Barry Levine

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Barry Levine at the 2010 Detroit AG hotel

Barry Levine was a 30-year member of American Mensa who was expelled from American Mensa in 2008 following a national hearing for the offense of “committing calumny against Dave Remine.” Two things should be noted: Who is Dave Remine and what is American Mensa’s definition of “calumny.” (1) Dave Remine has long been a very powerful and vindictive officer in American Mensa, who published his infamous “enemies list” with Levine’s name on top, and who has been a key player in most every expulsion in American Mensa history. (2) “Calumny” has a radically different meaning in American Mensa than it does anywhere else. While in the rest of the world “calumny” is synonymous with libel/slander/defamation, that is not the case in American Mensa, where that word was formally “redefined” such that falsehood is “not necessary,” thus making legitimate criticism – free speech – an expulsionable offense in American Mensa.

That archaic word “calumny” was added to AML’s list of “acts inimical to Mensa” at the behest of Dave Remine, in the course of Levine’s criticizing an earlier, 2005 hearing decision against himself by Remine. As per the Jan 2007 AMC record: “BECKER said the chair of the Hearings Committee [Dave Remine] felt strongly that the word calumny needed to be included” on that list of expulsionable offenses. That record continues, stating that that AMC was “concerned with the wording on this. The word calumniating will not be understood by many of our members and [AMC] had to look it up in a dictionary to see what it meant. There should be a less obscure word that gets the point across. BECKER said only a small percentage of charges are actually heard. We need to trust the judgment of the hearings committee.” And with that the expulsionable offense of “calumny” was ratified into American Mensa’s bylaws by AMC with not a single dissenting vote. Remine soon after charged Levine with “committing calumny” against himself and nearly every other national officer in American Mensa, and appointed his cohort, the above Jean Becker, to head up the 2008 Hearings Committee against Levine. Becker then officially redefined that word “calumny” such that falsehood was “not necessary,” tried and convicted Levine of that offense, and ordered him expelled from Mensa.

That previous, 2005 hearing against Levine by Remine resulted in Levine being thrown out of his local group in Atlanta, Georgia. This, in turn, stemmed from a conflict within that group around 2001 in which the organizers of rival lunch events clashed over the appropriateness of engaging in heated political arguments during such events, Levine finding such political arguments inappropriate as it was doing significant damage to the group by driving off members. The local officers refused to get involved, then overreacted by simply cancelling all such events. When members complained that that local board had no right to take away their events, that board tried to justify their dubious action by creating official-looking Mensa letterhead to issue a formal decree declaring that all the hosts of those events, including Levine, had “brought disrepute to Mensa.” Those six board officers signed that document and distributed it to members through the U.S. mail. Levine took great offense with such a formal and libelous declaration about himself (being painted with the same broad brush as the others) and demanded those officers either substantiate their “brought disrepute” claim or retract it. That board refused to do either. A formal local mediation was convened where those six officers reluctantly agreed to retract their statement. They then again refused. Levine felt that no Mensa member should tolerate such abuse and so engaged the then National Ombudsman, Eldon Romney, asking only that he get those officers to deliver on their agreed upon retraction or to invoke his power to “force publish,” to which that Ombudsman agreed. That Ombudsman (appointed by then Chairman Becker) then strung Levine along for over a year then failed to deliver that retraction or to force publish as he had promised. During this time Levine intercepted communication from then Chairman Becker to Romney to hush this up and sweep it under the rug. This refusal by the Ombudsman to honor his agreement left Levine no choice but to charge those local officers with “acts inimical to Mensa.” Upon doing so, counter-charges were brought against Levine.

A pair of hearings were held originally, in 2005, the one filed by Levine against those local officers, and the other against Levine. Dave Remine headed up the Hearings Committee for those hearings, even though, as per the American Mensa bylaws, it was not yet his turn to do so. When Levine filed charges against those local officers, Remine encouraged them to counter-charge Levine. When they couldn’t come up with any logical charges, Remine himself wrote some ambiguous charges for them, charging Levine with “harassing all who disagree with him” and that his “behavior” harmed Mensa. Remine refused to define Levine’s “behavior” or to define how Levine supposedly “harassed” anybody. Nevertheless Remine’s Hearings Committee convicted Levine on both those charges and threw him out of his local group, Atlanta Mensa, for five years, while letting the others, those local officers, walk. It was at those hearings those officers admitted the reason they kept refusing to retract their libelous statement is because “there were those who were concerned it might be viewed as a sign of weakness.”

