Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Court Finds In Favor of Halcyon Lodge


After two years, the Halcyon Lodge case in Cleveland is at last winding down through the courts. The court seems to have sided against the Grand Lodge of Ohio, finding that the lodge followed the provisions of its bylaws when it voted to split from the GL in November 2007. (Halcyon Lodge is now a part of the Grand Orient of the US.)

Today, the following docket information was listed on the Cuyahoga County Court site, Case #649002:

DEFENDANTS' MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT ARE GRANTED IN PART AND DENIED IN PART. SUMMARY JUDGMENT IS GRANTED IN FULL AS TO NON-OFFICERS MICHAEL HOWARD, JOEL MICHALEK, CHRISTOPHER MICHALEK, TOME COSTE, HALCYON CHARITIES. SUMMARY JUDGMENT IS GRANTED IN PART AS TO DEFENDANT OFFICERS CHRIS SNOW, TODD WARMINGTON, LYNN ERIC CHIPPS, SCOTT KELLY. ONLY ISSUE THAT REMAINS FOR TRIAL IS RETURN OF "PERSONAL PROPERTY MASONIC IN NATURE AND UNPAID DUES." ALL OTHER CLAIMS FAIL. DEFENDANTS OWED NO FIDUCIARY DUTY TO GRAND LODGE AND DEFENDANTS ACTED IN GOOD FAITH TO PRESERVE ASSETS OF LODGE. THE COURT FINDS THAT THE VOTE TO TRANSFER ASSETS WAS DONE IN ACCORDANCE WITH BYLAWS. IN REGARDS TO NOTICE, ALL HAD NOTICE OF THE STATED (NOT SPECIAL) MEETING AND NO EVIDENCE WAS PRESENTED THAT ANYONE COMPLAINED. THE COURT ALSO DETERMINES THAT WRITTEN NOTICE OF THE ACTION WAS NOT REQUIRED BEFORE THE VOTE ACCORDING TO BYLAW 21.04, WHICH REQUIRES NOTICE ONLY FOR SPECIAL MEETINGS NOT STATED MEETINGS. FINALLY, THE COURT CONCLUDES THAT BYLAW 9.01 IS NOT APPLICABLE AS "ANY OTHER SUCH POLICY OF TEMPLE OWNERSHIP *** SUBMITTED TO TEMPLE COMMITTEE" AS THE ACTION WAS NOT FINANCING OR CREATING INDEBTEDNESS. PRE-TRIAL SET FOR 01/12/2010 AT 02:45 PM. PRETRIAL SET TO SCHEDULE ADDITONAL COURT DATES INCLUDING TRIAL DATE. CLPAL 12/22/2009 NOTICE ISSUED

25 comments:

Benny said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Benny said...

Hope all you who judged those brothers are ashamed of yourselves including you Chris. You doubted them the whole time and jumped on the naysayers bandwagon. Letting people spew hate and lies about those guys. Hail to those Brethren that took all the abuse and put Free back in Masonry.

Chris Hodapp said...

Those who doubted those guys hardly look like fools. They saved their building, but they isolated themselves. Masses of Masons aren't flocking to the Grand Orient lodges, and there have already been resignations and schisms within their little group. So far, there's little evidence that the Grand Orient of the US has built a better Freemasonry.

I understand their frustration over the old guard wanting to pitch the building overboard. But there were ways to accomplish their goals without giving up their charter and incurring God knows how much in legal bills on both sides. Nobody "won" here.

And, since you brought it up, in the grand scheme of things, this is scarcely a blip that wouldn't interest the History Channel in the slightest.

Next time, man up and identify yourself, or don't bother to respond.

2 BOWL CAIN said...

"Nobody "won" here."
chris hodapp

Halcyon and Brothers did win. Do not be a hater.

Schism and splits came from mainstreamers within, which we know can ruin anything, and are now gone. Babies always stumble when first walking. Thanks for the Love!

Merry Christmas
Brother Tom Coste

Chris Hodapp said...

You won a court case, that's all.

No hate from here, Tom.

Enjoy your 'free" masonry.

2 BOWL CAIN said...

Being relieved from a lawsuit as one individually named, means a little more than just a "court win"!

Men's lives were changed by the accusations and potential liability in which the Grand Lodge was attempting to levy against us!

