When that phrase came to mind earlier today, I thought it was Biblical, and I still think it is, but when I Googled it, I discovered it had been used to describe banking by Sir Josiah Stamp, who was the president of the Bank of England in the 1920s and the second richest man in Britain in his day. What brought the phrase to my mind--justly or unjustly--was reading a court decision on Leagle, the link to which had been provided by a reader. The case, which was heard in May 2000 by the Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court, First Department, involved the American Baptist Churches of Metropolitan New York (plaintiff) and T. Eric Galloway (defendant). In Baptist Churches v. Galloway, the things Galloway was alleged to have done--the actions for which he was being sued by the American Baptist Churches of Metropolitan New York (ABC Metro)--seem to be the very actions that brought the Lantern Organization, then called the Community Lantern Corp., into existence.
The lawsuit alleges "misappropriation of corporate opportunity by an officer of a charity, who was retained to help the charity develop an AIDS care facility but seized control of the project himself." It seems that, in 1994, ABC Metro, which operated an outreach program for AIDS patients, wanted to start a second facility, to be called Noah House. Galloway, who was then employed by the Settlement Housing Fund, was hired by ABC Metro, first as a consultant and later as an employee, to spearhead the Noah House project. This he did over the next two years, but after he had negotiated the purchase of a site for Noah House, obtained the necessary government approvals, and secured funding for the project, he allegedly "embarked on a scheme to seize control of the Noah House project and cut ABC Metro out of the transaction entirely." He told ABC Metro's legal counsel to incorporate Community Lantern Corp. (CLC) as a not-for-profit corporation, with him as one of its three directors, and to substitute CLC's name for ABC Metro's on the purchase contract with the seller. He was also alleged to have told the seller's counsel to delay the sale. That done, in July 1996, he informed ABC Metro that "he was resigning and that CLC was taking control of the Noah House project."
A lower court had dismissed the case on the grounds that "[a]s a not-for-profit corporation, ABC Metro cannot satisfactorily allege damages, which would otherwise be premised upon lost profits." ABC Metro appealed the decision, and the Appellate Court determined that the lower court had "erred in concluding that a not-for-profit could never sustain compensable damages" and reinstated all but two of ABC Metro's claims in the lawsuit.
I don't know the final outcome of the case. Perhaps Galloway or Tom Swope will comment and tell us how the situation was resolved. What is known is that the Lantern Organization, on its website, cites 1997, the year after Galloway resigned from ABC Metro, as the year of its founding.