One thing I know, that I know nothing. This is the source of my wisdom. Source: Socrates Philosopher of the 5th century BC.
This is an excellent starting point for any discussion and the perfect platform for readers to make their own assumptions of what is right and wrong about the challenges faced by the Pallaconian Brotherhood. Leonidas Inc in Melbourne Victoria. No names, other than my own will be used throughout the article. A copy of the article may be downloaded by clicking on: THE-BARE-FACTS-OF-LEONIDAS-TWO-FACES
It is important to me that I make mention that I am a proud Aussie (Australian) whose ancestors origins from a tiny rocky nation known as Hellas, otherwise known as Greece in the English speaking world. I have paid my respects to my mother and father who are still alive at 88 and 86, I continue to pay my dues to my wife and four great sons, I have paid my due to the various Australian Hellenic communities and finally I have done my bit to this nation we call home (Australia) by serving for 30 years in uniform. I don’t need further complications or negatives in my life, especially at a time when we as a family have endured much during the past few years.
The Pallaconian Brotherhood Leonidas has its original roots in an era where doors were closed, English was not spoken, and fear coupled with ignorance were magnets that were manipulated by the strong, who wielded them skilfully to their advantage. The initial Brotherhood was created to involve all Lakonians no matter where they lived within the State of Victoria. Many of the originals have since passed away, but their legacy still lives on the hearts and minds of the generations that followed them. Many of those who grew up in the fifties, sixties and seventies have vivid memories of those years and it’s only the years that have condemned them to the past. A past so well hidden and forgotten that it would take an Alexander the great to cut the Gordian knot.
The Pallaconian Brotherhood Leonidas went through a number of phases, each transplanting the other in a layer of new blood, technology, knowledge power and influence. While each stage was enriched and developed by the introduction of new blood, there is no doubt in my mind that passion and love of ones heritage were the driving forces. From my point of view, I am of the belief that there are three main stages: 1961 – 1988, 1988 – 2014 and finally 2014 to the present. Without appearing egotistical or self-centred, I make mention of the last because it was in 2014 when I took on the role of President; changes were made in order to usher in a new era of young men and women and to prepare the Brotherhood for the youth of today. I monitored the Youth Group and members of the Dance Group for five years wondering at what stage they should take over and what could be done over a two year period to prepare the Youth and the Lakonians within the dance group to take over. Therefore I began to search to identify suitable individuals to form a new Committee of Management and part of my strategy was that I promised to remain on the Committee for two years only, a promise that I kept.
Once the search was over, I had to ensure that the team that would work well together in a cohesive group, given responsibilities, supported by me personally, pay respects to the elderly and to those who had come before us, respect the collective wisdom of the Gerousia and listen to the concerns of the youth that were playing at that time an inactive role. I wanted to create a learning organisation that was able to weather any storm and sustain and overcome the challenges of the future. I am pleased to say that within two months the Committee of Management surpassed all of our expectations and forged ahead with projects, concepts unlike those of the past. The leadership programme was one of the successful concepts implemented in preparing the young for leadership positions. Every one of the coordinators or event managers was personally supported by me no matter the criticism levelled at them and I certainly made sure that all events had made a tidy profit, even if I as a sponsor contributed out of my own pocket. After all that is what is expected of a leader.
Unfortunately with all successful learning organisations they do have their negatives to contend with and disaster struck at the helm. I was cut down with the deadliest of cancers of which at that time the cure was not available. Suffice to say, members of the executive and other members of the Committee visited me in the Olivia Newton John cancer and wellbeing Centre at the Austin Hospital where meetings were held and discussions taking place. In fact I was prepared to step down if the long term prognosis meant life was to be cut short. To cut a long story short, many people had a lot to do with my eventual remission and recovery, bringing me back from the abyss of despair and me, for one, I am truly thankful. However at this stage I must point out that despite being in and out of hospital, everyone one of the coordinators was supported to the hilt with funds from my own resources and not allowed to fail.
