Thursday, December 9, 2010

Ex-ISKCON Guru Now Ex-Ithaca Car Salesman

ITHACA, NY – Ex-ISKCON guru, John O’Brien, is now also an ex-Ithaca car salesman, closing his doors after a scandal-rocked year. 2007 was “difficult as hell,” claims O’Brien, adding, “What with the cost of gas and the weak dollar, people were just not taking to buying cars.”
The Ithacar Used Carlot in Ithaca, NY opened in spring of 2002, several months after O’Brien stepped down from the post of ISKCON guru due to sexual misconduct and what he calls “financial misunderstandings.”
But it was those “financial misunderstandings” that O’Brien insists gave him the business skills to establish the Ithaca-based business.
“You’d be surprised how similar the two jobs were,” Says O’Brien, whose skills as guru naturally lead him into the used car business.
“In ISKCON I had to convince my disciples that I was some pure and holy guy, ready, willing and able to take them back to Godhead, what they didn’t know was that I was sleeping with my secretary and lying on my expense reports.”
“And as a used car salesman,” he continued, “I had to convince my customers that I was some friendly and honest guy, ready, willing and able to sell that 1987 Ford Fiesta at invoice, taking not a penny of profit, what they didn’t know was that I picked it up at a repo-sale for under a hundred bucks. I was lying on my expense reports there too.”
The business flourished until 2006, the year he was audited by the IRS and taken to court on five separate occasions under New York’s Lemon Law.
“It was surprisingly similar to his experience in ISKCON,” states ISKCON spokesman Balananda dasa, “in both cases, he managed to pass himself off as honest and trustworthy, but in the end, it was his disciples and customers who paid the price.”
There were hints of misconduct at both professions long before termination of either. In 1994, several of O’Brien’s female disciples came forward, claiming to have to have been inappropriately touched and taunted by their, then, guru. This resulted in O’Brien being suspended from initiating new disciples for one full year.
Similarly, in 2003, a disgruntled customer, Jerry Berowitz, accused O’Brien of dishonesty involving a 1989 Mercury Topaz with two different Vehicle Identification Numbers. The lawsuit resulted in the suspension of his Auto Dealer’s License for one year.
“I just didn’t know what to do,” complained Berkowitz, “I trusted this man to be everything he said he was. I put my faith in him and he let me down. I was promised that this Mercury Topaz would take me back to home, but it was all lies.”
In a letter of apology to his customers, modified only slightly from his letter of apology to his disciples, O’Brien states, “Yes, I’ve made my share of mistakes, but I am truly sorry for the pain that I have caused to so many trusting people. But my with my health problems all the service I had to do, I simply couldn’t keep up with my daily duties and practices.”
O’Brien is now banned from giving class in any ISKCON temple as well as selling cars in New York state.
He claims that he will appeal the ruling and be “back in charge in no time at all,” but it was unclear whether he was talking about ISKCON or the Ithacar Used Car Lot.

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