Tracing the money trail

Discussion of the SES's satellite organisations in the USA.
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Tracing the money trail

Postby a different guest » Fri Jun 24, 2005 3:47 am

There's some interest in this topic - so thought I would start a dedicated thread.

NYC wrote
I'm interested to know more about how the SES worldwide is funded. It seems that they must rely heavily on large-scale donations, since the relatively small amounts charged for adult classes would never cover the property tax, upkeep, etc on the large & magnificent buildings the School favors.

seemore wrote
the SOP [in New York] is awash with money...Bequests in the last ten years or so have left it with considerable amounts of loot...It is only a matter of time before more skeletons emerge from various cupboards. This time they will more than likely be of the 'financial mis-management' variety ... excess of money seems to have that effect.

FT wrote
All I can say is that many (most, I dare say) of the Senior group members are VERY rich. They must give a lot of money to the SoPP.

and I wrote
FT - were they ALWAYS rich? Or has being in the "secret club" of the SES somehow helped them amass their wealth? Any thoughts?

It's just that it strikes me that people who already have "status" in their lives (and in western money being rich tends to give you "status") then that sort of person is hardly likely to wander into a 12 week "Philosophy" course and then stay for the long run.

anyone got any thoughts anecodtes observations about wealth and the SES?

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Postby Free Thinker » Fri Jun 24, 2005 4:37 am

Most of the people I know in the SoPP who are rich are Senior members, and thus have been members of the school for many years. Most have made their money while in the school, although most certainly didn't start out poor.

ross nolan
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simple check

Postby ross nolan » Fri Jun 24, 2005 8:01 am

Check their charitable status -- there is a website that mentioned tax investigation into their schools followed by a switch to "donations" being accepted (might have been on dialogue Ireland ) There are too many numbers in their ABN on their receipts --- are you going to do anything or just being hypothetical here ?

This is a good idea of you DO something to follow up.


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Postby NYC » Fri Jun 24, 2005 11:00 am

ADG wrote:people who already have "status" in their lives...that sort of person is hardly likely to wander into a 12 week "Philosophy" course and then stay for the long run

maybe they are looking for community not status.

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Postby Keir » Sun Jun 26, 2005 4:19 am

Just a thought,

Maybe the rich people were looking for an exclusive gentlemans club to practice their sado-masochistic tendencies and found the sub/dom atmosphere intoxicating. Oh yes, and the promise of a virginal and compliant young woman to serve them and then give them children cant have been overlooked as a side benefit.

Or maybe it was because the rich people were the only ones capable of wining and dining Mr Maclaren in sufficient splendour that he personally took an interest in their 'passage' through the school.

Ah, the complexity of human relationships.....;O)

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Postby Jellybaby » Sun Jun 26, 2005 5:55 am

There does seem to be heavy investment in property in Ireland -the
organisation and its schools now own five substantial properties in
Dublin - worth many millions today, one acquired only in the last few
years. They also own their own version of Waterperry House, called
Townley Hall in the country. Are members asked to pay regularly once they reach a certain level in the movement? Is this how it's all being
paid for?

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SES fees and property costs

Postby Gandalf » Sun Jun 26, 2005 11:10 am

There is loads of Irish fundraising going on but nothing as crude as a Scientology style fees ratcheted to seniority which you ask about.

This would contradict the one (perhaps the only) principle the SES schools have so far not abrogated in their actions:namely that ?knowledge? should be given freely (and, yes you've guessed it, the imparting of ignorance is free too).

Unless Dublin is paddling its own monetary canoe only the running costs of the premises (excluding interest charges on any loans) should be charged in the class fees. That said, it is expected of anyone upon whom Lakshmi, goddess of wealth, has smiled, to ?do the right thing? and make a chunky tax-deductible donation.

In this they will be fully advised as to the optimal tax breaks by the golden tongued accountant, school leader Shane Mulhall, whose entrepreneurial instincts have been full filled by the Irish economic and property explosion of the past 20 years.

