Date: Sat, 4 Feb 2006 11:37:41 -0800
To: Rick Archer <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Subject: Lawsuit - TMO vs Scozzari
Could you please post this on Fairfield Life for me.
Deerfield Beach, Florida
As many have heard, I have been asked to cease and desist teaching TM by the TMO attorneys in Iowa. Their demands include that I destroy all teaching materials and that I no longer use their registered service marks for TM and Transcendental Meditation. With the new project for teachers to re-certify and teach, teachers who, like me, were made "teachers for life" by Maharishi, were all told we must no longer consider ourselves teachers. The re-certification course as you may have heard was $2K and $4 depending on how many people you have taught in the past 2 years for $2500 each student. Once completed, re-certified teachers were required to teach full time, meditate 7 hours per day, open up 5 spas, raise 1.5 million for a peace palace, go to Holland for a month and become a raja after which you would be required to wear robes and a crown and have others bow to you. Teachers were required to teach according to gender, males teach males, women teach women and all in a building with an east entrance (TMO websites detail the entire thing). Teachers were promised salaries of $2000 per month if nobody takes TM and $4000 a month if you teach 2. Three months after it's start all salaries were discontinued and teachers who quit their jobs had to find work once again. ++see Chandler letter below
It's nonsense. Teachers like myself have not done anything wrong. Most on my list know I have continued to provide basic and advanced instruction and have maintained the traditional teaching. Every teacher knows what it's like to try and make a living teaching. I will never charge anyone $2500 - never! I would need cold water running through my veins! It's wrong and people don't deserve it. It makes perfect sense to me having taught over 4000 people, that teachers should be able to keep all the money for instruction encouraging students to then take TMO sponsored follow-ups like the TM- Sidhis and advanced techniques. This way everyone wins. Teachers need to make a living. When did the policymakers forget that? The fees today are 6 times what they were in 1993.
I have invested a small fortune to keep teaching in the area since 1989. My Bell South bill is $150 per month. Recently my Bell South rep called to say he received a call from Joan Rothenberg who accused me of violating the TM trademark, that I was not legally allowed to do so and that she and her husband Stuart were the new teachers in Boca Raton. This quote appeared in my January 06 newsletter:
Still the Same
Maharishi has done something that his predecessors did not do. He provided a technique and a knowledge program while maintaining the ancient traditions. With all the research available, TM is still the best technique for relieving stress and developing inner potential. The packaging and marketing changes over time but the essential message remains the same: meditate and enjoy.
When Coca Cola introduced New Coke, the public was split on what they preferred, new or old Coke. Old Coke was introduced as Classic Coke and remains the same today. Transcendental Meditation can be offered to the general population or the wealthy, no harm. But the essential teaching is here to stay. Keeping this teaching alive worldwide is the goal of all the teachers. Competition is good and if it leads to more people learning, no harm.
As stated previously, our office teaches TM at reasonable rates. It's available for everyone. Please keep us in mind and know that we are here to stay. We hope you can join us for programs that enrich and refresh, inspire and expand. Take advantage of your membership and keep the teaching alive by meditating twice a day and radiating the benefits in your life.
If Stuart Rothenberg and his wife want to teach TM, there is no reason to push the existing teachers aside. If the truth be told, I would ask Stuart why he moved from North Carolina to Lancaster, MA and fired the staff at the ayurvedic health center as well as ask Jay Glasser, MD to leave after years of medical service there. It's unfortunate. The directors called me to tell their story.
The claims against me re trademark infringement are just the opinions of the TMO and their attorney. I can email you the attachments. No court order has been issued yet. IF AND WHEN I GET THE COURT ORDER, I will need to show the court the true details of my claim which will only cause the TMO to look foolish as each attorney has agreed with me. I have the support of certain media as well including a publicist with the San Francisco Examiner who would like to really go wide on this entire issue. She agreed nothing printed unless I say so. The TMO hates negative publicity. I think we now have the proof an attorney would need to go ahead with it should the TMO notify the court here in Broward County and hire their own attorney approved by the Florida bar. If necessary I am prepared to "fight the good fight" as one criminal defense lawyer advised. Funding is under way and an account will be set up to receive support from those who want to help. My goal is to continue teaching TM at a reasonable price. This is just another example of bullying, the results of which were evident when the Krumpe's were fired from their TMO positions at Avon Park.
