The tax man approacheth.
Imagine answering the door to find IRS criminal investigators, badges on belts next to holstered guns, serving search warrants after they read a U.S. Attorney’s description of your group as having guys in nearly every club nationwide who gets prostitutes for your weekend parties.
This is a partial list of names of those in charge of such groups from the nonprofit tax returns of the Royal Order of Jesters, the Shriners’ secret sub-group, currently under investigation for sex trafficking, prostitution and child sex tourism.
The Shriners are best known for operating 22 hospitals that now take insurance for previously free medical care for burned and crippled children.
Memberships go like this. One must first be a Master Mason prior to joining groups like the Scottish Rite, the Knights Templar or the Shriners. One must then be a Shriner before joining the Jesters, secretly. There are about 23,500 Jesters organized into "courts" that correspond to the 191 Shriner temples located across North America.
The Jesters were described in a federal complaint against a former Erie County deputy Sheriff in their own self-titled section:
“The Royal Order of Jesters (“ROJ”) is a worldwide fraternal organization whose membership is limited to individuals invited to join by other members. The motto of the ROJ is ‘mirth is king.’ The ROJ has local chapters or ‘courts.’ On occasion, a local court or group of local courts in the same geographical area sponsor social gatherings known as ‘books of the play’ or ‘books.’ The sponsoring courts organize the ‘books’ and arrange for food, lodging, and entertainment at the ‘books.’ The ROJ also sponsors a yearly national ‘book,’ the equivalent of a national convention. In April, 2005, the Jester’s national book was held in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada.
As set forth below, a typical feature of a ‘book of the play’ is the presence of prostitutes (‘Jester Girls’) who engage in commercial sex acts with members of the ROJ. Arrangements for the prostitutes are generally made by the organizer of the ‘books,’ or the region hosting the national ‘book.’ On occasion, individual Jesters make arrangements to transport prostitutes to ‘books.’”
The short version?
Prostitution at tax payer expense.
BTW, the former Jester sheriff is going to be sentenced April 5 after pleading guilty to knowing about the felony of “the transportation of individuals in interstate or foreign commerce with the intent that such individuals engage in prostitution” but not reporting it to the proper authorities. He got caught driving a limo full of prostitutes from the Buffalo International Airport to a national Jester convention held in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Court documents describe how transportation logistics were coordinated between “representatives of the national organization” and Buffalo Jesters, including the former New York State Supreme Court Judge who just finished his 18 month prison sentence for coordinating prostitutes for Jester meetings in Kentucky, Florida, New York, Pennsylvania and Canada.
As we get ready to fill out our returns, these guys continue cheating the system and hoodwinking us taxpayers. They expect us to make up for the taxes they don’t pay, like property tax. And since the Jesters’ exempt purpose is to spread the gospel of mirth and merriment, they write off their party expenses.
This Jester fraternal return shows the revenue from membership and assessments = $546,156. Revenue from the Book of the Play = $578,074. Expenses for the Book of the Play = $594,938.
These guys think nothing of spending nearly $600,000 on a weekend party.
That’s over $12,000 an hour.
Then they overspent by -$16,564.
As Jesters deduct their membership dues and contributions on their individual tax returns, the national group and groups nationwide raise the money needed to pay for their “Book of the Play,” described by the feds above.
The first ever article about this phony fraternity, “Jesters Exposed,” describes how the Marion County Assessor rejected a property tax exemption after not being able to determine if the new Jester headquarters building met museum guidelines. The Jesters appealed the denial and convinced the tax appeal board to grant the exemption because the Royal Order of Jesters is an appendant body of Masonry.
Did the Jesters mislead the tax appeals board by confusing the apples of being a charity (501c3) with the oranges of being a fraternity (501c10)? Are the Jesters misleading the IRS about their charitable purpose of housing a museum after it was rejected by the Marion County Assessor?
Tax return information from both national Jester groups can be found under “Indiana.” This list is organized by state, Jester court and data from each year’s return including contact information, income, Jester officers and unusual expenses.
Out of 59 Jester returns cited, 26 don’t lose money. Thirty returns show losses and three courts show losses for all years. These are Phoenix #17, Oakland #6 and Evansville #102.
Sorting through this list of tedious info can be fun in a “Where’s Waldo?” kind of way. If you find anyone you know on the list, especially if they’re in the judiciary or law enforcement, comment below.
ROJ Court #75
124 South Main, Arab, Alabama 35106 1-256-586-4111
2004 Gregory J. Cook Impresario, Forrest Knowles Leading man, Robert Utley Treasurer, Charles Lamar Tragedian, Ted Ryan Director. Income $10,440. Loss for year -$3,198. Conference expenses $9,214.