The properties are only the tip of the enterprise. Don't forget there are the day schools to support, the big expensive adverts to pay for and all the numerous publications and promotions to subsidise for closet SES charities like the Education Renaissance Trust (of which Mulhall and Sinclair the Invisible are the lead trustees).

As an accountant, dedicated student of Economics and follower of London?s lead, Mulhall is ever alert to a bit of property accumulation in a tax free charitable never know when another Georgian country house might come in handy and, anyway, you can always flog the restored building at a profit if you need to and move on to the next renovation to be carried out free by the next batch of students. Thanks Lakshmi you?ve been a doll.
See Gandalf posting today in 'The "E" in SES' on the string - St James and SES: genesis of the relationship - for the London SES lead on the subject.

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Money money money

Postby HoHumBug » Sun Jun 26, 2005 2:07 pm

Gandalf?s posting on "The ?E? in SES" today under the 'St James and SES:genesis of the relationship' string whilst thought provoking is light on facts. Here are some numbers I found whilst sorting through out my uncle?s many notes on the SES recently

From what I can see the London SES, even excluding all the UK ?branches?, has achieved very big property gains. Since it started buying, restoring and selling properties in the 60?s it now sits on a mortgage-free property portfolio worth over US$55,000,000 and has banked over US$25,000,000 in additional free cash. It goes like this:

Queensgate, London SW7: number 90 was purchased in the late 60?s for ?20,000, Nos. 91 and 92 were annexed soon after and the whole lot sold for over ?4m in 2001/2.
Sarum Chase, London NW3: bought for ?80,000 in the 60?s and sold recently for ?10m. Chepstow Villas, London W11 :bought for ?20,000 in the 60?s and sold in 2001 for over ?2m.
Nanpantan Hall, Leicestershire: given to the SES in the late 80?s still owned by the SES and extensively renovated by the students. Am I bid ?4m?
Waterperry House: Oxfordshire: given to the SES in the 1970?s on condition that the horticultural centre was kept going and the staff were kept on. Still owned by the SES and extensively renovated by the students. Am I bid ?15m?
83 Brook Green, London W6: donated to the SES in the 60?s and London ?pad for the SES Leader?. Am I bid ?1.25m?
Mandeville Place, London W1: Purchased for under ?2.5 m in 2000 by private treaty from the Trinity School of Music this property never came to the market. A property surveyor in the SES got to hear of the planned sale and the SES Executive Board moved quickly and quietly to secure it. Am I bid ?12m?.It is the latest jewel in the UK property crown.

There is, of course, nothing illegal in making gains from property dealing in a capitalist society but, as with so much other SES activity, its deeds are utterly inconsistent with its own lofty proclamations on most subjects.

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Postby bella » Sun Jun 26, 2005 3:44 pm

Would it be preferable for people to come to tin shacks, and sit on logs, to discuss refining their existence? That way we could be sure they would be down to earth and in connection with grass roots. Or something.

Seriously, this is kind of silly. Most of the criticisms levelled I will accept as being out of order for that person at that time, but saying they shouldn't buy nice property when they can, or sell it at a profit after considerable renovation, is pushing it. No, people are not charged exorbitant fees once they reach "a certain level" - the fees remain the same. People don't get personally rich off this stuff, to my knowledge. Fees are not channelled to members to sustain their lifestyles, or to purchase properties. In my experience, fees go where they are supposed to go - to pay the rent/mortgage, purchase new equipment, and improve the surroundings if possible. Donations of some surplus funds are also made to charitable causes.

The issue of money is a typical "cult" bugbear, so I'm not surprised it's surfaced here, but I think maybe you're barking up the wrong tree if you expect to find seniors fleecing the flock for personal gain.

gandalf wrote:It's expected of anyone upon whom Lakshmi, goddess of wealth, has smiled, to ?do the right thing? and make a chunky tax-deductible donation.

That's not been my experience at all. If people feel like they should redistribute their wealth, whatever, but I've never experienced - nor spoken to anyone who has experienced - the school leaders trying to influence them towards spending money on the school or its members.

