Serious Potential problems with TSA Bylaws
Mar 31, 2010 09:48 PM
Serious Potential problems with TSA Bylaws
Theosophists do not believe in miracles. When I visited the TSA website, I
was surprised to find the TSA Bylaws on it and prominently mentioned. I
could not believe my eyes and and now I am now a believer in âmiraclesâ even
within TS/TSA. The man or woman responsible to decide to put it on the
website should be congratulated.
What caught my eye was the clause dealing with disposition of assets, which
is quoted below:
âDisposition of Assets. In the event of the cancellation of the charter of
the Theosophical Society in America under Rule 36 of the Rules of the
international Theosophical Society, or on the dissolution of the
Theosophical Society in America as a corporate entity, the Charter granted
by the international President of the Theosophical Society shall become
forfeited or lapsed, and all its assets, all property, movable and
immovable, including charters, diplomas (certificates), seal, records, and
other papers belonging to or in its custody shall be distributed to the
Theosophical Investment Trust, an Illinois trust having its principal
offices at 1926 North Main Street, Wheaton, Illinois; provided, however,
that if, at the time of dissolution of the Theosophical Society in America,
the Theosophical Investment Trust is not qualified as exempt under Section
501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (or the
corresponding section of any future federal tax code), is not in existence,
or is unwilling to accept the assets of the Theosophical Society in America
described above, then such assets shall be distributed to the Theosophical
Society, incorporated at Madras, India, on April 3, 1905, and having its
international headquarters at Adyar, Madras (Chennai), India; provided
further, however, that if, at the time of dissolution of the Theosophical
Society in America, the Theosophical Society, incorporated at Madras, India,
on April 3, 1905, and having its international headquarters at Adyar, Madras
(Chennai), India, is not qualified as exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the
Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (or the corresponding section of
any future federal tax code), is not in existence, or is unwilling to accept
the assets of the Theosophical Society in America described above, then such
assets shall be distributed for one or more exempt purposes within the
meaning of Section 501(c)(3), or shall be distributed to a federal, state,
or local government for a public purpose. â
There are several issues regarding the above, that needs immediate
attention, to protect the multi-million dollar assets in the bank and the
very valuable real estate owned by TSA from potentially going to entities of
a which are not in the business of propagating theosophy.
CURRENT CONDITIONS IN THE THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY:
We all witnessed the electioneering in the last international elections,
with unfounded allegations on the election going as far back as 1960, and
unsubstantiated allegations about the Indian Section voting procedure in the
current election, failed ultra secret attempt to disenfranchise all members
in the election of the International President and some GC members seizing
control of the presidency, and the still unresolved cleavage between GC
members. Many of the above, originated from the United States. There was
even some speculation in cyberspace that the current disunity may lead to
split up of the TS as well.
WHAT HAPPENS OF TSA CHARTER IS FORFEITED OR LAPSED
The above bylaw states that all the assets will go to the Theosophical
Investment Trust. None of the members know about the constitution and bylaws
of operation of the Trust as well as how the Trustees are appointed, their
term of office and what kind of control TSA has on the Trust. All this seems
to be kept as another ultra secret matter, since almost a decade ago when I
tried to find out the details, it was met with silence from the previous TSA
administration. I do not know if any member has seen any of the details,
even though the Trust is entrusted with millions of dollars of the money
belonging to TSA. This should trouble any member. When money is involved,
transparency is needed to protect it.
While the trust is 501(c)3 tax exempt, it is technically known as a
'supporting organization' and in the recent years, US congress has tightened
the requirements to be met by supporting organizations. So, as a supporting
organization meant to exclusively to support TSA another 501(c)3
organization, if the charter of TSA is forfeited or lapsed, the sole
beneficiary is gone and the trustâs function disappears and trust does not
have an independent standing and hence cannot receive the assets. We do not
know if this point has been examined in depth by attorneys and accountants
familiar with the law governing tax exempt 'supporting organizations.'
WHAT HAPPENS IF THE TRUST CANNOT RECEIVE THE ASSETS OF TSA?
All the assets go to the Theosophical Society, Adyar, Chennai/Madras.
However, for the Theosophical Society, Adyar to receive the assets, there is
a critical condition to be met. For this to happen, Theosophical Society,
Adyar, has to be a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization under the laws of the
United States of America at that future time.
TAX EXEMPT STATUS OF THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY, ADYAR, CHENNAI.
Internal Revenue Service in the USA publishes/provides a list of current tax
exempt organizations. Several years ago, TS Adyar was on that list. Now, a
visit to the IRS website does not have TS Adyar as a tax exempt organization
in the USA. So as of now, TS Adyar is NOT a tax exempt organization in the
USA and it is not known why and when it was dropped from the official list.
We also do not know if anyone is monitoring this fact from either Adyar or
Wheaton. The bottom line is: if the TSA charter is forfeited or lapsed
tomorrow, the assets will not go to TS Adyar, instead a local Judge will
distribute them to any charitable purpose.
WHY MEMBERS SHOULD BE CONCERNED WITH THE ABOVE?
The assets of TSA were accumulated over the years from small and big
donations and bequests from dedicated members who wanted to support the
mission of the TS and wanted theosophy to benefit humanity. Much of the
donated money is very hard earned and members have a duty to be watchful and
alert. This is all the more so due to the lack of transparency in the TS. At
a time of declining membership and cancellation of charters of lodges and
the disunity displayed at the GC meeting, the main protection comes from
ordinary members like you and me who can talk about these kinds of issues on
the Internet without any control from the organizations.
As long time members here know, Internet has played a critical role and
protected the TS during the election and its aftermath, I am sure bringing
attention to the above topic is going to help TS and avoid the kinds of
problems TS ran into in Europe when the charter was forfeited or lapsed
M K Ramadoss
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