Complaint Review: Raw Spirit Festival - Prescott Arizona
- Raw Spirit Festival
4395 Lake Fork Ln
United States of America
- Phone: 928-7761497
- Category: Festivals & Event Services
Raw Spirit Festival: SCAM ALERT Founder taking in a 6-figure income from a struggling non-profit! Prescott Arizona
*UPDATE EX-employee responds: really Happy?
*REBUTTAL Owner of company: Message From Raw Spirit Fest's Founder Part 4
*Consumer Comment: Happy Oasis suffers from dementia
*REBUTTAL Owner of company: Message From Raw Spirit Fest's Founder Part 3 of 4
*Consumer Comment: HAHA
*REBUTTAL Owner of company: Message From Raw Spirit Fest's Founder Part 2 of 4
*Consumer Comment: NO MORE HAPPY!
*REBUTTAL Owner of company: Message From Raw Spirit Fest's Founder Part 1
*General Comment: RSF IS A JOKE
*UPDATE EX-employee responds: It's true. Raw Spirit Fest is a CON
*REBUTTAL Individual responds: More revealing bio background about Happy oasis
*Consumer Comment: I Have Known Happy Oasis Well For 20 Years
*Consumer Comment: Raw Spirit Rebuttal
*Consumer Comment: Raw Spirit Rebuttal
*General Comment: Rebuttal to "Scam Alert" re: Raw Spirit Festival
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RAW SPIRIT FESTIVAL COMMUNITY REPORT: (Compiled by community emails, previous staff, and presented by the former VP)
Disclaimer* For legal purposes, every sentence you are about to read is a matter of personal opinion, and it is my constitutional right to be able to express it.
Date: 10/24/2008 Organization: Raw Spirit Festival Status: Non Profit Purpose: To research and inform the community on the use of public funds. Greetings to the Raw Community,
I want to thank you for the 100's of you who have voiced your concerns about the organization and its status. I also thank you for respecting the level of details that I'm allowed to disclose. Now, I have been swamped with e-mails from people who have had less than desirable dealings with Raw Spirit festival and primarily with Happy Oasis the Festival founder. Many of the e-mails came from past members of the board, independent contractors, vendors and presenters who worked closely with Ms Oasis.
It has been the general theme that individuals became involved with the Festival because they believe in this Raw Movement. There is a consistent desire to see the Festival succeed. It was primarily the way in which they were treated by Ms Oasis that they are no longer involved. Because this is a non-profit/public 501c3 organization, many have considered going public with the information regarding Ms Oasis, but they did not want to harm the movement. I had heard some of these comments prior to accepting my position on the board of directors and was optimistic that my involvement could have a positive influence. It is still my hope to have this be positive. The momentum of our entire movement could be shifted unless we become proactive as a compassionate family and work together to elevate the integrity level of the Festival which represents our collective intention. Do you want to turn on "60 Minutes" to watch this information come forth to cast dispersions upon all of our efforts? We could end up looking like the 700 Club or a cult taking advantage of the uninformed public. I will attempt to unbiasedly present the information and to allow you to make your own decisions: Happy would like to paint an image of me as a 'disgruntled employee', but this argument fails to work because it doesn't explain her past-employee track record of dozens of people quitting and stating her as the reason for their departure. For the record, I am very grateful to Ms. Oasis and feel the festival is an amazing concept! I am no longer involved with the festival and I'm currently shooting a pilot for the Travel Channel. Me doing this only inconveniences my life, and I have nothing to personally gain from it, except that I made a promise to serve this community and I will continue to do so. Please note that this isn't 'gossiping', 'rumoring', or 'negativity', as some would like to imply. This is the former Vice President of the organization stating a claim that is backed up by the previous Vice President. If two Vice Presidents and dozens of staff members and 100's of members of our community are all saying the same thing, there must be some truth behind it and of course it exceeds any 'personal revenge from a disgruntled employee' that they would like to project onto you. I am sacrificing my reputation, my time, and energy to speak out against the injustices that I see and which are preventing this Festival from becoming the truly empowering event it could become! I can't just stand on the sidelines and allow this misuse of power to continue, because it has and will continue to stunt this movement. I have deeply meditated on the issues and the answers, and just know that I am coming from the most ego-less place that I can possibly come from, but still have to get out what must be said.