Occasionally, one of the school members will have a crisis - medical, financial, emotional, whatever - and someone in their group will usually organise some help for them. That might take the form of people cooking meals for the other person to take home; people taking shifts at a chronic relative's bedside, people dropping in to take the other one out for lunch, people organising a whip-around for their particular financial crisis, etc...but in my experience it's never, ever been the case that people are blindly contributing money for the upkeep of a chosen few, or whatever.

There are several members in my (relatively senior) group who are on a pension, or raising families, who can't actually afford the fees per term. Their fees are reduced to what they can reasonably afford. Our family is not wealthy, and has no monetary prospects for the school beyond the regular fees. I don't think these are the actions of an organisation, or people of an organisation, that are motivated by wealth. It's my current experience that the school is looking at any way possible to make up the shortfall between fees received and rent/expenses payable, to avoid raising fees.
Last edited by bella on Mon Jun 27, 2005 12:15 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Bella confusione

Postby HoHumBug » Sun Jun 26, 2005 8:49 pm

Dear Bella,
I suggest you might care to re- read both Gandalf and my postings in this string today a little more carefully. Gandalf states quite clearly in the second sentence that it is ?the one (perhaps the only) principle the SES schools have so far not abrogated in their actions:namely that ?knowledge? should be given freely? i.e. students should not pay more just because they become more senior in the organisation or indeed pay for the imparting of knowledge at all.

Furthermore I explained that the principle of only paying for upkeep excluded even interest and, by implication, capital repayments on mortgages (which you presumed to be included in the fees)..

However I know from my uncle, on whom Lakshmi smiled to a significantly greater degree than I or, according to your posting, you, that he was, shall we say, encouraged to make gifts to the SES in his lifetime (and indeed bequests for the hereafter) particularly at times when the SES had borrowed capital for a property acquisition or major renovation .

Nothing new in that nor anything 'wrong' with it. People have been donating to churches and causes of one kind and another for centuries as the immense accumulated wealth of some of these establishments attests to. Nowhere was it suggested that people are being fleeced for the benefit of a select few. Quite the reverse eas stated in fact. Your feeling of insult is therefore entirely a product of a misreading or misinterpreting what was actually written. I appreciate this does not make the feeling any less real for you but is nevertheless wholly misplaced in this instance.

It's great that your group rallied round in your difficult time. That's entirely as it should be and it would be strange if they did not especially in what sounds like a relatively 'young' school. However that group support in your school, wherever it is in the world, does not change the underying contradictions in the organisation.

You, no doubt, already hand your child over to someone 'in the school' when you are required to attend residentials as a student and perhaps also a second week or more as a tutor. When you become a 'head of level' of course you will be away for several weeks a year. But that is all in the future and it is good that you are enjoying things now. It is also entirely consistent that fees should be waived in cases of genuine hardship.

The other point that was made which you seem to have skipped over is that in accumulating all this wealth the London school is hoarding it and not furthering its proclaimed objects and aims in the field of Economics whilst making grandiloquent statements about 'justice' in that regard. But maybe you have not looked at the Economics side so far so this might not mean much to you.

The answer for the SES in relation to Economics is simple. It just needs to stop claiming to be interested in the laws governing economic freedom, drop "Economics" from the name and call itself something that reflects its true aims (once these have been honestly and rigorously formulated).

Most of its difficulties, indeed this whole web site is the product of the SES's institutionalised incapacity to openly do what it says and say what it does.

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Postby leonmich » Mon Jun 27, 2005 12:06 am

bella. It is extremely hypocritical.
Have you any idea what the 'economic' part in SES stands for, or more exactly what it once stood for? Andrew Mclaren had a good idea, and it was completely at odds to the self serving cult that Leon Mclaren went on to create.

It is a simple ploy to get cult members to decorate your property for you, make you money and all the time kid them with the idea they were actually partaking of a form of Ouspenskys "the work", and awareness was just round the corner. Of course 'awareness' never arrived, only more floors to sand. A clever sleight of hand that saved the school pots of cash. Of course the higher up, the less physical work you do, but higher up, the richer you were.

