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Sunday, July 13, 2008

Tumult in the Quarries

A story in the Boston Herald today reports that somebody within the "secretive" Grand Lodge of Massachusetts is being investigated for funny money business—even though it appears that the "secretive" Masons were the ones who reported the matter to authorities.

The local DA's office is investigating the potential embezzlement of about $1.5 million over the last 8 years. But the story is vague enough to leave some question as to just who they are zeroing in upon. It seems investment house UBS is being questioned as well. Neither organization needs this kind of news. The GL of Massachusetts was bilked out of $10 million a few years back by former money-manager, radio-station owner, and former Mason Brad Bleidt. And UBS' stock has plummeted from over $60 a year ago to less than $20 today.

A favorite game of annoyance around our house that can send Alice screaming from the room after about three minutes is my deep-rooted desire to play a courtroom judge in a major motion picture. Any time a courtroom drama pops up on Turner Classic Movies or Lifetime (Where All Men Are Pigs™), it is my mission to second guess the lines about to come out of the mouths of movie judges. I know them all.

"One more outburst like that and I'll clear this courtroom!"
"Counsellor, you are trying the Court's patience."
"I will allow it this time, but I caution you Counsellor."
"I'll see both attorneys in my chambers!"

And my favorite, usually after a witness blurts out "I'll kill you, you little rat!"
"The jury is admonished to ignore this previous testimony."

I'm really good at it. Which is what qualifies me to speak to real-life legal cases, even though I have as much legal background as Percy Kilbride.

So it seems that our Prince Hall brethren are no more immune to hauling internal Masonic episodes into court as some mainstream brothers, as this story reveals. Apparently, brother Norwood Diggs of Norfolk, Virginia was suspended by Gidwood W. Sutton Jr., Grand High Priest, King Cyrus Grand Chapter Holy Royal Arch Masons of Virginia and Jurisdiction. Diggs, who was secretary of the Chapter, is suing, claiming Sutton doesn't have the right to suspend him.

And based upon my carefully considered movie-judge opinion, I suspect this case will fall under the heading of "Take your little spat the hell out of my courtroom."


  1. Chris,
    I have to agree with you. In addition, I believe that this current case involving the Norfolk Prince Hall Masons is very much a product of the Haas case in West Virginia. It appears to me that brothers who feel that they have been unfairly suspended or expelled may have found a new venue to air their dirty laundry. Some may blame our excessively litigious society but I think that there is both a restructuring in the Craft and a changing of the Guard as well as a desire to use the Courts to decide their problems. We will find out when the lawyers for the Holy Royal Arch Masons of Virginia ask for summary judgment unless the case is negotiated out of Court.
    For the GL of Massachusetts, I think it really is a pity that the organization will be blamed regardless of was at fault. If a brother was involved, the GL will be blamed for not checking its members but if it was an outside employee, the GL will be blamed for not being vigilant enough to catch the perpetrator earlier.

  2. Chris, pardon my ignorance, but is the King Cyrus Grand Chapter a Prince Hall body or an irregular off-shoot)?

    Justa Mason

  3. I looked into that before I posted the article.

    Several of their officers are listed on the MWPHGLofV website, on the page for District 31.

  4. There was a breathless series of postings last weak about Mainstream Grand Lodges Are Putting the Screws to the Proletariat Again - glad to see they aren't the only organizations to have human failings.


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