Landmark Education suffered perhaps its most humiliating legal defeat to date this week. A federal judge in New Jersey granted the controversial seminar-selling company’s motion to dismiss its own lawsuit filed in 2004 against one of its most visible critics, the Ross Institute of New Jersey (RI) sponsor of CultNews.

1970s photo of Werner Erhard creator of Landmark's 'technology'On December 21, 2005 Landmark Education announced its defeat publicly, though news about its legal meltdown was already being reported in the press.

The private for-profit company tried to spin its defeat into a strategic retreat.

Landmark stated in a press release that the motion to dismiss its own lawsuit was somehow due to a recent ruling by a New Jersey state court, claiming that this ruling “impacted Landmark Education’s claims against” RI making it “no longer feasible” to continue.

Landmark’s General Counsel Art Schreiber, as is his practice, once again was hiding the truth.

The ruling that Schreiber referred to actually “impacted” only a very small part of Landmark’s lawsuit regarding the RI message board.

An interesting twist in Landmark’s lawsuit was to assert the preposterous theory that the anonymous posts at the message board were actually all written by me through various contrived identities.

Through that ploy, Landmark hoped to discover the identities of those posting anonymously at the message board about its programs.

Lowenstein Sandler, a large and prestigious law firm representing RI pro bono, opposed that attempt vigorously and successfully.

It doesn’t take much imagination to guess what Landmark intended if it succeeded in obtaining the names of anonymous message board participants, despite its press release that proclaims the lawsuit supposedly “was not about stifling freedom of speech; we stand for people’s self-expression.”

It appears that “self-expression” to Landmark doesn’t include expressing criticism about its practices.

Landmark’s recent press release contained many distortions of the truth. In the near future, CultNews will have more to report about Landmark’s lawsuit and will offer a detailed review of why they really dropped it, which will include supporting documents, soon to be archived within the RI database.

Lowenstein Sandler’s attorneys led by Peter Skolnik uncovered a great deal of information about Landmark through its successful defense and CultNews will make that information available to the public.

The real reason Landmark dropped its lawsuit apparently was to avoid facing further discovery.

Landmark was thwarted in its effort to keep information revealed through discovery “confidential.” This meant that whatever information and material was disclosed or found through the lawsuit would be open to public scrutiny.

In its press release Landmark once again made a “straw man” argument about critics calling it a “cult.”

CultNews and RI have never called Landmark a “cult,” nor did the now deceased acclaimed cult expert and clinical psychologist Margaret Singer.

Landmark attempted to defile the dead doctor by resurrecting her as its unlikely defender, selectively quoting a statement she once made as a part of a legal settlement after they harassed her through a lawsuit.

While Singer never called Landmark a “cult,” she did call its owners and operatives “SOBs” and stated, “I do not endorse them — never have.”

The elderly psychologist and emeritus professor of UC Berkeley opted for a “settlement” rather than go forward with the seemingly endless and expensive litigation Landmark had launched against her.

But the statement she made represented no change in Singer’s position about the company or its seminars, which the psychologist dubbed “large group awareness training” (LGAT).

LGATs like Landmark have a deeply troubled history of complaints, bad press, personal injury claims and even links to murders and suicide.

Two Landmark participants have been linked to murders that some have speculated were caused in part by their seminar involvement, one in Minnesota and another in Oklahoma. And Landmark paid a substantial settlement rather than go to court with a woman raped and beaten by one of its staff in Dallas.

News reports that contain such critical information remain archived within the RI database and Landmark understandably doesn’t want this information so easily accessed through the Internet.

Also archived are press reports about the controversial — some would say notorious — Werner Erhard, a former used car salesman who supposedly invented Landmark’s “technology.” Erhard, whose given name is Jack Rosenberg, is the founder of Landmark’s forerunner EST (Erhard Seminars Training).

Erhard reportedly sold EST after scandal erupted about him in the press and on national television. His brother Harry Rosenberg now runs the company, which was renamed Landmark Education. They like changing names in that family.

Landmark doesn’t like being linked to EST even though it largely lionizes Erhard with rather “cult-like” devotion.

Landmark’s legal defeat must be both personally and professionally painful for its General Counsel and legal strategist Art Schreiber. Perhaps that’s why he attempted to bend the truth a bit within his press release.

For example Schreiber says, “At no time has Mr. Ross been willing… to take The Landmark Forum.”

That is a false statement.

I repeatedly agreed to take the weekend seminar course Landmark presents called the Forum.

However, under no circumstances would I agree to sign paperwork waiving the right to a trial by jury in the event of any personal injury, even though such a waiver is required from every Landmark course participant.

Landmark decided not to follow-up after that.

Landmark hoped through its lawsuit to coerce concessions from RI.

However, Landmark received no concessions whatsoever, regarding the material archived at the RI database, adding additional material suggested by Landmark or somehow changing the format or entries at the message board.

And all settlement offers made by Landmark to RI were rejected.

