STAN ZIR'S EXPERIENCE
PAGE OF COURAGE BACK
In 1988, I transferred as a MD Chapter Chief from Manhattan to Brooklyn Bridge Headquarters. The chapter I was assigned to was made up of all Black Americans. When I came to my first meeting I was looked at with great disdain. One WD leader said “You can never understand black people, you are white. Why did they appoint you as our leader?” The whole chapter was gathered, leaders and members. I found out later that 85% of these people did not trust the SGI seniors. There was a huge gap between the members and leaders, especially between the members and the territory and joint territory leaders.
When it was my turn to talk, I said the SGI has taught me how to fight and win in life and it doesn’t look like you are all doing so well. I am a white man and I am fighting in your neighborhoods 100 times harder than you to spread the law and end such inequities Isn’t it strange that you face racism, drugs, crime here and I am leading you? You have a lot more reason to fight than me and you should be my leader. You have the Gohonzon, you have President Ikeda’s guidance, let’s make the real America or shame on you! After that, we all laughed hard together.
For the next five years, we fought side by side. We had a dream. Together we would develop leaders at the front lines. Based on the Kansai sprit with the leaders fighting side by side with the members. We brought the han, district, chapter and headquarters level leaders down to the front lines. to support the units and the unit chiefs Each leader was assigned to support a specific unit. The results were astounding. Even a vice Territory leader assigned himself to a unit his name was Frank Kearney. We were preparing ourselves for the neighborhood-based organization knowing it must come but had not been discussed yet in the SGI USA what we did know is that we had to develop many more new and sincere leaders and that could only happened if the senior and mid-level leaders came to the front line .to help develop the members and new leaders with their experience and run side by side with them in smaller groups so there could be more personal attention and shared experience which would bond them with the members and refresh there own faith.
But this would be difficult because most seniors were convertible sitting on their laurels and considered going back to the front lines to much involvement and time consumption for them even thought this was essential because of the lack of experienced leaders in the field
So we started training meetings for the different levels of leadership on a tri-monthly schedule. We had Men and Women’s Division meetings for dialogue together. The meeting started with reports form the unit chiefs and their support leader (CONSISTING OF DISTRICT CHAPTER TERRITORY) regarding problems in communications world tribunes ect. Then followed by lunch and after lunch personal guidance with top leaders that were invited to attend People began to seek guidance again from their seniors. Men and women talked freely together, sorting out their differences. Everyone shared responsibility for the publications, shakubuku, etc. If there was ever a problem with the publications on the Joint Territory level, they came to our headquarters for help first. Everything started at the unit level. The leaders were right on the front lines with the members. The Youth became our pride and joy. We were a family.
Before I transferred, I was proud to help develop one man in particular, into a leader because of our friendship. Larry Cameron was a tremendously capable man. We fought together and chanted every step of the way. Within 5 years, he went from group leader to headquarters chief. He was known throughout Brooklyn as a great leader of the Youth and treated members of the Gakkai as his own family. I was very proud of this. I am telling you this to set the stage for what was about to occur.
In 1993, I was transferred to New Columbus Headquarters as the Vice Headquarters Chief and we achieved the same sort of results there as in the chapter I had come from Also gaining great results from monthly unit chief together with their support leader Honcho meetings where the unit chief could talk openly about anything combined with guidance after lunch with top SGI leaders. One group chief who came from that chapter is now being appointed a Vice Area Leader, Arthur Young. In 1995, we heard the shocking news that Larry had passed away from a heart attack. We all grieved. As in Brooklyn Bridge we all had a great time and were always open and honest and had great unity. The results we achieved in human relationships and propagation were astounding. I was completely happy there and so were the members So it was very hard for me to leave after two years but unfortunately Larry had passed away and I was requested to transfer to become the Headquarter Chief of Brooklyn, Brooklyn Bridge to replacing Larry. I knew many of the members already. for I had been the chapter leader for three years prior so in a sense it was coming home to my family
In this part of my experience I have decided not to mention the chapter leaders names that I report about simply because action was finally taken about their deeds and because the leadership could no longer hid the truth For now I will call the chapter leader who caused this trouble Mr X and the other chapter leader his best friend Mr Y
When I returned to Brooklyn Bridge Chapter the headquarters consisted of one chapter headed by a man and his wife, who had been Larry’s CO-leader on the Headquarters level. Another man headed the other chapter. Before he died, Larry confided in me that one of the chapter leaders never would communicate with him and that he looked down at the members and his CO-leaders. This was Chapter leader X
This particular chapter leader x and his friend chapter leaders y had come from a headquarters that was in disunity. In that headquarters chapter leader X also, refused to report to his leaders and would not move together with other people. But here were some issues with the seniors in that territory that may have justified his position of butting heads with the headquarters leaders but his view of the membership was totally off in the way he treated them Larry said that now this man was doing the same thing in his Headquarters. And what was equally disturbing was Chapter leader Y was also a chapter leader with Chapter X in the previous chapter and supported Chapter X fully in his actions. The reason I knew this is because Larry became the headquarters leaders he would constantly talk to me about what was going on in his New Headquarters because of our prior relationship we were like brothers. Before theses leaders arrived in Larry’s Headquarters Brooklyn Bridge things were in total l harmony
Things got so bad in the headquarters that theses two chapter leaders came from it became total chaos. So it was decided to transfer these two chapter leaders Mr. X and his wife and Mr. Y into Brooklyn Bridge where Larry was to be named Headquarters chief so a new headquarters could be formed, and because this would give theses leaders another chance The Brooklyn Territory and Regional leaders waited years as the members suffered miserably under such conditions of Mr. X and their Headquarters women’s division leader and never took theses people to task while they unmercifully abused sincere members this was the Brooklyn leadership at that time under the leadership of Bob Telefaro He paraded under the guise of a fair and just man of peace he was very soft spoken in public, but distance himself when it came to protecting his members so he could escape any conflict that might put him at odds with anyone as it became more and more apparent as this situation continued Thus he maintained his image as an object observer with the promotion of the theme that there is no right or wrong when it suited him or as he would later constantly say when things started getting worse “What can I do” for which he was finally roundly scolded for this attitude by as an excuse and a cowardly action not to protect his members and fulfill his responsibility as a Territory Leader The reality was his lack of action was heartless and based on self protectionism. Finally, the only reason the territory took action looking like they were solving a problem by transferring theses two leaders is only because Larry need two chapter leaders two make it a headquarters but they never took these leaders to task for their horrendous action.
Larry then told me after three months of them transferring into his Headquarters he had never seen members in such poisonous conditions. He asked me why had the Territory leaders not put a stop to MR. X’s actions long ago. He said everything we had worked for years and years was being destroyed
He said the members were suffering most from this situation. He said his chapter leaders were merely transferred all around and now they landed here it was like putting a band aid on a gaping wound. The leaders ignored the suffering of this chapter leader X and the Women’s division headquarters chief for years, preferring to protect two arrogant and mean spirited abusive leaders. Mr. X had actually suggested to Larry that he stay out of this mans chapter and let him run his chapter by himself but Larry said if he did this the whole chapter would become even in more disarray from this mans attitude. He was a dictator!
After being appointed Brooklyn Bridge Headquarters Chief, after serving as their leader in the past at my first planning meeting in the Headquarter after Larry past away with, MR. X wife then appointed as my CO- leader and Mr. X the man who was the problem chapter and another Vice Headquarter Women’s Division Chief MR X started the meeting off by stating to me that the members were “off”, had no training and that the leaders did not know what they were doing. Of course he stopped all unit training meetings and all that Larry I had built together and now he was talking about how the members were off. The other chapter leader said that his chapter was basically fine with a few minor problems.