We are a conscious caring community and that's the ONLY reason why Happy has even lasted this long. If this was ANY other business or ANY other organization, she would be held responsible for her actions; But because this is a conscious and compassionate, business, we allow her to walk over everybody as we try to 'hold space' for her. But enough is enough. I chose to serve on this board, because 1000's of people are trusting us with their money. It is up to us to use these public funds to make this organization run the best possible way. I don't feel that one person taking in a very large income while insisting that general volunteers are worth only $10/hour is the best action for a struggling non-profit. The greed of one person can destroy an organization and movement that's just getting off the ground.
The Raw Spirit by-laws call for a 5 member board. Following the Festival this year, 2 members of the board were voted off by the remaining 3.( A similar situation occurred after the Festival in 2007). The reasons given for these actions by the board, was that these 2 members had ongoing disagreements with the way Ms Oasis managed the Festival and it was disruptive. The remaining 3 members earn money as a result of their involvement with the festival.
Much of our board time this year was spent trying to clear up prior conflict of interest issues as well as co mingling and misappropriation of funds issues. It was my intention to work this year to completely resolve these matters and to insure that they did not happen again in the future. I have been contacted by Ms Oasis advising me that she would sue me for liable if I disclosed any of these issues. The truth is that if there was nothing to hide, a non-profit should make public of where there funds went and not be threatening law suits if the truth is revealed. So for the purposes of this letter, I will present only that which is public information and most will be included on forms required to be filed with the State of Arizona and the IRS each year:
In 2006, Ms Oasis filed Raw Spirit festival as a non-profit in the State of AZ,. As director, she also filed form 1023 with the IRS to earn 501c3 status, so that the Festival could begin to accept tax deductible donations and grant money. In that document, she stated that total compensation for officers, directors and trustees would be $35,000 ($25,000 was listed as her personal compensation) in 2007, 45,000 in 2008 and 50,000 in 2009. Immediately after receiving approval from the IRS, the then 3 member board met for the first time and the only agenda item was to give each other a raise. Happy herself was placed at an annual salary exceeding the total not only for 2007, but the following 2 years as projected as well! She also wanted the salary to be retroactive to the beginning of 2007! In addition she began charging the festival $8400 for office rent which was not mentioned, as required, in form 1023. She also earned rent from the independent contractors who lived in her home and sacrificed their lives for the festival. In summary, Raw Spirit became very lucrative for Ms Oasis, despite her saying publicly to anyone who would listen that the festival lost money and she needed more donations and support from the community so the Festival could continue.
Many items including saunas, ozone machines etc were purchased by the festival for Ms Oasis's home, she claimed that she did not know anything about business and that the people she bought them from advised her that it was legal to do so. Ignorance is not a defense when dealing with legal issues. There were hundreds of hours wasted by staff to try to separate out this co mingling of funds, and neither I nor the then Treasurer were satisfied that this was properly and completely addressed. Yet all of these discussions resulted in aggressive attacks on myself and anyone who disagreed with her. I decided to focus on the Festival and to deal with these items after the event. The final weeks before the festival, Ms Oasis convinced the board to advance her over $8,000 from the Festival funds. Although I won't tell you where these funds went, I AM allowed to invite you to visit her home and check out her newly-installed swimming pool. On a side note, anyone who takes in over a $100,000 in one year should be running a FOR-Profit. Back to the topic at hand.
This placed a strain on an already tight financial situation and immediately thereafter Ms Oasis implemented a no refund policy for vendors or attendees for any reason. Many disgruntled vendors and participants who paid over $500 lost their money, and the festival 'double-dipped' and sold these already-purchased vendor spots to 2sometimes 3 people, without offering a refund. People lost $1000's of dollars. There were certain people who couldn't make it because they were sick and they were begging for refunds to be able to pay their medical conditions. I would think a festival of ours would at least have a heart for certain situations. I've never seen such a military-strict practice of taking and keeping people's money as Happy has practiced.
