Monday, April 21, 2008

Barack H. Obama: Democrats' Lament

Looks like the partisan Liberal hack who writes The Berkshire Eagle editorials cannot handle the fact that his candidate Barack (not supposed to say Hussein) Obama is finally facing some long-overdue, tough questioning.
Sorry Eagleboy, but the reverend minister from whom this next possible president seeks comfort and counsel for twenty years IS America's business, especially when that holier-than-thou preaches hate.
Also of import is the symbolic decision by Mr. Obama not to display the American flag in his lapel.
A small thing, maybe, but the fact that BHO is at odds to do it says a lot more about the man behind the mask than any of his hope-hope-hooray hoopla.
And do I need to address the fellow's -- and his wife's -- public expressions of outright elitism?
Face it, Eagleboy, your guy is on the skids.
Looks like too many Democrats put too many eggs too soon in one basketcase.

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Monday, April 07, 2008

KRIPALU: Not-For-Whose-Profit?

Milking A Sacred Cash Cow.

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.

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Tuesday, April 01, 2008

WAMC to buy 'The Mount' in $8.7 million deal.

NPR affiliate to take over Wharton mortgage debt

Albany, New York -- WAMC Northeast Public Radio announced today it will buy The Mount in an $8.7 million transaction intended to take over the debt of the financially-ailing literary arts institution and keep the famous estate and library collection intact.

The tax-exempt NPR affiliate announced it would be purchasing all debt obligations of Edith Wharton Restoration, Inc. from local banks and individuals currently holding notes on the property, and that the public radio station will be taking possession as soon as the paperwork is signed.

The former Edith Wharton estate, WAMC's latest purchase to be used as the NPR affiliate's Lenox branch office, and as summer residence for its CEO Alan Chartock.-- Credit: Kevin Sprague, Copyright 2006, All Rights Reserved.

WAMC, in a press release, says it intends to refit the estate, change its name to the Alan S. Chartock Museum of Northeast Public Radio Arts, Sciences and First Amendments, in honor of the station's longtime CEO, and set aside the entire third floor wing of Edith Wharton's former dwelling for use by Mr. Chartock as a Lenox branch office and summer residence.

WAMC says the new acquisition, with its manicured lawns and gardens, will offer Mr. Chartock the peace, quiet, open space, and sweeping vistas necessary to enable its CEO, like Edith Wharton before him, to compose the riveting prose and illuminating commentary that readers and listeners have come to expect from the well-known political commentator and former SUNY professor.

WAMC's Chartock said, "The acquisition of Edith Wharton's home along with the estate's extensive acreage and out buildings will be a fitting memorial to public radio and to WAMC's lifelong commitment to promoting liberalism, democratic values, social justice, and a more civil society."

WAMC's long-time CPA, William M. Kahn, managing director with UHY LLP in Albany, gives the deal thumbs up, saying, "Yeah, I guess. Who wants to spend summers on Central Avenue?"

Mr. Chartock also noted, "WAMC is asking listeners to give what they can so this fragile experiment in public radio will never go out and the fire of our commitment so WAMC listeners can hear different points of view will be the candle that lights the voices that will forever hear truth in our hearts and not die and not be afraid to take on the Bushies and their minions the Cheneys and attacking our Constitutional rights, our First Amendment, and the good Lord willing will make WAMC's newest goal a reality."

Mr. Chartock said that tax-deductible contributions should be made to the 'WAMC Museum Fund' in care of the station.

The Mount's manicured lawns and gardens will offer Mr. Chartock the peace, quiet, open space, and sweeping vistas necessary to enable him to compose prose and commentary.-- Credit: Kevin Sprague, Copyright 2006, All Rights Reserved.

A special four-week, on-air fund drive to raise the $8.7 million is set for the beginning of the summer tourist season and will culminate with 'WAMC Day' at Tanglewood, an all-day affair which will include a gala black-tie, invitation-only dinner followed by a concert in the Koussevitzky Music Shed and fireworks.

Former New York State Democratic Governors Mario M. Cuomo and Eliot Spitzer will make special guest appearances at WAMC Day at Tanglewood.

The concert will feature performances by James Taylor, Pete Seeger, Jay Unger and Molly Mason, with special guest appearances by 'Prairie Home Companion' host Garrison Keillor, and two former New York State Democratic Governors, Mario M. Cuomo and Eliot Spitzer. <<<<<

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