Questions and Answers

 

In this Q&A, the former California State Grange that was headed by Robert McFarland may be referred to as California State Grange (revoke), McFarland Organization, California State Guild, or California Guild. Over the last few years, there have been a constantly evolving change of names.

 

A - Plain and simply, its about following the rules!

The National Grange said that the California State Grange was not following the rules, and suspended, then revoked the Charter of the State Grange.

The California State Grange did not appeal the suspension or revocation as provided for in the Digest of Laws of the National Grange.

McFarland and others in October 2012, declared that the "CSG" was no longer affiliated with the National Grange.

The National Grange filed suit in the Courts to compel McFarland to comply with National Grange Laws, and turn over "Grange" property to the National Grange. Everything since has followed that failure to comply with the rules and laws of the Order!

The Superior Court has ruled that McFarland's "CSG" is not a Grange, and that Grange Laws apply! (Read ruling here)

A - No - Untrue and not based in fact. Only the charter of the State Grange was revoked. Each subordinate, Pomona Grange is issued its own charter. National Grange is not revoke the charter of any of them. The charters of four granges were revoked by the State Grange because they were working in violation of Grange Laws. They did not appeal the revocation as provided in Grange Laws.

On November 16, 2015, the Superior Court entered judgment for the National Grange on all of its claims and issued a declaratory judgment holding that the California Guild has no standing to hold or retain Grange property, that the chartered California State Grange (co-plaintiff in the present action) was lawfully reorganized in 2014, and that the California Guild is obligated to return all Grange property in its possession as of April 5, 2013, to the chartered California State Grange. The judgment was subsequently appealed.

Legal efforts continue to seek the return of all Grange property from the California Guild.

A - According to wikipedia, a charter is:

A charter is the grant of authority or rights, stating that the granter formally recognizes the prerogative of the recipient to exercise the rights specified. It is implicit that the granter retains superiority (or sovereignty), and that the recipient admits a limited (or inferior) status within the relationship, and it is within that sense that charters were historically granted, and that sense is retained in modern usage of the term.

Furthermore, http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/charter.html say that in case of an organization, a charter defines or mandates its function(s) and lays down rules for its conduct or governance.

Charters are recognized legal documents! According to http://definitions.uslegal.com/ a charter is a governing document granting authority or recognition from a parent organization to a subordinate or constituent organization, such as a local affiliate or chapter, organized under the first organization's authority or the instrument granting such authority or recognition.

A - No - the only parties of the lawsuits are the National Grange, the Unchartered State Grange (AKA McFarland Group) and the newly chartered State Grange.

This claim is one to pray on our fears of being sued. No Granges have been sued, except for Marshall Grange, and it was sued by McFarland supporters.

The Superior Court has spoken clearly, the McFarland Group is not a "Grange", and as such, it has no legal authority over any Grange that has been chartered in California.

A - This is another attempt to spin an untruth. The status of the ownership of your Grange hall's is unchanged. It is the same as it was prior to the revocation of the State Grange charter, and it has continued to be the same since then. As long as you have a valid charter your Grange property belongs to your Grange. With regard to the State Grange headquarters, according to the Superior Court, "it is undisputed that the Now Uncharted State Grange recognized and was governed by the National Grange's Digest of laws, the revocation of the Now Unchartered State Grange's charter, the subsequent inability of the Now Uncharted State Grange to operate as a Grange, and the Now Unchartered State Grange's acknowledgment that it is no longer affiliated with the Order, it has no standing to retain any real and personal property belonging to the Grange."

A - If there is a conflict, then the Courts will rule on any conflict.

Some of the reported conflicts are from incorrect reading of the California Corporation Code. For example; A statement regarding a by-law change at National Grange, did not apply to California because it was not voted on by California members. That section in the Corporation Code actually applied to changes their own articles of incorporation.

When the Superior Court ruled on the motion for a summary judgment, the Judge said he disagreed with all of the arguments that the McFarland Group presented to the Court saying that Grange Law was superseded by California Corporation Law.