Nothing listed for exempt purpose.
ROJ Court Birmingham #127
3617 Wyngate Lane, Birmingham, Alabama 35242 1-205-966-1701
2009 P.V. Greggerson, Jr. Director, Roger Scott Leading man, John Lee Treasurer. Income $63,854. Loss for year -$6,688. Convention expense $63,126.
2008 Chet Hayes Director, P.V. Greggerson Jr. Leading man, John Lee Treasurer. Income $82,478. Loss for the year -$22,496. Convention expense $98,017.
2007 Miles Huffstutler Director, Fred Slaney Leading man, John Lee Treasurer. Income $82,417. Convention expense $67,693.
ROJ Court Montgomery #96
2007 address PO Box 1604 Millbrook, Alabama 36054 1-334-285-5428
2007 990 signed by James Clyde Wiggins Jr. No income, expenses, or liabilities listed.
2006 address 6252 Moon Rd. Columbus, Georgia 31909 1-706-568-4481
2006 990 signed by Jeffrey P. Johnson Impresario. No income, expenses or liabilities listed.
2005 address 2325 Winchester Ct. Montgomery, Alabama 36106-3331 1-334-277-5967
2005 990 signed by George A. Walker Impresario.
ROJ Court Polar #182
35555 Kenai Spur Hwy, PMB #330 Soldotna, AK 99669 1-907-344-7516
2008 Robert G. Homoleski Impresario, Mark Leaf Director, Fred V. Angleton Leading man, Gene Browning, Treasurer. Income $55,772. Loss for the year -$11,268. Convention expense $67,040 to “Present annual gathering to promote mirth and fun among the organization’s members and guests.” Organization’s Mission: “Fraternal Orgn promoting fun and mirth.”
2007 Robert G. Homoleski Impresario, David Worel Director, Mark Leaf Leading man, Fred V. Angleton Treasurer. Income $84,573. Convention expense $73,526.
2006 Robert G. Homoleski Impresario, Donald A. Witsoe Director, David Worel Leading man, Fred V. Angleton Treasurer. Income $52,715. Convention expense $38,961.
ROJ Court Phoenix #17
POB 32728 Phoenix, AZ 85064 1-480-948-3202
Organization’s mission: To operate under the bylaws of the National Organization of the Royal Order of Jesters.
2009 Bob Hicklin Impresario, Tommy Royden Director, Charlie Grindstaff Leading man, Bruce McDonald Tragedian, Wayne Marsh Treasurer. Income $97,898. Loss for the year -$56,890. Book of the Play $99,160. Director expense $4,742.
2008 Bob Hicklin Impresario, Tommy Royden Director, Charlie Grindstaff Leading man, Bruce McDonald Tragedian, Wayne Marsh Treasurer. Income $99,155. Loss for the year -35,181. Book of the Play $97,298. Director expense $5,102.
2007 Bob Hicklin Impresario, Jerry Hollis Impresario, Michael Grenz Director, Don Claxton Director, Tommy Royden Treasurer, Vern Hicklin Secretary. Income $164,708. Loss for the year -$32,395. Book of the Play $109,284.
ROJ Court Little Rock #012
PO Box 2677 Little Rock, AR 72203 1-501-374-6422
2009 Glenn Grimes Impresario, Gary Higginbotham Director, William Paul Lawson Treasurer. Income $25,144. Book of the Play $11,731. Dining $1,120.
2008 Glenn Grimes Impresario, David Lee Director, William Paul Lawson Treasurer. Income $25,877. Loss for the year -$961. Book of the Play $13,915.
2007 Glenn Grimes Impresario, Wayne Ray Director, William Paul Lawson Treasurer. Income $62,213. Book of the Play $40,165.
ROJ Court Long Beach #161
2009, 2008 address 2601 Saturn St. #210 Brea, CA 92821-6702 1-714-871-2422
2009 Mike Smith President, Beyn Schwing Vice-President, Dale Closson Secretary. Income $79,012. Expenses $77,251.
2008 Larry Lee President, Beyn Schwing Vice-President, Dale Closson Secretary. Income $80,027. Expenses $77,085.
2007 Lew Main President, Larry Lee Vice-President, Dale Closson Secretary. Income $91,342. Loss for the year -$6,812. Expenses $98,155.
2007 address 2600 Nutwood Ave. #200 Fullerton, CA 92831-3105, same as address listed for David L. Bates, Bates Coughtry Riess LLP CPAS, paid tax preparer.
ROJ Court Fresno #157
c/o Jonathan W. Higgins, 4524 N. Manila Fresno, CA 93727 1-559-284-1493
Organization’s primary purpose: Faternal.
