After attempting to break away from the national and state chapters, a local Sons of Italy charter has failed to turn over property that belongs to the fraternity.
Grand Lodge of Florida, Order Sons of Italy in America is now suing Sons of Italy of St. Petersburg on six counts.
In the suit, Grand Lodge requests the court deem them rightful owners of the property.
The hierarchy of the Order Sons of Italy in America, OSIA, is as follows: The Supreme Lodge, the Grand Lodge, and the Local Lodge. Grand is a state-level lodge; it oversees all local lodges in the state. Local lodges are subordinates to the Grand Lodge.
On June 6, 2006, the St. Petersburg Lodge purchased a property at 2500 34th St. S. in St. Petersburg. The funds used to buy the property were raised in relation to OSIA.
Before its succession, Sons of Italy of St. Petersburg was known as Order Sons of Italy in America, John Paul I Lodge #2427, St. Petersburg, Florida.
The Local Lodge filed documents with the State of Florida to change its name on Oct. 13, 2014. They did this before receiving approval from the Supreme Lodge or Grand Lodge, a direct breach of the laws of OSIA.
The Grand Lodge didn’t learn of the St. Petersburg charter’s decision to withdraw from the National Order until Oct. 27, 2014. From that point, the Sons of Italy of St. Petersburg refused to pay any fees to the Grand Lodge.
By March 2015, the Grand Lodge attempted to notify the Local Lodge that its withdrawal was not recognized by OSIA.
In June 2016, the property on 34th Street South was refinanced by the newly named St. Petersburg club.
The Grand Lodge dissolved the Local Lodge in September 2016. Now, the St. Petersburg club was notified that all property was to be turned over to OSIA. The club has yet to turn over any property.
All lodges must follow the clubs’ constitution and laws.
The St. Petersburg charter was formed in early 1979 and thereby adopted all laws of OSIA.
Part of the governing laws of the fraternity states:
“All the property of the dissolved Local Lodge, namely: The Charter, paraphernalia, and funds in its possession, including real and personal property, except for funds due the Supreme Lodge or the Grand Lodge, shall be taken into custody and administered by the Supreme Council or by the Grand Council …”
OSIA has copyrighted names, statements, service marks, service names, images and intellectual property of the Order. Copyrighted material includes:
Copyrighted material includes the names Sons of Italy, Sons of Italy in America, and OSIA.
By continuing to use the Sons of Italy name, the local club is also in violation of copyright laws.