I returned home from that meeting in a state of shock. Larry and I had worked together for years to raise new leaders in this area. But in the short time that this chapter leader had been left in charge, before I transferred over it had declined pitifully. The members were undeniably in a state of despair. They complained that this chapter leader talked down to them, did not return phone calls, etc. Planning meetings for MD Headquarters meetings were run exclusively by theses two chapter leaders who told me “This is how we do things here” The district leaders who complained that they the chapter leaders planned all the Men’s Division meetings without impute from anyone, and when they talked to there Men’s Division Chapter leaders they were told that this is how it is. When I suggested that they use the district leaders also they said this is how we run things here and this is the way this Headquarters.
In three months after they were in control they changed the whole headquarters into a place that now even the district leaders and honchos became muzzled by their dictates I could not believe what I was seeing In all my years in the SGI I never put up with people like this and was not going to let them destroy this headquarters like they had done in the past to other places they were in.
I immediately began a home-visitation campaign together with the District leaders. With this, the members’ spirit was restored and their confidence regained. But still, the complaints about this chapter leader kept coming. In addition, he was verbally abusive to his WD CO.-leader, and had been for many years.
I kept talking to this chapter leader and my CO- division leader to please stop talking down to the members. At the same time, I encouraged the district leaders and members to please keep trying to help him.
I talked many times to Bob Telafaro, the MD Territory leader. I told him I found out what this man had been doing this for 5 years, in his group and headquarters. He said he would talk to him but also asked me “What can I do? Mr. X won’t listen.” Finally, I implored Bob that he take this chapter leader to task not only for his own sake but we could not allow so many members to be discouraged in this way, that it was irresponsible to just allow this to go on. After many, many more calls, I could see that Bob had no intention of resolving this problem. I sensed that in the end I would have to handle it myself. He had no real mercy for his members.
One of this mans district leaders told me that Mr. X went on a home visit with him to see one of the new members. After the visit, this chapter leader X urinated in the street right under the member’s window. He told his chapter leader, if the member sees him doing this, he would never trust the organization. This chapter leader neither apologized nor reflected on his behavior. Rather, he treated this man with disdain.
When I asked this district leader if he had reported this to any of his seniors, he said, “I always report In the past.” He had talked to the Brooklyn Territory leaders and Joint Territory leaders about leaders taking drugs and other incidences. They never do anything. This district leader said that he felt the Seniors did not want to “get their hands dirty”. They did not care about the members and had no standards. He felt they only protected and advanced themselves. They would not get involved. They would tell this district leader, “Thank you for reporting. I’ll get back to you.” They never did
When I heard this from a district leader who I new for many years and went on numerous home visits together, I thought how disgraceful it was. How could the members trust such seniors? These members and junior leaders were being asked to fight the evil priests, yet the same leaders asking them to do that would never face an uncomfortable situation within the ranks of the SGI. Before Mr. X transferred to Brooklyn Bridge, he had treated his district members whose district he was assigned to with such disrespect they all asked him never to come back, no senior would take him to task. They only avoided the problem.
I began to really fume. I had been stabbed in the lung protecting the community center, I had been accosted in the streets of Harlem, and faced abusive men who bothered and sexually abused the WD. I accepted all that, knowing it was Mappo and it’s our mission to protect the people the Law and the organization from such actions. But this cowardice that was in the hearts of the Seniors was impossible to accept. What kind of organization was it becoming when the seniors deliberately made themselves deaf to the members’ cries? His attitude was just keep moving to the top, out of harm’s way, then no one could touch you. Don’t make any decisions, and then no one can blame you.
Meanwhile, after our first MD meeting in the headquarters, I received the first of many conference calls from both Men’s division chapter chiefs. They pointed out so many things they did not like about me: that I chanted too “hard”, did not quote Sensei’s guidance enough, even going so far as to say that the members complained because I talked about how happy my family life was. I listened and accepted some of their opinions, and then offered a response, in very strong words I told Mr. X of his arrogance to the members was unacceptable and can no way be compared to me discussing the benefits of my family life but my observations were rejected. It was not a pleasant conversation for any of us. The conference calls kept coming, with both chapter leaders supporting each other complaints about me It must be realized that theses were the same two chapter leaders that came from a headquarters that was in disunity for many years and that these two chapter leaders were close personal friends The same thing they were doing in there previous headquarters they were now trying to do to me.
They called Mr. Kearney, the Vice Territory MD chief to complain about me. He asked them to call me individually if they had a problem with me, and not to gang up. They ignored this request.
I called my Territory MD leader, Bob Taliafaro about this situation. His response was the same: “What can I do?” He said he would talk to them but he had been doing so for 5 years with no result while the members suffered. I had now had my fill with Bob Telefero
He was just talking in monotones repeating the same thing like a computer He chose not to get his hands dirty When I shared this information with Frank Kearney we both shared the opinion that this chapter leader felt thwarted in his desire to be the Headquarters Chief after Larry died and that he was determined to disrupt things till he got his way by teaming up with the other chapter leader. In any case, I promised Mr. Kearney that I would do my best to prevent such a thing from happening. I did not want to create disunity, especially because of the ongoing Temple issue. Mr. Kearney’s response was I don’t think you can do it with this mans’ history but good luck.
Things continued to worsen, especially the verbal abuse by this chapter leader toward his WD CO leader. This had been going on for a year and a half. She, however, was afraid to report to her seniors. She said that when she disagreed with anything he said, he cut her off. She was on the front lines with the members, while this man was nowhere to be found.
After a year and a half, I calculated that I had called this chapter leader more than 80 times in a polite fashion. He had returned those calls exactly three times and never passed the information I gave him to the district leaders. I was told to call the district leaders directly, by Mr. Kearney a Territory leader at that time which I had already been doing because I had no choice.
Finally, I asked Mr. Kernel, why had this not been dealt with much earlier? He told me frankly that in his opinion that would never happen in Brooklyn, nor in the Joint Territory., because the Seniors preferred to protect unsuitable leaders rather than the membership, always avoiding problems. I found it so strange that the members were more accountable to such horrible tactics of theses leaders than the seniors that permitted such actions to flourish unchecked..
In September of 1997, I called this chapter leader to give him a report and I politely asked him if he had called some information in to the other leaders. He replied with an expletive a curse word and hung up. That did it. I decided the buck was going to stop here. I called him back and told him he was not fit to be a leader in the SGI, that he was a bully. I had had it.
I would like it to be noted that during this time, although she was not a great communicator, his wife and I had worked fairly well together, cordially. She always supported me, though her health problems at the time kept her from moving much.
Finally this chapter leader then called Mr. Kasahara to set up a meeting with him, the other chapter leader, and me. This man was using his fellow chapter leader again just to support his story and play the same games that they had done in the other headquarters they had been in to humiliate there leaders by hiding there actions thought joint confirmation between each other was not about to subject myself to this game. What I told him and Mr. Kasahara is that I would meet with him separately first and then we can meet together with the other chapter chief together .At this time this chapter leader was now telling his wife that I was refusing to meet with Mr. Kasahara and him for guidance, which was not the case. In this way, he created the beginning of a rift between my co leader and me and the beginning of total disunity of the chapter Which was the situation that existed in his previous headquarters for 5 years while all the members suffered This man was incorrigible. .