I came out of hospital after my treatment and was at home resting at home. I received a number calls that the Sydney Street Party was floundering and need help. I did not hesitate and made my way down to Brunswick. The past President had apparently arrived earlier, criticised the coordinator and did not help at all, while another unnamed volunteer also criticised the setup. Meanwhile the other coordinator was at the Shrine following my instructions regarding the March of Greek Independence. One member on the contingent (married to the agitator at the Sydney road festival) attempted to undermine the instructions but the coordinator remained true and steadfast.
At one stage, I came out of hospital to attend a Committee of Management when I was met with a past President who came announced and wanted to be in on the meeting. I refused on the grounds of not being told in advance, his presence was intimidating to the ladies present, past precedent set by himself that all meetings were closed except by a request in advance and finally that that we had urgent and confidential business. When he refused I said I have no hesitation in ringing the Police station to remove him. He responded by saying that “do you know who you are dealing with and stop hiding behind your illness (cancer)”. Mind you, I did look very pale, no hair on my body, lost weight and did not look the best. After some hesitation on his part, the past President left the building and we continued with our meeting
On the 19 September 2016 notices were posted to members, along with the financial statements, achievements and also a nomination form. A week later we were advised by concerned members that we had made an error on the notices and it need correction. Upon receiving this information, we contacted Neos Kosmos, TA NEA, 3 XY, word of mouth, on the Brotherhood website and also another notice the many elderly that attended the Tuesday Luncheons. Therefore corrective action was taken. The past president however had other ideas and wrote a letter pointing out a number perceived anomalies which had already been corrected. A suitable response was provided to the past President.
The Annual General Meeting (AGM) on the 9 October 2016, a total of 107 members had entered the building. As the President of the Brotherhood I was of the opinion that it was an abysmal failure from where I was sitting. For reasons unknown to me at the time, the meeting had been carefully orchestrated to fail by a group of renegades whom have now surfaced as the engineers and drivers against progress, the constitution; and the resolutions by members as well as going against the majority show of hands to open the ballot on that day. Sad to report that it was the same past President who became the presiding Annual General Meeting President after another member had declined the offer. This past President was advised by me that there was no quorum but was overruled. This same past President was advised by me that the minutes could be passed and I was overruled on the grounds that they had not been signed. Then when he gagged the Vice President of the AGM and many others, I showed him the minutes that he had not signed on a previous occasion. At this point he became flustered, lost his self-esteem, blundered and looked incompetent.
During the same meeting the Committee of Supervision were elected. Four men and one woman with two reserves. When the members asked that the ballot box be opened in accordance with past resolutions and past precedent set by the presiding President, he refused. At that moment, the elderly ringleader withdrew from the Committee of Supervision, followed by one of the reserves who spot was taken up by the Vice president of the day. This meant that the Committee of Supervision now comprised of three original elected member and the two reserves. Once this matter was completed, a member in the audience asked that the ballot box be opened.
A vote was taken and the Vice President counted 67 hands (majority) while I counted 65 as I had taken into account that two members were not associated with Lakonian heritage and were therefore ineligible to vote. Suffice to say, attempts to open to open the ballot box was not adhered to by the presiding President and he closed the meeting despite three matters of general business were yet to be heard. The presiding President had therefore not only failed to listen to the will of the majority, he failed to follow past resolutions and his own precedents.
The following Monday I conducted an Extraordinary meeting in accordance with the constitution to analyse and review the conduct of the presiding President and that of the Committee of Supervision with emphasis on why the ballot box was not opened when the majority of members had voted for it. As we entered the building we found to our surprise the Committee of Supervision (less the Vice President who was a reserve) as well as the three members who had withdrawn and the presiding President. As President I sent three envoys to the Committee of Management to ask, question and to find out why and what was the purpose of the members who had withdrawn and that of the presiding President were doing sitting on the Committee of Supervision. In each case the envoys were met with the response that they were following the constitution.
