January 4, 2001 VNN6491 Comment on this storyThis story URL: http://www.vnn.org/usa/US0101/US04-6491.html
A Very Dark Side?
BY DASARATH DAS
USA, Jan 4 (VNN) (See also VNN Story#6467)
"...He doesn't bother us, but I know he has a very dark side.... he stops at nothing even criminal to get rid of what he sees as his competition... somehow or other, he got a hold of my address book and called everyone I do business with and made up the most absurd and abusive charges against me .. he hired someone to throw point on our table ...he physically attached the devotees in Las Vegas!"
These are some statements that has been told to me by a North American GBC, another temple president, a lawyer, and previous people who had worked for some one who calls himself Bhakta Mike / alias Mike Lund.
Please accept my obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
Our Temple and preaching efforts are presently under the attack of the above mentioned individual, who Hari Vilas Prabhu, the GBC and Temple president for Seattle, says does not represent ISKCON Seattle.
A year ago, Mr, Lund approached me through a godbrother, Naikatma, the present temple president for Denver, saying that Lund would like to use our non-profit name, Iskcon of Arizona,to sell t-shirts at a state park, Sabino Canyon. Lund was to give 10% of the sales (sales amounted anywhere from $500 to $2,000 a day) as a donation to our temple and keep the rest for himself. 10% is supposed to be the legal minimum that must go to the advertised cause, and the rest can be claimed as overhead!
We agreed and Lund sold T-shirts. Although with a bit of resistance and lack of requested verifiable daily sales report, he did donate up to approximately $12,000 to the temple for construction improvements, which we were and are very grateful for.
But, when last August, I told Lund that we are going to have our own table and represent ourselves, and give "all" the proceeds to our temple, he began to threaten my wife, my son, myself, our temple, using the most lewd and sub-human remarks and accusations, stating that no one competes with him and gets away with it, and that we don't know who we are dealing with! Some of these sick and offensive conversations were left by him on my cell phone which I recorded and have in my precession.
Since being attacked by him, I have researched and found that many other devotees operating non-profit tshirt tables, had been similarly harassed by him, although not perhaps on the internet. Lund seems to think that he can get away with his mafia-style agenda while actually committing many offenses to Vaishnavas.
Also, I don't know why it is the policy of this VNN web site to allow uncensored entries such as his to circulate around the world. Is this sankirtan?
We have tried to be cordial and even cooperative with this man, surrendering the "best spot" at the Canyon, at his promise to leave us alone. But he persists.
Another local non-profit charity group had to call the sheriff's department to stop him from his threats to them, while the head ranger of the Park, Mr. Senn, told me that he even threatened him. He yells out to tourists who stop at out table, telling them that we are using the money we collect for drugs. And yet another devotee non-profit group claims that he has already hired someone to pour damaging substances on their shirts and table.
All this he is "presently" doing under the name of the Iskcon Seattle temple, although the temple president and GBC there has told him to stop using their name.
He also claims very boldly that all the money he collects goes to the Seattle temple, and that the very property he lives on, a blueberry farm, also belongs to the temple. Hari Vilas denies these statements. The berry farm belongs to Mike Lund. He was also found to be using another non-profit group's name run by Niscintya prabhu, for several months without Niscintya's permission, as related to us by a previous worker, Another devotee from Hawaii, Chandra Gokul, who was hired by Lund to heard up his "business" and even invited to "buy" his business, quit after several weeks, witnessing Lund's abusive and offensive behavior towards the Vaishnavas and out temple.
I think Tripurari Maharaj, Badrinarayan Prabhu, Sarva Darshan, Tulasi das, Dristadyuumna, Radha-Raman (Phoenix), and Haladhar Prabhus, are anong some devotees who have run t-shirt operations, and who would also be well acquainted with Mike Lund and his terror tactics.
I don't like to waste valuable time that I could be spending preaching, especially during the Prabhupada/Christmas Book marathon, on such unpleasant issues such as this one. We have two successful temples in Arizona, one in Phoenix and one in Tucson, and a wonderful farm project just begun a little over a year ago. In Tucson, we also operate one of the most successful Govinda's reastourant in the world. These projects are some of the most recent successes in Lord Caitanyas's sankirtan Movement in North America, and I think they speak for themselves.
The apartments Lund alludes to, that I sold, were bought and have always been in my wife's and my name.
No down payment was required at the time of the purchase, we assumed a previous mortgage on the property, and the requirements for the purchase also stipulated that a corporation could not assume me the loan.I believe that it was called a FDHA loan. The board of directors of out temple all agreed to re mortgage the temple property to help by the farm. the farm is still in our possession. All this can be documented and verified. Thousands of dollars have not been lost. Lund's accusations are baseless and are simply a part of his very familiar "smear policy" so that he can have the only t-shirt table in the universe at Sabino Canyon! Sounds ridiculous and on the insane side doesn't it?
Many Iskcon gurus, GBC's and other devotees have blessed us with their visits over the years, including Radhanath Swami, Bhakti Tirtha Swami, Jayapataka Swami,Hirdayananda Goswami, and Svavas and Sura from L.A., and any of them can be used for references.
Anyone can also come and stay with us and render devotional service here, as well as visit Sabino Canyon and see how this other person carries on.
I doubt seriously that Lund can verify his claims that he has donated over $2 Million to Iskcon projects, making him sound like another Ambarish Ford. And maybe he doesn't know or believe, that offenses aimed at devotees who are preaching the glories to the Lord, can even erase all the other good that we may have tried to do.
I sincerely hope that Lund can try to see the good that Vaishnavas are trying to do, and pray to him for forgiveness, if in another life time, I may have possibly offended him, and are thus experiencing this reaction. i also hope that devotees who know Mr.Lund, especially his brother who is a Prabhupada disciple, can try to convince him of some of these points.
Hoping this meets you all in good health and trying to spread the mercy of Srila Prabhupada to the fallen souls.
Temple President - Tucson, Arizona
Email address: Dasarath@compuserve.com
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