Finally we met with Bob Telefaro, Frank Kerney and Mr. Kasahara. This chapter leader talked first, saying I had been nasty to him and this was why he had stopped communicating with me. I waited while he gave this false report of things. Then I said that in over a year he had never communicated with me, it was not a recent thing and that I was always polite. Mr. Kearney confirmed that there were in fact many complaints from the membership about this chapter leaders attitude and that in addition, complaints came from his WD CO-leader about the abuse she suffered from him. When this chapter leader denied this MR. Kasahara said he had gotten the report about his abusive behavior from his CO- division leader himself by talking with her this chapter suddenly exposed in a lie. He then sat dumfounded
Mr. Kasahara turned to Bob and asked him how could you let a thing like this just go on? In a situation like this, he said, “You must protect the members, that is what you are there for.” Bob apologized.
After that, Mr. Y joined the guidance session. Mr. Kasahara said that one person among the three of us must stand up. He told Mr. X. that not calling the members and being abusive was out of the question. It was evil. At the meeting, I then said I will try one more time, Mr. Kasahara, but I think one of you or all three might have to be separated for the sake of the members. Mr. Kasahara also said, “Stan, if Mr. X didn’t call you 80 times, you should still call him 81 or more times. I thought, I couldn’t allow anyone or anything to destroy this chapter and headquarters. For I had served in this chapter before as a chapter leader for 4 years and I would not let these people destroy all that Larry Cammeron and I had fought for
After the meeting with Mr. Kasahara, I called my CO leader and said, “Let’s start fresh.” She agreed. We planned a Headquarters year-end meeting for the New Year to support the chapters. At the planning meeting, this chapter leader X showed up and said he would like to handle promotion. Immediately after this planning meeting, it started up again: no return of phone calls, no reports, etc. My CO leader disappeared from the scene. I could not reach her. I called Bob and told him there was no communication again. He said forget about these two chapter leaders but I said, Bob, there will be no unity unless we solve this. This was Mr. Kasahara’s guidance. He gave me his typical answer: What can I do? That’s his opinion can you believe it Then he said “ Thanks for telling me. I took full responsibility for the success of the headquarters meeting.
It did not turn out as well as I had hoped although the members worked so hard, and I congratulated them.
Something strange happened after the meeting.
I asked this chapter leader Mr. X. if he could help in returning some drums to the home of a YWD. His response was, “This is your meeting. You return them.” He finally agreed to return them with the help of another member from a different headquarters. When they arrived at the home of the YWD, a $200.00 cymbal was missing. The YWD was naturally upset. This chapter leader X instructed the member from a totally different headquarters to call me and let me know what happened. He never let me know himself and I never got a call.
Three days later, the YWD herself called me. She was terribly upset, and angry. What kind of person was I? She wanted to know. No one had gotten back to her concerning her cymbal. I, of course, apologized and took responsibility, but in point of fact, no one had ever told me there was a problem at all.
This really bothered me because in 25 years of practice I always had the trust of the Youth division. But because of this incident, a reputation for irresponsibility was spreading about me.
I called this chapter leader to ask about the still-missing cymbals. He was surly and uncooperative, his attitude was, “I returned the drums, didn’t I?” What do you want from me?” Again, I asked him to look for the cymbals in his van. He never did. Finally, 6 days later, we found the young lady’s cymbals.
Time passed and this man chapter meeting was coming up. As time drew nearer, and no plans were made, his chapter members began frantically calling me. Around the same time a Unit Leader Training meeting should have been held. But this chapter leader kept stalling. I offered him all my help but basically he refused. So, I suggested we receive guidance yet again.
At that point, he said he didn’t want me calling his home again, that I was abusive. That was enough at that point I cursed adding on he was no different than diabudatta It was a knee jerk reaction but I do not regret saying it to this man he was a bully.
This chapter leader set up another meeting with Mr. Kasahara in the beginning of February with Bob Taliafarro, Frank Kernel and myself.
At the meeting, Mr. X said I had cursed him and that he didn’t want me calling his home again because I was abusive to him and his wife. He further stated he was a gentleman and because he respected the leaders, Stan was lucky or he would handle this in a different way. “You know what I mean”
It was my turn to report. I guess this chapter leader trying to intimidate me with the thought of him administering physical violence, but it didn’t work. I spoke straight, turned to him and said there is no need to put on false airs. Everyone in this room has gotten reports of your abusive behavior towards the members. You are no gentleman. You are a sheep in wolf’s clothing. You have reported falsely that because I cursed you, you wanted me to never call you again. In fact, you had cut off communication prior to my outburst. You said you didn’t want me calling your home again and that I was disturbing your wife when I simply and politely asked that we receive guidance together and I was never rude to your wife I paused and thought back about that night. In a flash, I realized that this was what he had been heading for all along. If I couldn’t call him, I also couldn’t call his wife, my WD CO-leader. It would be the absolute end of communication. It would be the final schism in the Headquarters. I realized this was what Frank Kearney had warned me about that had happened in 1994. In his other headquarters and I knew the people in that Headquarters and they reported to me what was happening so I knew it had validity After that, I was never able to reach Mrs. X at work or at home either. She was always strangely unavailable. She never returned telephone messages. It was apparent our good relationship was gone.
Then I continued in my report. You then falsely reported to the leaders that you cut off communications because I cursed you. You tried to get sympathy from them. But in reality, you stopped communicating with me and tried to make it look like I was the reason you cut off. It is a lie. You have done this to so many people and now, because of your ambition and self-aggrandizement, you are trying to do this to me. I won’t acquiesce to it.
I then turned to the leaders in the room. I said, “I apologize as a leader for using a curse word. It was a knee-jerk reaction that came from my life. But I will never apologize to this chapter leader Mr. X. He is a bully, abusive to the members and I will never give consideration to a bully I guess we could accuse Sakamuni of cursing when he said to Diabudatta he is worse than the spit on a donkeys ass. When a person is possessed by such a spirit I felt this one curse I used could not be compared to the havoc of eight years he brought about in the chapter he was in when he was the leader he need the fire tongue someone to challenge him It has been going on too long. No one has ever stood up to him in all these years.” I said, “He’s lucky he is even a member, more or less, a leader in the Gakkai. But if he changes his ways I would always gladly protect and stand by him as a member in the Gakkai.”
Then Mr. Kasahara concluded the meeting by saying he felt that neither this chapter leader nor I should be working together. Either one or both of us would have to transfer. He said that that would be left up to our leaders, but that action must be taken quickly for the sake of the members.
One evening, after a lecture at the Culture Center, out of nowhere his wife my CO leader stalked over to me in the lobby and began yelling “How dare you call me at work and ask my secretary if I’ve left for the day?” I had merely been trying to be considerate. I had called her for years before and left messages with her secretary I tried to explain to her that since I couldn’t reach her at home I had to try to reach her at work. She simply turned on her heels and walked away in a huff. All the time she was loudly scolding me, Both chapter leaders were standing on the side, actually smirking and snickering. Now real disunity between the leaders was in place.
The members began to notice the lack of communication between my CO leader Mr. X and myself. It was hard to disguise. The members themselves protested about this stalemate to the WD and MD Territory leaders, but they were told to stay out of it by their seniors
It was now late February and Jim Corwin, the Joint Territory. MD leader at the time, called my house. Jim Corwin When I picked up the phone, Jim said hello and then immediately complained why didn’t you come to me before you had your meeting with Mr. Kasahara? I am the Joint Territory. Chief. He had a very haughty tone. He never even started by ask how my family and I was taken aback.
