National Grange, Komski Organization Running on Fumes


If NG and The Californias (sic) Grange of the Patrons of Husbandry (TCGOPH) were publicly traded companies, stock brokers would be shouting Dump, Dump, Dump.

A request of public documents to Komski and National Grange President Betsy Huber has revealed a serious cash flow problem in both organizations. These financial documents are required to be open to the public as part of the Tax Exempt code and must be delivered upon request. See them here. The full reporting from both organizations is spotty at best so there is some information missing.

In the first 9 months of 2015, TCGOPH was in the red to the tune of minus 125,176 with total expenses of 236,351 and total revenue of 111,175. This is even with a mysterious contribution/gift of 86,625 in 2015. Legal expenses went from 36,901 in 2014 to 146,226 in the first 3/4 of 2015. With the addition of more legal action in Q4 of 2015, expect the minus number to significantly increase when year-end accounting information comes out.

So, in the case of (TCGOPH), the financial documents reveal that Komski is running a failing organization with outgo much higher than income. Komski himself is receiving a annual salary of 36K, and no doubt expenses and per Diem for travel and other incidentals. He also is giving Lillian Booth, Secretary of TCGOPH, a salary of 18K. Paying a secretary of a state grange has never been done before, it is an unprecedented expense.

So, this brings salaries of TCGOPH to 54K per year. To put this in Grange terms….it takes dues from 3,857 grangers just to pay these salaries. The assumption is dues break out at 14 bucks to State and 14 to National. Even with the small gains in membership TCGOPH has gained in 2015, with dues up from 7,035 to 18, 413 in 2015, they are still operating in the red. You can see the extreme focus on the consistent message from Komski, “Pay your dues to me, Pay your dues to me.” Or he will re-lock and reorganize your grange. Four deadlines to pay, four whiffs with regard to carrying out this empty threat. To put it in a classic Grange context, “That is a lot of pancake breakfasts.”

All this does not take into account the other expenses for running the organization and certainly the never ending lawsuits continue to erode the fiscal viability of Komski’ s TCGOPH. Much like his success at failure in running two other businesses, (see Who Is ED Komski) he is running true to form in terms of his track record. Like his failed OPM (Other People’s Money) businesses of the past, Komski seems to be relying on a sugar daddy like NG to shore up his finances and to fund his lawsuits. In fact, 265K appeared on his 2014 report as gift/other contributions, with no explanation of where this money came from. One can only assume he is getting funding from NG, or perhaps has sold some assets i.e. a grange hall. Very interesting if true, as the Seven Year rule should forbid using that money for day to day operating expenses. Very strange brew as the pages naming where these funds came from are conveniently missing from his disclosure.

Betsy Huber’s National Grange is another business mired in debt and erosion of its core business, but in a different context. Since NG seems to be managing the brunt of the cost of the aggressive lawsuits against CSG, it does have a cash flow problem and in 2012 declared a loss of 600K. Think of this, how many grangers dues would it take to fund what some are estimating to be approaching a Million and counting that the NG has spent so far to grind down CSG?  You can imagine the salaries for Betsy and staff and the expense of running the big NG grange building in Washington DC are outstripping income. Unfortunately, only returns for 2013 are available from NG. More on that in a follow up article.

The bigger problem with NG is their refusal to grow with the times and evolve to meet the challenges of today in today’s world. This has eroded membership growth and crushed innovation within the National Grange. Membership continues to decline. New programs seem to be boiler plate from Big Ag wish lists. Not very inspiring, considering NG used to fight for the little guy, now they just pick on the little guy. Just think of what they could have done with the money spent on lawsuits in California if they just came to the table in a grangerly way to hammer out our differences.

6 comments for “National Grange, Komski Organization Running on Fumes

  1. Claudia
    February 8, 2016 at 4:37 pm

    Paying for a Secretary I don’t find alarming but the rate of pay for what is probably a part time job does seem high. I appreciate the sharing of this information and I hope many will take notice.

    I used to be a commercial loan officer for a bank back in the day and we certainly wouldn’t be lending to a company with these financials! I have been wondering for months now where all of this is coming from and I think that question has been answered for me.

    To me, it is coming down to moral and ethical issues which get clearer each day. Are we to be aligned with an organization that is supported by Big Ag which is waging a war on the Earth and small farmers worldwide not to mention the chemical companies which have already bought up a good portion of the seed supplying companies so that they can control our food supply? Or do we stand our ground and protect all that we hold dear and press on by staying aligned with the CSG, lobbying for the labeling of GMO’s, protesting against laws about seed sharing, and supporting small farmers in California?

    I have tried to walk away from this issue. To bury my head in the sand and wait for the storm to pass. But now the storm is on my doorstep with Komski trying to remove our duly elected President/Master and presenting at our January meeting what I characterize as a hell and brimstone sermon.

    McFarland suggests that we just stay the course taking care of our halls and members. It looks to me now that we need to be taking this to the streets. We didn’t ask for or start this fight but if we continue to ignore it what are we saying to our children and grandchildren? Bullying on school playgrounds is no longer sanctioned. Why should it be any different with this?

    Claudia Licht
    Secretary Marshall Grange #451

  2. Martha Austin
    February 8, 2016 at 8:31 pm

    Many thanks for this clear and concise update! . . . Onward!

  3. Wally Dubois
    February 9, 2016 at 1:15 pm

    Mentioned the Sec getting paid as we are all volunteers in other officer positions, why is this different?

  4. Harry Mercado
    February 10, 2016 at 5:35 am

    Master Komski, face to face, denied getting National funding for his California legal undertakings.

  5. Wally Dubois
    February 11, 2016 at 12:50 pm

    Harry, looking at his financials, there is no way his organization is self funding.

    • Harry Mercado
      February 12, 2016 at 1:03 am

      Wally, I may have early onset earwax buildup, or Master Komski may have been splitting hairs or dissembling in his reply to my explicit challenge. I wasn’t taking notes and no one was under oath. It will take a member of his new Grange organization to demand an in-depth look at his books.

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