I hope you wont take my post as combative but I am curious to what you get from about SES that could not be arrived at by simpler means from the original sources, seeing as SES has not a single original idea or it's own. Leon Mclaren took his fathers economic theories (jettisoning them pretty quickly however, but keeping enough to ensure influence and reputation were kept intact),the indian part was nicked from Maharesh (who incidentally got pretty pissed off and thought that mixing it with Gierdjieff /Ouspensky was a bad move), the economics from Henry George via Andrew Mclaren, the "awareness" through work from Gierd and Ouspenk.
Why not go direct if these ideas appeal?
I also do not remember any public acts of charity from SES while I was ensnared in it.

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Re: Money money money

Postby leonmich » Mon Jun 27, 2005 12:13 am

HoHumBug wrote:There is, of course, nothing illegal in making gains from property dealing in a capitalist society but, as with so much other SES activity, its deeds are utterly inconsistent with its own lofty proclamations on most subjects.

...and there is nothing new in cults making their members make them money. For nothing!

It's possible they have tamed their lunatic fringe, but it seems like their main business is stilll functioning as ever,making pots of cash!

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Postby bella » Mon Jun 27, 2005 12:36 am

Who is the cult if not its members? HoHum, it's statements like the above from leon that led me to believe the implication was that a select few were presumed to be fleecing the rest for personal gain.

I was under the impression that part of the economic ideals of justice taught in the school was that people should be properly compensated (in the event of a sale) for improvements to property. If the students are assisting with renovations, and the students are ultimately the ones who benefit from the increased value, this seems consistent. Is the issue that profits from increased land values (through no work of the school itself) should be redistributed in the wider community, after a reasonable replacement is purchased? That would make more sense to me, and I apologise if this had been clearly stated previously in the thread.

As an aside, I don't leave my son with school members when I have to attend residentials. I leave him with my husband, who's not in the school. It hasn't been suggested to me that I should leave him with anyone else.

Leon, going "to the source" sounds like reading a lot by myself, and trying to keep it all together in a cohesive package while I practise it. I get enough of that with Uni. The school offers me structure, community, support, and some extra heads to bounce ideas off. [/threadjack]

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Postby Keir » Mon Jun 27, 2005 2:59 pm

Hi Bella,

The more moderate voices on this BB have many times stated that there was some value in the teachings received whilst at the SES. I for one take there to be no argument about that. I am very glad that your son is left with a non SES member when you are called away on weekends as it allows for some balance in his upbringing that I didn't have.

The very nature of a cult is that it is a form of subtle control excercised over apparently willing and complicit members. By providing a version of the truth as THE truth it is no different from many religious organisations, so maybe it would be better to change the name to indicate its quasi religious status. The problem is that by posing as a philosophy school and then setting its own parameters to allowable debate, or even acting as a censor to the debate - and 'correcting' the natural spirit of enquiry - it is setting itself up as an authority. The people who subscribe to this authority are doing so out of free choice. I am all for that free choice. But if they are being misinformed about the true nature and intent of an organisation then they are not making a fully informed choice.

It is to redress the balance of a powerful and wealthy organisation that censors free debate and (however it is couched) discourages contact with outside influences that this BB was set up. The discussion that is possible here is unfettered by policy and the authority of another. If you dont feel you need to know about the roots of an organisation's beliefs that you subscribe to, then you are a truly faithful believer in something you know little about. From what I remember of my 15 odd years in the SES, they asked nay expected you to open your mind to their new way of thinking but wanted you to shut it again to anything that might offer a question too far. This is not the action of a philosophy school. You cannot have a selectively inquiring mind any more than a truth that cant be challenged. The real test of any truth is that it will stand up to scrutiny, not that it must be protected from it.

My interest is in the organisation being unafraid to be open about what it offers - and what it doesn't do so well - and what it does downright badly. Maybe that way the good that can be found in the material (as it can be in its original authors' works) can be freed from a corrupt messianical group of individuals that (however they sell it to their own consciences) are primarily interested in power over their fellow human beings. But it takes two to tango. Not being interested in the way the school was formed, not questioning the level of trust you have invested in it, not finding out where your money is going to - well that is how the powerseekers are made powerful.

So please, argue facts with facts, nobody doubts that you believe and no one can force you believe any different by giving you information.