I told Jim that this chapter leader set up the first meeting with Mr. Kasahara, not me. That’s his choice, not mine. How come Bob Telephario or Mr. Kasahara did not communicate to you? After all, Bob was my immediate leader; he was on the Territory Level. Then I told Jim what was going on, the background for the last 5 years. He said I never knew anything about this. I told him what this chapter leader had been doing, about how he treated the members, etc. I asked him, didn’t Bob Telefaro inform you what was going on? He said “No.” In response to what I said about this chapter leaders action. He said only that he was not a “detective”, that he remembered Mr X. 7 years earlier, and that he was a “nice guy”.
I suggested to him that if he could not accept my report, why did he not ask his own Territory Leader, Bob Taliafarro. Jim said it was not important. He became angry. I wanted to know how a Joint Territory Leader could not know what was going on in his territory for 5 years, especially at this magnitude. I told him it was irresponsible behavior. His anger at me was absurd. He tried to blame things on Bob Taliafaro.
After that, two months no one was still speaking to each other
In March, Jim called. He said he would meet with me first and the chapter leader after. It was not necessary to meet together with the both of us. Again, I had to explain everything to Jim. It was tedious to say the least. I had two meetings with this chapter leader with top leaders for five months before. He now after two more months Jim Corwin decides to meet after his leaders implored him to meet with us but he always canceled before the meetings he said he had no time Yet appeared at many other meetings during this time what was he thinking.
After my report, Jim said “ You can’t say this chapter leaders s actions are evil. He does two Gonyos a day. (But so did Nikken and many other temple members and they went totally off) He couldn’t be making evil actions when we refer to evil we only mean Nikken. I was aghast. He was using Nikkens evil to dismiss any other actions as not evil at his own discretion How about if I told Jim a chapter leader killed or raped some one and he did two gonyos a day and I said Jim this person is evil. According to Jims reasoning he would say you can’t say that he does tow gonyos a day and only Nikkens is evil This leader must think I was an idiot along with the rest of the members he thought he could say anything he wanted even if it was ridiculous and I had to accept it because he was the Territory Chief or so if he says my thinking is wrong. It must be because he believes that this type of authority is offered to him because he is the central figure and if I disagree with his assessment like what he had just said to me then I am not supporting him and I am making actions of insubordination This is how off this man was because he did the same thing to one of his own Senior Leaders in the Cultural Center as you will read later in this report
What could I say? No member was ever evil no non-member was ever evil? Breaking the unity of the believers was not evil if its a member and they do two gongyos a day? In our guidance with Mr. Kasahara, he said it was evil to not communicate. Because of its effect on the members, Jim still said I was incorrect in my thinking. I then thought, this man is living in a state of denial about the reality of life. His judgment was deluded.
Jim then asked why I had used bad language with this chapter leader. I explained that to him again. I also agreed that Leaders should not curse but sometimes its hard to avoid and that this action is not worse then treating the members with disdain over and over and who was I cursing a bully even though its not right but in that not grounds for dismally treating the members cruelly should be. Then out of nowhere He then said the Territory and Joint Territory has made a decision to transfer Mr. X, but please don’t tell him. I agreed to keep this confidential. But after I hung up I realized they were transferring this man again without dealing with him only to go to another headquarters and start the same thing Bob then called me a week later and said that changed their decision. Saying that they wanted to first meet with this chapter leader first and find out whether he wanted to transfer.
When the top leaders met with this chapter leader, he said he would think about what they “proposed”. He was to call them as soon as he returned from the FNCC.
He returned but never called them. Fully three weeks more went by before I had to call Bob and Jim and ask them what had happened. Jim simply said this chapter leader had never called him back. I had to ask him please call this chapter leader, and let’s resolve this.
Now it was April. In May, it would have been 7 months. In all that time, I could not speak with my WD CO-leader. Disunity was spreading.
I asked Bob what happened at the meeting with this chapter leader. He told me that this chapter leader had refused the offer to transfer. Even though Bob and Frank had said that Mr. X must go, Jim Corwin said he could stay. I was so frustrated. Jim had completely gone back on his word. Now I would have to go back to the members whom I told we would resolve this and again tell them, “Be patient.” They were now losing faith entirely in the leadership. Everything Larry and I had built was being destroyed by the frivolous actions of these irresponsible leaders.
Jim in our next communication now said that neither this chapter leader nor I were taking responsibility for all this. I said I am taking responsibility for this by standing up to Chapter X. and you and your fellow leaders have been complete delinquent in your actions with this man I am now doing what you have ignored in your responsibilities as the Joint Territory Chief so don’t try to smooth your lack of keeping your word and responsibilities to the members with such drivel to me you have some nerve.
The month of May was misery. Bob said he washed his hands of this. That he was going to let Jim handle it. Bob washed his hands of it 5 years ago what was he talking about
By June, it was six months since the top leaders had talked. All the members were now aware and now were calling these Joint Territory Leaders with complaints about Chapter X. They had told Chapter X to his face but it had no effect. Jim himself received these calls.
I kept calling my Territory. Chief Bob saying we must do something. Don’t throw everything away. At the end of June I called Jim again. For the sake of the members I said let’s meet. but he was still giving me the same old speech Finally I had enough I said you won’t even look into what this chapter leader is saying and doing simple because you say you don’t have to what do we need you as a leader for you have no accountability you answer to no one , then you put me in the hot seat. Suddenly he became very open and reported to me many things this chapter leader had said to him and he found out that chapter leader had lied. He was amazed.
We set up to meet in August. I went to the Cultural Center to meet with Jim, but he never showed up. I called him the next day and he told me he had forgotten. In the meantime, two more weeks had gone by, agonizing weeks for me. When I finally reached Jim we talked on the phone a long time, but at the end of that conversation, I knew nothing would be done. ( I knew my only recourse left was to write to President Ikeda especially since now Mr. Kasahara as the top leader in New York said to me their was nothing he could do can you imagine) He went back to saying Jim went back to saying, ”Who am I supposed to believe, you or this chapter leader” even after all the reports he had received from his seniors and the members and Territory leaders. Even after he said he found out that this chapter leader was lying to him.
There are no pleasant words to this scenario being subjected to the insanity of a person that is consumed with himself and his complete arrogance knowing he cannot be put in check because of his top position now gave him free reign to act with impunity as Mr. Kasahara said there is nothing I can do the policy of the SGI put all the Territory Chiefs in complete autonomy Jim was totally in charge of the joint Territory even though I am a Vice President Jim had to answer to no one he had complete absolute power so you either acquiesces to Jim right or wrong no matter what or adios.
Now I called Bob but his “solution” to the problem was to wait until December when we would move into the neighborhood system. That was a full six months away. I asked him how could he suggest that we all languish in hell for another 6 months while the members suffered you did the same thing before when this chapter leader did this in another headquarters for 5 years and now you are going to put us thought this because of your lack of courage the members have to suffer such an intolerable situation
Neither Jim nor the other senior leaders wanted to face problems. In 25 years of practice, I have never seen anything like it. They would rather let the members suffer so they can protect themselves. Quoting President Ikeda guidance’s and pretending to be saints of compassion it was all an act. They just would not stand up against a leader that bullied the members. Did I chant all the time this was happening you bet I did I saw Jim Corwin at the cultural center and let him know that I intended to write to President Ikeda about his outrageous behavior and this fiasco that had been going on for years. He told me, “Stan, you can write to President Ikeda, other people have also,” He said that it did not matter because President Ikeda would just say we would have to deal with it in this territory, as if I had no choice but to accept his way that I had no recourse, I was wasting my time.
