Darby McLean: Poor Little Rich Premie
The Darby McLean court case revealed Prem Rawat's finances when his financial adviser, Michael Garson, became conscience struck, the first of many of Rawat's close associates to become disgusted and tell the truth about the "Lord of the Universe".
A former unpaid financial analyst at the Denver headquarters of the Divine Light Mission, Michael Garson, 31, has testified, "So far as I could see, the whole function of the organization was to provide an opulent existence for the Maharaj Ji." Garson was giving evidence Thursday on the final day of an action brought in British Columbia Supreme Court seeking a mental competency hearing for a U.S. heiress who wants to give her fortune of more than $400,000 to the Divine Light Mission.
Darby McNeal, 31, formerly of Louisville, Ky., but now resident in Nelson, B.C., is the subject of the action brought by her older sister, Sarah McNeal Pew of Louisville, who claims Miss Darby will become destitute if she continues to handle her own financial affairs. The considerable assets of Miss Darby have been frozen by two U.S. court injunctions pending the outcome of the hearing. She is restricted to living on the interest of a Chicago-based trust fund in the meantime.
Beneath the spiritual bliss of the Guru Maharaj Ji's Denver-based Divine Light Mission lie more than $300,000 in unpaid bills and a never ending fund drive, according to the guru's former financial analyst. "The material wishes of the guru, which take out 60 per cent of the income, are the most important thing in the Mission," said Michael D. Garson, 35. "And nobody much worries about the unpaid bills." Garson became a devotee in May 1974 and took over as financial director in August. He resigned in February "because I could not tolerate the contradictions." Garson said there is a continuing $300,000 debt caused by declining revenues and the demands of the recently married 17 year old Divine Master. "When the Guru wants something, be it a $30,000 car or a new house, he gets it," according to Garson. So far it includes eight sports cars, mansions in Denver and Los Angeles, an assortment of stereo gear and expensive watches and clothes.
Bob Mishler, President of the Divine Light Mission, was named as one of the conspirators attempting to get heiress Darby McLean to sign over her inheritance to Divine Light Mission.
- Gift To Guru frozen by Canadian court action Associated Press, Wed. November 20, 1974
- It Takes A Lot Of Money To Keep A Guru United Press International, March 23, 1975
- Divine Light aide sees mission just for guru GREELEY (Colo.) TRIBUNE Sat., March 22, 1975
- NewsMakers Los Angeles Times, March 23, 1975
- Guru keeps "mission" deep in debt INDEPENDENT (AM) PRESS-TELEGRAM (PM) Long Beach, Calif., Sun., March 23, 1975
- Growing Pile of Unpaid Bills Beneath Guru's Spiritual Bliss March 23, 1975, Lincoln Neb., Sunday Journal and Star
- RICHES CALLED GOAL OF DIVINE LIGHT WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, Monday, March 24, 1975
- The Nation Los Angeles Times, March 25, 1975
The judgement in the British Columbia Supreme Court criticises Prem Rawat's "grand style". Justice Hutcheon said that "the most superficial investigation would have disclosed that as an investment, her loan of $275,000 to the Divine Light Mission was an act of sheer folly. "The evidence before me is that this Maharaj Ji's way of living does not correspond to the ideals of a traditional Indian guru and that 60 per cent of the substantial receipts of the Divine Light Mission are directed to maintain Maharaj Ji and those close to him in grand style," the judge said. The guru's mother recently made similar charges against her son and removed him from leadership of his order. He then went to India where he is challenging that move.
- Court Halts Heiress' Money Gift To Guru CHARLESTON DAILY MAIL FRI., April 18, 1975
From bad to worse. Within days of the publicity over the court case the "Perfect Master" is Fired/Deposed/Disinherited/Undivined for His Spiritually Imperfect "Playboy Lifestyle."