Therefore, Landmark had no choice but to go forward and face further unsealed discovery or give up their lawsuit.

Landmark chose to give up and packed it in through a motion to dismiss its lawsuit with prejudice, which means it cannot be filed again.

And so as T.S. Eliot once remarked “it ends not with bang, but a whimper.”

And in memory of Landmark’s past critics who endured its threats to sue and/or frivolous litigation this may provide some long overdue and meaningful closure.

Margaret Singer, who spent most of her professional life dedicated to helping cult victims endured Landmark’s harassment, deserves that.

Anton Hein, a former US resident and registered sex offender with an outstanding warrant issued for his arrest runs a counter-cult Web site called “Apologetics Index” from Amsterdam.

Hein also runs the affiliated Web sites Cult FAQ and Religion News Blog.

Hein plead to the charge of a “lewd act upon a child” in 1994, served jail time and was given probation, but then violated the terms of his release.

A felony warrant (see Anton Willem Hein) was issued in 1996 and remains outstanding for his arrest without bail. Hein admits the likelihood that he will “never again be able to enter the USA.”

Anton Hein, California sex offender file photoMr. Hein is a registered sex offender in the State of California. His offense is described at that state’s official Web site as “lewd or lascivious acts with child under 14 years.”

Hein admits that the penal code states the offender must have the ”intent of arousing, appealing to, or gratifying the lust, passions, or sexual desires of that person or the child” and he says “that is what the plea bargain form reflects,” which he signed.

The minor child involved was Hein’s 13-year-old niece.

Hein, who is Dutch, married an American citizen and moved to California in 1979.

But the marriage ended in divorce shortly after he was charged as a sex offender.

Hein then returned to the Netherlands, ultimately violating the terms of his release, which required that he be supervised within the United States.

He married again in 2002, this time to an English citizen living in Amsterdam.

Hein says he operates an “independent, personal ministry” from “an orthodox, evangelical Christian point of view.” He also leads “an English-language house church” in Amsterdam called “Bethlehem.”

However, CultNews could not find any official recognition of Hein as a “minister,” other than his name listed as one of the “various ministers” that have “sexually abused children” at Reformation.com.

Hein’s father was a part-time “street preacher” and as a child he attended a “floating Sunday school” on a houseboat run by two evangelical American women in Amsterdam. After that he went on to become “involved with a variety of Christian ministries” including “Teen Challenge,” “Youth With a Mission” and the controversial “Vineyard Christian Fellowship.”

Today Hein largely targets Americans both through his Web site, which is in English and to attend his house church.

“Many people who visit us are…expats, tourists,” he says and they are often brought in through his Web site with an invitation to “a safe place to ‘park’ for a while.”

But is Anton Hein safe?

Not with minors according to the State of California Penal Code and the terms of his probation.

California law specifically states, “Sex offender registrants whose sex crime was against a victim under age 16 are prohibited by law from working, as an employee or volunteer, with minors…”

Despite his plea agreement though Hein insists he is “innocent.”

“As a result of my plea bargain, I spent six months in jail. Those who follow U.S. child abuse cases, real or alleged, know that is a very short period of time compared with the usual lengthy sentences.” And he claims that he “had no choice in that matter.”

It does appear that Hein got a good deal from the prosecutor given the serious nature of his offense. But the terms of his plea don’t negate it, they rather suggest the reason for his choice.

Mr. Hein was essentially forced to publicly explain his criminal record after some folks unhappy with his counter-cult work exposed it online through the Internet.

However, at times that posted response sounds more like an attempt to indict his victim and her family instead of an explanation. For example, he wants everyone to know that “the girl” (as he refers to his niece) was “sexually active” and given to “running away from home, smoking marijuana at school, and becoming promiscuous.”

But it wasn’t the girl who was charged and convicted of a sex crime it was Anton Hein.

Hein also notes “those who claim I fled ‘justice’ have not been paying attention.”

“Anyone who researches the U.S. justice system and the plea bargain approach knows the system’s shortcomings, and anyone who finds him or herself in a situation similar to mine will understand,” he concludes.

Perhaps this explains why Mr. Hein has devoted an entire subsection within his Web site to what he calls “America’s…human rights violations” and “faulty ‘justice’ system.”

Hein doesn’t appreciate the US judicial system, but he does want American dollars.

Mr. Hein says that he has been “declared 100% disabled…due to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome” and that he “live[s] on disability pay.” He also solicits and receives gifts or “donations” from the United States.

Hein provides for overseas funds transfers at his Web site.

He states that his site is “nonprofit” and “not financially sponsored by any church, ministry, organization or individual. Therefore, the publishers of Apologetics Index rely on donations.”

However, he uses his Web site to sell advertising and once again the money appears to come largely from America.

Amazon.com, Google and other American companies currently pay Hein for ad space at his Web site.

He also quotes his own individual rates for running a single ad at $70 per week or $200.00 per month, three months runs $550.00.

