Financial irregularities at VBC San Diego Part I

April 4, 2013

Dear Gen-la, Gen Jampa, and Educational Council Representatives,

I have written about several issues at VBC, San Diego, concerning spiritual purity at VBC San Diego; the current letter does bear on spiritual purity issues as I feel that perhaps the educational and financial interface did not function properly, during the time that XXXX was AD.  Atisha, the RT at the time, was giving a completely pure transmission of Kadam dharma, but the Center having been apparently brought to the brink of financial ruin, he was sent to England and we were given a new RT.  Since XXXX and others immediately proposed format changes to one of the GP classes that involved lineage changes, and since Amy Peng, the new RT, approved and supported these changes, herself teaching us alternate mediations and also informing us that we might not always have Shugden as our Dharma Protector in the NKT, I feel I should inform you about a few financial oddities that I am aware of, though I certainly don’t know much about the finances.   Please understand that I write this, not to disparage others, but to keep the pure lineage of Je Tsongkapa, protected by Dorje Shugden, flourishing and also out of compassion for those who might otherwise succeed in acts that would give them karma for the lower realms.

With only a part time AD, it was probably difficult to have complete communication with other Sangha members and staff, all of which may have contributed to financial issues.  I am writing you, because I feel that it does bear on the situation; during XXXX’s time I feel a lot of people may have been discouraged by XXXX from attending the center, who could not pay the entire amount of money; in other words, I am afraid the logistical aspects of the AD position, which XXXX expressed as her being in complete control over the physical aspects of the Center, which included jurisdiction over reduced fees for financially challenged disciples, may have kept people away.  There are also issues of miscommunication, and computer issues, which XXXX XXXX unable to access the credit card account numbers for FP members who paid by monthly credit or debit for 3 months unavailable to the Center; I believe this happened right before Atisha left., and I believe the problem wasn’t resolved until 2 or 3 months after he had departed. Please understand I am not saying that any of this is the fault of XXXX or any particular person, as I have no idea how any of it happened, not having worked ever in the administration of the Center.  I just think it might make it difficult to decide what our budget looks like if we have failed to take everyone’s payments, and I think we were saying that Atisha was leaving due to the place being in financial ruin.  I do know that XXXX used to tell me that she couldn’t be a full time AD because the Center couldn’t afford to pay one, and so she couldn’t quit her paying job, which meant she didn’t have as much time to devote to running the Center.

I will tell you, in the interest of time, that I think it might be wisdom to check the books over at VBC; I do not really trust all the lineage changes XXXX and others have propagated, and it is my understanding that XXXX has been on the board.  Concerning financial and miscommunication issues that may have kept people away, I was, for example, told by XXXX that I had to pay the full FP amount as soon as I moved out of the homeless shelter I was in, or as soon as I got enough money to do so.  As soon as my disability money was granted by the government, I did start paying $85.00 a month, rather than the $40 dollars a month I paid while in the homeless shelter.  I received, two months in a row, a letter saying that I had been donating 65 dollars off to international temples.  I honestly thought someone must be trying to donate money to the temple and was dedicating their merit to me by saying that it was from me; I found out several months later that it was because XXXX had mistakenly not realized I was in FP correspondence, and thinking I had dropped out, the bookkeeper must have donated it off to international temples, keeping 20 dollars each month for the two Kids and Families classes I had attended.  I had never received the contract when I signed up for FP that said that they would donate off your money to International Temples if you didn’t come to class, but I was surprised that no one approached me; I was still in FP at that point, but by correspondence.  After a few months of that occurring, I realized I wasn’t going to be able to complete the FP course, partly because I really couldn’t afford it.  I went back to FP 3 or 4 months later, when the Tuesday evening FP started, and again tried to explain to XXXX that I was on Social Security disability, but to no avail; she kept telling me that the Center had no funds; I paid the monthly amount in its entirety, but seriously went often to a soup kitchen next door to my apartment building for lunch;  my daughter wouldn’t eat their food, so I would feed her separately at home; I  mention this only so you will understand how bad the communication was at that time; I also went to food banks to try to reduce my grocery bill, but again my daughter really didn’t like the food and I had to make her something separate to eat.    I did receive a small re-location grant from the government, which is like a reward from a homeless shelter for successful movement to an apartment, but I felt it might be better to reduce our payment before we completely ran out of savings, and I did ask XXXX at least three times, a few months apart,  about reducing it; she allowed me to pay less one month, but said the NKT was going to close the Center if we didn’t stay more solvent and she couldn’t let me reduce.  (As soon as XXXX left I did reduce my amount, being around the same time at the end of the small relocation grant).  I mention this only because a lot of people, some of whom had been on the board of directors over there, were surprised to find out that I had paid full price for so long, and also because they had thought there was an account for people who needed sponsorships.  I do not know what happened with that; my point is not that I want any money back; the point is that I am not sure what happened to the sponsorship account.  Again, I know a lot of different people worked in the office, and I don’t know who did what, so I am not saying it is any one person’s doing.

Thank you, I hope you will check the books at VBC generally, for the sake of all living beings.  I sincerely would like all of Geshe Kelsang’s money to remain under the jurisdiction of Geshe Kelsang’s organization.

Sincerely,

Kelly Inman

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