DLM/EV History: 1979 - 1980

The Plane Project and the move to Florida

In 1979, the international headquarters of DLM was moved from Denver, Colorado to Miami Beach, Florida. A mansion was obtained for Maharaji and his family in Miami Beach, in addition to his existing mansion in Malibu and his residences in England, India, and Australia. He also requested that the premies buy him a plane that would include living quarters for himself and his family. Eventually, a Boeing 707 passenger plane was located and purchased for several million dollars. Maharaji asked that premies themselves convert the plane for his use. A huge fundraising and conversion project centered around the Boeing 707 began then.

The decision was made to keep the plane project a secret from the premies, except for those who were working directly on it. Since huge sums were needed to finance the project, a fundraising campaign directed at the premies was necessary. It was decided that the premies would be told that funds were being raised for a "world tour" and to not mention anything about a plane.

A warehouse was found in Hialeah, Florida, and premies were brought in from all over the country, and from around the world, to work on the plane. Several hundred premies worked on the plane project at any given time between 1979 and 1981. Non-ashram premies who worked on the project were encouraged to dedicate themselves in the ashram. Some couples and families broke up so that one or more of the parents could live the monastic life.

Despite the constant fundraising, the project was always running out of money. Emergency fundraising sometimes had to be undertaken. Premies from Miami would fly to various cities around the country, collect cash from various communities, and return it to Miami. On at least two occasions, $250,000 to $500,000 in cash was collected in this fashion.

Due to US treasury laws, bank deposits of less than $10,000 were made. This money had to be in cash, since checks would leave a record of donations directly to Maharaji that were being collected by a non-profit religious organization (DLM), for the benefit of an individual (Maharaji), in violation of U.S. tax laws.

Premies have also confirmed that they were requested to transport large amounts of money (i.e. $250,000) across national borders in violation of currency laws, so that this cash could be immediately available for Maharaji's use.

It took years to finish the plane, partly because Maharaji himself micro-managed the project and was constantly changing his mind on how he wanted various details. Ironically, before the plane was even completed, Maharaji decided it was inadequate, and he was already considering the purchase of a different plane.

The project was completed in 1981, but the plane itself was used for only a relatively short period. All in all, the plane required thousands of man-hours and millions of dollars - all supplied by the premies.

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