If you are of the belief (as I am after reviewing the financial shenanigans at WAMC Northeast Public Radio and at The Mount) that one of the easiest ways nowadays to become a millionaire (or at least live like one) is to run a tax-exempt organization, then read on:
The Berkshire Eagle reported Sunday that Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health (officially known as Kripalu Yoga Fellowship) has received its first PILOT "tax" bill -- for $61,222 -- from the town of Stockbridge.
Photo: Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in Stockbridge, Mass.
The yoga retreat cum resort spa (2006 gross revenues $23.3 million) has its headquarters in Stockbridge and PILOT is meant as a 'payment in lieu of taxes'.
"But", according to The Eagle, "as yet, it is unclear whether the nonprofit organization will be liable for the real estate taxes" because the organization is presently classified as 'tax-exempt' by IRS.
It might be helpful to Stockbridge's case to review whether Kripalu is indeed 'not-for-profit' (and thus deserved of tax-exempt status), or just another money-making enterprise masquerading as a 501c3 for the many local, state and federal benefits such status confers.
Being tax-exempt gives Kripalu a definite edge over its commercial resort spa competitors like Canyon Ranch which, as a for-profit entity, has federal and state tax obligations, and is required, for example, to pay real estate and personal property taxes to the town of Lenox.
Kripalu's CEO, Patton Garrett Sarley, known also by his Sanskrit name, Dinabandhu, which means 'friend of the poor and the helpless', sure ought to be.
Patton Garrett Sarley (aka Dinabandhu), Kripalu's CEO;
Mary Sarley (aka Ila), Kripalu's president.
That's because for 2006, Mr. Sarley was paid nearly $232,000, according to the organization's latest available IRS Form 990.
SEE: PDF pgs. 33, 34, & 35.
Mr. Sarley's wife, Mary, is known around the retreat as Ila.
She is president of the organization, the same one for which her husband is CEO.
Kripalu paid her more than $186,000, thus making the couple's total 2006 compensation from the yoga center just over $418,000.
This is nearly eleven times the median household income for Berkshire County (MHI here is $39,047).
Richard Faulds (also known as Shobhan) is chairman of the board of trustees and is Kripalu's legal counsel.
His pay in 2006 surpassed $110,000.
Richard Faulds (aka Shobhan), Kripalu's board chairman and legal counsel.
While Mr. and Mrs. Sarley each averaged 40 hours per week in 2006, Kripalu reported to IRS that Mr. Faulds worked an average of just one hour per week.
It does not appear to be a typo, either.
At that rate, Mr. Faulds was making $2,200 per hour.
SEE: PDF pgs. 33, 34, & 35.
This isn't the first time that Kripalu, and the company's practices have been the object of public scrutiny.
According to The Boston Globe, "Dinabandhu Garrett Sarley and his wife, Ila Sarley, were among the original followers of Kripalu founder Amrit Desai, who left in the wake of a scandal in 1995. Indeed, Dinabandhu Sarley held chief operating officer responsibilities at Kripalu when the ashram's problems emerged. (Desai, who was married, encouraged his followers to practice celibacy. He later was revealed to have had sexual relationships with several of his female adherents and was forced to leave the community. The events nearly destroyed Kripalu, prompting its evolution from a devotion-based ashram to a more secular educational institution.)"
By the way, Kripalu reported zero taxable fringe benefits paid to the above executives in 2006.
Credit for this article goes to "Ombudsman" whose timely suggestion was the impetus for its publication.
Labels: Amrit Desai, Canyon Ranch, Dinabandhu Garrett Sarley, Ila Mary Sarley, Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, Kripalu Yoga Fellowship, not for profit, Shobhan Richard Faulds, Stockbridge, tax-exempt