Between Monday 10 October to until Friday 14 October 2016, correspondence was sent by email and by mail to the Secretary of the Committee of Supervision advising them that they had erred by not posting the results of the ballot box and not advising the public in accordance with the Constitution. All correspondence was ignored. Communication between the two groups escalated into a war of words each believing that they were following the constitution. Unfortunately the Committee of Supervision felt that they were above the Committee of Management and did not have to listen to them which is contrary to that of the constitution. One individual who had withdrawn from the Committee of Management, made statements in Public in the Oakleigh shopping precinct advising one and all of what he and others were doing on the Committee of supervision. This was a bad judgement call on his behalf that would later cost him dearly
On Friday 14 October 2016, seeking to unravel this complex issue, I called for another Extraordinary meeting drawing upon the wisdom of the ancient past and my knowledge of ancient Sparta. I had always been a student of history and knew my history well. I invited the Committee of Supervision, past Presidents, past Secretaries, the Committee of Management and the President of the Elderly to a meeting of the Committee of Management to assist me to find the best solution to the problem facing the Brotherhood. Two members of the Committee of Management attended the Extraordinary meeting, one of whom just happened to be the President of the elderly.
At that meeting, both members of the Committee of Supervision advised those present that the prior to the box been opened they had received one nomination withdrawal. When they opened the ballot box they found 16 nominations, and by discarding one due to the withdrawal meant that there were 15 nominations to form a Committee of Management without going to elections. It was alleged that these nominations were torn up and destroyed for reasons unknown to others. At this point in time, the two members of the Committee of Supervision were asked if they had received any correspondences from the secretary of the committee of Supervision to which they both responded as NO. They were then shown resolutions passed as Annual general Meetings in the years 2008, 2009 and 2010 as well as notices sent out by the presiding President of the Annual General Meeting. Both members of the Committee of Supervision responded that they were not aware of the resolutions and nor were they brought to their attention by the secretary of the Committee of Supervision.
Both members of the Committee of Supervision were shown the articles in the constitution dealing with resolutions and both responded that they were not aware of its provisions and that they were following what they were being advised. Finally they were shown copies of the original nominations (which I had made be fire they placed into the ballot box) and they were authenticated and identified by both members of the Committee of Supervision as being true and correct. At the end I asked both members of the Committee of Supervision whether members of the brotherhood and the Committee of Management were bound by the constitution and its resolutions. Both members agreed that was the case. I therefore asked why then does not the Committee of Supervision do likewise or are they above the Constitution and that of the Resolutions. At this question both men were silent and said nothing.
Discussion took place and copies of the nominations were given to one member of the Committee of Supervision. In addition to show my good faith and keep my promise, I also handed in my withdrawal from the Committee Management. This then made it only 14 nominations to form a new Committee of Management. A motion was put forward to expel temporarily the individual who made public statements in Oakleigh, failing to respond to the Committee of Management requests and unbecoming of a member of the Brotherhood. Motioned seconded and carried unanimously. In addition a motion was put forward to accept the nominations as presented and authenticated by the two members of the Committee of Supervision as true and correct and to implement procedures to accept them as the new Committee of Management. The motion was seconded and carried unanimously. In addition it was agreed that a letter be sent to the Committee of Supervision denying them access to the premises and to cease any further activity. Furthermore it was agreed that an advertisement would be sent to Neos Kosmos advertising the new Committee of Membership and put a stop to the illegal advertisement calling for elections on the 19 November 2016.
On the Sunday, quite a number of unexplained coincidences occurred. Telephone discussions regarding the opening of the Brotherhood premises took place between the President elect and the Dance Group Liaison Officer. On reflection it appears that a whole series of coincidences occurred on that day that were to have disastrous outcomes. It was a coincidence that the Dance Group Liaison Officer asked the new President to open the doors to the Brotherhood earlier upon which it was agreed to by the President elect. It was by a strange coincidence that the renegade group were spotted attending the premises around the same time as the request was made to open earlier. By another strange coincidence the President rang the Dance Group Liaison Officer to tell him that he was taking his elderly mother to the hospital and requested that the he the dance group Liaison Officer advise the students and parents that the Dance group would have to be cancelled for the one day of the year.
