Introduction


Presented in reverse chronology, this history stretches from the present back to the Fellowship's 1970 founding, and beyond.
(See "Blog Archive" in the sidebar below.) It draws from many sources, including The Fellowship of Friends - Living Presence Discussion, the Internet Archive, the former Fellowship of Friends wiki project, cult education and awareness sites, news archives, and from the editor's own 13-year experience in the Fellowship.

The portrait that emerges stands in stark contrast to sanitized versions presented on the Fellowship's array of
alluring websites, and on derivative sites created by Burton's now-estranged
disciple, Asaf Braverman.

Friday, August 10, 2007

What happened to the "La Cucina" bistro?

[ed. - Regarded as some of Robert Burton's chief enablers, Patricia and Anthony Chancellor, Asaf Braverman, and Wayne Mott pitch in to raise funds, ostensibly to restore the fire-damaged La Cucina Bistro.]

"Critical Mass" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, August 1, 2007:
Yes, the bistro (La Cucina) burnt down, no subterfuge there, it was probably caused by a cappuccino machine. The FOF received the insurance money, which just got swallowed up. Then 2006 saw the bistro fundraising. I can’t remember how much money was raised, but it was substantial, and a student was on salary specifically for the fundraising, and now she is fundraising for Robert’s personal funds. But then the FOF failed to meet the milestones dictated by the county, so the county started playing hardball and the FOF had to pay a $35000 fine. So the bistro project was abandoned.

I remember Robert announcing that Asaf [Asaf Braverman] was going to stay at Isis to teach and host events when Robert went to Egypt in Fall 2006. Asaf was beaming proudly. Then Robert announced that the reason Asaf was staying on at Isis was because the FOF needed to raise the extra funds for the county fine, and of course the events bring in money. You should have seen Asaf’s face.

So the theatron wasn’t usable. Now there are further fundraisers for a replacement stage for the theatron, one that will meet county standards. The proposed ballet is going to be held at the tennis courts next to the burnt out bistro instead. The FOF will surely cut corners with the legal requirements, so the county may as well have someone on hand for the first night of the tennis court ballet—there could be good money in it for the county. There was a recent email from Wayne Mott, an attempt at glasnost, that selectively detailed the history of the theatron project, reproduced below:-
(c) Wayne Mott 2007

After many years of work by a dedicated team of experts and non-experts alike, the Theatron has re-entered the construction phase that will bring it to its completion. The following is a short story of that process.

Back in January of 2005 we received a Conditional Use Permit from Yuba County for our Theatron. Since then we have been going through a process, stated simply, of creating a set of plans, having them approved and inspecting/testing the existing structure. The completion of this process would then allow us to continue with construction and finish what we had started in 2001.

In April of 2005 we submitted our first and admittedly not very complete set of plans. We followed that with a more complete set, Revision 1, by the end of May that same year. This was really the beginning of a learning process that kept us scrambling for the next couple of years. With the help of building code analysts we learned about how to deal with the many elements that would help us finish the project.

By February 2006 we were ready with Revision 2 of the plans, more or less. We were sure that there would be a lot more work to do but we began to hire the necessary help. We hired an engineer to design the waste system for the bathrooms. We then hired the same lighting engineer that did the design for the Sleep Train Amphitheater in Marysville with all its emergency lighting and backup systems, and also a fire system engineer for the hydrants and under stage sprinkler system. All of this was done to prepare Revision 3 which we submitted on June 30th 2006.

Our code analysts came and went as well as the staff at the Yuba County Community Development Department. As most of the staff that we had worked with moved on to neighboring counties we hired the person that we had worked with at the building department as our last code analyst. He knew the project well and was a great help in finishing off the last details.

After a few of weeks of review and minor corrections we finally received our approved set of plans, 50 pages of architectural, engineering, electrical, fire, handicapped access, site plans, indexes, etc… And in another week we had our building permit.

This allowed us to move to the next phase in the process. We had to verify that what was built was the same as what was indicated on the approved set of plans. After having our engineers submit an inspection proposal to the county, we began a program of testing. The independent testing company examined a random sampling of exposed footings and soil conditions. They also used a radar scanning technique and core drilling of the walls and footings to verify the reinforcing steel. After this was done a report from the independent testing company and our engineers was sent to and approved by the Yuba County Building Department. That brings us to where we are now.