2009 Jonathan W. Higgins Impresario, T.A. Heckel Director. Income $104,839.24. Loss for year -$2,755.16. Expenses for monthly and other meetings $105,891.02.
2008 Jonathan W. Higgins Impresario, David Pitts Director. Income $118,876.75. Loss for year -$6,616. 49. Expenses for monthly and other meetings $122,840.16.
2006 Jonathan W, Higgins Impresario, Louis Jelinek Director. Income $120,064.32. Expenses for monthly and other meetings $85,892.16. Christmas party $21,499,46.
ROJ Court Sacramento # 119
c/o Larry Harris 6744 Garmire Road Meridian, CA 96957 1-530-696-2355
2009 Larry Harris Impresario, Harold Barker Director, Ted McCade Leading man, Guy Harris Tragedian, Gary Disher Treasurer. Income $102,885. Fraternal events $74,581.
ROJ Court Los Angeles #84
Exempt purpose: Social events for members and guests.
c/o Gordon Hoyt Jr. 1255 Harbor Lake Ave, Brea, CA 92821 1-562-945-5443
2008 Gordon Hoyt Jr. Impresario, Marc Brauer Director, Larry Clement Leading Man, Steve Nauertz Tragedian, Norman C. Wintjen Treasurer. Income $165,328. Event expenses $135,459.
2007 Gordon Hoyt Jr. Impresario, Curtis D. Porterfield Director, Marc Brauer Leading Man, Larry Clement Tragedian, Steve Nauertz Treasurer. Income $128,823. Loss for year -$6,745. Social events receipts $86,095. Social Events expenses $109,186. Loss from social events -$23,091.
2006 Gordon Hoyt Impresario, Don Aston Director, Curtis Porterfield Leading Man, Marc Brauer Tragedian, Larry Clement Treasurer. Income $100,631. Social events expenses $56,214.
ROJ Court Oakland #6
c/o James L. Sloneker 367 Conway Drive Danville, CA 94526 1-925-820-2024
2009 Sam Smith Jr. Impresario, Gary Kenst Director, James L. Sloneker Treasurer. Income $40,511. Securities $168,254. Change in assets - $7,501.
2008 Mark Manlove Impresario, Gary Kenst Director, James L. Sloneker Treasurer. Income $45,543. Securities $153,239. Loss -$46,407.
2007 Mark Manlove Impresario, Greg Rapp Director, James L. Sloneker Treasurer. Income $49,146. Securities $175,147. Loss -$23,189.
ROJ Court Denver #138
2389 Van Gordon St. Lakewood, CO. 1-303-237-6127
2009 Duane Hess President, Chuck Petersen VP, Tom Woodworth Secretary, Jack Patten Treasurer. Income $64,730. Expenses $66,121. Loss for year -$1,391. Charitable donation $125.
2008 Lee MacDonald President, Duane Hess VP, Claude Akridge Secretary, Jack Patten Treasurer. Income $71,055. Charitable donation $125.
ROJ Court Springfield #144
C/O James Kocot, 76 Blue Ridge Dr., Somers, CT. 06071-1027 1-860-749-3884
2009 James W. Kocot Impresario, Robert D. Waltermire Director, Stanley B. Rubinstein Treasurer. Income $100,191. Net income summary -$2,579.
2008 James W. Kocot Impresario, Alan C. Garlick Director, Stanley B. Rubinstein Treasurer. Income $100,510. Loss for the year -$2,799.
2007 James W. Kocot Impresario, James R. Spear Director, Stanley B. Rubinstein Treasurer. Income $123,498. Membership 120.
ROJ Court DiMaryp Ct. #66
150 Vincent St. Milford Ct. 06460
2008 mission: Pyramid Shriners Children’s Hospitals. 96 members. Balance -6,447.
2008 John Reynolds Impresario, James Reed Director.
2007 John Reynolds Impresario, William F. Knipp Director. Securities $22,656.
2006 John Reynolds Impresario, William F. Knipp Director. 2006 Gross receipts $43,193.
ROJ Court Hartford #141
3 Cottonwood Court Graney, CT 06035-2416 1-860-658-2266
2009 John C. Kuzmak Impresario, Adolph F. Matiz Director, Kenneth A. Barrett Treasurer. Barrett also provided home address as Jester HQ and signed tax return. Revenue $34,380. Expenses $29,942.
2008 John C. Kuzmak Impresario, Frederick E. Cramer Director, Kenneth A. Barrett Treasurer. Revenue $34,803. Expenses $33,474 including Pins, Badges, Meetings $25,047.