That's why I am was writing to President Ikeda I told Jim because of the your smug attitude you have caused great suffering to the membership. Even your senior leaders and juniors say you are wrong and have confided to me about your attitude but none have the courage to talk up to you at this time except but Frank Kearney a 35-year member who you arrogantly choose to ignore and brush off. That ended the conversation. I was not intimidated by Jim because he was a top leader like his subordinates were what he was doing and how he was acting was despicable in our organization as a top leader and you cant cut people like that any slack and he knew
I then started writing my letter to President Ikeda. When I finished, I told Mr. Kasahara I was writing about what was happening to President Ikeda. He said I should send a copy to Jim first so Jim could respond. I said, since when do I have to give a copy of what I am writing to President Ikeda to Jim first so Jim will get a chance to respond? If I want to write to President Ikeda I don't need approval nor am I obligated to show this letter to anyone else that is my choice alone Jim can respond for himself
Then something astonishing happened.
Jim called me on June 1st, he gave his word that this matter with the chapter chief would finally be settled and e was going to transfer this man out of our headquarters. Suddenly, Jim started to apologize to me, that he was sorry he had caused so much suffering to the members and that he is finding a place to transfer this chapter leader and his wife and no matter what this will be done before August 31. I asked Jim, "Do you give me your word that this matter will finally be resolved by July, 1 no matter what? You have promised this many times before.” He said, "Yes.” I was astounded. Did he change because I told him I was writing to President Ikeda maybe he felt accountable to him did not want a problem for himself. Bur he certainly had felt he did not have to be accountable to us. Thus arise the problem of no accountability of the leaders to the members
Again, based on what he told me, I assured the members it would be resolved. The members were actually skeptical, but said OK. I had always kept my word to them and am proud of that.
August progressed with great anticipation on my part. Coming to the end of August, I still hadn’t heard from Jim. Suddenly it was Nov. 1, Nov. 2, Nov. 3, No word. The members and leaders started to call me asking things like Stan they always break their promises etc. It won’t change. I tried to reassure them.
On Nov. 3, I called Bob. He told me to my astonishment, Jim and the Joint territory. Leaders had changed their minds again.
How could you people not call me, I asked. I was promised by Jim that no matter what it would be taken care of.this matter he gave me his word and you know how the embers have been suffering and the pressure we’ve been under. It was merciless of them not to let me know. This is despicable.
Ten minutes after this call, I received a call from Jim Corwin. I asked Jim why didn't you call me on July 1st you gave me your solemn word you would call what is going on with this situation. He replied with a snarl " I am calling you now aren't I? “We have changed our minds
The members were asking me if this situation would finally be resolved and trusting Jim I told them no matter what it will be on July 1st based on Jim’s word. Then I lost, really lost, my temper after two years of torture and meanness of this leader enough was enough! I said to Jim, "First of all, this has been going on for a year and a half and you gave your word no matter what. Secondly, you have the nerve to talk to me with disdain talking to me like I am some sort of serf. You have broken your word again and again in the past year and a half promising to resolve this matter on several occasions and would not even have called like you promised this time if I did not call Bob first. This kind of attitude talking down to people like 'I am the leader like it or lump it’ is not something that people ever have to put up with especially from top leaders representing President Ikeda. Yes, I lost my temper with Jim and I had every right to. I told Jim you have broken your word one too many times and how dare you talk to people like this. I then said you are arrogant, you have lost touch with the people and you don't qualify as a leader. How can I bring my members to you. Now some of you might think I have no right to talk this way or even get angry but if you want to maintain you dignity and the dignity of the organization and keep your humanity then you must not be afraid to speak the truth even if it's to a top leader no matter what repercussion you may suffer.
After all, such who was Jim to now dictate to me how I should respond when he acted in such a despicable manner. Even President Ikeda says we should look down at these people and even scold them when they act in such a manner and we no longer have to follow them. After all, is this not our fight against such arrogant authority in this world. How could we then possibly tolerate it in the SGI where people open their lives and go to guidance’s from such leaders? Jim could only talk this way because he answered to no one (Even Mr. Kasahara said I have to support Jim he’s the central figure even thought at that time he was the head of all of New York). I had every right to get angry and every right to expresses it in this situation After giving 25 years of my life night and day to and laid down my life to protect the organization and the members I will would not tolerate the arrogant dismissive attitude of leaders who treat the people like dogs and I am confident that my history of serve to the people speaks of itself in that matter in fact anyone has the right to speak out this way with these types of leaders in order to protect the organization and the people form such leaders
The next time I talked with Jim it was a month later. Two days after my talk with Jim Bob Telefaro the Brooklyn Territory leader finally admitted to me that Jim did not want to make any changes until the end of the year, which was six months away. I told him "Why didn't you tell me why was everyone lying and making false promises. How could you leave such a situation unattended just because you were afraid to confront that Chapter leader because it would make you uneasy? So you played politics so you would not get your hands dirty while we all suffered." Their plan was to wait until the organization moved into the community based groups. So why upset the boat since they would handle it then. Meanwhile, the headquarters continued to suffer in disarray because of their cowardice and inconsiderate actions to the members.
Later that week I found out the Vice Headquarters WD leader in my Headquarters was promised by the WD Joint Territory Leader months before that the whole matter would be resolved quickly. This lovely WD leader who has served the Gakkai for 20 some odd years now says she will never take a position again as a result of what happened in our headquarters. She feels the top leaders will never change.
A district leader wanted to resign as well. Such a pure hearted man loved by the people has lost his trust of these people. But he fights on because he loves the SGI and he believes in you. There are many other members and leaders. The list goes on and on. They stopped saying anything. They believe these leaders are not accountable. I told Jim and Bob: look at the result of your machinations. You have left these people in the cold.
In October of that year, I received a call from Bob Telefaro. He told me of the plan where all Headquarters. Leaders would be asked to become Chapter Leaders in support of bringing leaders closer to the frontlines. Then he stipulated that this was our choice and it was approved by the CEC so you could be a Chapter Leader or if you preferred you did not have to have a position at all. What Bob had failed to report to all the Headquarters leaders was that what was approved by the CEC was that the Headquarters leaders were to have the choice whether to become Vice Territory Leaders or Chapter Leaders. This came out later. But what was disturbing, was that this was never discussed with any of the Headquarters Leaders by the Territory. At least they should have discussed this with them and gave their reasons for such a decision. This would have been simple consideration and respect because the Headquarters leaders worked hand in hand with the Territory leaders and both had great responsibility to the membership. After all, the Headquarters were supposed to be the Territories advisors. This was just a simple case of exclusiveness and self-ordained autonomy by the Territory and Joint Territory leaders. Such a significant change especially involving the Headquarters leaders and the effect on the members should have included the Headquarters Leaders at least in their discussion together. This attitude of changing the rules or making new ones without following proper procedure whenever they deem it necessary was a common theme among the Territory and top leaders. After all, who would challenge them, they reserved this right for themselves.