The first part of the new construction will be to rebuild the stage in a waterproofed concrete which will then have a wooden surface constructed on top. The stage was the only major part of what we had constructed which was open to question. The weathering was already beginning to show on the existing wood structure. It was designed before the project took on the dimension that it has today. We had the possibility of re-building parts of the stage that needed replacing with a different kind of wood but decided unanimously that a concrete structure was more in keeping with the rest of the Theatron and would better serve future generations.

"Purchasing awakening" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, August 10, 2007:

Question: WHERE IS THE BISTRO MONEY?

“the Teacher will use these funds to rebuild the Bistro” – OK, did he? Or could he lie to us again?

“All your generous birthday gifts will be going to the Bistro rebuilding project.”
So… where is it? The plan was to re-open the Bistro by July 4th, 2006.
WHAT HAPPENED?

Were you informed how your money was used?
************************

March 15, 2006

Dear Friends:

On Sunday, March 19th, Robert will celebrate his 30th Crystallization anniversary….
…We can express our gratitude to Robert by giving donations through the Fellowship of Friends to honor his 30th Crystallization anniversary.

In turn, the Teacher will use these funds to rebuild the Bistro, which was destroyed by fire in June 2004. The Bistro project is our new focus for 2006.
You may send your donations with a beautiful card directly to Robert at the Galleria [Robert's residence] or log onto Propylaia [membership website] and follow the links to contribute on line. All donations are appreciated and tax deductible. Our goal is to raise $200,000.00 for the rebuilding of the Bistro.

Love,

Patricia Ch.
Isis

************************

March 17,2006

Dear Friends:

For those of you who have already contributed to our fund for re-building the Bistro, a sincere thank-you…

Your donations are helping us reach our goal of raising $205,000.00 in efforts to reopen the Bistro on July 4th, which is the 35th anniversary of Isis.

In a recent daily card Robert said,

“We have many events in order to strengthen one another, so that we become too strong for the lower self.”

And now he is aiming for us collectively to re-establish the Bistro, which shall provide another enchanting venue for being present and strengthening ourselves with our 30 Work I’s.

The projected monthly financial requirements for construction at this time are:

March $40,000.00
April $35,000.00
May $55,000.00
June & July $75,000.00

Suggested contributions are: $5000, $2500, $1000, $750, $500, $250, $100, $75, $50, $25

Your gifts to Robert for his 30th Crystallization Anniversary Sunday, March 19th and his birthday May 12th can be given as donations to the Fellowship of Friends as a way of supporting the Bistro project. When paying by check please make payable to:

Fellowship of Friends
Post Office Box 100
Oregon House, CA 95962

If you prefer to pay by credit card, log onto: http://www.propylaia.org/ and click to go to ‘Donate to Bistro Project’

Your donations are truly appreciated.

With love & gratitude, Patricia Ch., Isis

Buddha: Right efforts stand for control of passions.
**************************************

Dear Friends,

On May 12th we shall celebrate our Teacher’s birthday.

Robert has asked that all birthday gifts to him be made in the form of cash donations to the FOF Projects Fund, with the aim to rebuild the Bistro.

This year’s gifts are particularly special as they will help realize the aim to rebuild the Bistro ~

Once again we are going to witness a miraculous new development at Isis.

All your generous birthday gifts will be going to the Bistro rebuilding project.

To give Robert a birthday gift, you may send a check made out to:

Fellowship of Friends
Post Office Box 609
Oregon House, CA 95962

************************************

May 2006

My dear friends,

Tomorrow, May 12th is Robert’s birthday. Robert is asking that your gifts for his birthday be donations to the Fellowship of Friends as a way of supporting the Bistro project.

A gift to the Teacher is as much for oneself as for him.

Robert enjoys the beautiful cards and notes sent to him at the Galleria. So you may wish to send him your card with a contribution. Note on check ‘Bistro’ and make it out to FOF.

Other options are to mail a check (made to FOF) and mail to:

Fellowship of Friends
P.O. Box 609
Oregon House, CA 95962

Also, you may prefer to use your credit card on-line by logging onto Propylaia.org and following the links “Donate to Bistro Project.”

************************************

June 6, 2006

Dear Friends,

On the evening of Thursday, June 15th, you are invited to dine with Robert and friends at a lovely fund raiser that will help us rebuild the Bistro.