Unfortunately the Dance Group Liaison Officer took it upon himself NOT to advise the students of dance or the parents of the closure and in doing so caused an uproar by the parents and students alike. It was not surprising that people were upset and I was advised of this by a member of the previous Committee of Management who brought it to my attention. What was of interest on that particular day was the illegal activities were being conducted in front of the Brotherhood where a cardboard box had been placed. At the end of the day the card board box was opened and 14 names were withdrawn of which they were allegedly called to be another Committee of Management, this time made up by a group of renegades. The following week an email was sent to the President advising him to meet so that a handover/takeover could be conducted, a meeting which of course was not attended by either group and the matter became a farce.
On the Monday 31 October 2016, I visited a member of the Committee of Supervision and we spoke for approximately three hours on the matter regarding the Committee of Supervision, the Committee of Management and the renegade group. At the end of the discussions, this courageous individual, being the same person who had advised the Committee of Management on Friday 14 October 2016 that the Committee of supervision has misled and made serious errors of judgement that were not in the interest of the Brotherhood, signed the Transfer Hand/Over Take/Over deed, recognising the current Committee of Management as the legitimate governing body.
During the following week, word was received via three different sources that a renegade group of individuals were to congregate at the Pallaconian premises and create a disturbance to attract attention to themselves and upset the Dance group. One of the sources has now joined the renegade group. I had great respect for him at one stage but due to his interference with Brotherhood matters, I lost my respect for him. He has Messenian origins and is now attacking me on social media via his Facebook profile. It is not difficult to track him down. This vital piece of information was relayed back to the renegade group using various means of communication. In addition, Public statement were made via the Press releases on the Brotherhood website to communicate and telegraph to the renegades what was to be expected.
This information was misused, misinterpreted, twisted and manipulated to express untruths and lies. All of these were found on a number of social media face book profiles, one of which was named Leonidas Lakonas, another Pallaconian Liberation Organisation (PLO) and other likeminded profiles. NOT ONE OF THE POSTS HAD ANY SKERRIT OF TRUTH. In fact they even scandalised , manipulated and misused information from my own website turning the information to trash and accusing me of being a bully, right wing fascist, attempting to oust the local Greek lad from Moreland City Council, amongst many other matters. ALL UNTRUE.
The next moment I find myself being embroiled in matters that I had nothing to do with and yet I was being blamed for every incident that was occurring. If I did not have a thick skin, then I would probably have been stressed out unnecessarily. I have also been blamed for stopping the Dance group from attending a major event, that I am responsible for dismembering the Dance group, that I am against the Youth Group, that I want to create the Third Reich and rule for the next ten years, that I want to rule as the figure head and have puppets under me. The filth was just amazing and so unbelievable that the only good thing about it is that it attracted more members that wanted to support the legitimate Committee of Management currently governing the Brotherhood.
The following Sunday, the premises were open and who should rock up by the group of renegades. Intimidation, veiled threats, damage to property, shouting, abusive language, screaming, interfering and involving the students of dance and shirt fronting members and the President of the Committee of Management. One of the assistant dance instructors was screaming that she was a lawyer, the Dance instructor intimidated the President by his attempts to shirt front him and asking questions that were none of his business. Both instructors are paid for by the Brotherhood and their behaviour was intolerable. It is of interest to note that the Dance Instructor has resigned and has criticised the current legitimate President. The President reported the matter to the Police and made a statement and a press release was placed on the Brotherhood website.
An advertisement appeared on Thursday 17 November 2016 stating a new Committee of Management had been elected. Everyone found this to be amusing as members of the Brotherhood had not received any notices at all. In response the President conducted an emergency meeting of the Executive and decided to expel (temporarily) the individuals whose names appeared in the Neos Kosmos as the renegade committee. This decision taken was in accordance with the provisions and powers bestowed upon the by the Committee of Management on the Wednesday 9 November 2016. That same day, letters were posted to those members whose name s appeared on the Neos Kosmos advertisement.