Anton Hein doesn’t like to discuss his past and considers recent disclosures about him “propaganda.” He warns, “Only Satan and his ilk are interested in portraying sins – real or perceived…parading them as juicy bits of gossip, or using them in ad hominem attacks.”

Hein ultimately concludes, “I do not intend to engage such people in discussions on this issue…As a Christian I try to live my life in a way that is pleasing to God. When I fail, I confess my sins and know them to be forgiven.”

Maybe God has forgiven Anton Hein, but the United States and the State of California have not and there is nothing satanic about making such distinctions.

Note: At times Anton Hein has changed his posted public statements after they have been reviewed and/or criticized. CultNews has copied all the material from Mr. Hein’s Web site that is quoted within this article.

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According to an obscure guru some call a “cult leader” living in Jamaica Queens, New York, saying his name can get you to a “very good higher world.” This sage advice and other supposed gems can be found in the book titled “The Wisdom of Sri Chinmoy” reports the Queens Chronicle.

Here is another example of the guru’s so-called “wisdom.”

Guru Sri Chinmoy writes, “A young wife was terribly afraid of staying alone at night, so the Master said to the husband…I shall take care of her. That night she saw the Master in a corner of the room, not the Master’s physical body but his luminous subtle body.”

Hmmm.

'Sleazy' Sri Chinmoy once guru to Carlos SantanaChinmoy claims to be celibate, but persistent allegations have arisen that his “physical body” has wandered about a bit and it’s not so “subtle.” The guru apparently has a penchant for pursuing sexual favors from his female followers.

The New York Post once named him “‘Sleazy’ Sri.”

The now 74-year-old guru still has about 2,000 seriously committed followers. A core group composed of some of his most devoted believers has clustered around his house in Queens. They are known for frequently working long and hard hours at the guru’s businesses, at times for little more than subsistence wages.

New York businesses associated with Sri Chinmoy include the Smile of the Beyond luncheonette in Jamaica Queens and the Oneness-Fountain-Heart restaurant in Flushing.

Chinmoy has a long history of staging self-serving publicity stunts, which include everything from “Peace Runs” to his followers performing feats in their guru’s name to get him into the Guinness Book of World Records.

One devotee Ashrita Furman has held more than 86 Guinness records for such feats as pogo stick jumping, juggling while running 50 miles and playing the most games of hopscotch.

Last year Chinmoy had his faithful gather more than 1,000 roses to commemorate his 73rd birthday, no doubt hoping to set another record.

The guru teaches that overcoming ego is a spiritual goal, but apparently this doesn’t include his own, which requires constant feeding.

Such staged theater took a dark turn when one of his disciples died apparently practicing a trick to please the guru.

In his latest book of “wisdom” Sri Chinmoy holds forth on the topics of “belief,” “doubt” and “worry.”

But Chinmoy doesn’t have much to “worry” about with all his followers taking such good care of him. He lives a life of relative ease often leaving New York in the winter for balmy weather elsewhere.

Beyond “belief” though are Chinmoy’s persistent claims that he can reportedly lift 7,064 pounds with his right arm and 7,040 with his left.

More amazing than this claim is that his followers don’t seem to “doubt” such preposterous nonsense.

Anyone interested enough to scrutinize the guru’s weightlifting will find out that he relies more upon machines to do the job for him rather than his muscles. But like so many devices used by this guru it seemingly serves to pumps up his ego.

“If one enters secret domains where the inherent powers of the cosmic realities exist, one can get the capacity to do anything,” says Sri Chinmoy.

But it’s hard to understand how the followers of this bizarre man continue to devote their lives to his various schemes and scams—is there some “cosmic” reason they seem willing “to do anything”?

Some say that Chinmoy’s “inherent powers” are a form of “brainwashing.” And that this is accomplished in part through a form of self-hypnosis, which renders them more suggestible and compliant, achieved through what the guru calls “meditation.” Then there is also the so-called “cult” lifestyle, largely dependent upon living within what can be seen as a controlled environment dominated and defined by Chinmoy.

Maybe his disciples have bought into the proposition that their rewards from the guru won’t be realized in this world, but rather in the next one?

In his book Chinmoy appears to cultivates this notion telling readers that as a teenager he followed his sister’s soul “for about three hours in the world of death.”

The guru also says he was once busy “fighting with three death forces that wanted to snatch away three of my close disciples…”

Hmmm.

Would those “forces” be families, old friends or maybe actually an attack of doubt and/or critical thinking?

Chinmoy wants readers to know that his “teaching is not a kind of miracle-mongering.” Instead, his “business is to help the aspirant to reach God.”

Perhaps it is a “business.”

Famed musician Carlos Santana followed Sri Chinmoy for almost a decade and then left that “business” behind him.

“This shit is not for me–I don’t care how enlightening it is,” he told Rolling Stone.

Maybe that’s a mantra that might help Sri Chinmoy’s disciples “reach God.” According to Deborah Santana, it didn’t hurt her life, or her husband’s life to get away from “Chinmoy’s controlling ways.”