This event will be held at the home of A & P Ch., who shall be providing fine wines to complement the artfully prepared dinner by Ilya.

Time 6:30 PM

Dinner is for 20 with 8 standing room places available.

Cost of the dinner is $350 per person. (Three time payments are available)

Standing room can be reserved for $75 per person

To reserve please telephone P. at 692—-XXXX

************************************
That was it. No more talking about the Bistro or the funds raised.

"2b" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, August 10, 2007:
Purchasing Awakening (128): Someone should frame this post, and others.

“Suggested contributions are: $5000, $2500, $1000, $750, $500, $250, $100, $75, $50, $25… Once again we are going to witness a miraculous new development at Isis.”
“That was it. No more talking about the Bistro or the funds raised.”

I’m sure there’s a logical explanation. Maybe the “Bistro Project” was a code name for a top-secret initiative — and it may have something to do with expensive travel plans.

One of the most effective examples of mind-control in the fof, which to this day still impresses me, is the discouragement of any questions or discussion related to money — where it’s coming from, what it’s being used for, why so much of it is needed, and so on. We were very effectively held in check by the notion that it just wasn’t our business where the money was going — where our money was going — and that any questions in this regard indicated weakness and “sleep.”

Ironic, because our inability to ask these questions was a very obvious example of our sleep.

By the way, take a look at those figures… $5,000, $2,500, etc… Amazing that the government is picking up the tab for about one-third of that based on the FoF’s status as a “religious organization.” Good to know that U.S tax dollars are going to a good cause — the “Bistro Project.”

"Purchasing awakening" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, August 10, 2007:
Where is OUR BISTRO? What happened to the funds we donated?
Dear Friends,

Our Teacher has launched a new beginning for the Bistro; it is being rebuilt in the same location at Isis. Work has already begun.

Several special celebrations are coming also: Valentine’s Day, Robert’s 30th Crystallization anniversary on March 19th, as well as his birthday on May 12th.
Robert has requested that gifts for him be given as donations to the Fellowship of Friends, which will be used for the rebuilding of the Bistro. Further information will be forthcoming.

Your continued and reliable valuation is much appreciated.

Love,

Patricia Ch

Isis

*************************

Robert has returned to Isis and we continue making Isis more beautiful and useful.

In this spirit, Robert is asking that your gifts to him for Valentine’s Day, his 30th Crystallization anniversary March 19th and his birthday May 12th be given as donations to the Fellowship of Friends, in order to continue construction of the Bistro, which was destroyed by fire eighteen months ago. The Bistro project is our new focus for this year.

You may send your donations with a beautiful card directly to Robert at the Galleria or go to Propylaia and follow the links to contribute online. All donations are appreciated.

Love,

Patricia Ch
Isis

*****************************

March 2006

Dear Friends:

Many thanks to all of you who have already contributed to our fund for re-building the Bistro.

Your donations have brought in about 10% of the $200,000.00 needed at this time to reopen the Bistro on July 4th, which is the 35th anniversary of Isis.

In Wednesday’s daily card Robert wrote,

“We have many events in order to strengthen one another, so that we become too strong for the lower self.”

And now he is aiming for us collectively to re-establish the Bistro, which shall provide another enchanting venue for being present and strengthening ourselves with our 30 Work I’s.

*****************************

Dear Friends,

So many of you are responding positively to the Bistro Fund emails and wish to contribute. Here are more details on sending gifts:

When paying by checks please make payable to:

Fellowship of Friends
Post Office Box 100
Oregon House, CA 95962

*****************************

OK, I get it. He asked for the gift money to go through FOF as tax-free donations (and not his personal taxable income). This is smart and also makes him look good.
And then… it looks like he simply spent it on god knows what.

I haven’t heard anything about the Bistro project for over a year. Does anyone know the details? What’s up?

Members of the ‘church’ have a right to know how their donations are spent.

[ed. - And in the end, it looks like there may have been a much less sensational outcome...]

"Alider" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, February 6, 2012:
In response to 175. Golden Veil – The remains of La Cucina have been transformed into the new FOF office – so to speak it is the FOF administrative headquarter.

1 comment:

  1. For some reason, at some time before I exited the FOF, I stated that, perhaps we have to "transform Robert's GREED FEATURE to awaken". Does the phrase - "bottomless pit" come to mind ? Nigel Harris Price

    ReplyDelete