That's a shame.
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Copyright 2000 News Network AnthroposophySounds like Enron.
Frank Thomas Smith
----- Original Message -----
From: Christian von Arnim
Sent: Thursday, September 23, 2004 6:20 AM
Subject: Financial crisis hits Anthroposophical Society in Germany - General secretary resigns all offices
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Financial crisis hits Anthroposophical Society in Germany
General secretary resigns all offices
By Christian von Arnim
STUTTGART (NNA) - The Anthroposophical Society in Germany (AGiD) is facing serious financial problems. According to a statement from the Society's council published in the September edition of the members' news sheet "Mitteilungen aus der anthroposophischen Arbeit in Deutschland", the business failure of the "Vermögens-, Verwaltungs- und Verwertungsgesellschaft mbH" (VVV) asset management company, in which the AGiD holds just under a one third share, has led to the anticipated need to write off well over a million euros.
Against this background, the statement said, the managing director of the VVV and Society general secretary and council member, Dieter Pommerening, stepped down from all his offices over two months ago on 15 July.
According to Nana Göbel, until the resignation of Dieter Pommerening joint general secretary of the Society, there is no suspicion of fraud or embezzlement: "We checked that, of course, and there is nothing like that," she told NNA. "Mistakes and mismanagement occurred which were undertaken for the Society with the best of intentions," the general secretary added.
The financial crisis in the VVV, of which the German Anthroposophical Society council only became gradually aware, became more widely known when Dieter Pommerening was forced to announce at the annual general meeting of the AGiD in May of this year that "problems and losses" in the VVV meant that 267,734 euros had to be written off.
A thorough external audit of the property assets of the VVV, which was subsequently commissioned by the German Anthroposophical Society, had led to fears that additional value adjustments in the VVV "of well over one million euros" were needed, the council statement said.
Furthermore, the associated absence of corresponding reserves and accruals of funds means that the AGiD now has to restrict its activities to a minimum. According to Nana Göbel, the Society had to confine itself to its basic budget to keep itself going: "It can continue with its basic budget but not become involved in anything else."
The VVV was established by Dieter Pommerening, who became general secretary of the AGiD in 2000, in 1996 with the purpose of accepting properties from legacies and legacies given in advance whose commercial management and utilisation could not be undertaken within the German Society. This activity had produced funds for the Society in the early years which had been used to support research as well as being allocated to branches and other anthroposophical facilities, the statement said.
As shareholder, the AGiD had not exercised any monitoring functions over the VVV, Nana Göbel said. This had been the task of an advisory board. Complex structures and a web of business relationships had delayed and made much more difficult the intervention in good time of the advisory board, although it had been trying for some time to disentangle the situation.
It nevertheless remains doubtful whether the structures created in the past allowed for sufficient transparency, whether there was sufficient real supervision and whether growing concerns were sufficiently rigorously followed up. "There are justified questions here and much that needs to be changed in the future," said Gerald Häfner, member of the AGiD council and its press and media spokesman.
Relevant questions are said to have been asked at VVV shareholders' meetings, but sources say that any fears were allayed by convincing and reassuring responses.
In the meantime, a rescue package for the VVV has been drawn up by the AGiD council together with the other four shareholders in which the AGiD, according to its statement, sees a "realistic prospect" for the solution of the "very difficult situation" within the VVV. The Society will no longer have a holding in the company.
"It must be said in general that if we succeed in the moves we have now initiated, the Society will emerge from the situation with not much more than a black eye," Häfner told NNA. "But serious damage has been done."
In this context he was at pains to emphasise that membership contributions had not and would not be used to rescue the VVV: "Fortunately we were able to avoid that." But donations which should have benefited the Society were now not available and had been used up. Instead of the anticipated surplus there was now a considerable financial deficit, the spokesman said, "an issue we are trying to resolve with the help of willing people without burdening the members of the Society."
The Anthroposophical Society in Germany is trying hard to avoid "unnecessary speculation". Promising further information at the appropriate time, it appealed in its statement to members to work together "to deal with the situation with the appropriate tact ".
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23 September 2004
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