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


From: "Yorgos" <nthyorgos@hotmail.com>
Subject: From the attorney
Date: Saturday, May 26, 2001 1:09 PM

Re: The lawsuit against the Albuquerque LSA and the NSA

Who are we and why did we file this lawsuit?

There is a growing group of us Baha'i attorneys who want to return the 
Faith into conformity with the vision of Baha'u'llah and the directives 
of the Universal House of Justice.  The Baha'i Faith is like a tooth 
with cavities that need drilling and filling --- but the patient is 
unwilling.  To "save the tooth" we have decided to act in conformity 
with the UHJ, which has directed the named plaintiff to "take positive 
action."  For those of you who doubt, I suggest that you examine:

  a.. the section on the role of the individual in the letter from the 
Universal House of Justice titled "To the Bah=E1'=EDs of the World 
Ridvan 153";
  b.. the May 19, 1994 letter to the National Spiritual Assembly from 
the Universal House of Justice; and
  c.. Dr. Peter Kahn's taped speech on the Four-year plan.

The offenses that concern me most are when LSA's behave like the KGB.  
They think that the role of a spiritual assembly is to control and 
guide, rather than to facilitate and to follow.  In addition, some older 
male members from Iran tend not to fully understand the "two wings of a 
bird" concept, believing that women should be seen and not heard.  
Understand this: the Baha'i Faith is meant to be a grassroots, bottom-up 
movement, not an elitist, top-down scam.  Read the writings.

The named plaintiff in the Albuquerque case is a 51-year old widowed 
mother of two children, and a Baha'i of 30 years.  Her 30-year old son 
has muscular dystrophy and has been unable to breathe without a 
respirator for 15 years.  The named plaintiff has taken care of her son 
at her home all these years.  She turned to her Faith for support and 
love, and instead has consistently received abuse, oppression and fraud. 
 The NSA has consistently failed to respond in a meaningful way to her 
appeals, and the UHJ finally told her to "take positive action."  She 
did, and we filed this lawsuit.  I might add that the named plaintiff 
knows the writings better than 99.99% of the Baha'i I have met, and she 
dedicated any monetary awards she will receive to be used for the 
purpose of direct teaching.  The other unnamed plaintiffs have been 
Baha'i on an average for 30-50 years.

The LSA has recently moved to dismiss the complaint, rather than deal 
with their issues like grown adults.  The NSA has 
irresponsibily chosen to ignore the summons and complaint.  

If your spiritual assembly behaves like the KGB, please contact me to
discuss starting a similar lawsuit in your city.  We are preparing these
suits all over the USA.  Work with us to return the Faith to conformity 
with the vision of Baha'u'llah and the directives of the UHJ.

-Yorgos Marinakis, Ph.D., J.D.
Attorney-at-law

 

From: "Yorgos" <nthyorgos@hotmail.com>

Subject: Re: Re: From the attorney

Date: Monday, May 28, 2001 12:14 AM

Thank you for your comments, all of you.

The reason I chose a shareholder/member derivative suit is because that particular cause of action constitutes the most failsafe way to sue a religion. Religions are well-protected from lawsuit by the First Amendment of the US and most state constitutions. You typically can't sue them only for emotional injuries, absent an accompanying physical harm, though there might (MIGHT) be an exception if you allege fraud. But a shareholder/member derivative suit is their Achilles heel. Instead of an individual claiming that her sensibilities were violated, we are claiming that the LSA violated state and U.S. corporate law. I know it sounds silly to you, but to a lawyer it is elegant and matchlessly effective. It took the NSA so much by surprise that they are paralyzed. I hope they recover soon and start dealing with their responsibilities like mature adults.

It doesn't matter if the corporation does not issue shares. It only matters that the plaintiff was a card-carrying member at the time of the defendant's actions.

Any more questions that I can answer for you?

BTW, my "offer" is limited to helping put you in touch with attorneys in your area, and sharing all my research and resources.

