Grand Lodge of Vt., F. and A. M. v. City of Burlington

Citation162 A. 368
Case DateOctober 18, 1932
CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Vermont
162 A. 368

GRAND LODGE OF VERMONT, F. AND A. M.
v.
CITY OF BURLINGTON.

Supreme Court of Vermont Chittenden.

Oct. 18, 1932.


Exceptions from Chittenden County Court; Fred G. Bicknell, Judge.

Action by the Grand Lodge of Vermont of Free and Accepted Masons against the City of Burlington, Judgment for defendant, and plaintiff brings exceptions.

Judgment affirmed.

Argued before POWERS, C. J., and SLACK, MOULTON, THOMPSON, and GRAHAM, JJ.

Charles H. Darling, of Burlington, and Charles B. Adams, of Waterbury, for plaintiff.

Theo. E. Hopkins, of Burlington, for defendant.

MOULTON, J.

This is an action of contract to recover taxes paid under protest. The judgment of the trial court was for the defendant, and the plaintiff has brought the case here on exceptions.

There is an agreed statement of facts, by which the following appears: The plaintiff is composed of the three principal officers of the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the State of Vermont, who have received corporate powers in perpetuity, under No. 259, Acts of 1896; and holds the title to the Masonic Temple in the city of Burlington This building was erected in 1898, and was appraised by the assessors of the city, and set in the grand list for the year 1930. The plaintiff protested to the assessors, claiming that the property was exempt, under G. L. 684, subd. 6. The protest was disallowed, and an appeal was taken to the board of civil authority, but the action of the assessors was sustained. The taxes were then paid, under protest. No question is made as to the regularity of the assessment, except in so far as the claim of exemption is concerned, and all statutory requisites have been complied with.

The plaintiff is the governing body in this state of the secret society generally known and called "Free Masons," the members of which are distributed among subordinate

162 A. 369

lodges. The first floor of the temple is rented for stores; a part of the second floor for offices; and the balance of the second floor and all of the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth floors are rented to other masonic bodies, with the exception of a part of the third floor which is occupied by the plaintiff as its office and library. The plaintiff also uses such part of the upper floors as it needs for its meetings.

The original conveyance of the property contained no provision concerning the uses or purposes of the grant. By a resolution, adopted by the plaintiff in 1899, it was provided in substance that until the temple should be paid for, the net income from the rent of the building should be applied for this purpose, but that thereafter such net income should be set apart for the purpose of securing a Masonic Home and charitable uses, and "that it be used for such purposes, and such purposes, only, forever." The temple has been paid for, and during the time here material, the net income, after the payment of operating expenses, repairs, etc., has been transferred to a permanent charity fund, and disbursed for the benefit of the members of the order and for the relief of others in need of assistance. This fund is also composed of assessments on the individual members of the subordinate lodges, together with interest and donations received.

According to the agreed statement, "The teaching of Free Masonry is a study of morality based on and inculcated in the practice of moral and christian virtues, especially those of brotherly love and relief and the practice and recognition of the cardinal virtues, particularly the three, temperance, fortitude and justice, and of the christian virtues, faith, hope and charity; charity being recognized as one of the chief tenets of the order."

The plaintiff bases its claim upon that clause in G. L. 684, subd. 6, which provides that...

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17 practice notes
  • Siwooganock Guar. Sav. Bank v. Cushman, No. 275a.
    • United States
    • Vermont United States State Supreme Court of Vermont
    • November 2, 1937
    ...194 A. 462; Belfore v. State Highway Department, 108 Vt. 396, 187 A. 797; Grand Lodge of Vermont v. City of Burlington, 104 Vt. 515, 519, 162 A. 368. When this is done, it is obvious that while the Legislature intended to prohibit foreign savings banks from doing business in this state it d......
  • Holbrook Grocery Co. v. Amidon., No. 1749.
    • United States
    • Vermont United States State Supreme Court of Vermont
    • February 3, 1948
    ...Belfore v. Vermont State Highway Department, 108 Vt. 396, 400, 187 A. 797; Grand Lodge of Vermont v. City of Burlington, 104 Vt. 515, 519, 162 A. 368. We adopt the interpretation of § 17 for which that appellant contends, and hold that the phrase ‘may appeal therefrom to the county court of......
  • Belfore v. Vermont State Highway Dep't, No. 1007.
    • United States
    • Vermont United States State Supreme Court of Vermont
    • November 4, 1936
    ...system, and the legislative intent, thus ascertained, must be given effect. Grand Lodge of Vermont v. City of Burlington, 104 Vt. 515, 519, 162 A. 368. The construction is, moreover, to be liberal. P.L. 6578; Blake v. American Fork & Hoe Co, 99 Vt. 301, 304, 131 A. 844; Packett v. Moretown ......
  • Boston Law Book Co. v. Hathorn, No. 1282
    • United States
    • Vermont United States State Supreme Court of Vermont
    • November 6, 1956
    ...facts against the excepting party, Toussaint v. Stone, 116 Vt. 425, 427, 77 A.2d 824; Grand Lodge, etc., v. Burlington, 104 Vt. 515, 517, 162 A. 368; the construction must be reasonable and cannot provide positive findings of fact not incorporated in the facts agreed upon. St. Albans Hospit......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
17 cases
  • Siwooganock Guar. Sav. Bank v. Cushman, No. 275a.
    • United States
    • Vermont United States State Supreme Court of Vermont
    • November 2, 1937
    ...194 A. 462; Belfore v. State Highway Department, 108 Vt. 396, 187 A. 797; Grand Lodge of Vermont v. City of Burlington, 104 Vt. 515, 519, 162 A. 368. When this is done, it is obvious that while the Legislature intended to prohibit foreign savings banks from doing business in this state it d......
  • Holbrook Grocery Co. v. Amidon., No. 1749.
    • United States
    • Vermont United States State Supreme Court of Vermont
    • February 3, 1948
    ...Belfore v. Vermont State Highway Department, 108 Vt. 396, 400, 187 A. 797; Grand Lodge of Vermont v. City of Burlington, 104 Vt. 515, 519, 162 A. 368. We adopt the interpretation of § 17 for which that appellant contends, and hold that the phrase ‘may appeal therefrom to the county court of......
  • Belfore v. Vermont State Highway Dep't, No. 1007.
    • United States
    • Vermont United States State Supreme Court of Vermont
    • November 4, 1936
    ...system, and the legislative intent, thus ascertained, must be given effect. Grand Lodge of Vermont v. City of Burlington, 104 Vt. 515, 519, 162 A. 368. The construction is, moreover, to be liberal. P.L. 6578; Blake v. American Fork & Hoe Co, 99 Vt. 301, 304, 131 A. 844; Packett v. Moretown ......
  • Boston Law Book Co. v. Hathorn, No. 1282
    • United States
    • Vermont United States State Supreme Court of Vermont
    • November 6, 1956
    ...facts against the excepting party, Toussaint v. Stone, 116 Vt. 425, 427, 77 A.2d 824; Grand Lodge, etc., v. Burlington, 104 Vt. 515, 517, 162 A. 368; the construction must be reasonable and cannot provide positive findings of fact not incorporated in the facts agreed upon. St. Albans Hospit......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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