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Pattern of non-transparency

Oct 31, 2009 08:13 AM
by MKR

Pattern of non transparency

Democracy and transparency go hand in hand and transparency is the built-in
protection to make sure decisions are for the benefit of its members and the

Last yearâs election brought transparency into focus. It also reminded
theosophists of the simple and strong warning from Master KH regarding
unnecessary secrecy having dealt a death blow to many organizations in the
past. Theosophical leaders who have been relishing by keeping their actions
and decisions behind a wall of secrecy and throwing crumbs of unimportant
information to the members, appear to be in no mood to give up the benefits
of secrecy they have been enjoying.

Here is a simple example of the pattern of unnecessary secrecy and lack of

All the muli-million dollar assets of theosophical society in America is
managed by Theosophical Investment Trust. But the setup details and other
information about it is hard to come by even though all the assets are money
from the pockets of many dedicated TS members over a long time.

Here are some of the unanswered questions.

What are the articles of organization of the Trust and its bylaws of

Who are the current trustees?

How are the trustees selected/appointed?

What are their term of office?

Are any slots reserved for large donors and their descendants, whether
implicit or otherwise?

Can a large donor expect a seat in the Trust?

What are the rules under which a trustee can be removed?

What kind of compensation - direct and indirect - that the trustees get?

A bank is known to be one of the trustees. Can the bank be changed if there
is a problem with it and how?

Banks are known to offer junkets to expensive resorts to wine and dine their
investors. It is legal and considered a marketing expense for the bank. In
the last 10 years, how many times any trustee, officer or employee of TS
enjoyed a junket or other benefits from the bank? Names, dates and places
and number days the trips involved.

Has the bank offered any special mortgage deals for the trustees, officers
and employees of TSA?  Such behaviour from banks is not unknown.

Are there explicit conflict of interest policy to prevent conflicts for
trustees, TSA officers, TSA employees etc.?

Are Trustee Meetings open? Is there a notification of time and place of the
meeting in any TS website?

Are any of the above mentioned documents available on any TS website for
members to look at? If not, why not?

Lack of information only makes members wonder what is it they are hiding to
protect members? As everyone knows, most organizational problems have an
origin in the valuable assets and money. As the dictum says - Follow the
Money, you will know what is going on.

Bringing full transparency will only increase the confidence and trust
members have in their leaders and strengthen their hand when wise decisions
are made in the open and not behind closed doors in secrecy.

My 0.02.


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