In any case, at that time I filled out a card saying I would accept the change and take the position as a Chapter Leader. I informed Bob Telefaro that I would be transferring to Queens in keeping with the movement to practice within the community. I still had not gotten a reply from Japan and I left my Headquarters in Brooklyn with great trepidation because that situation was never resolved in my headquarters and because of Jim's actions. I feared for the members. One week later, Mr. Kasahara called me and told me he was forming a guidance home visitation group whose purpose was to encourage the members in faith. It 's purpose was to get to as many members as possible on a one on one situation because the leadership in general was not visiting the members enough and that it was the mission of this group to build a membership with correct and strong faith in order to build unity from the bottom. He asked whether my wife and me would join. I immediately said yes. To me this would be a great honor to work with him in such an endeavor, but Mr. Kasahara said first talk it over with Mary, my wife, and get back to me. A week later, I got back with Mr. Kasahara and I told him I have some questions to ask him about this group. First of all, if I join this group do I still keep my line position? He said, "No, it's one or the other." I still did not have a problem with that. But it was Mr. Kasaharas answer to the next question that I could never agree to. I asked him what if I am visiting a member and they have been slighted or abused by a leader, can I give him guidance about that. He said, "No, only guidance about faith." I told Mr. Kasahara that this was not correct because if I am going to give encouragement about faith I cannot sit there and say nothing. It is my obligation to tell that member to speak up as well as chant to the Gohonzon. Not just sit there and chant. I told him if I did this I will lose the members trust and furthermore this is not the correct faith according to President Ikedas guidance about faith. I knew already in my case I had even went up through the line and was still met with indifference and that if I was to encourage members about faith and to have strong unity we must teach the members to speak up if we were to have true faith and a strong organization. That was the real problem we had been facing for years, where the membership is submissive and afraid to talk up to the leadership. I then told Mr. Kasahara that regrettably I could not join this committee under such restrictions and I did not agree with this concept and that I will continue in MY LINE POSITION where we could address such problems with the members based on faith. He said, "OK Stan", and I thanked him very much.
The next week I called Mr. Ihara, the territory leader of Queens for three months. Larry May, Richard Witkowski, and Mrs. Ihara were constantly asking me when I was coming to Queens because they wanted me there to help in the Territory especially in the Nikken Campaign and take leadership responsibility I told Eugene I was transferring into Queens from Brooklyn and now as a Chapter Leader I would like to talk to you about where I can practice.
Then Mr. Ihara said, " Stan there are no openings for a Chapter Leader in Queens." This sounded very strange. I then said, " OK, I have no problem. I can serve as a Vice Chapter Leader and support." He said, "There are no openings for a Vice Chapter leader either." I then said, "OK Mr. Ihara, what is going on here? What you're telling me is not true. Their were many openings as will be revealed later in this report” I then told him there was a problem that happened between me and Jim in Brooklyn and you should look into the matter before you make a judgment know he has something to do with this because I stood up to him. He angrily answered yelling at me "You don't tell me what to do!" He then said, "I will meet with you. I want to see your life condition. Meanwhile, why don't you just practice as a member and in about a year we will see about appointing you as a leader." I already knew he had talked to the leaders in Brooklyn. I said what kind of man are you that you won't even look into the matter and find out what is going on. You think you will meet with me? I would not subject myself to such indignity that you’re going to judge my life condition, when you are not even telling me the truth. I then further told him, "What are you talking about? I agreed to give up my position as a Headquarters Chief and become a Chapter chief in order to support the SGI. I have no ego about leadership. Now you are telling me I am on some sort of probation while you make some excuse that there is no room for me as a leader, which we both know is not true. I am a member of the SGI, which is an honorable organization and I will not submit to such a devious manipulation. What has happened is that I have been dismissed and you are covering it up. I will not sit there as a member making believe that I did something wrong. This is an ethical issue."
Many of my friends said Stan just go to the meetings. Leadership is not important when it comes to enlightenment, quoting President Ikeda. Of course, to me leadership does not insure my enlightenment but the issue here was ethics not my leadership and if I went back as a member I would be submitting to a process that was tyrannical and had no place in the SGI. In actuality I was being punished for standing up to Jim. To me this is not acceptable I would make my stand or what kind of precedent was this setting for the members and the reputation of our organization. Many years ago Mr. Phil Orenstein had called me very upset because he was being blamed for inviting too many people without approval for a Chapter picnic at a members home with the possibility of causing a neighborhood disturbance and trouble for that member . Even though Phil told Mrs. Yamamoto he did no such thing she still accused him and threaten him that she will not have his name considered for his upcoming promotion to chapter chief because of his irresponsible actions. Phil told me he then called Mr. Ihara and told him what was happening and to please look into the matter but Mr. Ihara said, "What can I do, the women's division is very strong." Phil asked him again please look into the matter and Mr. Ihara yelled at him. He would not stand by Phil even though Phil was his member and Phil did nothing wrong. He was too interested in pleasing the Status Quo and avoiding any problems for himself . Phil went all the way up the line and all the way up to the top and he was treated like some sort of pest and he was brushed off. Leaders were all telling him the same thing, “Forget about it,” even though he was threatened with his up coming promotion for something he did not do. No one should live like this. How about the next time this happened to him would they just dismiss him at their whim? How is someone supposed to live with dignity under such circumstances and support such leaders and follow the guidance to support the central figure no matter what? That's insane and would just be an abuse of the fundamental dignity of life. In their eyes Phil was not even considered worthy of being treated as a human being. I told Phil to call this top women's division leader and talk to her in no uncertain terms that you were not putting up with this and you were reporting this matter directly to President Ikeda. Phil did not call Jeff Kashida. In any case he was a top leader and told him about what was going on
The next day Phil got a call from this Women’s Division leader apologizing to him and telling him that her threatening his dismissal was just mercy to him to make him a better leader. Obviously this was nonsense, training people by threatening them with dismissal for something they did not do to make them a better leader is just sadistic and heartless. Is that in President Ikeda's guidance to raise capable leaders? It's obvious the real reason for the apology was fear of Phil writing to President Ikeda about her actions. She was more concerned what President Ikeda thought about her than the members he asked her to serve.
The next day I left a message on Mr. Ihara's answering machine, which was quite long to report about some of the details that had happened with Jim and me in Brooklyn and to confirm with Mr. Kearney. He returned my call and left an equally long message on my answering machine. When we talked again his story changed. He said he thought I was joining Mr. Kasahara's guidance committee and therefore I did not want a line position. I said that this was not true and he should check this out with Mr. Kasahara. He did and when he found out that was not the truth and we talked again the subject came up about my position in Queens he hesitated and would not discuss the matter. A week later Jim was reporting to the Brooklyn Territory Leaders and some Chapter Leaders in a meeting that I had yelled at Mr. Ihara and kept leaving messages on his answering machine. First of all, why was Jim reporting this to those leaders in Brooklyn? Secondly, Mr. Ihara later reported to Jim he had yelled at me. As far as the answering machine, you already have my report. The next call I got was from Mrs. Ihara. She said we had known each other for several years and that we should get together and chant. I said fine, but I want our conversation to be open. Can we discuss anything? She said yes. I then told her of my conversation with her husband the Queens Territory Leader, that he would not even look into the matter and he was the Men’s division territory leader she became very upset. She said it's not true. I reminded her that she said we should talk very openly. Then she said you should not talk like this. I told Mrs. Ihara that the way I was brought up was to speak up and tell the truth. If we are going to chant together and not be able to discuss openly what is going on, where I have to just pretend to humbly receive guidance from you, just chant, and it does not matter what happened because you wish to remain in denial, this would be ridiculous. She became further disturbed then the conversation ended there.
A week later I got a call from Mrs. Ihara. She said that Mrs. Kasahara requested that me, my wife and Mrs. Ihara meet together. We set up a date to meet in Flushing. At that meeting Mary and I explained everything to them and Mrs. Kasahara said she would look into everything and get back to us
We never heard from them again about this.