2007 John C. Kuzmak Impresario, Joseph Kusso Director, Kenneth A. Barrett Treasurer. Revenue $44,519. Expenses $34,056 including meetings $26,017.
ROJ Court Orlando #166
1046 Crestwood Commons Avenue Ocoee, FL 34761 1-407-222-8934
2009 Denis West Impresario, Scott E. Shearer Director, Ben Benham Leading Man, Roger D. Markham Tragedian, Robert G. Woodall Treasurer. Income $72,182. Meetings and conventions $43,558.
2008 Denis West Impresario, Paul Hyam Director, Ben Benham Tragedian, Scott E. Shearer Leading Man, Robert G. Woodall Treasurer. Income $35,683. Loss for year -$19,017. Meetings & conventions $46,082.
2007 Denis West Impresario, Paul Hyam Leading Man, Thom H. Weekley Director, Scott E. Shearer Tragedian, Robert G. Woodall Treasurer. Income $68,377. Meetings & conventions $51,188.
ROJ Court Tampa # 89
402 North Howard Ave. Tampa, FL 33606
Program Service accomplishments: “Happiness and mirth was spread throughout the realm.”
2008 William G. Gainer Impresario, Cliff Curry Director, Harry B. Forehand Tragedian, Lawton W. Thatcher Leading man, John J. Faircloth, Treasurer. Income $177,900. Conferences and meetings $161,458. Gifts $969.
2007 William G. Gainer Impresario, Cliff Curry Leading man, William T. Branch Director, Lawton W. Thatcher Tragedian, John J. Faircloth Treasurer. Income $152,710. Loss for the year -$17,019. Conferences and meetings $153,781. Gifts $715.
2006 William G. Gainer Impresario, Cliff Curry Tragedian, William T. Branch Leading man, H. Cal Henderson Director, John J. Faircloth Treasurer. Income $152,710. Loss for the year -$2,868. Conferences and meetings $148.260. Gifts $367.
National Court of the Royal Order of Jesters
c/o Alex Rogers 5725 Liberty Crossing Dr. Indianapolis, IN 46254 1-313-295-1313
Organization’s 501c10 fraternal mission: “Promoting fellowship and fraternalism and extending assistance and good cheer to others.”
2008 John T. Stafford Royal Impresario, Scutter Newton Royal Stage Manager, Kent E. Morstad Royal Heavy Man, William H. Kemple III Royal Property Man, James M. Lake PRD Royal Treasurer, Gary M. Martin Royal Director, William Siders Royal Leading Man, Robert S. Haynes Royal Tragedian, Robert R. Armstrong Royal Leading Lady, Alex Rogers Business Administrator.
2008 Revenue $941,859. Net assets $1,664,673. Book of the Play $235,137. Consulting $85,169. Director expense $20,928. Advertising and promotion $72,038. Insurance $33,732. Director compensation $59,300.
2007 Robert S. Haynes Royal Impresario, John T. Stafford Royal Stage Manager, Taylor E. Best Royal Director, Robert R. Armstrong Royal Property Manager, James M. Lake PRD Royal Treasurer, Gary M. Martin Royal Leading Man, William Siders Royal Tragedian, Samuel Newton Royal Leading Lady, Alex Rogers Business Administrator.
2007 gross receipts $2,879,402. Net assets $1,642,997. Book of the Play $326,414. Director expense $23,533. Director compensation $59,300. Rituals $13,032. Loss for the year -$155,232.
When is the last time you deducted “rituals?”
Scutter Newton is listed on this witness list. He links the national Jester organization to the former fishing tour operator indicted by the Brazilian Federal Police for rape, using minors in a prostitution network, and violating indigenous rights.
International Royal Order of Jesters, INC
5725 Liberty Crossing Drive Indianapolis, Indiana 46254 1-317-295-1313
Organization’s 501c3 charitable purpose is “Extending assistance and good cheer to others. Providing a museum for items and articles of mirth, comedy and laughter.”
2008 Hugh Libby President, Ray Thagard Vice President, George Burt Secretary, Ray Grannis, Treasurer, James White Board Member, Alex Rogers, Executive Director. Rogers gets $11,277 Compensation, $15,500 Deferred Compensation.
2008 receipts $75,709. Net assets $1,453,435. Land, buildings $963,162. Membership dues and assessments $64,877. Gifts, grants contributions for 2004 - $446,236, 2005 - $449,393, 2006 - $411,315, 2007 - $303,150, 2008 - $140,586. Functional Expenses $151,259. Land, $1,029,577. Telephone $0.
“The organization received revenues for the construction of a Jester monument that will help to promote the organization’s mission.” $55,337.