It is more than a "court win", it kind of shows that individual Lodges have Rights and it showed some Freemasons will stand up to Tyranny. It is much more than just a "court win" my brother.

I will and am enjoying my "Free" masonry. Being Free in a Free country is a wonderful feeling.

About your comment regarding the GOUSA's attempt at building a better Freemasonry, you are wrong again, we are just resurrecting one that had already existing in America before the UGLE stamped it out with its new rules regulations.

We are not re-inventing the wheel, just dusting it off and putting it to use.

Merry Christmas all,
F:. Tom Coste, M.M.
Halcyon Lodge #2
Senior Deacon

stoic said...

This can be summed up legally as a definitive confirmation of a new trend in the law for fraternal Masonic disputes. In the past, Grand Lodges were given special treatment. The courts and its judges often utilized a hands-off approach to internal fraternal affairs and Masonic disputes. The same treatment was applied to churches and their internal disputes too. The Grand Lodges and Church hierarchies usually won out in the end with a wink-wink, and a nudge-nudge despite the law and the facts and the courts quickly dismissed such cases after the first Exception or Motion to Dismiss saying that these disputes should be handled by these organizations according to their own rules and traditions and internal processes. Of course, no one bothered to examine the objectivity or fairness of those traditions and processes.

However, in the 1970's-1980's, Courts began to treat fraternal and church disputes differently under the law. No special hands-off treatment was afforded as the guiding rule and they began to apply a due process and fairness approach.

They examined disputes using contract law. They examined disputes using corporate and business law. They began to require fraternities and churches to follow their own published bylaws to the letter (which they often ignored like the tyrannical fiat of Medieval Royal Despots). They didn't afford absolute power to Grand Masters, Grand Lodges, or Religious leaders, though they were used to having such powers unchecked within their own structures. The Courts began to apply business organization law requiring a modicum of fairness and due process in every day affairs and decisions, especially decisions concerning membership rights, voting, and property. They required written notice of meetings sent to all members and fairness for the time, place, and manner of any meeting. They required fair voting, written ballots, and fair record keeping that recorded the actual facts about votes. They examined their published bylaws very carefully and enforced those provisions strictly, and, when essential rules were missing or unwritten, the Courts inserted them into those bylaws using business law rules. In a nutshell, fraternal governing organizations and religious organizations can't do anything they want anymore and they no longer have any favoritism in the law-they used to have such privileges in the 19th Century and in the 20th Century up until the 1970's--but this area of the law has evolved. The Courts will not enforce monopolies or tyrannical abuses of power over the governance of subordinate organizations or subordinate members who desire to part ways with a governing body or who disagree with it.

I have represented clients in these disputes (on both sides--some Masonic and some religious) and I can tell you that the Courts do not care about Masonic or Religious jurisprudence and its traditions--all they care about is fairness and applying the same ruler of fairness to these disputes as they would to anyone else in business related litigation.

Wayfaring Man said...

The cock-a-doodle do's might be a little premature. Motions for SJ get appealed every day... and if overturned, the case goes forward to trial, at enormous expense to both parties, I might add.

Howard Roark said...

Why don't we all get together at Halcyon Lodge and prove that brotherhood exists between all Masons? Today can mark the beginning of a future that is better than the past.

C said...

Summary Judgements do not get overturned everyday. Simply not true. It isn't impossible but this doesn't look like the case here. The Court appears very clear about the facts in the Sum Judg. Let's face it...the judge did not rush to this judgement. He studied it for 2 full years.

This ruling should tell all of us three things:

1. The guys at Halcyon wished to do good and went to great lenghts to handle their affairs properly.

2. Every mason should ask themselves why a lodge with over a hundred years of history would toss it all away just to avoid dealing with the GLofOH. In my opinion mason should be asking what did the leaders in Ohio do to CREATE this situation. It isn't that they did not want to be masons. Hell they went out and started a whole new system of masonry. That shows some real dedication to masonry.

3. GLofOH should stop. Let it go and move on with their own business.

C said...

P.S.

I take offensive to Hodap's potshots at the GR. ORient. Come on Chris your bigger than that...I hope. You don't like it when bloggers snap at you. So many people b%tch about the way these discussion get ugly. That kind of cheapshot is a big reason why things get crazy on line. Stop asking for trouble.