Finally, my wife had had enough and after attending a Joint Territory Reorganization meeting at the Cultural Center to support the community movement, Mary approached Jim Corwin with Mr. Kearney in attendance. She asked Jim why have you dismissed Stan. Many of my members are asking if Stan can center a meeting. They are very excited about him coming to Queens. He said, "This is not your concern. We will take this up with Stan. He is a men's division member." At that point one of the Territory Women's division leaders there said, "We don't know anything about Stan - that's just discussed among the Men's division leaders." Frank Kearny interrupted and said, "That's not true, you all discussed about Stan." Mary then said, "Stop beating around the bush why have you dismissed Stan?" He still would not admit it, he just kept saying, "I did not dismiss Stan." Then kept he kept double-talking. Jim became annoyed at Mary because of her insistence. Of course, Mary had no right to be angry. This was not good Buddhist behavior so he could dismiss her. After the meeting Jim turned to Frank Kearney in the hallway scolding him and said to him why didn't you support me, I AM THE CENTRAL FIGURE. Frank Kearny said, " I only support the truth." But the truth was that Jim Corwin met with the leaders of Queens and told them not to appoint Stan and he would never be appointed under his watch (Jim had lied to Mary face) and that Stan had threatened a women's division leader to a fistfight after a meeting. Later Frank would relate this information to me Frank and I had been leaders together for many years and we both watched this kind of behavior in the SGI by top leaders going on for years acting with impunity that had done it to him He had had enough He was not about to let them get away with again So he decided to protect me by letting me know what was going on so I did not crazy. It was hurtful to be deceived - I suffered. Now suddenly the rules had changed ~ you now had to be reappointed and approved. It was a political device to avoid their duties and to keep their hands clean. Then Jim said, "The Queens leaders met and they decided they did not want Stan as a leader leaving out s what he told them to do not to appoint me even after all the Queens leaders were trying to get me to come to Queens as a leader for two years when I was a leader in Brooklyn. They all knew me because I was a leader in Queens before. Of course they would not appoint me he told them not to and told them lies and not to
The next month at a leaders meeting of Flushing Chapter, which was attended by the Queens Territory leaders and the BQLI joint territory leaders, Mary went up to Jim and told him, " I will give you two weeks to end this nonsense about Stan what you are doing is despicable and what you did to him in Brooklyn was irreprehensible he was protecting the members like he has been doing for 27 years and because he had the courage to stand up to your irresponsible outrageous behavior. This is the action you look ridiculous like a peacock flapping your wings letting him know you are the boss" Mary went on “ The members keep asking me about Stan and if you do not stop this cover up and straighten out this situation, I will be forced to go to the members since you have covered your actions up and all the top leaders are supporting you in these lies. And I will not let you ruin Stan's reputation which permit you to stop him from serving the members who would now not trust him " Jim then started telling Mary that there was a reorganization and now all the leaders would have to be re-appointed again. Mary said no one agreed to that before, you just suddenly instituted this. Its just politics so you can decide what leaders you want to get rid of. Jim you are using the reorganization to cover-up Stan's dismissal. When the leaders signed the paper to become Chapter leaders from Headquarters leaders nothing was said that they would have to be reappointed and could be dismissed. He then lied outright telling Mary, "I have nothing to do with it, it's the decision of the Queens Territory Leaders." as you can see of course he was lying Mary was not born yesterday, she could see what was happening. She then repeated to Jim, "You have two weeks, we have suffered enough from you." At that meeting, Richard Witkowski was standing next to Mary but he never even called me to ask what was happening even after we practiced together side by side in the brass band practices when he was suffering with his illness. Two weeks came and went, we never heard from Jim. Mary said this is ridiculous Stan, if they do not want to use you why don't you come to my Chapter. We need you for the Nikken Campaign and some of the district leaders said they wanted you to center a meeting. I said if you do this you will be causing yourself much trouble and the leaders will think you are just doing this because you are married to me. Mary said, "That's their problem. I need you for my members." By the third week I was being invited to center one of the district meetings at the request of a district leader and their honchos to discuss the Nikken issue in Mary Chapter Bayside. Then the problem started for Mary. Mrs. Ihara called Mary and said, " Stan cannot center a meeting, he is not a leader." Mary said, "Stan is a pioneer member and this is the members request." But Mrs. Ihara insisted that this cannot be permitted and what happened to Stan was between the Brooklyn leaders and Stan and that Stan was causing trouble in Queens. Mary told Mrs. Ihara, " Stan has been in Queens for three months as a member and you are not addressing the issue, are you. This is your problem You have know Stan for years where is your comrade ship you would just let this happen to him without even looking into the matter Then Mrs. Ihara called the district chiefs and the honchos and told them Stan cannot center their meeting. But one of the district women's division chiefs called Mr. KASAHARA and he told them if they wanted Stan Zir to center a meeting HE SAID “IT WAS UP TO THEM” but then Jamie Rivera asked Mr. Kasahara how come Stan is not being appointed a leader in Queens and that she could use him in her Chapter and that she had heard rumors that I was offered a position and turned it down by the Queens Territory leaders Then Mr. Kasahara said something very shocking. He said, "Stan was offered a position BUT HE TURNED IT DOWN." HE HAD FAILED TO TELL HER THAT THE CHOOSE I MADE WAS TO CONTINUE AS A CHAPTER LEADER WHICH HE AGREED TO BY HIM. The reality was the Joint Territory was covering up not appointing me to a chapter position thus breaking their agreement. Jamie then relayed this message to Mary and she told me. I was stunned. Why would Mr. Kasahara say this since we had spoken three months before and he knew what was going on about them not appointing me as a Chapter Chief. I called Mr. Kasahara the next day very upset and asked him why did you not tell Jamie the truth why I had turned down the offer about being on your committee and it was my choice if I wanted to continue as a Chapter Chief if I did not join this committee, which was agreed on by the Joint Territory. I told him what you are telling Jamie is not the whole truth you are giving a distorted picture you're covering up for Jim. Mr. Kasahara became furious and said don't you tell me what I can say. With much reluctance I answered him and said I will not be intimidated by anyone and I will tell you what you are saying is not true and will relay this to Jamie. There was a silence and the conversation was ended. In that moment the relationship we had for 27 years was gone. For all those years, in my presence you could never talk negative about him and I supported him without question. He knew Jim was wrong he had even told me so but he had made a decision not to stand by his comrade especially when the Joint Territory leaders were ruining my reputation and now he even contributed to it. He expected me to continue to take beatings even encouraging me to stand up to the leaders but not one circumstance did he stand beside me when I was being attacked by these very same leaders. Not once did he take them to task even though he knew what they were doing was wrong. I was expendable. For if he stood up to them this would have caused him much trouble for the leaders might turn against him causing disunity. So Mr. Kasahara made the decision to be silent, not to take them to task, to let my wife and me suffer these indignities in silence. Then I realized there was something wrong with our system. That the leaders must be accountable to the people for they will never be made accountable among themselves for they have to work together and the maintenance of unity among them superseded everything else might get in the way right or wrong with this distorted view it was easy for Mr. Kasahara to betray our comradeship thus betraying the most essential principle of the Buddhist spirit. The vow of the leadership is to stand by those who have been unjustly treated even at the cost of their lives. Even though Mr. Kasahara has greatly encouraged me throughout the years, our comradeship was based on this principle and when the crucial moment came he chose to protect himself, and cover for his leaders. As he told me he was retiring and this would cause him much trouble to please stop pursuing this matter. How about me and my wife and all the other people that this happened to Mr. Kasahara? I could not believe what I was hearing my commitment with Mr., Kasahara was based on justice and protecting the SGI what was this.
and he would let my reputation be ruined along with my wife and other people so it would not cause him a problem for if he stood up for the truth he would lose face and be persecuted himself
Two days later, Mr. Ihara and I talked again and the change his story for the third time. Now Mr. Ihara told me that there was a meeting of the territory leaders and when my name came up that I was transferring into Queens, all the leaders said they did not want me to be a leader.