2007 Hugh Libby President, Ray Thagard Vice President, George Burt Secretary, Ray Grannis Treasurer, James White Board Member, Henry Everett Board Member, Alex Rogers Executive Director.
2007 receipts $334,609. Net assets $1,430,812. Land, buildings $1,029,577. Membership dues and assessments $76,453. Gifts, grants contributions for 2004 - $446,236, 2005 - $449,393, 2006 - $411,315. Functional Expenses $69,689. Land, $1,029,577. Stone & brick engraving $14,529. Telephone $0.
2006 Gary N. Martin President, William Siders Secretary, Robert H. Haynes, Treasurer, Dennis R. Schueler Chairman, Robert C. Davis Board Member, James M. Lake Board Member, John T. Stafford Board Member, Alex Rogers, Executive Director, Gene Best Board Member.
2006 receipts $665,739. Net assets $1,415,892. Land, buildings $1,281,660. Gifts, grants contributions for 2004 - $446,236, 2005 - $449,393. Functional expenses $221,563. Land, $1,051,724. Building & Improvements, Furniture & Equipment $23,977. Building dedication $9,415. Telephone $0.
What kind of a museum doesn’t pay a phone bill?
ROJ Court Evansville #102
900 S. Meadow Road, Evansville, IN 47714 0664 1-812- 424-2104
2009 J. Ken Wendt Director, Joseph J. Vezzoso Jr. Impresario (same address as above), Charles R. McDonald Treasurer. Income $47,044. Membership dues $44,930. Loss from special events -$2,246. Meeting expense $34,728. Gifts $969.
Tax return asks in Part III, Statement of Program Service Accomplishments:
“What is the organization’s primary exempt purpose?”
“Describe what was achieved in carrying out the organization’s exempt purposes. In clear and concise manner, describe the services provided, the number of persons benefited, and other relevant information for each program title.”
Answer: “Not Required.”
2008 Address for Evansville Ct. 102 is listed as 6 Walnut St. This is the same address as the Hadi Shrine.
2008 J. Ken Wendt Director, Joseph J. Vezzoso Jr. Impresario, Charles R. McDonald Treasurer. Income $65,478. Loss -$4,974. Meeting expense $36,175. New candidate expense $2,250.
2007 Address same as Hadi Shrine.
2007 Charles R. McDonald Director, Joseph J. Vezzoso Jr. Impresario, Jack A. Strassweg Treasurer. Income $61,255. Loss -$12,031. Meeting expense $31,107. New candidate expense $844.
Special Events and Activities Statement
National Book lost -$3,976.
Golf Outing lost -$3,226.
Ladies Night -$4,829.
Total loss -$12,031.
A Google search for "Joe Vezzoso" reveals news stories he's involved with.
ROJ Court Capital #50
7500 Woodmont Avenue, Bethesda, MD 20814 1-202-253-3290
2009 Ernest N. Palmer Director, L. Blaine Charak Secretary (Same address as above), Alan L. Gordon, Treasurer. Income $39,897. Total expenses include regalia $2,471, office supplies #725, gifts $90.
2008 Emerick Debor Director, L. Blaine Charak Secretary, Alan L. Gordon, Treasurer. Income $49,948. Membership dues $11,724. Loss from special events -$13,471. Loss for year -$5,067. Total expenses include regalia $1,019, office supplies $337.
2007 Matthew D. Clarkson Director, L. Blaine Charak Secretary, Alan L. Gordon, Treasurer. Income $32,694. Membership dues $12,541. Total revenue$6.502. Loss for year -$1,543. Total expenses include regalia $3,147, office supplies $230.
Fraternal activities - Income $20,084. Expenses $26,192. Loss -$6,108.
These negative balances are surprising since L. Blaine Charak is the vice president of a commercial bank.
ROJ Court Minneapolis # 53
c/o Larry Messerli 6550 York Av. Edina, MN 55435 1-952-927-8350
2009 Tony Krall Representative, Terry Thiele Director, Mark Berg Impresario, Larry E. Messerli Treasurer, Ken Chambers Tragedian, Jon Hanson Representative. Income $78,508. Expenses $86,082. Loss for year -$8,211.
Hanson is a defendant in this Shriner case, just accepted by the Minnesota Court of Appeals.
2008 records temporarily offline.
2007 Larry E. Messerli Treasurer, Vernon S. Hoium Director. Income/membership dues and assessments $166,199. Expenses $166,788. Loss for year -$589.
Finally, national Jester officials have, since December, 2007, ignored four requests to provide tax returns as well as Form 1023, the group’s application for exemption. Special thanks to Guidestar.org for making nonprofit tax returns available to the public.