Secondly, why does Hodapp have to slam 2 Bowl Cain because he does not use his name? This is regular procedure on all blogs. And anyway, Chris, we aren't all interested in self promotion in every aspect of our masonic lives. Or... maybe if people identify themselves they may get their email blasted.

Merry Christmas to everyone (except Ed King)

Chris Hodapp said...

Sorry you take offense at my observations of the Grand Orient.

Masses of Masons AREN'T flocking to GO lodges in this country. That's not an exaggeration or a cheap shot.

There HAVE been schisms and resignations in the GOUSA since it began two and a half years ago. That's no cheap shot.

Founders and members have made noisy, anonymous, and usually vituperative claims that mainstream Masons in the US are not practicing Freemasonry in a manner that suits the GO's vision. The implication has been that mainstream Masons are doing it "wrong," and that GO Masons have a better way. So far, I see no evidence of it.

In looking at the GO's website and its associated tracingboard.com I see material created by mainstream Masons, an attempt to associate the GOUSA with mainstream Masonry that came before it, and even a news feed of my blog of purported cheap shots and self-promotion. Links to several GOUSA lodges are dead. This is not a cheap shot, it's an observation of the public face of the GOUSA.

My positions from the start of the GOUSA have been consistent all along:
— I wish the GOUSA well, and hope they find the Masonry they are seeking.
— Personally, I don't like schismatic groups in Freemasonry.
— I think Masons can make far more changes from within than without.
— I don't like Grand Orient-style Freemasonry, because I believe that the removal of a requirement of a belief in a Supreme Being, dabbling in political issues, issuing position papers on political and religious topics, and flirting with the initiation of women are all destructive innovations that have made French Grand Orient Freemasonry into a fraternity I have no interest in belonging to. 50,000 Frenchmen disagree with me. 1.5 million US Masons, give or take, disagree with them. I can live with that.
— If the GOUSA has a better kind of Freemasonry, prove it with actions, not words. I've been around the fraternity long enough to be fed up with yakkers and bitchers who are filled with criticism, but never manage to actually accomplish anything themselves.

Those positions haven't changed.

C wrote: "Secondly, why does Hodapp have to slam 2 Bowl Cain because he does not use his name? This is regular procedure on all blogs. And anyway, Chris, we aren't all interested in self promotion in every aspect of our masonic lives. Or... maybe if people identify themselves they may get their email blasted.
Merry Christmas to everyone (except Ed King)"


WTF? Did the recess bell just ring? Why do anonymous posters associated with the GOUSA always manage to run off the rails eventually? Anonymous posters and sock puppets have a way of devolving these topics into attacks, insults and screaming matches. Your Ed King remark simply proves my point. This is not Ed King's blog, and he has not weighed in here against Halcyon or the GO, so why not keep it in your pants? Again, one more example of the public face of the GOUSA. Like it or not, you are a small group, and when you get belligerent on a public website, the public perception is that you are populated by intemperate boys who can't behave like the Masons you claim to be.

Anonymity may be "regular procedure" on some blogs, but not here. I appreciate the comments on both sides of this issue, but after this, identify yourself, or take it somewhere else. Stand behind your words, or keep them to yourself.

My blog, my rules. Don't like them, go somewhere else.

2 BOWL CAIN said...

One thing for sure Brother Hodapp,
not one Halcyon member profited or even looked for a pay day from the Fraternity.

Unlike others.

Merry Christmas,
Brother Tom Coste
Halcyon No. 2
Senior Deacon

Past Master Rocky River 703

Chris Hodapp said...

I don't ask for a payday from the fraternity, either. So are we now going to compare our respective perceptions of self-holiness?

I don't think you should give away donuts for free, it's what you do for a living. I am an author by profession. I have been hired to write five books by publishing companies, and my contracts are with those publishers, who pay me a royalty once their advance has been paid back. They don't publish books for free, and they don't give me free copies. When I travel to speak to lodges, I do not ask for a speaker's fee. I simply ask that my expenses get paid and that they overfeed me.

If you find something Masonically repugnant or otherwise dishonest in that arrangement, let me know.

The Burning Temper said...

