MWB Frank Joseph Haas PGM’s Reflections

Brethren

Words of great wisdom from my friend and Grand Master....

Reflections on my trial

I won what became a bitter contest, because the Court ruled, as I said from the beginning, that there had been a breach of contract: the Grand Lodge did not follow its own law, which forms a contract with all its members. The Grand Lodge denied my right to a fair Masonic trial. The Court also separately ruled that grand masters cannot summarily expel any members, and it is unreasonable and unenforceable if they do. However, without injunctive relief, which I also requested, winning is a Pyrrhic victory: it feels empty, like this whole process. The true loser in this sad affair is our gentle Craft in West Virginia and those many honorable Masons who suffer in silence while the in-crowd crows about dodging a bullet.

Without ever allowing the Craft to vote on it, your grand officers spent perhaps $400,000 from our – your – treasury, only to lose their case. My own legal expenses approach several times my annual salary—a problem I have yet to solve.

It is true: I remain unlawfully expelled. But that doesn’t matter to me now. Doing the right thing is far more important. It is the fading of the dream of the Wheeling Reforms that I mourn. They are so sorely needed, the reforms that we voted on and which were adopted by the Craft in our Grand Communication in Wheeling in 2006. The favorable vote was proven in sworn testimony by three witnesses in my trial, yet these reforms continue to be denied. Masons in West Virginia still may not pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States when we assemble; a handicapped war veteran cannot become a Mason if he lost his thumb; and our rules about participation in funeral honors remain deplorable and an insult to widows and families. And we say we honor widows! My friends, I fear that without these reforms, and the others, we will continue to be mocked, and marginalized, and will miss the resurgence now taking place in other jurisdictions.

I won—but not enough to bring West Virginia the justice that had been denied her, and for that, I am profoundly sorry. Please know that I did my very best.

Fraternally,
Frank Joseph Haas
judgefjh@swave.net
133rd Grand Master of Masons in West Virginia
Senior Deacon, Steubenville Lodge #45,
Grand Lodge of Ohio, F & AM
16 December 2010

9 Responses to “MWB Frank Joseph Haas PGM’s Reflections”

  1. George Cicci Says:

    Brother Haas,

    As I said when I first met you at Grand Lodge 2006 - "It was an honor to be initiated, passed and raised during your term as Grand Master."

    And now I say that it is the actions of the Grand Lodge of West Virginia over the past several years that make me proud to be a Pennsylvania Freemason.

    You fought the good fight, brother.

    George M. Cicci III
    Waynesburg #153,
    Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, F& AM

  2. CSK Says:

    Brother Haas, when this deplorable incident was reported at our Grand Communication in Texas recently, I began to follow it with great interest.

    Based on all I have read, this is the most un-Masonic behavior I have ever seen.

    It takes great courage to stand up for what is right and Sir you have shown great courage.

    I have visited the state of West Virginia, and found it very beautiful. However, if I were to return, I do not believe I could ever step foot in a WV Lodge.

    Each Brother knows what they obligated themselves to; now I wonder if they have the courage to stand up to what they know is wrong.

    I am offended as a Mason, American, and Soldier by the actions of the few of these "Masons" who are operating under their own version of the Obligation.

    God Bless you Sir, and all Brethren who are continuing to strive to make things right.

  3. Keith - A UK Freemason Says:

    Dear W. Bro Haas

    It is most unlike me to get involved with responding to articles on the web...however.....

    I have followed this 'issue' since shortly after it became news. I cannot believe you did not win enough to have your legal costs paid. Being a dedicated an active Fm, there is no way whatsoever I would want to, or could be, associated with West Virginian FM. My understanding, from what I have read at least, is that the standards imposed from on-high are non-masonic in my opinion. Why/How on earth can these standards/rules etc. be associated with Fm in any shape or form; I am appalled.

    I believe you should arrange to create a fund where brethren with similar feelings to my own can make a financial contribution to help you pay towards your fight for justice. I for one will be happy to assist a 'genuine' brother in time of need!

