Takeover: What really happened at Menlo Park?

On May 23, 2011 former elders of a California congregation filed two documents in Federal Court in San Francisco as part of their lawsuit against certain representatives of the Watchtower Society. The plaintiffs were elders of the Menlo Park Kingdom Hall prior to July 2010.

Because their court documents have been released and are in the public domain, we can present them here for your inspection and enlightenment.

Understand, of course, that the editor of Ex-JW.com can not guarantee that everything alleged in these two documents is factual and verifiable. Some statements seem to be sprinkled with a fair amount of conjecture and hearsay. Several items will likely be subject to court review and may face challenges to their veracity. Other statements might be deemed inadmissible by the court, stricken from the records, or not allowed as part of any testimony.

On the other hand, the plaintiffs surely understand that it’s considered extremely bad form to submit anything to any court, and especially to a federal level court, that is blatantly untrue and unsupportable. To do so might result in censure or possibly treated as committing perjury by the court. While you can present your side of a case and give evidence to support your position, you must never lie to the judge or a jury. Providing false evidence rarely wins a court case, but it will always piss off a judge.

Based on that understanding, we provide these documents exactly as they were filed with the court. We hope those who are following this case will gain a broader understanding of the issues that must be identified and resolved – as well as a closer look at who the real players are in this drama.

While the documents attached to this article were prepared by the plaintiffs and presents their side of the case, you can also refer to our earlier article “Fear and Loathing in Menlo Park” and read documents that were filed with the court by the defendants and their attorney.

We recommend that you read all the documents and closely review the exhibits. There are certain pages that you should not overlook. You’ll discover that there are factors in this case that go far beyond the communities of Menlo Park, East Palo Alto, and Redwood City, California. Issues brought up in these documents affect nearly every Kingdom Hall in the United States and Canada – and perhaps even worldwide.

Links to the Court Documents

Case3:10-cv-03907-MEJ Document 50 (PDF)

Case3:10-cv-03907-MEJ Document 50-1 (PDF)

Highlights of the Court Documents

  • Defense attorney identified as being a Jehovah’s Witness elder (50, page 6).
  • Conflicts in timing between the official takeover of the Kingdom Hall non-profit corporation by the defendants and their earlier seizure of the Hall’s bank accounts. (50, page 9)
  • Defendants file police report accusing former elder of embezzlement, but only after that same elder had already filed a police report regarding the misappropriation of bank accounts and corporate funds by certain defendants. (50, page 22)
  • Defendants accused of changing and filing corporate documents and property deed without proper authorization in violation of state law. (50, page 24)
  • Alleges that the defense has refused to cooperate with police investigation on the basis of “ecclesiastical privilege.” (50, page 28)
  • Outline of the Watchtower Society’s scheme to take over Kingdom Halls and assume eventual ownership of the properties. (50, page 30)
  • Alleges that the Watchtower Society uses mergers of Kingdom Halls to circumvent certain U.S. IRS tax laws. (50, page 36)
  • Explains how the Watchtower Society uses the threat of “disfellowshipping” to force reluctant local elders to go along with questionable procedures. (50, page 41)



Cult Free Radio – Podcast, May 28, 2011

(Cult Free Radio podcast – used with permission. © 2011, Cult Free Radio and “MadSweeney.”)

8 thoughts on “Takeover: What really happened at Menlo Park?

  1. What really stood out to me after reading the documents is that perhaps this is a case for separation of church and state. What I mean is that the defendants seem to think that the power of their church circumvents state law. Sure the Plaintiffs can be removed as elders, but the WTS has no legal authority to remove the officers on the Board of Directors of the Menlo Park Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses Inc. which is not a branch of the WTS, but is a separate entity, a corporation governed by California Corporate Law (they had no Bylaws before the take over). John Steel, and Jason Cobb are currently working on discovery documents which will force the defense to produce the documents that prove they took over the Corporation Legally; documents that they can not produce since the take over was not legal under California law. The defense is claiming that all of their illegal acts (of which there are meny) are excused from scrutiny by, Ironically, the 1st amendment’s separation of church and state clause. I would like to ask them one question: If I am a Satan Worshiper, can I sacrifice babies and use the 1st amendment as a valid defense when charged with murder?

  2. Damn – that is one scandal – it almost looks like the Watchtower and all defendants involved could be prosecuted under RICO – Racketeer and Influenced Corrupt Organization

  3. Is it possible to get this in french, this has become topic for discussion here and are there any known websites for information in other languages?

  4. I’m sorry, but none of our pages are available in hand-coded translations. However, every page, including the articles about Menlo Park can be machine translated automatically. Please note that there is a translator option in the right-hand sidebar near the top. Select the French tricolor flag. Give the translator a few seconds to work its magic and you’ll see the whole page automatically translated into French. The translation is not exact, but you should be able to understand the basics of the story after the Google translator replaces the text.

  5. wow, they are pulling in all of their family members and having them move in their houses so they skip town.. and they are suppose to be elders….. different people always moving in over there at the residneces-

  6. @Devil_Fish

    Devil Fish,

    ” The defense is claiming that all of their illegal acts (of which there are meny) are excused from scrutiny by, Ironically, the 1st amendment’s separation of church and state clause. I would like to ask them one question: If I am a Satan Worshiper, can I sacrifice babies and use the 1st amendment as a valid defense when charged with murder?”

    You got my standing ovation!

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