On the Sunday, to safe guard the students of dance, the parents and guardians, security guards were employed and given instructions to be low key and refuse entry only to non-students of dance. When the President attended, he was approached by the Dance teacher and handed his resignation which was duly accepted. I must say that in viewing the letter, it was not very flattering. This same dance teacher has a degree in computer engineering and it is alleged, it is possible that the dance group teacher may also have contributed to the Facebook pages Leonidas Lakonas and Pallaconian Liberation Organisation profiles. On the same day, one member of the renegade group who was a past member of the previous Committee of Management sent an email to the President advising him that the Brotherhoods Bank accounts had been frozen
As the Brotherhood Consumer Affairs delegate, I visited both banks and provided them with legal documentation, appraising them of the true situation and to expect a visit from the Executive the following day. This was duly followed up and the matter was finalised. The Brotherhood legal representative was advised and instructed to write to the banks to ensure all matters had been finalised. I found it rather sad that as an organisation the Committee of Management had to go to extraordinary lengths to ensure the security and integrity of the organisation. In hindsight, I blame myself for the oversight in the original notice, even though it was corrected and in accordance with the Constitution. It would appear that no matter what corrective action was taken, the Committee of Management is now forced to take extraordinary measures to defend itself against the group of renegades of whom some are not even members. A VERY SAD DAY INDEED FOR THE BROTHERHOOD.
On the following Tuesday the renegade group visited the Elderly Group Luncheon where they were told in no uncertain terms by the President of the elderly that the day was for the elderly and he wanted no commotion. Unfortunately raising of voices, intimidation of the elderly, making a nuisance of themselves, damage to property and making threats of legal action. The Committee of Management changed the locks on all the doors, replaced the damaged signs, public notices and made good any other damages. The President upon being advised reported the matter to the Police and made another statement.
On the Wednesday an attempt to change the Brotherhood delegate at Consumer Affairs was discovered and appropriate legal documents passed onto Consumers Affairs. Corrective action taken and the legal representatives advised o the attempted hampering by an expelled individual. As a result of all the above, I decided to write the Neos Kosmos expressing my dismay and disgust at those individuals who were attracting negative publicity towards the Brotherhood. The article appeared on page 20 of the Thursday edition of the Neos Kosmos.
Today is Friday 25 November 2016 and I am not going to be surprised by anything the renegade group does. I find it laudable and I must say am glad I have a thick skin and that I am confident of my abilities to see matters to the end. No individual of the Brotherhood is above the Constitution, the Resolutions and certainly not above the laws of this land. I am not interested in power, I have no personal ambitions, I don’t have to prove anything to anyone, and I am not responsible for 99% of what is occurring as it is all fed and fuelled by ignorance, fear and of the unknown. I just want to contribute to the maintenance of Hellenism in this country (Australia) by abiding to its laws, institutions, traditions, culture and above all its security and longevity. I want to be left alone and to contribute as much as I can, while I can and live whatever life God has granted me left. I want to enjoy writing about life and to sit under my two olive trees in my place of birth, Pellana, Lakonia, Greece; with a cold glass of beer or wine and watch the world go by.
Post Script: As for all this publicity I must confess that it may be flattering for some but not for me. I hope that those who read this will come to their senses and realise that they have erred in their judgement of me. Life is full of surprises, but the journey should not have to be made difficult for one’s self or to others. I hope for everyone’s sake, that sanity, good will and reconciliation become messengers of good faith. On Saturday 26 November 2016. I have since been advised that the two offensive Facebook sites have been removed by Facebook. I am pleased by their actions and without knowing who was involved in their removal, I must thank them regardless. I have responded to one member by email and wait for a response to ascertain whether the matter has been finalised. I believe that enough has been said.
I have been as concise and as honest as my memory serves me and as I will go on living knowing that my conscience is clear. Any errors are mine and mine alone. As always, apologies for the savagery of the English language and as for the grammar, please make your own corrections.