  4. Torence Says:

    The lesson to be learned from this episode is that no matter how much weight a Grand Line Officer may think comes vested with his title, ultimately the ability to drive a True Blue Mason out of the fraternity is not within the power of any rank. Truth and Justice are divinely inspired. How sinful is it to presume to be able to best a condition that comes directly from Him Who Does All Things Well?
    Kudos to Steubenville Lodge for taking advantage of West Virginia’s incapacity to correct their Tyrants. These Lodge Officers at Work doing the business of their Local Lodge know talent when it comes knocking at their door; and, I envy their ability to acquire such a well qualified Senior Deacon. (Your reward M.W. Bro. Hass is to now be able to hold the best seat in the house).
    You can also take heart, M.W. Bro. Haas, that your success is not an isolated victory. Your case was preceded by my own here in Illinois in 2003. Then, our GM Charles Sullins was misled by certain PGMs to unnecessarily invade the sanctity of the ballot box at Local Lodges in a misguided attempt to make unwarranted change happen.
    As the Secretary of one Lodge affected, I was approached by the offended members of that lodge to make a properly worded complaint to our Appeals and Grievance committee, the proper process to bring about a review. For that act, I too found myself summarily suspended without due process for the offense of “raising vexatious questions and challenging the authority of the Grand Master,” sort of a hobby of mine.
    Like your self, I had to win back my right to trial via hiring an outside attorney and proceeding with civil suit. Also, like your self, two other Masons who stood upright for our just cause found them selves summarily expelled and to date have been unable to gain restoration. (How goes the membership of those who were made to leave with you?)
    Some of the details of my case can be found in the Illinois proceedings of 2003 & 2004; but the 666 page transcript of the trial remains sealed by our Grand Lodge. One difference between us, however, is that on our third demand and the insistence of the Brethren at the Annual Communication, a Masonic Trial was scheduled in the Lodge that Raised Me which avoided the public court review in my case.
    We arbitrated; and, I was ultimately restored. For five years, I too then got to serve as the Senior Deacon of Auburn Park No. 789; and am now its Secretary. I am very active doing work in many Illinois Lodges, and have continued to write monthly articles about the Craft that are generally well read and well received. Time heals all wounds, and I regularly and am involved with degree and committee work with the very Brothers who were on one side or another of my case. After seven years, not only has most of the tension subsided (though there is an occasion reminder), we find that we are having a darn good time doing the current work together.
    My hope for you is that you too enjoy the same success. Know that those who abused their office then, will pass; and that W.V. will make itself right again eventually.

    Fraternally,
    Torence Evans Ake
    Secretary – Auburn Park Lodge No. 789
    Member- Triluminar Lodge No. 767 – Lansing, Illinois
    PM – Arcadia Lodge No. 1138 – Lansing, Illinois

  5. Geno Nairn Says:

    I take this opportunity to congratulate WGM. Hass on his victory for Justice and Truth. We need more real men to take such a stand. As I await my court date with Prince Hall Grand Lodge of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, I ask that you keep me in prayer for a successfull outcome. It is only then that we can cause change to these types of behavior by Grand Masters.
    God Bless the craft.

    Prince Hall Mason
    Bahamas

  6. Former WV Mason Says:

    When I heard about this issue, I was offended that the WV Grand Lodge would behave so badly, but I certainly wasn't surprised. I knew Chuck Coleman before he was appointed to the Grand Lodge line and felt then that he was taking Masonry far too seriously. It is obvoius from his remarks in court that he is a racist. I read the Wheeling Reforms and agree with all of them. I spoke with masons in other states who were amazed that we could behave in such unmasonic ways to our brothers in the Prince Hall lodges.

    To disassociate myself from this unmasonic behavior, I demitted my membership and affiliated with a lodge in another state. I hope many more people do this until the masons have convinced the Grand Lodge that the members are in charge.

  7. Geno Nairn Says:

    Hello All, This is to inform you that January 13, 2011 is
    my court date with the the Grand Master of Prince Hall Masonry of
    the Commonwealth of the Bahamas. This man continues to behave in
    such a manner that has nothing to do with the principals of Free
    Masonry. Thank you for your prayers. God Bless the craft. Geno
    Nairn Prince Hall Affiliate

  8. Thomas D. Daragn Jr. Says:

    I'm looking for assistance from PGM Haas or any other brother that may be able to assit me. I had actions taken against me by the Most Worshipful Union Grand Lodge FAM PHA of Florida Inc. for reporting hazing that took place in the jurisdiction of CA under the charter of the Illustrious Union Grand Council Royal and Select Masters of Florida Inc. I was the Grand Principle Conductor of the Works. I reported hazing along with others that was being investigated by the Grand Thrice. However the Deputy Grand Master took the investigation from the Grand Thrice and did his own investigation which he had no authority to do. We found out that the same group of ladies that did the hazing was involved in hazing that took place in Florida a few months before the CA hazing. The Deptuy Grand Master held the results over which should have come before the body. Stated that he believed what happen with the ladies from the Bahamas but not what happen in CA. Suspended me for two years, reduced to 10 months. No due process. the because the Nation body Knights York Cross of Honor Eminent Prior didn't support him suspending me in the Priory, he withdrew recognition of the national body and stated it was because of me. This hole issue is personal which I've done nothing to the Grand Master. However even though I got wind of what he was going to do before being summons and moved my Blue, Red, Purple and Black houses to LA. He still suspended me though he had no jurisdiction over me. I have a few lawyers I'm working with. However if anyone knows of someone else that is intereseted in my case please contact me.

    PGTIM Thomas D. Dargan Jr. 33 KYCH
    Brodarg357@yahoo.com or Gmail.com

  9. Geno Nairn Says:

    Hello All,
    I take this opportunity to update you on case. We had a court date on January 13, 2011 with the Chief Justice of the Bahamas. The defendants, namely the Grand Master of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas and Prince hall Masonry did not show up. As you can see thsi man has no regard for the law or our judicial system. he thinks that he is a law unto himself. It left the court nochoice bu to now issue a court order on him. Our next court date is set for April 28, 2011.
    Thank you for your prayers and support.

    Geno Nairn
    Prince Hall Mason Affiliated