TemplarKeymasterJuly 7, 2014 at 6:33 pmPost count: 130
Above, Fernando de Sousa Fontes: SMOTJ Inc. v. de Sousa Fontes, case No. U.S.D.C. Texas No. 3-995CV-0890G
—————————– SMOTJ vs. de Sousa Fontes ——————–
Important Background Facts:
– “SMOTJ” stands for: “Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem”
– Today’s most visible SMOTJ (SMOTJ.org) list their founder and first Grand Prior on their website as: Grand Prior I: Chev. Crolian William Edelen (Deceased) Served 1962-1965 (http://smotj.org/index.php/grand-priors) Read more about Edelen here: http://www.theknightstemplar.org/forums/topic/crolian-william-edelen-1st-grand-prior-of-the-smotj-org/
– “OSMTH” stands for “Ordo Supremus Militaris Templi Hierosolymitani” and the “SMOTJ” referenced above is the United States chapter of the international “OSMTH”
Crolian William Edelen who claimed to be a “Count,” was the 1st Grand Prior and Founder of the SMOTJ.org in 1962
Fernando de Sousa Fontes was the Grand Master of the OSMTH-Regency/Porto (Ordo Supremus Militaris Templi Hierosolymitani). While Fontes’s rules stipulated that there should only be appointed one grand Prior per nation, he has had 6 different Grand Priories in the United States each representing a distinct and separate Grand Priory: under the ’62 SMOTJ, under the ’64 California SMOTJ started by Forest Ernest Barber (1)(2), under the ’69 St. Louis SMOTJ group, under the ’87 Grand Priory of the Scots founded by Col. Bill Bell which still exists today (see: http://www.theknightstemplar.org/forums/topic/grand-priory-of-the-scots-usa/ ), under Lowell Barker, and under Vince Zubras/Dr. Thomas Bozzuto (who are Fontes’s current recognized Grand Priory in the United States found at: http://knighttemplar.org/ ). The following was relayed to me by someone that had experienced these events first-hand, and while I believe their word, I can not personally attest to its accuracy as I did not experience these events myself. I was able to confirm most aspects of this account by speaking to a second witness who had also experienced these events first-hand, an American Attorney who was then under the authority of Fontes but who is no longer part of the Fontes group.
Fernando de Sousa Fontes was the Grand Master (since 1992 as he changed the statutes in 1990 to give himself that title after 903 days) of the SMOTJ/OSMTH K.T.I. When the SMOTJ (Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem) Grand Priory was starting to catch on to Fernando de Sousa Fontes’s greedy games, they started insulating and separating themselves from him. There are too many underhanded things that Fernando de Sousa Fontes had done to list here but you can read their grievances listed in 2003 by their first Grand Master, Sir Roy Redgrave: http://www.theknightstemplar.org/forums/topic/why-the-osmth-org-left-fernando-de-sousa-fontes/
Some of the highlights are listed in the lawsuit between the KTI/SMOTJ and de Sousa Fontes and included the misspending of a significant amount of the SMOTJ’s money (see the following lawsuit: SMOTJ Inc. v. de Sousa Fontes, case No. U.S.D.C. Texas No. 3-995CV-0890G). According to the June 5, 2003 statement of the former Grand Master of the OSMTH.org, Sir Roy Redgrave, Fontes’s United States Grand Priory (the SMOTJ.org) alone paid him $ 15,000 annually (Source: http://www.theknightstemplar.org/forums/topic/why-the-osmth-org-left-fernando-de-sousa-fontes/ ). In their archives, the SMOTJ.org records that they received official recognition from Fernando de Sousa Fontes in 1967 (Prior to 1967, Swiss Grand Prior Anton Leuprecht recognized only individuals as part of his world-wide autonomous Priory. Several of Luprecht’s American members organized and incorporated in 1962, but did not receive official recognition from Fontes until 1967). So if we do the math, 28 years under Fontes at $15,000 per year means the SMOTJ.org may have paid Fontes as much as $420,000! We don’t know if the amount the SMOTJ.org paid was always $15,000 per year or if it had gone up over time. But either way, it was a very huge amount of money and it’s understandable why they were very upset.
So put yourself in their shoes, the SMOTJ was paying Fontes $15,000 per year in membership dues to be the only Templar body recognized by Fontes in the United States. After paying all that money for 28 years, Fontes decides to give that official recognition to a new group! Their anger was justified. Fontes didn’t just do that in the United States, he accepted bribes to appoint 6 simultaneous Grand Priors in France, 5 in Spain, 2 in Scotland, and 2 in Serbia.
