Order sought to stop Hindu Temple leader from filing suits

A court-appointed trustee said the temple's founder and self-proclaimed  guru, Annamalai Annamalai, is trying to pocket judgments against followers even as the temple seeks protection from creditors in bankruptcy court.

The trustee, Lloyd Whitaker, will ask U.S. Bankruptcy Judge James E. Massey to issue an order to force Annamalai to stop the practice at a hearing Feb. 11.

"He is violating an expressed order of the court and violating the bankruptcy code, which only allows the trustee to bring actions on behalf of the estate," Whitaker said Wednesdsay.

Attorney Mark Scott, who represents a majority of the defendants who were sued by Annamalai, the temple or temple associates, said the cases follow a pattern. The devotees -- many of whom live out of state -- contacted the temple after viewing its Web site or seeing an ad in one of its free magazines, The Siddhi Times. They asked for prayer services or astrological readings to be performed and authorized a credit card payment of a few hundred dollars. The devotees were then charged up to 10 times that amount by the temple, which later filed suit to claim unpaid funds, Scott said.

Scott said there are about a dozen cases pending in various counties in metro Atlanta. At least four of the lawsuits were filed after the Hindu temple entered bankruptcy.

"He is actively filing lawsuits making claims for amounts that we still dispute," Scott said.

Annamalai, meanwhile, is asking the judge to set aside the foreclosure sale of the temple's former 9-acre property on Brook Hollow Parkway in Norcross. The property was already sold in December at a foreclosure auction in Gwinnett County. Annamalai did not return a call seeking comment by press time Thursday.

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