I do not wish to diminish all the good work of the hundreds of volunteers and independent contractors who helped bring this festival into reality. I do feel you have a right to know the truth about the behind the scenes activity of the leader of this non-profit organization. I do feel it would be appropriate for Ms Oasis to step down from her involvement with the festival so that it can continue to support this community in integrity. Many former contractors and board members will verify my statements as long as they do not have to worry about being personally attacked by Ms Oasis.
Please keep in mind that this festival is owned by the PEOPLE of the state. NOT by Happy. Happy herself has claimed that she wishes this was a 'For Profit.', so she can eventually start making a quarter million a year. When our last Vice President was in position, Happy actually tried to justify it by saying, "It's spiritually not right to call it a Non-Profit, because 'non' means lack of." This was her attempt to try to make even more money then she's collected. I don't feel that she has the non-profit spirit, but instead is driven by financial gain and egotistical power. Now what kind of Non-profit CEO would REGRET the fact that it's a non-profit!? Are you doing this for the community or not?
Now, she even admits it herself, that she doesn't have any work-related skills. She treats her employees like they're slaves, making them pay her bills, make her juice, vacuum her room, do her dishes, and go way out of their contractual job duties to try to keep her Happy. Jayasri & Chaitanya, who handled vendors and volunteers, were originally bought on to be Gardeners and got forced into their overwhelming positions. After a year of slave work, they decided to leave Happy's home just one week before the festival and were forced to sleep in their cars throughout the entire week leading up to the festival. They described feeling like 'dogs' when working for Ms. Oasis. Happy insisted that our workers, who were making just $10/hr PAY to get into the festival. I've also never heard of a festival that charges $200 for people to VOLUNTEER. I've never heard of an eco-friendly festival that's held on chemically-sprayed grass. Happy doesn't even believe in recycling, nor does she practice it.
I understand many of you have had amazing kind conversations with Ms. Oasis. I'll just say that there are certain people who have mastered our language and characteristics, but have different motives. Did you know in the raw spirit contract it actually states You are not allowed to speak about lizard-people. I read that and then I saw how Happy borrowed $550 from an employee to purchase a pendant that repels aliens' off of Ebay. scratches head-.You can read that story off of a blog from another past employee here: http://rawtraveling.blogspot.com/2008/01/plan-q.html Please don't allow these momentary encounters to allow you to pass positive judgment on somebody. That is just as judgmental as casting a negative opinion on somebody based on a few minutes of interaction. Everyone should be held accountable for their actions.
My intention isn't to destroy her, or the festival, or to 'take over' the festival. Perhaps after a year off, she can come back and assist with marketing.
And if you think that this is just ME who has these thoughts, I challenge all of you to ask EVERY single person who has worked for this festival in the past and no longer works for the festival, what they think of Happy.
(Happy has bad-mouthed every single person you can think of. She's spoken negatively about almost every single main stage presenter including David Wolfe, Dr. Doug Graham, Gabriel Cousens, Matt Monarch, her entire staff, and many more.)
The bottom line is that these people didn't leave because they were BAD people. They came to this festival and dedicated their entire lives to the festival because they LOVED the cause. But once anybody gets to know Happy, and her true character, they become disgusted at her intentions and the way she treats people. Just look at the last few months
Kim Left because of the unprofessionalism Tonya Stormed out within a couple of weeks because she was completely offended when she heard Happy speak about everybody, including all the staff and main presenters, behind their backs. The police had to show up twice because their argument got that intense.
Frank , Our Former Vice President - Many of you might not know his story, but if it wasn't for his behind the scenes legal work, there would be no festival. He's the main reason why the festival grew like it did and stayed on the legal route. Definitely an unsung hero. He left because of unethical business practices and verbal abuse from Happy Oasis. Susanne Left because of questionable business practices Noelle Left Diane Left Sharon- Left
Aeon He would back everything I'm saying in this email. He has experienced things you wouldn't imagine working for this festival. And when I hear her constantly badmouth him, it truly breaks my heart to see good people become used.
