2 GREELEY (Colo.) TRIBUNE Sat., March 22, 1975
Divine Light aide sees mission just for guru
VANCOUVER, B.C. (AP) - A former unpaid financial analyst at the Denver headquarters of the Divine Light Mission, Michael Garson, 31, has testified, "So far as I could see, the whole function of the organization was to provide an opulent existence for the Maharaj Ji."
Garson was giving evidence Thursday on the final day of an action brought in British Columbia Supreme Court seeking a mental competency hearing for a U.S. heiress who wants to give her fortune of more than $400,000 to the Divine Light Mission.
Darby McNeal, 31, formerly of Louisville, Ky., but now resident in Nelson, B.C., is the subject of the action brought by her older sister, Sarah McNeal Pew of Louisville, who claims Miss Darby will become destitute if she continues to handle her own financial affairs.
The considerable assets of Miss Darby have been frozen by two U.S. court injunctions pending the outcome of the hearing. She is restricted to living on the interest of a Chicago-based trust fund in the meantime.
Garson became Miss Darby's business adviser last summer and accompanied her on trips to Chicago and Louisville in an attempt to secure her funds for the Divine Light Mission.
He said Thursday there were no documents to protect her interests if she had in fact obtained the cash value of her assets and handed them over to him as she had intended. The injunctions, obtained in September, prevented this.
In a sworn affidavit, Garson testified: "My analysis of the accounts (of the Divine Light Mission) indicated that approximately 60 per cent of the gross receipts are directed to maintain the life style of the Maharaj Ji and those close to him."
Photostats of financial records appended to Garson's affidavit show a "typical" average weekly earned income by the mission of $24,000 plus $11,500 in donations.
An entry of $139,925 entitled "special projects" indicates the balance as of Jan. 31, 1974, "advanced directly to the Maharaj Ji for purposes related directly to his own maintenance," Garson said.
"I discovered that there was something of the order of $300,000 owed by the mission. The majority of these accounts, something in excess of $240,000, had been owing for in excess of 18 months.