AUSTIN (KXAN) - Elks USA, the national service organization, issued an executive order yesterday revoking the Austin charter. The order accuses Lodge 201 of not following Elks Policy.
Now members are locked out.
The sudden lockdown of the Austin Elks came as a surprise to Nataysha Doyel, the newly elected exalted ruler of the lodge.
"We got an executive order, closing down our lodge, pulling our charter," Doyel said, "essentially putting us out of business."
Doyel said the national chapter locked the gates and took control of the local organization, cracking down for infractions like improper display of the charter, failure to turn in monthly reports from meetings and other violations.
The head of the Austin chapter disputes the violations and says the community is ultimately paying the price for this fight.
"We've built up our membership, we have our savings in order," Doyel said. "We're making a difference in this community."
The local Elks say they have given more than $20,000 in the last two years to local charities like Boys and Girls Clubs of America, Dell Children's Medical Center and the annual fan drive. But future donations are effectively done.
"It's very sad to me that we can do so much for our community and for our own grand lodge," Doyel said. "To close our doors is just shocking to me."
Lodge 201 leaders say they'll fight to get reinstated, claiming they have ownership of the building and that the Elks National organization can't keep them out of their own building.
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