Green Party detects a scandal in hall rental

Frankfurter Neue Presse/May 28, 1998
By Kristiane Huber [English translation of German article]

Liederbach -- They are suspected of having connections with the Scientology Church. It has been said that they, themselves, have characteristics of a sect. For at least ten years, they have been having meetings in the Liederbach hall. They are the internationally active "Landmark Education GmbH." Among other things, this business provides courses in life aid and personality development. These courses bring intimate problems of the participants to the attention of over a hundred people. It is suggested that this and a seminar is a cure-all for personal difficulties. This is how experts who have observed Landmark have described it.

For the "Green List Liederbach (GLL)" and the Greens in Main-Taunus-Kreis, it is a scandal that this business pays rent into the community chest. If a group of this sort could use the space in the Liederbach hall per committee, that would be something different, but this is an "incontestable" rental arrangement. The parties represented in the community parliament knew about it, but covered it up with a "cloak of silence." Albrecht Kundiger, a Green Party leader, presumes this consensus was reached in view of the size of the rental income. Liederbach is taking in 25,000 - 30,000 D-marks ($18,000 - 22,000) from the Landmark GmbH. Kundiger thinks it incomprehensible that the CDU campaigns against sect-like organizations, yet accepts psychological damage to the people here.

Representatives of other parties showed little surprise when inquiries were made. The arrangement with Landmark was said to be a "suspect affair," but one could not refuse public space on the basis of presumptions, and Landmark cannot be "legally comprehended," said Ursula Eilmes, the SPD faction chairperson. Nevertheless, Landmark has bandied itself about to such an extent that the group should limit its activities in the locale, interjected Eilmes. To the question as to whether the considerable size of the rental income was a basis for "looking the other way," Eilmes responded in the negative.

Ludwig Kleber, FWG faction chairman, sees no need for action. It appears to him that no harm has come of it. As long as it has been determined that they have not "done something bad," then there would be no reason not to rent the Liederbach Hall to them. Kleber said, "For ten years they have behaved themselves orderly, intelligently and in an exemplary fashion. Klaus Wasgien, the CDU faction chief, sees things differently. The group's appearance is "aggressive and provocative." However, the group has no evidence against the renters. Reports of Landmark acquiring property in Liederbach - rumors have mentioned the Karl Winnacker building - are a hoax, according to Wasgien. Mayor Gerhard Lehner, who could not be reached yesterday, sees it like this: as long as Landmark is not provably categorized as a sect or a banned organization, they could not be refused the space. Other members of the local parliament expressed themselves in equivalent terms.

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