- Sir Knight
Email from William H, Koon, II, Regarding Removal of Tom Tsirimokos Repositions Facts
On Aug. 14, 2021, Billy Koon, a principal force behind the move to maintain enmity with the CBCS and expel 80+ Sir Knights and good Masons from the Grand Encampment simply because they are members of the CBCS, wrote an email to his list of contacts that stated that, "Apparently the new norm is to remove your Jurisprudence Chairman when he does not agree with you!" S.K. Billy stated that "Frankly, I'm shocked!" Please see Billy Koon's email, below.
However this assertion is incorrect. S.K. Tsirimokos was not removed from the Jurisprudence Committee because he disagreed with Jeff Nelson (then-Grand Master). S.K. Tsirimokos was removed because he became incapable of remaining impartial.
Despite having all proposed amendments timely submitted months ahead of time, S.K. Tsirimokos submitted a committee report less than 24 hours ahead of the committee's meeting at the Triennial session which deliberately targeted two specific items of legislation. S.K. Tsirimokos seemed determined to quash the legislation on the eve of the Committee's meeting. The grounds S.K. Tsirimokos cited for quashing the legislation - and essentially withdrawing it from consideration by the membership - remain highly questionable and appear to contradict a plain reading of the Constitution.
The reasoning that S.K. Tsirimokos provided in his report that these two items should be withdrawn, both of which had been properly submitted months previously, was that, pursuant to Section 99 of the Constitution, the Foreign Relations Committee needed first to make recommendations on the proposed amendments before the Jurisprudence Committee could determine whether they were in proper form. Because the Foreign Relations Committee (which was chaired at that time by S.K. Michael B. Johnson, now Grand Master) had not made any recommendations regarding the legislation, it should be withdrawn.
Essentially, on the eve of the Triennial, it had somehow become S.K. Tsirimokos's professional opinion that the Jurisprudence Committee of the Grand Encampment should not review proposed amendments where the Foreign Relations Committee had not first made recommendations pursuant to the legislation.
This appears to be an incorrect reading of Section 99 and seems to ignore the plain reading of Section 97, which controls the duties of the Jurisprudence Committee. (The Jurisprudence Committee shall "advise upon all questions to Templar Law and report upon all proposed amendments of the Constitution, Statutes, Regulations and Edicts" (emphasis added).) Section 97 does not say that the Jurisprudence Committee should review all proposed amendments, except those that the Foreign Relations Committee has not first recommended for adoption. And neither does Section 99 provide for the Foreign Relations Committee to have preemptive jurisdiction over the Jurisprudence Committee's duty of review.
Such a reading is deeply troubling. There are potential breaches of the committee's fiduciary duty to the membership in forwarding such a reading.
In conversations with other members of the Committee, it became apparent that there was an agenda at play and that influential members of our Order were seeking to "game" the vote and deny the membership the ability to act upon the issue.
Had Tsirimokos not been removed, it is likely that these items of legislation would not have made it to the floor for consideration by the members in Conclave assembled, despite the fact that they were properly submitted months previously by a member in good standing. Such action appears to be an abuse of process and a breach of duty of Jurisprudence.
Note that unlike the removal of elected officers, the Constitution expressly provides for appointment and removal of Committeemen at will by the Grand Master. See Const. §23(c) (the Grand Master has power to "change the membership [of committees] at his pleasure"). Therefore, the removal of S.K. Tsirimokos was taken to ensure that all legislation timely submitted by the membership was allowed to proceed for consideration by the membership.
No legislation was quashed as a result. All proposed legislation (including legislation that sought to render the CBCS irregular and expel the members of the CBCS from Templary without trial) was submitted to the floor for consideration by the membership.
The Jurisprudence Committee's duty is not to endorse or to quash legislation. The Jurisprudence Committee's job is to determine whether or not legislation is properly submitted, timely and in due form.
It is noteworthy that Resolution 2021-23, which had specifically been targeted by Trisimokos (and S.K. Billy Koon in a previous email) passed with 77% of the voting delegates in favor. Resolution 2021-23 withdrew 2012 Resolution No. 1 which had pronounced the CBCS an irregular Templar body and required all members of the CBCS to resign their membership or be expelled from Templary.
You may be interested in reading S.K. Billy Koon's opinions on the CBCS legislation that he circulated ahead of the Triennial Session to his considerable network of contacts. See below. Note that S.K. Billy Koon has a vested interest in this issue since, when he was Grand Master, he traveled to France and received a Charter for a competing, unrecognized version of the CBCS, which he brought back to the U.S. and attempted to institute. It should be observed the the Great Priory of America, CBCS, was established in the U.S. since 1934 and is recognized by regular Freemasonry worldwide. Thus S.K. Billy Koon's actions constituted an invasion of a sovereign organization's jurisdiction.
Despite the fact that that charter (for the so-called Great Priory of Occitania) was returned, S.K. Billy Koon continues to war agains the Great Priory of America. S.K. Billy Koon has maintained that the Great Priory of America has invaded the Grand Encampment's jurisdiction, even though the two organizations have existed side-by-side (with cross membership at the highest levels) for almost 90 years.
Even though 77% of the voting delegates of the Grand Encampment voted to end this feud, since S.K. Michael Johnson is clearly in thrall of S.K. Billy Koon, the war has been restarted with a new Grand Master willing to ride roughshod over the Constitution to support S.K. Billy Koon.
Please note, in reviewing the below, that no Concordat was ever produced. Please further note that although the Rectified Scottish Rite, like the Scottish Rite, has in the 18th Century conferred the first three degrees of Masonry as part of their Rite, there is not, nor has there been since chartering the Great Priory of America, any separate conferral of these three degrees which, like the Scottish Rite, are held in abeyance in deference to the Grand Lodges that work these degrees. The insinuation that the GPA is likely to confer the first three degrees is nonsense; deliberately devised to curry a call to arms.