2 Bowl Cain said 'One thing for sure Brother Hodapp,
not one Halcyon member profited or even looked for a pay day from the Fraternity.'

No, but you guys sure didn't have any qualms about stealing the building from the original owners and hijacking the lodge from the members.

2 BOWL CAIN said...

Not at all Brother.
Many had accused Halcyon guys for doing this was to "profit" personally. We even removed paying officers of the Lodge from the by-laws. We, at Halcyon, always believed that officers are volunteers and should never be compensated for their volunteer services.

As for donuts, I do not profit from the Masons when I do business with them. That is the difference. My profession exists without Freemasonry and is not dependent upon it either, so when the PHA or Mainstreamers still place orders with me, I give them a Masonic discount, and am not looking to profit off of a charitable institution.

So, no, no problem and sorry your conscience led you to think I was talking about you? I was talking about all the masons who have legally or illegally profited from the Fraternity. It would never cross our minds.....

Humble servant's of the Craft do not do things for monetary rewards, we do it for spiritual rewards, God Bless your ability to work "Freemasonry" and Dummies into your profession. I have no problem with it Bro Chris.

Again, Merry Christmas and
may many copies of your book find their way into masonic stockings this season.

2 BOWL CAIN said...

Burning Temper states:"No, but you guys sure didn't have any qualms about stealing the building from the original owners and hijacking the lodge from the members."

Uh, we were the original owners, we were the Lodge. Fact. What we did was stop masons who were not the rightful owners from destroying an Historical Building in an Historical District. The un-rightful owners thought the money and property was theirs to waste through without any checks or balances.

So, we followed GLoO's rules and the States Laws to preserve everything. Period. We knew and the courts saw it too.

So, apparently no stealing or highjacking.

Temper, please get facts straight before accusing us of crimes and inappropriate behavior.

We were proven not guilty by a outside Judge. Someone who would not be blinded by their passions, which spawned this lawsuit.

The Charity is doing well, youth in our community are benefiting from our endeavors and we are slowly rehabbing the building from years of neglect.

Do not hate on us because of being ill informed or blinded by passions. All FACTS were presented to a neutral professional and the chips fell were they did.

just because YOU do not agree does not make it wrong. Lodges have rights even if most masons do not have the determination to exercise them to their fullest.

The Founders of our facility are smiling down on us for saving their hard work and vision. Instead of throwing up both arms in defeat and destroying one of the last masonic temples in the state while your superiors looked the other way.

Again, Merry Christmas All!
F:. Tom Coste, MM
Halcyon No 2
Senior Deacon

Wayfaring Man said...

C wrote:
"Summary Judgements [sic] do not get overturned everyday."

I never claimed that SJ motions are overturned every day - I simply stated they get appealed every day, which is a vastly different statement.

When the appeal period runs, you can then justifiably claim victory. Until then, it's premature.

"I swear, it's like I'm playin' cards with my brother's kids or somethin'." -- Johnny Tyler, Tombstone.

Howard Roark said...

Bro. Chris, the Grand Orient, like Grand Lodges, is a human institution that is flawed by the emotional and irrational actions and beliefs of its members. It would be easy for anyone to point out the many failings of both systems.

Instead of finger pointing both sides should seek to be better men and Masons.

In regards to belief in deity you are telling a half-truth. The vast majority of Grand Orient Masons do believe in a deity, and most lodges open and close to "the Glory of the Great Architect of the Universe." The only real and meaningful difference is that they have the freedom to choose.

What American would disagree with the principles of "Liberty, Equality and Brotherhood"?

What Mason would disagree with the ideals of "Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth"?

The differences that separate us are small in the grand scheme of things. Let's not create further division by magnifying them.

May brotherhood prevail!

My Name is Still Nobody said...

"Do not be a hater. Schism and splits came from mainstreamers within"

Tom,
Can you explain how PGMs of the Grand Orient John Slifko, Aaron Peavey, and Euclid lodge are mainstreamers? Your own Grand Masters were removed from the roles of the Grand Orient, and an individual from Euclid states that the 'Grand Orient of America has lost its way'.

