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Trying to track down someone who could comment on the letters, we first called the public listing for World Plan Executive Council in Pacific Palisades. David Verrill, a long-time TM insider from the Spiritual Regeneration Movement days, answered the phone.
(Interestingly, about an hour after we interviewed WPEC president Thomas M. Hedley, Ms. Dzuiba called us to discuss her letters to "Mr. John Doe.")
David Verrill: Why don't you speak to the President of our corporation. He must have been consulted about this. So can you call [phone number]?
John M. Knapp, Editor, TranceNet: Great. And the man's name, or person's name, is?
DV: Mr. Hedley -- H-E-D-L-E-Y. He's the president of the corporation.
JMK: And what's his first name if I might ask?
DV: Thomas M. Hedley.
JMK: Very good. And he's at this [phone] number. And this number, David, is for the World Plan Executive Council.
DV: That's the president of the corporation.
JMK: Very good. Thank you very much.
DV: You're welcome.
Thomas M. Hedley [president of WPEC]: Hello?
JMK: Yes. I'm trying to reach a Thomas Hedley?
JMK: Thomas, my name is John Knapp, and I'm a journalist, both freelance and I have an Internet publication. And I have copies of letters from a Catherine, I may be saying this incorrectly, Dziuba -- D-Z-I-U-B-A -- who represents herself as being your attorney of record in the letter, for the World Plan Executive Council and the Maharishi Foundation. And I'm going to bed with a story and I want to authenticate the letter and ask a few questions.
TMH: Yeah. What's the story about?
JMK: She's written letters to apparently a number of TM teachers or governors revoking their authorization to teach. And included in this are copies of a contract, or what she claims to be a contract, begins "To His Holiness Maharishi Mahesh Yogi." I want to make sure that Catherine is, in fact, an attorney for you folks.
TMH: Well, yes, she's done some work for us. We don't have just one attorney. We, you know, have different ones that if there is some specific project someplace that requires an expertise of one particular type of lawyer, counseling, then we might use that in one area....
JMK: Okay. Is she actually the corporation's attorney of record or is she a freelancer for you?
TMH: Uh... We don't really have one of record, per se, cause we use so many different ones. But she has done some work on property things for us.
JMK: Do you know if.... I have a letter dated the 15th of November 1994 and another one February 14, 1995. Do you know if she has been writing letters essentially about copyright infringement and so forth to TM teachers?
TMH: She has looked into some of that for us, yeah.
JMK: Okay. So, barring actually sending you a copy of this, it sounds like it's at least possible that it's from her.
TMH: It could very well be, yeah. Without seeing them myself I don't know what you're ....
JMK: Yeah, I could fax it to you if you like after we're done talking. Now, is she on retainer with you?
TMH: No. No.
JMK: Okay. Project by project. And she's not on staff?
JMK: Could you review for me the connection between the Maharishi Foundation, the World Plan Executive Council, MIU, and the other groups. I'm not familiar with the Maharishi Foundation.
TMH: Well, it's an international group or organization that just holds the rights to all the trademarks and things like that.[To further confuse the intellectual property and front groups issues, the MIU/MUM page says that the Maharishi Ayur-Ved Foundation holds the copyrights.]
JMK: When did it come into being?
TMH: Oh golly, I don't know. I'm not really familiar with all the intricacies of any of the international organizations, but .... I don't know, to be honest with you, when it did.
JMK: Yeah, I understand you to be the president of WPEC, is that correct?
TMH: Yeah. Yeah.
JMK: And when did you become president?
TMH: In, um, let's see, it was '77 or '78, somewhere around there.
JMK: Do you have any idea when Maharishi Foundation became title holder to the trade secrets or whatever?
TMH: Golly, I don't really know exactly when. I'd rather hold off on anything like that. I don't like to say anything without knowing.
JMK: Sure, I understand. Do you know where it's incorporated, the Maharishi Foundation?
TMH: Europe someplace.
JMK: Do you know who's on the board, by any chance?
TMH: No, I don't.
JMK: Okay. I have some kind of basic questions that I would have preferred to ask Catherine, but she's apparently not in town. If you could answer them, I'd appreciate it. She mentions this "contract" which begins, "To His Holiness Maharishi Mahesh Yogi -- It is my privilege, Maharishi, to promise to teach the principles and practice of Transcendental Meditation...." Are you familiar, in general, with that "contract"?
TMH: Yeah, I haven't seen one in a long time, but I know there was one between the teachers.
JMK: Does WPEC and the Maharishi Foundation believe this to be a valid contract?
TMH: Well, yeah.
JMK: Do you know if it can be valid in the US if both parties are not given copies.
TMH: I don't know. [pause] Didn't they have a copy?
JMK: No, no. Not according to either my experience or the experience of the gentleman involved, [John Doe]. I'm a former TM teacher. Quite some time ago, I signed a similar document in 1978 and I was told explicitly at that time by representatives of the "World Government" that it had no legal force, but that the "laws of karma function for eternity." Does this sound like a familiar statement to you?
TMH: [laughs] Well, to be honest with you, I wasn't involved in the teaching part of the organization, more in an administrative thing, financial stuff. I didn't get involved in the teaching aspects of it. I don't know about those. I wasn't really privy to all of that.
