NY Attorney General to Investigate NYYM

Corruption/Hypocrisy/Public Piety/Partisan Politics/NY Attorney General to Investigate NYYM/Albany Times Tribune/Albany/NY/USA/1-Apr-09/….

April 1, 2009

Albany, New York, USA - Many already know that New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, in line for Governor of New York and possibly even President of the United States, has recently sued companies like Bank of America and A.I.G. to expose corrupt financial practices in the banking and insurance industries. Mr. Cuomo, the chief law enforcement officer of the Empire State, has now pledged to investigate corruption in religion. He said, "Many think business and civil government are the only forums for financial shenanigans to occur. One shouldn't be surprised to find out that religious institutions .... do the same things !"

Religious institutions, as many know, do not have to share their financial statements, including the salaries of the highest paid employees, with the public.

Cuomo was also quoted to say, "The business and political model of religion, which the Quakers at one time changed, has done an about face to manifest in modern times to once again combine public piety with partisan politics and shady business practices. I'm very concerned that paid ministers, such as those in New York Yearly Meeting (NYYM) of the Religious Society of Friends, who are remunerated by a church hierarchy, are once again taking the State of New York back to the 'bad old days' where the Church and State were one and the same non-transparent, self-serving oppressive feudal bureaucracy. We have a tax code to abide in this state (notwithstanding the federal tax code) and it says that religion can't overstep its bounds and at the same time keep its financial secrecy and its tax exempt, not-for-profit status."

Cuomo pledged to investigate a religious institution in New York State which hypocritically has made public mockery of the founder of the Religious Society of Friends - George Fox (d. 1690). Fox said most famously, which early Friends heeded - "Let your lives speak". Cuomo said, "Making examples out of people who are supposed to quietly be examples, should help New York Friends live up to their Testimony of Integrity and forget about their protest signs, amateur YouTube videos and position papers." Cuomo said succinctly that he will make transparent, "the efforts of New York Yearly Meeting (NYYM), a regional elitist political hierarchy, to hide behind the veil of religion, in some sort of ruse, and instead engage in the thinly veiled no-show job maintenance and vacation planning as well as the naked political action operations in the name of religion, while leveraging the historic integrity of dead Friends."

Specifically, Cuomo intends to look at three areas of concern among a growing number of honest, Church taxpaying Friends, who feel that in order for the public to trust the Religious Society of Friends, individual Friends in NYYM must first be personally honest and require true financial openness within their own ranks.

  1. The obvious perennial organized falsification of the operating budget and Treasurer's report which when closely compared, have shown manipulations to paint a picture of what the paid hierarchy would like the taxpaying Quakers to believe is actually going on. (Sure, it´s news when Enron and Worldcom do it, but who hears about it when it´s done in the name of religion?)

  2. The long history of overpricing of the Annual Sessions at Silver Bay, Lake George, was strong evidence that elite members of NYYM, (Sessions and General Services Committees) and the management of the Silver Bay Association have colluded or engaged in some sort of structured or clandestine malfeasance to keep the Quaker Annual Meeting average prices to its members 20% higher than other similar groups charge to attend similar sized Yearly Meeting Annual Sessions. If Annual Session prices were to go down, the elitist institution of the giving of scholarships to the poor folk can also be removed, and then the high rollers will no longer have that carrot to dangle in front of those who were previously too economically cowed to speak up and help change to occur from within.

  3. NYYM will be forced to change the false labeling of committees like 'Financial Services' when like the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), the word 'service', no longer informs the public to the true mission of such business or committee. After investigation by the New York Attorney General, NYYM Financial Services Committee will be renamed "Tax Collectors". The word 'Financial Services' would normally be used, when objective members would ostensibly thoroughly evaluate expenses and sources of income on a zero-based rationale, and make critical and sometimes difficult decisions to continue or discontinue each expense, each year. Andrew Cuomo also said that he planned to contact Tom Corbett, Pennsylvania's Attorney General, to suggest Corbett investigate the AFSC to have them change its name to "American Friends Political Action Committee" or AFPAC and or have its non-profit, 501 C (3) tax exempt status revoked.
When asked to comment on the impending investigation, NYYM General Secretary, and chief paid minister, now known as - Chrissypoo - commented, "unlike the AFSC which hired high-priced Philadelphia lawyers to defend charges of corruption and misappropriation and go on operating as a business, and evolving away from the Quaker Faith, NYYM is actually going to come clean and make these changes. We may even do one better - and show the overpaid, lifetime NYYM office salaries to our Church tax paying members, and begin the honest discussion to bring NYYM back to utilize reasonably-paid sojourning positions if the grass roots, or the Monthly Meetings, determine that these paid positions continue to be needed." He went on, "The false governing structure called the Coordinating Committees will also be dropped since the open secret that these are the thinly veiled hierarchy propping up our dying institution. The world doesn't need another hierarchal religion, so why should Quakers be so lazy as to allow it? We Friends here in New York obviously have not been the best we can be for decades."

Chrissypoo went on and on as he often does when he gets going: "Like Elie Wiesel said about the recent Bernard L. Madoff fraud, some viewed me as a mythical figure (General Secretary) come to save them from themselves and that the true operations of NYYM had to be kept as a secret, within a small little clique of elitists. And like Madoff, we've cheated thousands of former good Quakers out of their money and out of what many felt once was the first true non-hierarchal Church experience, and many Quakers have left our Society over the past 40 years. Friends can't blame me, they have to blame themselves for not maintaining vigilance - doing their due diligence - like the Madoff investors also didn't do."

Quoted by Elie Wiesel, about Bernard Madoff:
“I remember that it was a myth that Madoff created around him, that everything was so special, so unique, that it had to be secret. It was like a mystical mythology that nobody could understand. He gave the impression that maybe 100 people belonged to the club. Now we know thousands of them were cheated by him.”

When asked for comment, the Clerks of the Worldwide and Regional Governing Quaker Bodies - the Friends World Committee (FWCC), Friends General Conference (FGC) and Friends United Meeting (FUM) all somehow responded almost identically - "now that overpaid NYYM personnel and the NYYM budget will be brought into line, NYYM will hopefully begin to pay a reasonable amount in bottom up support of our wider Friends governing organization."
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