From Euclid's blog:

"Let It be known that Euclid Lodge hereby severs all ties with the Grand Orient of the United States"

If the GMs of the Grand Orient and Euclid Lodge are not mainstreamers, can you explain how attributing problems the Grand Orient is having to mainstreamers is not being a hater? Thanks.
Macabrey

2 BOWL CAIN said...

sure, Slifko, peavy and Euclid Lodge all are originally from the mainstream system, hence the schisms/splits are from mainstreamers within the GOUSA. Those three entities veered from the original purpose of the GOUSA. Slifko and Peavy wanted to initiate women, got found out and were called on it. Euclid wanted Rectified Rite for christians only and GOUSA is against religious requirements for oining and the GOUSA is a 3 degree system, where the rectified wanted all 8 degrees and a seperate priory(?).


That is what I meant by the schism and splits being caused by mainstreamers. The GOUSA does have some Rules and Regulations, and those were two of them we were not going to bend on?

Clear?

My Name is Still Nobody said...

This is a simple yet ineffectual attempt at evasion on your part, Tom. You are by your definition a mainstreamer. Making female masons would not be considered mainstream in most bodies. To call them mainstreamers is clearly erroneous. To my knowledge Euclid has always existed outside of what is popularly considered the mainstream. You have been found out and called on it.
Br. MacAbrey

2 BOWL CAIN said...

"To my knowledge Euclid has always existed outside of what is popularly considered the mainstream. You have been found out and called on it."

Euclid were all members of a GLoMich Lodge, that left and formed Euclid Lodge in conjunction with Halcyon and Sirius, but the members who made up Euclid originally made their bones in the mainstream system.

Correct about me being a mainstreamer, just like all the other original GOUSA members. And I am giving an example of how men, all raised in mainstream Lodges, came together to form "Orient" style Freemasonry in America, within certain parameters.

The GOUSA was founded on a 3 degree system only(all other degrees and rituals would be available for Light and discussion, but not for Titles or dues) and Male only. When some felt that we(the GOUSA) had the right to start a "priory" that would over see a "Christian" only Rectified Rite, that went against our agreement with France. When some felt we(the GOUSA) should initiate women and create mixed Lodges, that too went against our agreement with France.

The GOUSA has stood true to that agreement, a 3 degree system and male only. There are more than 1 system of 3 degree's available to the Lodges, some still in their original form from the 1700's.

GOUSA Lodges have the right to admit women who are Master Masons for visitation, yes, but not as members.

The GOUSA is adamant about separating Freemasonry and Religion at all expense.

SO, what I meant was a bunch of mainstreamers got together to form the GOUSA with certain rules and regulations, certain mainstreamers within the group felt we(the GOUSA) could do whatever we wanted and attempted to do whatever they wanted. We all agreed to disagree and severed ties. The Masons who remained with the GOUSA all agree on 3 degree's, no women members and no religious qualifications for Orient sponsored Freemasonry.

Not trying to be evasive, actually, I thought I was being as open and honest as I could about the situation. I hope this clears it up a little. If not ask again, and I like the formality of first name basis,lol, just like Theron, refusal to accept orient members as "brother".....


I have nothing to hide and never did. All masons who now me locally know I was very open for discussing these things before and after our split. It was the "leaders" who operated under secrecy, we wanted everybody to look into our situation. None wanted to see what was under the rock when we shone Light on it.

If you have more direct questions that would be better served to communicate via email, by all means drop me a line and we can continue on that venue, or here as long as Brother Hodapp does not mind.

I am open and have nothing to hide personally.

Happy New Year All.
May your Loved Ones be safe and healthy!
F:. Bro Tom Coste
Halcyon No 2
Senior Deacon

Past Master of Rocky River No 703
GLoOh

Mortimer Snerd said...

"Man up"? You don't recognize the chilling effect on free speech this has caused? Of course you do, with your "comment moderation" enabled. Physician, heal thyself.

" . . . a blip that wouldn't interest the History Channel in the slightest".

Other than you, who cares about the History Channel and what would be of interest to it? The History Channel is interested in Nielsen ratings, pure and simple - and appealing to the LCD.

I've decided to part company with my ventriloquist. I don't want to be a thought of as a Dummy any longer.

Chris Hodapp said...

Well, yours got through, even though it contributed nothing to a two year old thread. Do you somehow feel chilled or your free speech muted?