Haas, who was Grand Master of West Virginia in 2006 was summarily expelled from the fraternity the following year.
Haas has contended that he introduced reforms in West Virginia Masonry that were unpopular with the leadership of the fraternity and especially with the subsequent Grand Master, resulting in his expulsion without benefit of Masonic trial. The Grand Lodge of West Virginia, and two former Grand Masters, Charles Coleman, and Charlie Montgomery have been named in the lawsuit.
The defendants have denied Haas’ allegations and counter with the argument that Haas was expelled for what amounts to unmasonic conduct.
The case, which brings Freemasonry into sharp relief in West Virginia, will be heard by Circuit Court Judge Carrie Webster, herself no stranger to controversy. A recent decision of hers, unrelated to Freemasonry, involving disciplinary suspensions at a West Virginia high school has been appealed to the state Supreme Court. At stake in the Haas case is just how far a profane court may reach into a private organization.
Jury selection began last week — the trial is expected to begin this week. The Kansas Mason Online will cover the trial as events dictate.
Further reading: Charleston Daily Mail