A - The Charter is considered a legal document or agreement between the parties, the National Grange and the Newly Chartered State Grange. Here is what the Charter says:

To Whom It May Concern, Greetings

Whereas, on the Fifteenth day of July in the year of our Lord, 1873 in compliance with the laws and regulation of the National Grange, there was organized a State Grange by representative of the Granges of the State of California.

Now, therefore, be it known, that the National Grange of the Patrons of Husbandry does hereby grant this Charter to the State Grange of California, and confers upon said State Grange the right to meet and act in promotion of the welfare of rural life and in the interest of the Granges of the State, to confer the Degree of Flora, and to transact such other business as is delegated to State Granges by the Digest of the Laws and Enactments of the National Grange.

Provides, nevertheless, that the officers and Members of the State Grange hereby constituted, and their successors, shall at all times comply with the Constitution of the National Grange and with the By-Laws of the State Grange, which must be in harmony with, and in conformity to, all National Grange laws and rulings.

There are several key phrases;

1 - confers upon said State Grange the right to meet and act in promotion of the welfare of rural life and in the interest of the Granges of the State,

2 - to confer the Degree of Flora,

3 - and to transact such other business as is delegated to State Granges by the Digest of the Laws and Enactments of the National Grange.

4 – that the officers and Members of the State Grange hereby constituted, and their successors, shall at all times comply with the Constitution of the National Grange and with the By-Laws of the State Grange, which must be in harmony with, and in conformity to, all National Grange laws and rulings.

A - April 2013. The charter was revoke because the State Grange was operating contrary to the Digest of Laws of the National Grange. The leadership of the State Grange did not appeal the decision of the Master of the National Grange, which was available to them.

A - McFarland has said many times that he did not quit the Grange but was kicked out. The truth is that when the charter of the State Grange was revoked, that terminated all officers from their positions, McFarland included. The revocation of the charter did not terminate their membership. In order to be an officer/member of any of the higher degrees (5th, 6th, 7th), you must be a member in good standing. When the eight members (McFarland included) wrote, signed and presented their letter of disaffiliation to the National Grange, they terminated their membership. This position has been reaffirmed by many court rulings. They were not kicked out, they left! (View Letter)

A - Simple answer, it never existed. As a noun, sovereignty refers to supreme power or authority. The supreme power and authority in the Grange has always existed in the National Grange. Just as it did in 1873, and still does today. The State Grange is a division of the Order, and is subject to the Laws of the Order!

A - When the Charter of the California State Grange was revoked April 2013, all authority it had over Subordinate and Pomona Granges within California ceased. At that time the National Grange assumed authority over all Subordinate and Pomona Granges within California. At that point in time, it became the unchartered State Grange (AKA McFarland Group).

In 2014, when the New Chartered State Grange was organized a charter was issued, it then assumed authority for the Subordinate and Pomona Granges with California from the National Grange.

The Superior Court has ruled in the motion for summary judgment that now unchartered State Grange (AKA McFarland Group) was subject to the Digest of Laws of the National Grange, and when the charter was revoked, it was not entitled to retain the property of the Order. Being subject to the Digest of Laws means that unchartered State Grange (AKA McFarland Group) has no authority over any Subordinate or Pomona Grange within California. (Read Court Ruling)

A - That is what the various lawsuits were seeking to determine. The Superior Court in the motion for summary judgment said “it is undisputed that the Now Uncharted State Grange recognized and was governed by the National Grange’s Digest of Laws, the supreme laws of the Order. Accordingly, based on the undisputed language of the National Grange’s Digest of laws, the revocation of the Now Unchartered State Grange’s charter, and the Now Uncharted State Grange’s clear disaffiliation from the Order, it has no standing to retain the real and personal property belonging to the Grange.”