Remine’s required Hearings Committee report stated nothing other than Levine was “guilty” of both charges. It failed to specify a single person he supposedly “harassed” or to define his “behavior.” Levine would not tolerate such a baseless decision, subsequently demanding that Remine specify both who he “harassed” and what was the matter with his “behavior.” Remine responded by threatening Levine with more charges if he didn’t shut up and go away. Levine made a lot of noise, maintained it was a sham court, designed solely for expediency, to remove him from his chapter, so as to eliminate the “problem.” He claimed that Remine and his “court” simply deemed a member holding officers accountable for their actions to be “harassment” and improper “behavior,” though they could never actually say such, and that by convicting him of said charges falsely implied that Levine had indeed “harassed” people and shown improper “behavior,” which he hadn’t, and thus was libelous.

Levine felt strongly that no member should tolerate such abuse and made a lot of noise about Mensa’s “kangaroo courts.” This infuriated Remine and brought about Levine’s second, 2008 expulsion hearing, when Remine created the new “calumny” law and charged Levine with it. As noted, Remine’s cohort Jean Becker headed up that second Hearings Committee, redefined “calumny” such that falsehood was “not necessary,” and convicted Levine of it, ordering him expelled from Mensa.

Levine’s expulsion was confirmed by the American Mensa Committee at the 2008 Annual Gathering of American Mensa. This was done in secret, behind closed doors, with no record of the vote, or even if there was a vote. Levine subsequently accused many officers of Mensa of corruption and defamation. In 2010, he applied for direct international member status with the International Board of Directors, which, as per the Mensa Constitution, could have discretionarily granted it if they believed the process by which he was expelled was not conducted fairly. Levine submitted his appeal to that body citing 30 specific ways he was cheated by Remine and his “court” in that expulsion hearing. Levine was assured his appeal was in fact distributed to all members of that IBD, though he was unable to confirm such. As per their official record, that IBD supposedly elected to take no action on Levine’s appeal, by a supposed vote of 27-26. It was later determined that most everyone on that IBD never even heard of Levine, had in fact never seen his appeal, and that their official record stating that they rejected his appeal is, by all appearances, totally fictitious.

Levine claims that Remine needed Mensa to officially declare him, Levine, a liar, and this is how he did it: Create a libel law, charge a member with it, radically alter that law’s definition at the last moment, convict that member of it, and bingo – he’s committed libel. Levine’s mantra throughout all this is that one must never underestimate the creativity of the malicious Mensa mind. Levine maintains that, despite its arrogance, even Mensa does not have the right to redefine words, thus their convicting him of “calumny” officially and falsely proclaims him to be a malicious liar, which clearly is libel on the part of American Mensa. While Levine considered filing suit against Mensa for defamation soon after his expulsion, he did not do so, as he did not want to cost the innocent membership itself and he preferred to appeal to International first, trusting that they would be impartial. Levine claims that appeal to IBD was a major mistake on his part as he did not realize that IBD, heavily influenced by American Mensa, was in on the fix. And his appeal, which IBD never even saw, ate up his one year statute of limitations for a libel case. Left only with a breach of contract action, which has a seven-year statute of limitations, in late 2011 Levine filed suit in a Georgia county court against American Mensa and some individuals including Remine, seeking reinstatement of his membership. The response from Mensa included a motion to dismiss, citing an obscure Georgia law providing a one-year statute of limitations for claims resulting from expulsion from an organization, a law intended for organizations like country clubs that, unlike Mensa, have no contractual obligations such as bylaws and a Constitution. Nonetheless the case was dismissed by the judge, and a later appeal failed to reverse this.

Since his expulsion, Levine has attempted to register for Annual Gatherings as a guest of a member, but has been refused on the basis of a rule (newly passed after his expulsion, and after an unsuccessful attempt to confiscate his AG badge right after his expulsion was confirmed) against expelled members attending any Mensa event (except for events held in private homes when the owner of the home consents to the person being allowed.) He has, however, stayed at AG hotels during several gatherings and hung out in the lobby and grounds to meet Mensans. In 2011 he wore a bright orange shirt saying “I was expelled from Mensa for ‘committing calumny against Dave Remine’” He has been to numerous such gatherings since. Levine maintains he was railroaded in not just one but in fact two Mensa kangaroo courts, that Mensa “due process” is a total sham, that he is the only person in the world that Mensa has ever officially proclaimed a malicious liar, yet not a single person in all of Mensa has or can cite a single instance of any time he has ever been less than truthful. He maintains that Mensa leadership to this very day is extensively corrupt in refusing to remedy this clear obstruction of justice, that Mensa, both American and International, is run by a bunch of cheats who have destroyed its integrity and made mockery of its most fundamental values. Levine feels strongly that Mensa must not be morally and ethically bankrupt, and to that end he has continued to agitate against Mensa’s leadership in various forums, and has created a critical website at mensaiscorrupt.org.

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