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money karma etc

Postby ross nolan » Tue Jun 28, 2005 1:40 am

Keir,Bella et al

The general feeling I get from reading ex pupil postings is that you are intelligent and articulate people and have been able to maintain a good degree of perspective despite the efforts at indoctrination - it would seem that scientology has a much greater negative effect on it's adherents (or is this just because it is so much larger ) even though, I believe, they do not have their own schools . Clearly there must have been some good content in the curriculum(as Keir observes) but then every movement only gets people in by appearing to be at least benign and offering something positive so attracting new members -- only after getting their trust and having a feeling of belonging,maybe obligation and or dependence do the less desirable , not advertised, secret agendas emerge .

Communism is hard to fault on it's basic precepts but the actuality is something else altogether -- another example here in Australia was a strange organization that emerged without much attention but began to grow without any apparent means of support (at least to those in the aviation industry who had some idea of the economics of aircraft operation )

It was called the "National Safety Council -Australia" (NSCA) and based itself quite close to the US Omega navigation transmitter in a fairly remote part of the state and soon built up an incredible array of highly sophisticated electronic surveillance equiment plus a fleet of turbine aircraft,helicopters etc and a small army of armed operatives. In the aviation game they were known as the "Thinderbirds" or the NSCIA (after the spy agency and because many believed their true task was to defend the US military Omega station )

I took an interest in them because a friend of mine who was then mayor of the small community near where they based ,and a 30,000 hour agricultural pilot who had been the emergency air evacuation for that area until the NSCA "arrived" , asked me to make some enquiries in Melbourne, go to the media etc to get them looked into -- I also had manufactured search and rescue equipment and got a visit from them .

On the local airport the air ambulance operator was underbid for the medivac contract by them despite their using aircraft five times as costly to run . How ? He also 'took an interest' in them (and got a veiled death threat ..... he, Bill Suhr later died in a simultaneous double engine failure in a twin engine air ambulance just after take off )

Nobody in the media w ould take any suspicions about the NSCA seriously, we were all "paranoid" etc -- the government gave them commendations for rescuing lost hikers, injured motorists, helping in bushfires etc etc -- model citizens in fact, given citations by the police commissioner etc etc .

The operation grew to have multi million dollar payrolls, better equipment
than the police or air force and yet no one who was plucked from a bush walking accident or such ever paid them a cent --

Something had to be paying the bills -- anyway to cut a long story short the whole thing ended with the founder shooting himself (?) in the head and a huge scam being revealed with false invoicing, bogus income receipts etc and nobody ever explaining how it was funded.

That it was able to carry on for years without anybody being able to get listened to (lots of whistlblowing just deaf authorities ) was perplexing -- they had connections in the highest places and maintained a public profile as 'good citizens' looking to be above suspicion ( note any similarities to the SES at all ?)

The founder of the NSCA (John/Johan Friedrich) had a murky past with experience in banking and may have pulled off an almighty sting on the banks apart from any CIA funding --- Is the SES as wealthy as it seems or is there at least possibly some sort of house of cards behind it ? Are there "corridors of power" connections ?

In regard to bequests etc -- Is there any part of the teachings that could raise the spectre of "bad Karma" if one does not include a mention in the will or are they possibly buying "Good Karma" like the Catholic church once selling indulgences ? Some ex member who has had the bite put on them or got further up the hierarchy must know (the discussion so far seems to have been by day school ex pupils or junior members and has revealed an amazing appetite for worldly possesions including the supposedly 'corrupting' real estate -- are they still in favour of crippling land taxes ? (as in Henry George ) Application of landtaxes based on the 'best use' equivalent has destroyed a number of family businesses like Hotels and hardware stores in Victoria since they were land taxed as if a multi story office block was on the site --- real outcome not like the Georgist theory.

Whose name are the properties held in by the way ? Is the free service by members held to be donation or are the members jointly owners (like clubs etc must return their common property to a trust if they dissolve - no one member can profit from it -- applies to all non profit/tax exempt entities ? What is the fellowship trust ?

Regards Ross nolan.

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