Promoter for Mary vision sued in harassment case

The Birmingham News/September 29, 2003
By Greg Garrison

A recent lawsuit in Florida is the latest legal volley against Caritas of Birmingham, an organization based in Shelby County that promotes visions of the Virgin Mary.

Phillip J. Kronzer, a philanthropist who has spent millions of dollars crusading to expose Caritas as a religious cult, has filed a lawsuit in Broward County Circuit Court claiming that Caritas and others were involved in efforts to frame Kronzer in an anthrax hoax.

Kronzer claims that a researcher he hired to investigate Caritas later turned against him and conspired with Caritas to discredit him. He claimed Caritas provided financial support for a plot to harass Kronzer, including sending white powder to a law enforcement agency in Kronzer's name in an effort to have Kronzer investigated by authorities for an anthrax hoax.

Kronzer also claims to have been defrauded of more than $973,000 by Corporate Logic Software, and names the company president along with Caritas as part of a racketeering conspiracy against Kronzer.

"Caritas should not be part of this, I should not be part of this," said Robert Lodge, president of Corporate Logic Software in Florida, who is named as a defendant. "It is the most outrageous thing in the world. I think Caritas and I will be completely vindicated."

Lodge said a hearing on the case was held Thursday and no representatives of Kronzer attended. Dan Burnick, an attorney who has represented Caritas of Birmingham, said he had no comment on the lawsuit.

Caritas of Birmingham was previously sued in Shelby County for fraud and misrepresentation by parents of people who live at the Caritas compound in Sterrett, accusing the religious organization of brainwashing their grown children. "That is still an ongoing lawsuit," Burnick said. "There's no trial date set."

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