 

From: "Yorgos" <nthyorgos@hotmail.com>

Subject: Re: bahai - LAWSUIT - Re: From the attorney

Date: Monday, May 28, 2001 12:28 AM

I have indeed read numerous allegations against the UHJ from persons who apparently have had very bad experiences. This is a matter that I have not yet had time to study. Time permitting, I will give it the scrutiny that it deserves. When did these incidents occur? It seems that the UHJ recently has been displaying exemplary intellect, such as Dr. Kahn's speech. You know, every court has made bad decisions. Ironically, in some of the worst cases only the dissent shows brains, and that dissenting opinion is often written by one of my least favorite judges (e.g., Rehnquist). Go figure.

 

From: "Yorgos" <nthyorgos@hotmail.com>

Subject: Unconstitutional (per UHJ Constitution) NSA By-law

Date: Monday, May 28, 2001 12:20 AM

As of today, the NSA has failed to even acknowledge receipt of this fax:

***********************************************************

TO: Geoffrey N. Wilson, Esq.

Office of Legal Affairs

1233 Central Street

Evanston, IL 60201-1611

847-733-3534 (voice)

847-733-3533 (fax)

 

April 14, 2001

 

RE: DEBORAH BUCHHORN ET AL. v. TRUSTEES OF THE SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLY OF THE BAH2'4S OF ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO ET AL.

 

Dear Mr. Wilson:

 

My client and I were investigating the by-laws of the National and Local Spiritual Assemblies, and we found entries that apparently violate the Constitution of the Universal House of Justice. One of the unconstitutional provisions lies in Article VII Section 9 of the by-laws of the National Spiritual Assembly:

 

"Any member of a local Bah▀'N community may appeal from a decision of his Spiritual Assembly to the National Spiritual Assembly, which shall determine whether it shall take jurisdiction of the matter or leave it to the Local Spiritual Assembly for reconsideration. In the event that the National Spiritual Assembly assumes jurisdiction of the matter, its finding shall be final." (emphasis added)

 

The other unconstitutional provision appears as an omission in the end of Article III of the by-laws of a Local Spiritual Assembly:

 

"It [a Local Spiritual Assembly] shall, on the other hand, have the authority and right to appeal from the decision of the National Spiritual Assembly to the Universal House of Justice for review and final decision of any matter related to the Faith in.[sic]"

 

(This provision gives the NSA the right to appeal to the UHJ, but fails to give members the right to appeal to the UHJ.).

 

These contradict Article VIII Section 1(b) of the Constitution (by-laws) of the Universal House of Justice:

 

"Any Bah▀'N may appeal from a decision of his National Spiritual Assembly to the Universal House of Justice which shall determine whether it shall take jurisdiction of the matter or leave it within the final jurisdiction of the National Spiritual Assembly." (emphasis added)

 

Apart from being prima facie violations of the Constitution of the UHJ, these omissions deliberately prevent access to the UHJ by members.

 

Within a reasonable time, please inform me as to when I can expect a response to this matter from the National Spiritual Assembly.

 

I send to you personally my warmest regards.

 

With Bah▀'N greetings,

 

/s/ Yorgos D. Marinakis

Attorney for Plaintiffs

 

 

From: "Yorgos" <nthyorgos@hotmail.com>

Subject: Re: Handling Appeals (was Re: bahai - Re: Unconstitutional (per UHJ Constitution) NSA By-law)

Date: Monday, May 28, 2001 4:40 PM

Thank you. I greatly appreciate this posting, because it demonstrates the irony of the situation.

First of all, my client followed these appeal procedures for 7 years, during which time the NSA repeatedly did nothing. By their own admission the NSA's appeal procedures are so inadequate that they cannot tell the difference between an informational letter and an appeal. Call up Mr. Wilson and ask him yourself. They took 19 months to answer one appeal, and that answer was nothing more than a letter acknowleding receipt of the appeal.

 

Second, whatever is written in Developing Distinctive Baha'i Communities has nothing at all to do with the filed by-laws. The corporation is legally bound to follow its by-laws, not another publication.

 

Third, it was established in 1215 on the green meadows at Runnymeade, where the rebellious Barons assembled and forced the King John to sign a draft of the Magna Carta, that THE SOVEREIGN MUST FOLLOW HIS OWN LAW. This has become the hallmark of every civilized country. A Baha'i member's adherence to the rules becomes meaningless at the point that the sovereign (NSA) fails to follow the rules as well. It creates fertile soil for fraud and abuse, which happened repeatedly in Albuquerque.