De Sousa Fontes realized that he had been caught and started hedging his bets by setting up a new Grand Priory in the United States called, “The International Priory of St. George the Martyr” (which later became the “Priory of Saint Matthew”) based in Dallas Texas. Fontes claimed this new Grand Priory would eventually move into Latin America. However, the SMOTJ had paid for the right to be the only Grand Priory under Fontes in the United States and they rightly didn’t trust Fontes because they were aware of his track record of selling multiple Grand Priories in the same nation. In fact, Fontes had done the same thing in ’64 ’69 and ’87. In 1962, the SMOTJ was founded in New Jersey and given the right to be Fontes’s sole Grand Priory in the United States (which they received from Fontes’s 2nd in Command, Anton Leuprecht). But in 1964, Fontes broke his own rules by selling recognition of a second Grand Priory to Forest Ernest Barber in California (1)(2). Again in 1969, Fontes recognized a third Grand Priory in St. Louis and a fourth in in 1987 called the Grand Priory of the Scots which still exists today (see: http://www.theknightstemplar.org/forums/topic/grand-priory-of-the-scots-usa/ ).
De Sousa Fontes made a mistake in choosing his new Grand Prior, Lowell A. Barker. Shortly before this time, Barker had re-invented himself as an “Arch Bishop,” of the Ukrainian Orthodox church (although we can’t verify his questionable claim to this position). Barker was notorious for selling fake memberships to Orders, fake titles, and fake merchandise based on real Orders of Knighthood. Barker was most famous for creating a fake “Order of St. Lazarus” which he later disbanded after losing a lawsuit from the real Order of St. Lazarus. Read more about the antics of Lowell Barker here: http://www.maineworldnewsservice.com/caltrap/chivalri.htm
The standoff with Lowell Barker came to a head when Fernando de Sousa Fontes flew to Dallas for an important ceremony in their new American Grand Priory, arriving on May 8th, 1995. Their big plans were almost foiled on May 10th, 1995, when the SMOTJ sent the U.S. Marshals (because it was a Federal Trademark lawsuit) to de Sousa Fontes’s Dallas hotel to present him with an injunction to Cease and Desist from their Dallas Investiture Service, as well as notification of their lawsuit. On May 12th, 1995, in response to this lawsuit filed against him, de Sousa Fontes signed a letter of expulsion that officially removed the top leaders of the SMOTJ from the OSMTH Order, including their then-Grand Prior Donald Perkins. This letter of expulsion was drafted by his attorney and was signed by de Sousa Fontes that same day. An attorney under Fontes’s authority won a reprieve from the court to proceed since the date of the event was so near and the Dallas Investiture service continued as planned on that Saturday May 13th, 1995. Unsurprisingly, Barker came dressed in his newly purchased “Arch Bishop” vestments.
The SMOTJ.org’s lawsuit against Fontes was successful because Fontes never responded and the SMOTJ.org won by default in an out of court settlement. Lawyers for Fontes were frustrated that Fontes refused to respond because they believe they would have won if he had responded to this lawsuit. We will never know of course but they believed that Fontes was too scared of the American legal system to respond and his attorneys in the United could only do so much without his testimony.
After the SMOTJ tried to shut down his show, Lowell Barker dropped out. and moved back to Florida to avoid legal trouble. As Neo-Templar Historian, Dr. Pangloss, records: “I was also recently informed by a member of the “revived” Sovereign Military Order of the Temple that Mr. Barker was successfully sued by this body for a similar complaint (http://www.maineworldnewsservice.com/caltrap/chivalri.htm). The SMOTJ gave The International Priory of St. George the Martyr an ultimatum: join the SMOTJ, or face a lawsuit. They chose to join the SMOTJ, and The International Priory of St. George the Martyr, changed it’s name to “The Priory of Saint Mathew” and has been part of the US Grand Priory of the SMOTJ to this very day.
This back and forth continued and escalated. The SMOTJ’s response to the expulsion letter occurred six months later in November of 1995, when the SMOTJ organized a meeting. The American SMOTJ had managed to gather the majority of the Grand Priories then under de Sousa Fontes to meet in the Austrian town of Salzburg. At this meeting, the majority of those nations present voted to leave de Sousa Fontes. It’s important to remember that this meeting was neither authorized nor attended by their Grand Master and that the leaders of the SMOTJ (representing the United States) voted in this meeting to “leave Fontes” even though they had already been expelled by Fontes and therefore had no standing to vote.
From that time until now, we have seen the clash of egos of the leaders of the OSMTH-Regency/Porto versus the OSMTH-KTI (Knights Templar International). This clash between the rivaling “OSMTH’s” is likely to continue into the future.
We see two arguments from certain members from the SMOTJ.org:
1) “The SMOTJ.org only recognized Fernando de Sousa Fontes as their “Regent” and never as “Grand Master.”
