Given the official paper, the original court document, it would be impossible for any of the trustees to have not known of Russell's involvement, no matter what the Brooklyn Eagle claimed. Wild claims and nonsense speculation as found in these posts hurt our cause. And they're stupid
I can't prove you are wrong.
It is, in general, an impossibility to prove a negative.
Here the negative is that the four clergymen - all of whom were strongly opposed to Russell both in terms of doctrine and their opinions of him as a rogue; a belief pretty nigh universal among his peer group - actually knowingly acted as Trustees for an enterprise whose beneficial owner was Russell.
So, it is you, not I, who needs strong proof of your conjecture.
Your explanation requires all four respected clergymen, who contributed to the Eagle's religious pages, to have GONE MAD, lol!
Let us deploy Occam's Razor and see whose explanation makes more sense, OK?
This is my explanation.
The clergymen were genuinely deceived. They were careless, for sure, and too trusting, and could not even conceive Russell's audacity.
The clerical "mugs" Russell wished to set up were contacted and asked if they would be willing to be Trustees.
Each of those who agreed then signed a letter appointing a person to act as their "ATTORNEY" in this matter.
The "ATTORNEY" isn't necessarily a lawyer - here, the word has the meaning of "representative and authorized signatory". Such a document of appointment is called a "POWER OF ATTORNEY".
This is the norm, not the exception, otherwise the very formation of the Trust would be very onerous - each Trustee giving separate notice of appointment to each other. Here, for example:
13 Trustees, therefore 13 x 12 = 156 separate documents! No way!
So the P.O.A. route is normal, else all the Trustees would need to sign each other's copies of all documents. A logistical disaster.
This way, the Attorney just signs one document.
And the attorney appointed, who need not himself be a trustee, was one of Russell's lesser known stooges.
Now look at this extract from the deed:
(ending with the illustrious soon-to-be author of the 7th volume in Studies in Scriptures, "The Finished Mystery" (the craziest of all WTS publications).
Do you notice that all the text is in the same handwriting?
These are not signatures (totally obvious). It is just a list.
I suggest that no single document that bears the actual signature of any of the clergymen, and Russell's name, actually exists. Not surprising, given the Powers of Attorney granted.
Indeed, the only document these dupes PHYSICALLY signed was the Power of Attorney document, which would merely outline the details of the property to be managed under trust, and the details of the appointed power of attorney.
The "actual" i.e. beneficial ownership of the property would not be visible in any of this paperwork, either.
These fellows were clergymen. Not lawyers or business people like Russell. Never be a trustee without finding out who your co-trustees are. I'm sure they learned a painful lesson and were humiliated - Russell's own intention.
WHY ELSE DID RUSSELL "DO" THIS APPOINTMENT OF ENEMY CLERGYMEN AS TRUSTEES, OTHERWISE? lol!
My explanation is simple, and fits in on every single count:
* Russell modus operandi of hidden ownership of valuable assets, avoiding forthcoming and present alimony issues
* Russell wishing to revenge himself on the clergy who had seen through his scam from the start and abused him, so if it ever unraveled, the clergy would be in the firing line.
* Normal way in which trusts that involve more than 1 or 2 trustees, or trustees not in a common family or employment setting, are set up, using an attorney to sign documents on their behalf - so they never saw the document bearing the names of all the other trustees (until the whole alimony-dodging scam came out in Court)
* Russell must have been chuckling to himself when all this trust-creation took place... right in character for him, too - the lone warrior who outwits his opposition
I think there is little doubt of what happened.
A better question is - was this the photo of the "attorney", who at the time of the trust coming into being was not a well-known Russellite at all:
Yes, it's that future editor of the Watchtower's "The Golden Age" and future author of "The Finished Mystery"... and also one of the Trustees.
The danger of calling the work of those who know much more than you do in general, and also in this particular field - and who are apparently much smarter than you - "stupid" is that it is almost guaranteed to backfire.
What's it now, the third time?
I have much more to come. I'm not going to "WHACK!", as I sense you may be learning.
And prepare for some "Humble Pie" on the matter of Russell and TAX-DODGING.
("Progressive Revelation" Class)