Robert Earl Burton founded The Fellowship of Friends in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1970. Burton modeled his own group after that of Alex Horn, loosely borrowing from the Fourth Way teachings of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky. In recent years, the Fellowship has cast its net more broadly, embracing any spiritual tradition that includes (or can be interpreted to include) the notion of "presence."

The Fellowship of Friends exhibits the hallmarks of a "doomsday religious cult," wherein Burton exercises absolute authority, and demands loyalty and obedience. He warns that his is the only path to consciousness and eternal life. Invoking his gift of prophecy, he has over the years prepared his flock for great calamities (e.g. a depression in 1984, the fall of California in 1998, nuclear holocaust in 2006, and most recently the October 2018 "Fall of California Redux.")

According to Burton, Armageddon still looms in our future and when it finally arrives, non-believers shall perish while, through the direct intervention and guidance from 44 angels (recently expanded to 81 angels, including himself and his divine father, Leonardo da Vinci), Burton and his followers shall be spared, founding a new and more perfect civilization. Read more about the blog.

Presented in a reverse chronology, the Fellowship's history may be navigated via the "Blog Archive" located in the sidebar below.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Beachfront developments at center of lawsuit

[ed. - The saga continues as Fellowship of Friends members are involved as both perpetrators and victims in the Stroomwell Investment Group scheme.]
Beachfront developments at center of lawsuit

Posted: Thursday, April 2, 2009 12:00 am
By Ryan McCarthy/Appeal-Democrat

Investments in beachfront developments in France and the Dominican Republic — described in a federal lawsuit as worthless and costing two women $350,000 — have the support of four Yuba County investors.

"The current status of my investment is consistent with the current global economic conditions," their statements read in part. "With time the performance on my investment will improve."

Support for the developments follows a federal lawsuit by two women in Yuba County who said their funds were obtained in 2007 "without any intent or reasonable expectation" to repay them. Edith Minne and Bonnie Lohmann seek a court order requiring payment of the $350,000 the two women said they lost with their investment.

The declarations by foothill residents Diane Bouchard, Mihal Algui [Mihai Algiu, aka Algiu Mihai] and Roland and Madeleine Knappe supporting the Stroomwell Investment Group were filed March 25 in federal court in Sacramento.

Oregon House resident Algiu, 33, said Tuesday that, "I have confidence I will get my money back."

He said he has bought two lots in the Dominican Republic project and met the developer about six months ago at a home in Oregon House.

According to the lawsuit filed in March against Stroomwell Investment and others, funds were solicited from the two women and at least eight additional members of a church. Attorney Abraham Goldman, who represents the women in their lawsuit, said it's fair to deduce that the church referred to in the lawsuit is the Fellowship of Friends, whose headquarters are in the foothill community of Oregon House.

Goldman said Wednesday that $500,000 to nearly $1 million has been taken from investors but not paid back.

"If they do pay people back, no one will be happier than me," he said. "I'm trying to get my clients' money back."

The attorney said every source of information about the funds, including banks, will be subpoenaed as part of the federal lawsuit.

Oregon House resident Algiu said he and others were Fellowship members when they invested but that "unrelated to this investment, some of the people have left and some stayed" in the Fellowship.

The declarations he and three others signed states, "my friendship and business relations with the defendants are independent of any relationship I have or have had with the church."

Traci Southwell, 36, who lives in Oregon House and is among those named in the lawsuit, said Tuesday that other investors — besides the four who stated their support for the beachfront projects — continue to back the real estate developments.

About 15 people are investors, whom Southwell described as "friends and family" — people "who can weather the different dips."

She said a June 30 hearing will be held in federal court on a request to dismiss the lawsuit.

Attorney Goldman said the defendants' legal filings are procedurally improper and doubts they'll succeed in their bid for dismissal.

"I don't think there's much chance any of it can be granted," he said.