I had called Frank Kearney and asked him if he knew what was going on. He then told me that when I first transferred to Queens that Jim had met with the Queens Territory leaders and told them he would never let Stan be a leader on his watch. He then also told them that I had threatened a women's division leader in Brooklyn and I had threatened to take her outside after the meeting and beat her up. That meant when I first talked to Mr. Ihara he was totally covering up. He had lied to me and when Jim told Mary that the leaders in Queens did not want me as a leader and he had nothing to do with it, he was lying. Of course they would not honor my appointment after that and when he told the leaders that I was planning to beat up a women's division leader he never checked it out with me. And this vicious rumor spread to the members. When I first came to Queens and I told Kisai who now was a Womens Divison Territory Leader to checkout what was going on because I used to be her leader, she said she would never call me again I asked Larry May the same thing but they never called me back and now they just believed Jim and all the members believed Jim. He was infallible. His word was unquestionable. He could say anything about me even if it was not true and he had the unquestioning, full support of the membership and the leaders. You question why I am fighting for the accountability of the leadership directly to the members which was direct guidance by Makiguchi ~ 60 years ago?
Frank then told me he had met with Jim himself and Mr. Kasahara and even though Jim was told by a district leader that he was there at the meeting I supposedly threatened a WD and that I never said this, Jim's answer to that district leader was "If that's how you feel." Then at the meeting when Frank told Jim that this information was false and he should stop giving out this report and should check it out for himself. He still did not call that women's division leader or me and continued to spread this report. Even though Mr. Kasahara said he should reflect on his behavior and stop this kind of action, Jim ignored him. Mr. Kasahara took no further steps. If you are wondering why I did not call Jim ~ it's because he would just deny everything like he had done in the past. I was not going to be humiliated by him again. Anyway, if I lost my temper with him, which any sane man would, he would just use it to further defame my character. I preferred to wait and let other members put pressure on him plus I was still waiting for my response from Japan. At this time Muriel Deschamps who was a leader in Flushing Chapter called Richard Witkowski and scolded him and asked him if he was a friend of mine why didn't he even call to find out what was happening. Then Author Young started putting pressure on Jim to stop the cover up
Richard Witkowski finally called me because he was shamed into it by another member and another Chapter Leader from Brooklyn. At first, I hesitated because I knew Richard was not the type to stand alone for when we did finally meet together he confided in me that Jim had treated him and his family badly with a great deal of arrogance but Richard never stood up to him. Therefore, I was hesitant to meet with Richard.. He always acquiesced to the leaders.
His first response was that we should not point out faults of people who practice Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism. Are you going just going to to shut up while people suffer? How about our definition of human revolution to unmask self-serving authority whether it is religious or secular. In other words, how could Richard talk with Jim if he is not allowed to point out his or wrong doing to Jim. Richard said he would talk with Jim and got the idea that he could get Jim to apologize saying to him how he would look as a man of courage front of the members if he would apologize to me.adn this would go good for him. I told Richard this is just political, how about what he did. How could you propose such a thing here is your integrity? Richard had some conversation with Jim but he got no where. He would not confront Jim with the lies he had told. I told Richard to forget it. Meantime other members were calling Jim and putting pressure on him. And I was now calling Japan trying to find out why I was not getting an answer to my letter. It had been three months. Japan overseas bureau was now calling Mr. Kasahara asking about who I was and why I was calling Japan. There was pressure growing on Mr. Kasahara and Jim and they wanted to put and end to it before it spread. In February I received a call from Jim Corwin and he leaves a message on my machine how the SGI celebration is coming up and that I am a very valuable member and it would not be the same if I was not in attendance. This was like receiving a call from someone that robbed you the day before and calls you the next day to see if you' have any more cash he can take. This is the behavior of a very psychotic individual or just a plain son-of-a-bitch. I did not go for it. Jim was calling me because he was told to out of pressure not because he had reflected on what he had done. It was just politics. I called Jim back and told him please do not call my home again. I do not talk to people who constantly break their promises and are habitual liars. I told him you spread a rumor that I was going to beat up a women's division, you lied to me, my wife and the members ~ you should get out of the SGI. You're a disgrace! Then I hung up. Five minutes later I get a call back from Jim. He said he just talked to this women's division leader (after four months) and checked it out and what I was saying was true and now suddenly he was apologizing profusely. When I said many people were telling you this was not true and you continued to spread this lie HE EVEN HAD THE NERVE TO SAY TO ME THAT NOBODY TOLD HIM ANY DIFFERENT EVEN WITH THE DISTRICT CHIEF TELLING HIM WHO WAS AN EYEWITNESS AND EVEN AFTER THE MEETING WITH MR. KASAHARA HE WAS LYING HE HAD THE NERVE TO SAY HE DID NOT REMEMBER He then said that he would call the other Territory Leaders and tell them that it was a false report. I said to him that's not enough now, after all you did. I will get back to you. I then called Frank Kearney and told him of the call from Jim. We were both laughing because Jim was so full of it. He was told this four months ago as I have reported before in this paper. Who the heck was he kidding? The question was what was to be done. Should I just demand he step down from his position? Would that have solved anything? The most important thing was what could be put into place that would prevent such actions of leaders to go unaccountable again and how could we prevent such leaders from covering up their own devious actions by manipulating the dogma so they could hide behind persevering unity as an excuse not to be accountable. This of course is despicable and a violation of the sacred trust given to our leaders by the Buddha and the people. So I decided that not only should there be a public apology to me and my wife because such vicious lies have spread throughout this territory about us and we had an obligation to ourselves to clear up these rumors among the members but there must be the formation of a grass roots committee that gives members the right of inquiry when such fabrications are being spread. Frank said, "Are you sure Stan? If you don't unmask all the despicable things, you might regret it later." In hindsight Frank was right for later they all changed there stories and denied anything really ever happened. I then told Frank we would probably need three days to explain it all. Its so hideous and unbelievable. It wouldn't be too much if we could get him to admit to this one action about the false report of me threatening to beat up a women’s division territory leader and also have the grass roots committee to keep this kind of behavior in check then all the suffering we went through was not in vain. On hindsight if I was to know what they were going to do in the future as you will see, I would have fought to have them all thrown out of their positions and exposed everything that they had done at that time but who would ever thought that these leaders would act in such a despicable manner they turned out to be heartless and devoid of virtue
I called Jim back but he would not accept the grass roots committee. So I said everything was off. You can apologize now but what's going to stop you the next time. We need this grass roots committee. There have been apologies in the past but nothing ever changes. A week later Jim accepts to both ideas and then three days before the meeting when he was going to apologize, Mary calls Jim to confirm. He then suddenly starts to say he did not agree to a committee. Fortunately, Mary was the one he agreed to. I said to Jim the meeting is off. You are incorrigible. . This man had no word of honor. The next day Mr. Kasahara called and a meeting was set between Mr. Kasahara, Frank Kearney, Jim Corwin, Mary Zir and myself.