In October 2001 the TMO arbitrarily and unilaterally raised course fees for teaching TM nationally announcing that all teachers like myself would be required to raise the course fee for TM class from $575 to $1000 to $1200 and to $2500 all within a 3 month period!. 100% of that fee was to be sent to the TMO, of which the teacher would receive a 20% share. From 2001 to 2003 I sent the organization over $7500 in back fees as part of an agreement with them. When the IRS reviewed my taxes one year the agent could not see why I paid the TMO anything. I earned the money and covered all my expenses. +++See TESP at the end
In March 2005 the TMO announced a "re-certification requirement" for all teachers. Teachers report there was no refresher in job skills and it was all about money. Of the 40K teachers in the US, only 340 took the course. The TMO is guilty of not providing any job security and therefore can not be relied upon as a valid employer - and the organization has demonstrated it is not a responsible employer with a long history of promises never kept. This my legal advisors claim is a very important detail for a judge to have. ++See Chandler letter below
More importantly, TM teachers who were threatened by the TMO to cease and desist teaching TM to date were never taken to court in the past, why now and why me? Friends who currently continue to teach tell me they were threatened but never taken to court for trademark infringement as early as 1993 and we can prove that in court. Three attorneys reached the same conclusion and want to know why the court should take a trademark seriously when it is only used to threaten people who work in good faith. As one attorney from Texas told us: "the tm org. has an illegitimate trademark-------they've never defended it in the past 40 years------and it will certainly fail in court, whenever it comes to court" ---- they, the tm org., have not followed the laws in this situation-------this is simply a dispute or difference of opinion within a particular spiritual teaching: the government & laws do not take sides in these disputes.
Teachers like myself have a proven track record of working in good faith in our locality for many years investing money in our business efforts without complaint from the TMO only to be told now we must stop teaching. And it's unrealistic to be required to charge $2500 for a basic course. The high fee has kept most teachers away since 2001 when that price became policy.
When we were trained to teach this technique in residence (most of us in Europe) with the understanding we could use the name TM, Transcendental Meditation, etc, all fees for training and expenses to teach were/are covered by the individual teacher, not a penny from the TMO. Independent contractor status clearly supports the teacher on this and states have laws protecting the individual and his or her right to operate once they complete training. The court is there for the individual and the company.
The media I've talked to compare the TMO to an elitist country club cult with outrageous entry fees and cult-like tactics for recruitment and conformity. It's a big money grab. By trying to attract the wealthy members of society the TMO has excluded itself from it's previous reputation as being for the individual with emphasis on society as a whole. The average working class member of the community is not able to afford the entry fee, follow-up courses and so on. Advanced techniques are $3000 and the TM-Sidhis are $6000. It's unfortunate.
And there are more issues. My attorney wants to know more about the movement non-profit status and how large sums of money are moving from the US abroad.
One teacher from California wrote....
"It's a free marketplace of ideas, and as true American citizens, we respect the right of everyone to freely speak and teach the truth as they believe. ultural & historical landmarks, even reversing the direction of the flow of major rivers The TM org., on the other hand, does not truly respect the US constitution------they openly support the establishment of monarchies throughout the world, and they openly function as a monarchy within their own org. structure. They believe the monarch has the absolute authority to control all information & education, and they are openly calling for the entire world to be one country, under the rule of an absolute monarch! Judging by the history of the tm org., and its horrible mismanagement of many teachers and projects, destroying a vital worldwide movement that was benefitting millions of people for several years, this is very alarming. We can respect their right to express their viewpoint, but the U.S. constitution and the majority of Americans are not likely to allow them to implement their vision of a totalitarian society! They force people in their own org. to bow down to appointed kings wearing robes & crowns! They are calling for the destruction and rebuilding of all homes & buildings & cities in the world on their web sites, destroying all the treasured landmarks in Europe, just to conform to their dictation as to what is proper and architecturally correct. They talk in idealistic terms of "world peace" and developing everyone's full potential, but this is obscuring the truth that they wish to control every detail of a person's life! At their "university" in Iowa (for objective history, see www.geocities.com/bbrigante/updates.html), they are taking millions in federal funds, while violating federal laws------they claim TM is not a religion or lifestyle (it's true---it isn't) but in practice, they rigidly suppress all freedom of speech & assembly on campus. One recent example (among thousands): a student was informed by the dean of students, that she could not teach a yoga class in town, off campus, because that style of yoga was not sanctioned by the university. The university for years has warned students not to attend the meetings of any other spiritual teachings (other than established mainstream religions). Students who are caught doing so, are expelled. It goes on & on. The teachings of Maharishi & TM are wonderful & practical, but have been grossly distorted by an overbearing organization in the past several years. Trained & experienced independent TM teachers, have the right in this great democracy, to present the truth of Maharishi's teaching freely to the public, and to share the benefits of TM freely with the public. The TM org. focuses its programs on the superrich: following the basic recommendations of the org. can cost an individual $50,000 to $100,000 per year, or more. They have the right to do that [although it seems their nonprofit status might be called into question ], but the government will not take their side in suppressing the activities of independent TM teachers."
