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MILASINOVICH v. SERBIAN PROGRESSIVE CLUB (11/27/51)

November 27, 1951

MILASINOVICH
v.
THE SERBIAN PROGRESSIVE CLUB, INC., APPELLANT



Appeal, No. 135, March T., 1951, from decree of Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Oct T., 1948, No. 1214, in case of Marko Milasinovich, Jovo Tomich, Eli Macut, Peter Vranich and Marko Zivkovich v. The Serbian Progressive Club, Inc. et al. Decree, as modified, affirmed; reargument refused December 12, 1951.

COUNSEL

William S. Doty, for appellants.

Harry Alan Sherman, for appellees.

Before Drew, C.j., Stern, Stearne, Jones, Bell, Ladner and Chidsey, JJ.

Author: Stearne

[ 369 Pa. Page 27]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE ALLEN M. STEARNE

This is an appeal from final decrees in equity granting an injunction against a corporation not for profit -- first class -- and its officers, and appointing a receiver and also giving other equitable relief.

[ 369 Pa. Page 28]

The Serbian Progressive Club, Inc., is a corporation of the first class, incorporated by the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County under the Act of April 29, 1874 P.L. 73 and the Act of May, 5, 1933 P.L. 289, as amended, 15 PS 2851-1 et seq. Its authorized purpose is to educate its members to become worthy citizens of the United States of America and to respect and obey the laws of the United States. The corporation owns real estate, has cash assets and is holder of a Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board liquor license. Five alleged members of the corporation filed a bill in equity charging that the present officers, or certain of them, were endeavoring to bring the corporation under the control of the Communist Party; that communist meetings were being held in the club house; that assets of the corporation were being employed for communist propaganda and the funds of the corporation being diverted from the lawful purposes of the corporation and applied toward subversive uses not only against the corporation but the United States; that because of these facts many members had resigned or abandoned their membership; that the corporation finances were becoming exhausted; that bodily harm was and is threatened to those members opposing communism; that the constitution and by-laws of the corporation were ignored; the names of alleged members of the communist party were given and it was charged that anti-communists are excluded.

The chancellor appointed a receiver to hold the assets of the corporation and, after extensive hearings, but with a record which leaves much to be desired, made findings of fact and conclusions of law, and entered a decree which the court in banc, with modifications, unanimously affirmed. The final decree of the court in banc reads:

"1. The defendants perverted the purposes of the charter granted by this court in using the club premises;

[ 369 Pa. Page 29]

(a) For communist and communist front meetings; (b) Diverting funds to communist and communist front organizations; (c) In the distribution of communist literature, booklets, and information. "2. The defendant organization is ordered to expel at once the following officers and members charged with ...


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