Furthermore the Court said “Accordingly, based on the National Grange’s Digest of Laws, the Now Uncharted State Grange’s Charter, Constitution, Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws, and participation in the Order, the Now Uncharted State Grange has the obligation to transfer to the Newly Chartered State Grange all Grange property in its possession or control.”

A - The National Grange is saying that at owner of the Grange trademark, that the continued use of the word “Grange” by the unchartered California State Grange after the Charter was revoked, and after the disaffiliation, is a violation of its trademark. On July 14th, the Federal Court granted the motion for summary judgment on all counts. Judge Shubb ruled that they can no longer call themselves a “Grange” because they are not part of the Grange.

The court further found that the existence of the State Grange began on July 15, 1873 when chartered by the National Grange, and not in 1946 when the Grange incorporated.

Judge Shubb found that “[r]regardless of the precise ground for revoking [the California State Grange’s] charter, it is not genuinely disputed that [the National Grange] was acting within its rights and in accordance with its bylaws when it revoked [the California State Grange’s] charter. [The National Grange] even afforded [the California State Grange] procedural due process, giving [the California State Grange] the opportunity to appeal the decision.”

A - Granges that have been paying dues to McFarland's Guild are being told that if they return to Good Standing in rechartered State Grange that their Grange Hall will be reassessed for property taxes.

Reassessment for property taxes are triggered when there is a transfer of title/ownership.

If you have not changed the title in which your Grange property is held there is no reassessment.

A - The National Grange is saying that at owner of the Grange trademark, that the continued use of the word “Grange” by the unchartered California State Grange after the Charter was revoked, and after the disaffiliation, is a violation of its trademark. On July 14th, the Federal Court granted the motion for summary judgment on all counts. Judge Shubb ruled that they can no longer call themselves a “Grange” because they are not part of the Grange.

The court further found that the existence of the State Grange began on July 15, 1873 when chartered by the National Grange, and not in 1946 when the Grange incorporated.

Judge Shubb found that “[r]egardless of the precise ground for revoking [the California State Grange’s] charter, it is not genuinely disputed that [the National Grange] was acting within its rights and in accordance with its bylaws when it revoked [the California State Grange’s] charter. [The National Grange] even afforded [the California State Grange] procedural due process, giving [the California State Grange] the opportunity to appeal the decision.”

A - In an April 2016 email to members of Ojai Grange, McFarland states; "A ruling from the Federal Court prevents the CSG from using marks containing the name “Grange.” We have appealed the ruling. We are confident we will prevail. In the meantime, we will be called the CSG. We are not affiliated with Mr. Komski’s Grange of California Order of Patrons of Husbandry, Chartered, or the National Grange."

First, you can read for yourself what the Federal Court said by clicking here.

In his own words, McFarland admits that he is not part of the "Grange". Staying with the "CSG" means you are not part of the Grange!

A - Mr. McFarland quoted the By-laws of the State Grange as reading; “3.3.3 Revocation – The Master of this Grange may, for extraordinarily good cause and in a manner consistent with the By-Laws of the National Grange, revoke the charter of a Constituent Grange if the Master determines such action is for the good of the Order.” (copy here)

Please notice the words "in a manner consistent with the By-Laws of the National Grange", which limit revocation to a very narrow set of conditions. You'll find these conditions in Section 4.5.1 of the National Digest, and those conditions are:
• (A) Charter has been issued to a Grange, contrary to the laws and usages of the Order,
• (B) A Grange working in violation of the law and usages of the Order,
• (C) A Grange is in arrears for dues for one or more quarters,
• (D) A Grange refuses or is unable to hold meetings, as provided for in Article IX of these By-Laws,
• (E) Attempts to restore a Grange which has become inactive to an active status prove unsuccessful,
• (F) The membership of a Grange is reduced below the organization requirement of thirteen, except when a reorganization is in process as provided for in Article III above.
• (G) If a charter is suspended for reason of being in arrears for dues, the suspension shall automatically be lifted when the arrears are paid by said Grange.