JMK: But it would be my understanding that this letter is written on behalf of your corporation, is that correct?
TMH: Uh, it probably is, yeah.
JMK: Okay, so is there somebody else within the corporation who would be more familiar with the contract?
TMH: No, because it's winding down and we've transferred all of the teaching to another organization two years ago.
JMK: Oh, what organization is that?
TMH: Maharishi Vedic Education and Vedic University setups.
JMK: Huh, that's interesting, because she writes "further my clients, Maharishi Foundation and WPEC," so clearly she's intending to enforce this contract on behalf of your organization and the Maharishi Foundation.
TMH: Well, I think those aspects of it are probably still valid, and, you know, the contractual arrangement.... I-I-I don't know.... To be specific, on this particular specific case, I'm not familiar with the details of it....
JMK: But it sounds like, as president, you're not really sure if it's a valid contract.
TMH: No, I didn't say that.
JMK: Well, then I misunderstood.
TMH: I'm sure that it is.
JMK: Even though both parties weren't given copies.
TMH: That I don't know anything about.
JMK: Do you have any idea how many TM teachers who have received such letters?
JMK: There's another, what she calls a "contract," that [John Doe] signed on his Governor Training. It's my understanding that this contract is one that in one form or other signed is by every TM Sidha and TM Teacher. It begins "The Course Participant agrees to keep private for himself or herself the confidential aspects of the teachings of the TM technique and all the teachings told or given to the Course participant....." and continues. Are you familiar with that wording?
TMH: I'm not familiar with it, but it sounds logical. Like something that would be there.
JMK: And it's your understanding, again, that this a contract and a valid contract with the WPEC?
JMK: And again, course participants not given copies of this, is that correct?
TMH: That, again, I don't know. I don't know what they've been given, cause I wasn't at those courses I don't know what their procedure is or has been.
JMK: Well, that surprises me, since you're the president of the corporation....?
TMH: Yeah, but as I told you, I did more the administrative things, just the financial stuff and things. I didn't get involved in the teaching operations.
JMK: Well, who then would be responsible for the wording in the contracts....?
TMH: Well, like I say, the people that did that at that time. We haven't done it for two years. And all of those are no longer with WPEC. We're winding down WPEC. It's more of a, would be a, somebody, or the people there with the M-VED, or Maharishi Vedic Education Development Group.
JMK: But yet you're attempting to enforce this.
TMH: [pause] Well, I presume so. I don't know whether they would be party to it also, but it's probably on behalf of the Foundation there.
JMK: Do you know if the Foundation is an entity in the US?
TMH: No, it's not a US entity.
JMK: Interesting. Are you familiar with any court cases that have revolved around these contracts?
TMH: Not really.
JMK: Do you know if they've been pursued in the courts....?
TMH: [interrupting] You know, I don't like to do all of this kind of stuff without having some prep on it before. Every time I've gotten involved with any kind of journalist, they always misread things and then make slanted as if it's something that is bad on our part, or we've overlooked something, or they always go back to the Beatles thing, and they give a complete misconception of everything, and I don't like to discuss these things with a journalist without talking to the people involved, like in this case, Kit, or whatever.
JMK: Who's Kit?
TMH: [pause] It's Catherine Dziuba.
JMK: Oh, it's her nickname. I didn't understand that. Well, I'm certainly sorry that have you had experiences with the press in the past....
TMH: [interrupting] Well, yeah, it has. In the past. There's been some good and some bad. But it seems that they have a way of twisting it....
JMK: Well, in this particular case, what I'll be doing is actually printing this as an interview. So that there will be no change in the wording whatsoever. Are you willing to continue on that basis?
TMH: No, I'd rather just as soon cut it off until I've had a chance to talk with her.
JMK: Okay. Do you have any idea when Catherine will be returning?
TMH: I don't know. I didn't know that she was out.
JMK: [pause] Okay. Let me give you my phone number, and if you can reach her, I'd appreciate it if....
TMH: [interrupting] What is your name again?
JMK: My name is John Knapp, K-N-A-P-P.
TMH: John Knapp? [writes this down]
JMK: Yes. And my phone number is [number].
TMH: [repeats and writes this down] And where are you located?
JMK: I'm up in Sonoma, California, just north of San Francisco.
TMH: S-O-N-O-M-A [writes this down]. You say you went through the Governor training course?
JMK: Yes, I did. Many years ago. Back in '78.
TMH: [pause] Are you an active teacher now?
JMK: No. I'm not.
TMH: Uh-huh. Have you taught any in the .... When was the last time you did it?
JMK: The last time I taught would have been about 1990. And I taught in San Francisco.
TMH: [repeats this, writing it down] Okay. Well, I'll see if I can get ahold of her. I don't know where she is right now, but like I say, I haven't talked to her in several weeks.
JMK: Okay. And I can check back in from time to time, then?
TMH: Well, yeah.
JMK: I appreciate it. And your name is Thomas N. Hedley, H-E-D-L-E-Y?
TMH: Yeah. "M."
JMK: Oh, "M" as in Mary.
JMK: Thank you. Thank you very much.
JMK: Bye, bye.
TMH: Right. Bye, bye.
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