Laura Fox Did an amazing job, clashed with Ms. Oasis on many topics, and then left Dan Left because of how he was being treated. Thank God he came on board to help with parking again this year.
Claire Left because of how she was being treated. She claimed she was an energetic slave to Happy and that Happy didn't care about anyone but herself. BethAnn & Sashi: Both wanted to work as much as possible, but they both couldn't stand how disrespectful she was towards them. They left in absolute disbelief that this self-imposed 'guru' was really this verbally vicious character. The list goes on and on and on..
If you ask EVERY previous staff member if they would vote Happy on or off, you'd likely get a 99% result to vote her off.
Now the following sentences are hard for me to repeat because of how delusional they are, but these are just some of the racist, sexist, and prejudice statements that have came out of Ms. Oasis's mouth. And I will stand under oath in court and under the honesty and integrity of the karmic world that this is all true. Hollywood couldn't script some of these lines This might come as a shock from the public image we have of Happy, but these are just SOME of the sentences that have came out of Ms. Oasis's mouth (to dozens of staff members)
"I am a guru who's worshipped all around the world" "All men find me attractive. It must be the blond hair." "This is MY festival. Happy = The Festival.The festival = Happy. Got it?"
"I don't like their name. You can tell they're not raw fooders because of their name" "Noelle is emotionally imbalanced likely due to deep personal life long psychological patterns, and this pre-disposition is heightened by too much fruit.:" "Laura Fox is trying to take over my festival" "Frank is trying to take over my festival" "Apollo is trying to take over my festival" "He looks unhealthy. You can just tell" "Photoshop that mole off his face before you put him on the website" "Look at their face. You can tell they don't eat raw foods" "Only put the good-looking people on the flier" "Jewish people are very vindictive" "Jewish people are very cheap and s****." "Someone came up to me and said 'Wudup ((((REDACTED FOUL LANGUAGE))).' And I was shocked! He then explained to me that now a days it means 'friend', so I told him, "Ok, I guess I AM your ((((REDACTED FOUL LANGUAGE)))' (coming from a hiphop background, this offended me the most, but I know it's pure ignorance on her part. Just watch Happy at the end of the Heather Salmon video, when she stereotyped the entire community by giving her a 'gangster hug'. Happy even asked to bring more black people to the festival so it seems more 'diverse.')
Shocked? Me too. But there is even more
"We can't put Mohammad on the site. It sounds like a terrorist.. Can we just use his last name instead?" "We need ALL volunteers to send their photos before they're hired, because we can't hire a blind person to do the parking"
(yes, I scratched my head at that one too.) "Aya is my puppet. He'll do whatever I say" "Aeon is a drug-addict convinct" "Frank is a secret government spy trying to kill me" "If the festival ever gets shut down or taken from me, I'm just going to take all the money, change my name and move to another country" "I'm taking all the money and leaving" "One day, I'm just going to disappear and not tell anyone where I'm at" "Doug Graham can NOT come no matter what. He's extremely dangerous." "Apollo. You shouldn't even be working for this festival. You're not even 100% raw' (Now I normally wouldn't include that line, but first, we shouldn't judge people based on their diets. It just disgusts me how she judges people for not being 100% raw, when she herself isn't even raw.Or a veganOr even a VEGETARIAN for that matter. YES. Her entire diet is a 'front'. Not only does she eat fish regularly, but when came back from Mexico with a prior staff member, she was caught talking about how she had a beer and a beef burrito in Los Olganes. She claimed that she does it to "keep in touch with the 'regular unenlightened people'Please! On top of that, she has people who secretly-shop for her and sneak food to the patio door of her house. It makes me sad to think about the level of judgment she must receive that she has to sneak her food in and has to pretend that she's a raw vegan when she's not even a vegetarian!)
Is this the person who should be in charge of the festival? Is this the person that you trust is running the festival with the highest intention?? She's judged people, criticized people, and has disrespected everyone who's given their lives to help HER vision. I feel that she is an EXTREMELY high risk to this organization and this movement.
