous paragraphs.
52. The Trustees of the Local Spiritual Assembly have repeatedly failed to
act and continue to fail to act in a manner they reasonably believe to be
in the best interests of the corporation and its members, which failure
constitutes fraud.
53. Plaintiffs have suffered emotional damages thereby.

Count VI
54. Plaintiffs reallege and incorporate all previous paragraphs.
55. The Trustees have repeatedly failed their duty to compose differences
and disagreements with themselves and the members, in violation of their
by-laws, which failure constitutes fraud.
56. Plaintiffs have suffered emotional damages thereby.

Count VII
57. Plaintiffs reallege and incorporate all previous paragraphs.
58. The National Spiritual Assembly has repeatedly failed their duty to
hear appeals from Plaintiffs, in violation of their by-laws.
59. Plaintiffs have suffered emotional damages thereby.

Count VIII
60. Plaintiffs reallege and incorporate all previous paragraphs.
61. The literature review policies of the National and Local Spiritual
Assemblies violate the rights of corporate members to communicate with
other corporate members.
62. Plaintiffs have suffered emotional damages thereby.

Count IX
63. Plaintiffs reallege and incorporate all previous paragraphs.
64. The practice of the Local Spiritual Assembly to direct members not to
speak about their dealings with the LSA with other corporate members
violates the rights of corporate members to communicate with other
corporate members.
65. Plaintiffs have suffered emotional damages thereby.

JUDICIAL RELIEF

WHEREFORE, for these reasons, Plaintiffs request that this Court:
1. Declare that the Trustees acted fraudulently towards Plaintiffs;
2. Declare that Trustees libeled Plaintiffs;
3. Declare that the Trustees breached their corporate duties towards
Plaintiffs;
4. Remove the Trustees from their positions and enjoin them from serving in
official Bah 's capacities for nineteen (19) years;
5. Remove the LSA Directors who are also Trustees;
6. Declare that the Local Spiritual Assembly violated members' rights to
inspect corporate books and records;
7. Compel Defendant LSA to retain an independent certified public
accountant to audit the books for the last two years;
8. Declare that Defendant LSA violated their corporate by-laws by failing
to compose differences and disagreements among members of the community;
6. Declare that the National Spiritual Assembly breached their duty of
hearing Plaintiffs' appeals;
7. Declare that the literature review policies of the Bah 's violate
United States common law as preventing corporate members from communicating
with other corporate members;
8. Enjoin Defendants National Spiritual Assembly and Local Spiritual
Assembly from enforcing their literature review policy;
9. Declare that the secrecy practices of the Local Spiritual Assembly
violate United States common law as preventing corporate members from
communicating with other corporate members;
10. Enjoin Defendant Local Spiritual Assembly from continuing their secrecy
practices;
11. Award compensatory damages from Defendants to Plaintiffs;
12. Award attorney's fees and costs to Plaintiffs;
13. Any other relief this Court deems appropriate.

Respectfully submitted,

___________________________
Yorgos D. Marinakis
Attorney for Plaintiffs
P.O. Box 45923
Rio Rancho, NM 87174
505-459-4664
877-430-9550 (fax)

Named Plaintiff's Verification

STATE OF NEW MEXICO )
) ss.
COUNTY OF BERNALILLO)

COMES NOW Deborah Buchhorn, and being duly sworn, states as follows:
1. I have read and understood the contents of this Complaint.
2. I have personal knowledge of the facts stated herein.
3. I attest to and verify their truth and accuracy.
__________________________
DEBORAH BUCHHORN
SWORN TO AND SUBSCRIBED before me this __ day of ______, 2001.
________________________
Notary Public

My Commission Expires:

 


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