Now ask yourself if that is "extraordinary, unilateral and ultimate authority over your property" as McFarland maintains?

One more thing, if a charter is suspended or revoke, any member of that Grange can appeal to the National Grange as per the National Digest of Laws. (copy here)

Look at the bylaws of the "CSG", and you'll see almost the same language in Section 3.1. What is more important is the appeal process. Who do you appeal to? You appeal the decision of same person who revoked your charter! (Copy here)

A - Mr. McFarland will tell you that the consequences of disaffiliating from the "CSG" include:

• Depending on your County Assessor, disaffiliating with the CSG and joining Mr. Komski’s organization could trigger a re-assessment of your property value and increased property taxes.
• You will pay taxes on income. possibly even in arrears, and not be able to accept tax deductible donations until you re-establish your nonprofit status or join another group exemption. Mr. Komski has applied for a group exemption, but, as of today, he does not have one. There is no absolute guarantee the IRS will grant him one. The CSG is required to report your disaffiliation to the various regulatory agencies.
• Walking you through some of the onerous and necessary steps of disaffiliating from the CSG, let me summarize what you are legally obligated to do, according to our research, advice from attorneys, and the requirements of the IRS, FTB, SOS, County of Ventura and Attorney General.

First, you are not disaffiliating from the "CSG" because legally, you were never affiliated with them. You have a Charter, issued by the National Grange and that Charter, please read it, that you are affiliated with the National Grange, and the California State Grange, not the "CSG"

Secondly, ask yourself when the "CSG" disaffiliated from the National Grange, did all these things happen to the "CSG"?

Third, the charter of the State Grange was revoke in April 2013, and with its revocation, all authority of the State Grange over chartered Subordinate and Pomona Granges was removed. When the State Grange was reorganized, that authority was restored. The "CSG" has no authority over your Grange. You are not disaffiliating - you are just returning your Grange to Good Standing in the Order!

A - A Minute Order is a legal document which is recorded in the minutes of a court session rather than in formal court order format. A minute order is often the court's answer to a party's request.

A minute order comes about when a trial judge sits officially, with or without a court reporter, and a clerk keeps minutes of the court session. In those sessions the only record of an oral order made by the judge may be in the minutes. This order is referred to as a minute order or minute entry.

Source: http://definitions.uslegal.com/m/minute-order/.

A - A Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) is a court order of limited duration. A TRO commands the parties in the case to maintain a certain status until the court can hear further evidence and decide whether to issue a preliminary injunction.

Source: West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

A - (dee-muhr-ur) a written response to a complaint filed in a lawsuit which, in effect, pleads for dismissal on the point that even if the facts alleged in the complaint were true, there is no legal basis for a lawsuit. A hearing before a judge (on the law and motion calendar) will then be held to determine the validity of the demurrer. Some causes of action may be defeated by a demurrer while others may survive. Some demurrers contend that the complaint is unclear or omits an essential element of fact. If the judge finds these errors, he/she will usually sustain the demurrer (state it is valid), but "with leave to amend" in order to allow changes to make the original complaint good. An amendment to the complaint cannot always overcome a demurrer, as in a case filed after the time allowed by law to bring a suit. If after amendment the complaint is still not legally good, a demurrer will be granted. In rare occasions, a demurrer can be used to attack an answer to a complaint. Some states have substituted a motion to dismiss for failure to state a cause of action for the demurrer.

Source: Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.

A - At any time after filing a complaint in a civil action, but before statutory deadlines, a party can file a motion for summary judgment and/or a motion for summary adjudication. A motion for summary adjudication asks the court to adjudicate the merits of a particular cause of action, affirmative defense, or claim for damages, including punitive damages request. In short, if the court grants a party's motion for summary judgment, the court is entering judgment in favor of the moving party. Notwithstanding an appeal, the case is over.

If you want to read the Code of Civil Procedure, it is found in Section 437c-438 - Click here to read.”