All of this might lead to a civil lawsuit against her as well.
Ms. Oasis has also been accused by prior staff of using public funds for mock personal trips around the country. As long as she's the president of the festival, it will always be run the same way. It's not because we don't have the sources to organize it, but because she won't allow that to be done.
Ms. Oasis was also told by her psychologist that she's schizophrenic. The entire last staff actually tried to submit her to a MENTAL CLINIC!! (She even tells people about this story. I don't know about you, but if my entire staff was trying to get me submitted to a mental clinic, I wouldn't go around sharing that).
Do you think it's a coincidence that all these people have all tried to remove her from this position? Her stubbornness and power-trip that she's on is extremely dangerous to the future of this festival.
Somebody has to be strong and stand up against this dictatorship and free the festival back into the raw community. The community in which we are of service to. The community which has thousands of people spending up to a $1,000 each for travel, accommodations and tickets to support what we're doing.
I want to see this festival happen in cities all around the world. I want to see this organization doing fund-raisers, educational seminars, and actually making a difference in people's lives. Once we remove the negative egotistic energy out of this picture, we will start attracting volunteers and people of the highest good. As long as Happy is in power, the organization will not be sustainable, (including on an energetic level)
Kim, Tonya, Frank, Susanne, Noelle, Diane, Aeon, Laura, Sharon, Dan, Claire, BethAnn, Sashi, Amie, Apollo, Terry, Chaitonya, Jayasri, Morgan, Puma, etc.. The list goes on and on of people who use to be involved and are no longer involved. Put the 2 and 2 together and trust your intuition to guide you in whether or not you want to support future events. We had a staff in 2007. We had an entire new staff in 2008. And now they're scrambling the country to find a new staff for 2009 because nobody wants to stick around and deal with Happy's disrespect.
And rest assure, that Happy will respond saying that I'm a manipulative young angry person who got removed and became 'emotionally unbalanced. And that I'm not even into raw foods and that I'm a 'dark energy who's trying to stop you, etc..etc..etc. The reason I know this, is because she's done the same routine over 20 times with the last 20 people who worked with the festival. And I'm fine with sacrificing the abuse that I'm going to take. It took a lot of courage for me to willingly put myself through this, but this is the final chapter of it and I am so grateful for all of you who have supported the truth being revealed. I urge you to see past her fabricated language and go by what your intuition tells you. Feel free to email Happy at email@example.com voicing your concerns, and I encourage you to be as honest as possible with your experiences. Happy Oasis is no longer welcome to spread chaos in this community of harmony and peace. Let us make room for new festivals to emerge out of this transition of truth.
And please know that MANY people have tried to heal her. She has been surrounded by more love and light-workers then one could ever hope for. She's had many opportunities to step into a leadership position and has failed to do so.
We know what needs to be done and I'm confident that we can make the raw movement grow. Sometimes we need to get together and shine as much light as possible, so the dark energies are even more apparent to the rest of the people. Let us remove all negativity from this festival. All disorganization. All manipulation. All gossiping. And anything else that gets in the way of our growth. We are an example to the raw community. We are the pioneers in which 1000's of people have trusted their hard-earned money with. As long as we have drama-creating people within our festival, we will constantly be disorganized, and what kind of example would that be to the world that we're trying to heal?? We have the power to do something amazing with this. This will be the most important decision the festival has had to make, but I do feel this is a necessary one in order to move on and grow like we deserve to. Our decisions echo and create ripple effects in the world. Let's throw in a positive stone and ride that beautiful wave all the way back home into raw bliss. Thank you for speaking your voice and allowing truth to resonate deep into your souls.
At your service,
Former board member phoenix, Arizona
This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 11/03/2008 11:04 AM and is a permanent record located here: https://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/raw-spirit-festival/prescott-arizona-86301/raw-spirit-festival-scam-alert-founder-taking-in-a-6-figure-income-from-a-struggling-non-387456. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year. Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report. READ: Foreign websites steal our content
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