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Friday, May 10, 2013

NY PGM Bidnick Expelled, This Time By Grand Lodge

New York Past Grand Master Neal Bidnick was expelled permanently from Freemasonry on Tuesday, this time by a vote of the Grand Lodge.

From a Brother who was there:

I thought it would be of interest to other Brother that at yesterday’s final day of the annual communication of the Grand Lodge of NY, PGM Neal Bidnick’s case was brought before the Grand Lodge and about 2 hours of debate and accusations ensued. I hope, as interesting as it was, that I never have to witness such and event again.

Personally I found it to be a sad day for Freemasonry. It began with the report from the committee on Jurisprudence delivered by PGM Fitche and PGM Hino, first just laying out the case that the trial commission was in fact correct in finding PGM Bidnick guilty of financial improprieties and disobeying a directive from the then GM Libone. Then went on to openly rebuke the actions of the current GM Sullivan for his actions in restoring PGM Bidnick and lifting his suspension and the letter send by the GM to all Lodges informing them of the reason why.

The motion to accept this report was tabled until the Commission on Appeals was heard. The Commission on Appeals did not find that PGM Bidnick was innocent of the charges, but that the punishment of expulsion was too harsh. Instead they recommended a reprimand.

The GM opened the floor to comments and many Brothers rose to speak to the points that were made, both in favor and against PGM Bidnick. What I found most telling was they many who would see PGM Bidnick expelled most often quoted the obligation. I would ask them if they had forgotten the 5 points of fellowship. I don’t know PGM Bidnick personally, but I know many Brothers that do and the circumstances surrounding his alleged transgressions and subsequent suspension pending trial were highly questionable to say the least. To many this seemed to ‘political’... I don’t know if we will ever really know what happened in this case. What has been released by the Grand Lodge on the details of this have been ambiguous and contradictory at best.

A vote was taken that the Commission on Appeals report be accepted and that passed by a large majority, to the second question which was should the Commission on Appeals recommendation of a reprimand be accepted, the vote was split by only 6% in favor of rejection of this motion to accept. In effect upholding the trial commissions original judgment and sentence of expulsion. PGM Bidnick was then escorted from the Grand Lodge room, head held high.

After this vote the Committee on Jurisprudence amended their report to remove the accusations leveled at GM Sullivan. But to me what was stated cannot be taken back and I feel for GM Sullivan who by all reports is a fair and true Brother of the Craft.

What was most ironic to me was the high note that the session of the first day ended on with the Distinguished Achievement Award going to Br. Howie Damron and after which Br. Damron sang his Masonic Ring ballad for the Brothers assembled. It was almost a kumbaya moment into itself.

In the end I am sure the Grand Lodge will survive and some semblance of normalcy will return after this 2+ year ordeal.

The vote was 54-46. For background on this story, see here and here.


  1. In my experience with Masonic Jurisprudence through attendance of Grand Lodge Annual Communications, the Brethren assembled often bring down harsh punishment for Masonic transgressions, as we hold ourselves to a high standard and take collective offense to the casual laying aside of our duties and obligations to each other and the Fraternity.
    Not to justify, just to point out - by the time it comes to Grand Lodge in this sort of affair, the time for good council and tender reprimand has long since passed.

    Yes, consider the points of fellowship, but also consider the cardinal virtues and their full explanation.

    -Dustin Tarditi
    James B Green #735 AF&AM
    Raleigh, NC


  2. "The commission of a grossly immoral act is a violation of the contract entered into between each Mason and his Order. If sanctioned by silence or impunity, it would bring discredit on the institution, and tend to impair its usefulness.

    A Mason who is a bad man, is to the fraternity what a mortified limb is to the body, and should be treated with the same mode of cure--he should be cut off, lest his example spread, and disease be propagated through the constitution."

    Bro. Albert G. Mackey, M.D.,
    -The Principles of Masonic Law-

  3. As a woman, I may not be able to speak to what went on in that Grand Lodge room last Tuesday. But I can say that Neal Bidnick is one of the finest men I have ever known, and with my husband, my father, my father-in-law and the Brothers I am fortunate enough to see in his lodge as examples, I can also say that Neal ranks among them with unequivocal integrity, unquestionable loyalty and unambiguous honesty. He is my friend and I am honored to have him.
    The people who do not know this man or his character are the only ones believing the calumny. Tuesday was a sad day for me, but an even sadder day for the entirety of Freemasonry.
    I would urge those who wish to know the truth to seek it out, or those who wish to know his character to get to know him.


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