Judge adds attorney fees in Kashi divorce battle

Press Journal/June 13, 2001
By Jayne Hustead

For all to be fair in love and war, each side needs comparable attorneys when it comes to splitting up, a family court judge said Tuesday.

Gina Rosenkranz, 43, a resident of the Kashi Ashram spiritual community in Roseland, won additional temporary attorneys fees she said she needed to fight a "personal attack on the Kashi Foundation," by her husband, Richard Rosenkranz, 59.

Circuit Judge William Roby ordered Rosenkranz to pay his wife $17,500 - 87.5 hours at $200 an hour -for attorneys fees, trial preparation, trial and miscellaneous fees and $8,500 for costs of the suit and expert witnesses.

Payment is due by June 27.

The awards are on top of $3,500 in attorneys fees and $1,500 in costs Roby awarded Gina Rosenkranz in March.

Her request Tuesday was for $25,000 in attorneys fees and $10,000 in costs.

"The fees and costs awarded today are to ensure equity in justice occurs between the parties, especially since extensive litigation seems to be brewing at this time," Roby said.

Richard Rosenkranz testified he has paid a $20,000 retainer fee to his Vero Beach attorney Norman Green and a $7,000 retainer fee to Stuart attorney Noel Bobko. "I think it's unfair to pay $27,000 for himself and $21,000 for his wife," said Mrs. Rosenkranz's Vero Beach attorney G. Russell Petersen after the hearing.

During the hearing, Petersen told Roby that what started as "a secretary trying to get a divorce" is "now a war between the husband and Kashi Ranch." "Now (he's) added a count for annulment ... and we will do an affirmative defense," he said.

Last December, Gina Rosenkranz filed for financial support - but not divorce - from her husband, who then countersued for a divorce. Last Wednesday, he amended his counterpetition to seek an annulment of the nearly 20-year marriage.

"During the entire course of the marriage, until the parties separated, (they) lived in a religious community and did not reside together ... ," the petition states. "In addition, the marriage was entered into through the commission of deceit and gross fraud on the part of the wife, along with the help of certain members of the religious community where the parties resided," the petition claims.

Rosenkranz's petition also claims he was coerced into marriage by the religious community's spiritual leader, Ma Jaya Bhagavati, to produce a baby for Bhagavati to raise as her own.

"What they're trying to do now is take the guy's inheritance," said Green. Rosenkranz's mother died in June 1997, leaving the bulk of her estate to her son Richard, and grandson, Chun. She also bequeathed $10,000 to Gina Rosenkranz, which she said she has received. Richard Rosenkranz lived on the Kashi Ranch at 11155 Roseland Road until July 1999 and served as the group's media spokesperson.

He said he will come up with the money for attorney fees and costs, "but for me the case is about stopping ... the terrible things happening at Kashi," he said. "It's going to be an exorbitant amount of money in the end, but (he and other former members of the group) are willing to stand up and say we were wrong. We're going to look like morons, but we feel it is important to stand up and do this," he said.

Rosenkranz currently is self-employed as executive director of the Interfaith Call for Universal Religious Freedom and Human Rights in Tibet and president of the World Tibet Day Foundation.

Mrs. Rosenkranz is a personal assistant to Bhagavati and does not receive a salary, according to court documents.

To see more documents/articles regarding this group/organization/subject click here.

Educational DVDs and Videos