December 17, 1998 VNN2697 See Related VNN Stories
The BBT And The Law
BY RADHA DEVI DASI
USA, Dec 17 (VNN) (from Chakra)
Dear Prabhus and Maharajas:
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada. I am writing in response to some criticism of ISKCON's lawyers in the recently settled BBT lawsuit. I am not one of the lawyers who worked on that lawsuit. Nor do I know the basis for complaints about the lawyers who did work on that lawsuit. However, as the newly appointed legal director of ISKCON's North American Temple Support Office I have come to realize that most devotees do not realize the very important role they play in each and every legal matter which ISKCON faces.
The BBT lawsuit did not begin the day the first legal paper was filed in court. That lawsuit began years earlier when ISKCON's corporate managers inadvertently ignored the important legal steps which would have preserved the BBT chain of command. As a consequence, a window of opportunity remained open for decades and that window was exploited by Hansadutta dasa and others who now have legal access to Srila Prabhupada's books.
Rather than criticizing the legal team which handled this matter, we should all take this opportunity as ISKCON managers (or as the ISKCON members to whom those managers are accountable) to ensure that we are following the letter of the law in preserving all of our corporate assets. Does your temple have annual board of directors' meetings? Do you keep minutes of those meetings? Do you file required annual reports with state and federal regulatory agencies? Many times ISKCON's lawyers are called in to fix a legal problem which has been brewing for years. This phenomenon is somewhat similar to permitting a medical patient to bleed from a slow wound for months and then criticizing the doctor who fails to save his life.
Please take this opportunity to review your temple's corporate records and ensure that your community is in complete compliance with law. Due to the generosity of the ISKCON Foundation, the Temple Support Office has some funds which enable me to help you review the legal status of temples in North America. My COM address is Radha.MG@com.bbt.se
Temple managers in other areas, please contact lawyers in your regions for this kind of legal review.
Radha devi dasi
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