A great example of the great benefit to our society from independent TM teachers is the work of the Enlightened Sentencing Project in St. Louis, Missouri, where 12 judges have directed hundreds of probationers to learn TM and have gained govt funding. (see Farrok's web site - www.tesp.org). +++++See TESP below
I wonder how many TM teachers there are who would like to teach if they knew they would not be threatened. This latest event could be the rallying point for all of them! Of the 40K trained in the US, and so few teaching, there are still many who would love to teach and could make a difference. I know the attorneys in south Florida have been talking about a fund to help cover the costs if they go to trail. If all TM teachers could benefit, independence could be for all.
+++Below is a letter from re-certified teacher John W Chandler. He sent this to Farrokh, Farrokh sent it to me:
This poor TM Teacher left his job to go for re-certification. Read his story.
Just came across your e-mail address and was wondering how you were doing?
"I just went through 4.5 months of major stress. I quit my job at the bank and signed up for the TM Peace Palace Project as a Re-certified Governor/Director. Then the next thing I knew, they canceled our course, told us to get to work right away, and by the way "you're not going to get paid or reimbursed for your expenses until we decide you deserve it". Boy did I hit the roof when they pulled that switch on us. Nevertheless, I stuck it out for 3 months before I quit. So, I lost 4.5 months of income, lost my old job, all my seniority, my 401k contributions, my territory and my credibility. All because I dared to believe the movement was going to honor their word when they said they would pay us $4000/month salary + reimburse any expenses we incurred setting things up. They lied. So, now I'm free of the movement. I'll never trust or believe anything they say ever again, and unfortunately I don't trust MMY as much anymore either; although he may be heavily influenced by the greedy people around him.
Fortunately the bank is taking me back and I start again next week, but at a lower rank, less salary, no matching 401k funds, and less vacation. Oh well, live and learn.
So, that's my bright and cheerful update. Hope yours is going better.
John W Chandler
Many friends have donated to the TMO large sums of money for projects never started. The money is said to disappear to another country. I love TM and hope this never goes to court. I think the public will get confused but everyone knows competition is good, and TM should never be taught for such high prices.
+++TESP, the Enlightened Sentencing Project of St. Louis, MO. is a non-profit org teaching TM openly by Farrokh Anklasaria. In their background data they explain:
--- You were instructed by Maharishi, 30 years or so ago, to teach TM once you fulfilled the requirements of your TTC etc. The TMO's arbitrary ruling of new requirements 30 years later, requirements that include bowing to a Raja for your area, teaching full-time only, at a salary of $2000 set by the TM movement, in a city to be decided upon by the TMO, among other things.
--- The failure of re-certified TM teachers should be part of the equation. The new requirement is vastu buildings in which to teach TM. A vastu building must have an east entrance! It cannot be right that one's livelihood could be circumscribed in this way, in such an arbitrary and unfair fashion.
---You can sign on to the MOU or other crazy TMO satellite and internet channel showing what the new TMO requires TM teachers to adhere to.
--- There are countless precedents of other TM teachers not teaching with the movement, openly teaching privately, against whom the TMO has not defended itself. This is a very salient point. One of the key pieces of information in defending oneself in copyright matters is that the trademark bearer ought to have been defending its trademark conscientiously. The TMO has not been doing so at all!
------ The ultimate claim: Maharishi made you a TM teacher for life. That was his promise to you once you fulfilled the requirements of TTC etc. You will call Maharishi himself in any case filed against you. (This prevented them from going ahead with a lawsuit against Dr Mishra, formerly with MAPI, in California.) Remember a tape in which Maharishi says that we are all TM teachers in one family, like brothers and sisters for life?
Mike, remember you are not alone in this fight. You're the point man but only in front at this time. There will be many ex-TM teachers who will rally around such action, including us. Many will be willing to speak out against the TMO. But we must all face the fact that this will be bad press for the TMO AND for all of us. It's the unfortunate truth. The other thing is this: do we really want to be associated with all the new crazy stuff in the TMO?
Farrokh & Ruffina Anklasaria
The Enlightened Sentencing Project
St Louis, MO
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