Fourth, by incorporating in the USA and in New Mexico, and by filing by-laws, the NSA and the LSA agreed to follow corporate law. They agreed to open themselves up to legal action if they did not follow that law. I'm playing by their own rules.

 

From: "Yorgos" <nthyorgos@hotmail.com>

Subject: Re: Re: Re: From the attorney

Date: Monday, May 28, 2001 4:47 PM

Q. Personally, from my perspective, I've always believe everything

should be thrown out open to public view. Are you sure that's

the way to procede in terms of a lawsuit?

A. The only way that something would be secret is if we made some sort of settlement. We will not settle for anything less than the demands stated in the Complaint, which demands are inconsistent with secrecy.

Q. Is there any possibility

that you might be revealing anything here that might injure your

case or provide assistance to the defendants?

A. I fully disclosed my research and legal briefs to the NSA and the LSA prior to filing this lawsuit, in an attempt to get them to resolve this matter out of court. They chose not to act. Can you imagine that? We have the truth on our side. Their knowledge of our case cannot hurt us.

Q. Why did you choose not to name the uhj as a defendant?

A. My client believes in the limited infallibility of the UHJ. Under no circumstances whatsoever would she ever criticize the UHJ in any manner, which includes a lawsuit. I will not state my opinion because it is not relevant. However I do think it is funny to suggest that we are in collusion with the UHJ. I check my mailbox every day, expecting to find a disenrollment letter.

 

From: "Yorgos" <nthyorgos@hotmail.com>

Subject: Clarification

Date: Tuesday, May 29, 2001 6:38 PM

Ms. Buchhorn informed me that, regarding the "take positive action" paraphrase, the actual quotation is: "pursue positive lines of action that would assist my community to overcome their deficiencies." This is in response to some deficiencies that she reported to the UHJ. It was our interpretation that led us to file suit.

She has been a Baha'i for 26 years.

And contrary to my earlier understanding, it is the role of the LSA is to guide, but to guide according to the writings, not out of their own innate sense of right and wrong.


From: "Yorgos" <nthyorgos@hotmail.com>

Subject: Re-post of clarification & more

Date: Monday, June 04, 2001 6:56 PM

First, I want to re-post the clarification that I made, to ensure that it is very clearly seen:

"Ms. Buchhorn informed me that, regarding the "take positive action" paraphrase, the actual quotation is: "pursue positive lines of action that would assist my community to overcome their deficiencies." This is in response to some deficiencies that she reported to the UHJ. It was our interpretation that led us to file suit."

"She has been a Baha'i for 26 years."

"And contrary to my earlier understanding, it is the role of the LSA is to guide, but to guide according to the writings, not out of their own innate sense of right and wrong."

Second, regarding all of this discussion and argument about the case:

I am touched, moved and inspired by the zeal with which you all are exercising the independent investigation of the truth. Please be advised that the named plaintiff certified the Complaint and I verified it (The Complaint is available on-line and includes the case number. You may call the court clerk to order an official copy.). If upon receiving the evidence the court finds that the certification and verification were groundless or in bad faith, which I know it will not, then there are very serious consequences for us. I personally would be subject to disbarment and very heavy fines. You would read about it in the news.

The case is now in the hands of the court. It is in the best interests of both the plaintiffs and the defendants for the court rather than you to decide this case, because the court is accountable for their procedures --- and you are not accountable for yours. These procedures provide enormous protection for the defendants. For example, the LSA has moved to dismiss the Complaint, and they will have their day in court on July 18, which you are entitled to attend.

Some of you have already decided that this case never should have been filed. You are entitled to your opinion. But neither the LSA nor the NSA has stated that Baha'i law was violated by filing this Complaint. The NSA stated that they were saddened by the Demand Letter, but they never stated that it was inappropriate to bring this lawsuit. The UHJ has not intervened. That is where things stand. That is where your Baha'i Faith stands.

If you suspend judgment for a moment and consider that the plaintiffs really just might have a genuine case, that there really was fraud and abuse and the appeals system really is inadequately handled, that the NSA passed over several years of opportunities, consider what damage would be done by stopping this case: fraud and abuse in the Faith will be able to go unchecked.


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