Monday, March 19, 2007

Shriners' financial improprieties subject of New York Times investigation

Once again, the major media catches up with the Masonic blogosphere.

Last October, the Associated Press finally picked up on the "whites only" issues surrounding Alabama Gov. Bob Riley's Masonic membership, something Burning Taper and other blogs had been discussing for a couple of months.

Now, splashed across the pages of today's New York Times is the story of financial improprieties involving Masonic-affiliated Shrine Clubs. Thanks to Sandy Frost's investigations and articles, we've been running stories about this since last summer.

The Times' investigation uncovered:
  • More than 57 percent of the $32 million the Shriners raised in 2005 through circuses, bingo games, raffles and a variety of sales went to costs of the fraternity, including keeping temple liquor cabinets full and offering expenses-paid trips to Shrine meetings and other events.
  • Only 2 percent of the Shrine hospitals’ operating income comes from money raised by Shrine temples and members’ dues. (The bulk is supplied by the hospitals’ $9 billion endowment.)
  • A top Shrine official told a meeting of temple treasurers that poor accounting for cash coming into the organization was “an increasingly common problem,” and that more than 30 temples had discovered fraud — like theft of money and inventory, altered bank statements, padded payrolls and fake invoices — amounting to as much as $300,000 and involving members of their “divans,” the five-member boards that govern each temple.
Johnny L. Edwards, former leader of the Oasis Shrine Club in Charlotte, North Carolina told reporters, “Money raised for the hospitals is being used to pay for parties and liquor and trips, and they know it. The way I see it, they’re stealing from crippled children.” Edwards led an inquiry into Shrine funds, and is no longer in a leadership position.

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1 comment:

  1. I've been saying the Shrine and Scottish Rite were profiteering at the expense of the brothers and public for years.


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