Controversy surrounds land sale at Buddhist Retreat - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Controversy surrounds land sale at Buddhist Retreat

Some of the Buddhist colony land that has been sold. Some of the Buddhist colony land that has been sold.
Cu Nguyen Cu Nguyen
Ha Hong Luu (left) and his translator. Ha Hong Luu (left) and his translator.
Robert Smith Robert Smith

CARROLLTON, KY (WAVE) - A Kentucky colony of Buddhists is at odds with their spiritual leader over a secluded Zen retreat. The monk is accused of selling several acres of the land and misspending the cash. Monday, a Carroll County judge tried to sort it all out.

Cu Nguyen loves his secluded and modest home.

"I wouldn't trade it for nothing," he explained.

Apparently, not every member of the Buddhist's community feels the same way. The group's leader has now sold more than a quarter of the land. So Nguyen has joined six others filing a lawsuit against Buddhist monk, Ha Hong Luu and two of the religious non-profit's board members. The group says the sales weren't properly handled and the monk mis-spent three hundred thousand dollars that the deals raised.

"We don't know where the money is," said Robert Smith, the plaintiffs' attorney, "which is why we've initiated the litigation."

Luu and supporters from around the country showed up in court Monday for the injunction hearing. Luu says the figure is much less than $300,000 and that he's not taken a dime for himself. While he needed a translator to make his case, he said he has paperwork that speaks for itself.

"He said that the money went to pay off the loan that is still on the total land," a translator for Luu told WAVE 3 News.

Nguyen hopes a fight now will secure the land and the non-profit's future.

"We just want to stop (this) thing from getting bad to worse," he said.

The judge did issue a temporary injunction limiting any further sales. The defense promised to hand over a complete review of the books by the next court date on December 16.

Copyright 2013 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.

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