We would argue that this is false: – Two of the SMOTJ.org’s former Grand Priors, Donald Weber and Donald Perkins, sent separate letters to Fernando de Sousa Fontes addressing him as “Grand Master.” Both letters have been retained for legal reasons by both Fontes and the lawyer that was under his authority at that time, Attorney Wayne Bachus. Their letters were sent to Fontes reminding him that Fontes himself had given them jurisdiction over the Untied States and protesting his establishment of the Grand Priory of Lowell Barker in Texas as a breach of that jurisdiction.
Further, both Attorney Wayne Bachus and Vince Zubras retain copies of the SMOTJ’s “Knight Book” member’s manual from prior to 1995 which specifically lists Fernando de Sousa Fontes as the “Grand Master” of the SMOTJ.org.
2) The 2nd argument by certain members of the SMOTJ.org is that some nebulous “Magisterial Council” of the OSMTH had voted to remove their Grand Master, Fernando de Sousa Fontes in Salzburg, Austria, in November 1995 (and implied in this argument is that they even had the authority, according to the Order’s rules, to remove their Grand Master by a vote).
We would argue that this is False: – The OSMTH’s statutes were created by Grand Master Fernando de Sousa Fontes to protect himself and his position. He left no authority in his statues for any kind of Council to “vote him out.” Fontes was nothing if not a “control freak” who made every effort to consolidate all power for himself. Further, Fernando de Sousa Fontes had created a Grand
Magisterium made up of only his own family members who did not try to vote him out. The SMOTJ.org created their own self-proclaimed “Grand Magisterium” made of the Grand Priors who were also against Fontes and proceeded to pretend to vote out Fontes during their Salzburg meeting. Their self proclaimed, “Grand Magisterium” was not recognized by either their Grand Master nor the rules of the Order, and had as much legitimacy as if two strangers off the street decided together that one of them was now the “President of the United States.”
According to the writings of the former Grand Master of the OSMTH.org, Sir Roy Redgrave:
“3. Fontes would not release the names of the 13 members of the Grand Magisterium. We found that the only independent participants were his wife and his son.
4. Fontes would not give permission for any Grand Prior to participate in elections to the Grand
Magisterium. The Grand Magisterium remained entirely the prerogative of Fontes in Portugal.”
—————————– References ———————————-
(1) In his 1995 Interview with Attorney Wayne Bachus, Crolian William Edelen (Founder of the SMOTJ.org) described his rivalry with Forest Ernest Barber who had also purchased the rights to a United States SMOTJ (“Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem”) Grand Priory from Fernando de Sousa Fontes in 1964, just two years after Edelen had. Barber’s SMOTJ was based in California while Edelen’s was in New Jersey. Edelen explained that it was his rival Barber who had the relationship with King Peter II of Yugoslavia (who was also a resident of California) and Barber’s 1964 SMOTJ that secured King Peter’s recognition in 1965. Barber’s relationship with King Peter can be seen in the link below marked “(2)”. Today’s SMOTJ.org, who hold Edelen as their founder, wrongly claim that they were recognized by King Peter II of Yugoslavia but this wasn’t the case as it was Barber’s SMOTJ who possessed that recognition. After 1966, Edelen did became acquainted with King Peter II as the two worked together in their spurious Order of Malta which one can still see online today and view Edelen’s name listed here if you scroll down to “1960-1973”: http://theknightshospitallers.org/grand-masters.html
(2) Read more about Forest Ernest Barber, founder of the 1964 SMOTJ, and friend of King Peter II of Yugoslavia: http://san-luigi.org/2013/01/29/members-of-the-san-luigi-orders-archbishop-forest-ernest-barber/
Notice the following three quotes from the article:
Go 11 paragraphs down:
“In 1964, Barber purchased the rights to a United States Grand Priory of the Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem from Fernando de Sousa Fontes, the Order’s Grand Master. Barber’s Templar Grand Priory was officially granted Royal Protection by King Peter in 1965; the King had accepted the Grand Cross of the Order in the previous year.”
Go 13 paragraphs down from the same link as above: “During the later 1960s and 1970s, Barber became extensively involved with the revival of Gnosticism and with the heritage of the Templars both within and beyond Freemasonry.”
Go 12 Paragraphs Downfrom this link: http://san-luigi.org/government/high-protector-of-the-order-of-the-crown-of-thorns/some-notes-concerning-h-m-king-peter-ii-of-yugoslavia/
King Peter had accepted the Grand Cross of the Order of the Crown of Thorns in 1959 and was similarly honored by the Templar Order [Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem (SMOTJ)] under its Grand Prior Forest Barber in 1964. He was present at a Solemn High Mass of the latter Order [Forest Barber’s SMOTJ] at the Church of the Ascension, Chicago, on 27 December 1968, and in a private ceremony before this event conferred upon several Templars the dignity of Knight Bachelor of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.
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