EMPLOYMENT ISSUES UNIQUE TO JEHOVAH'S WITNESS EMPLOYEES

JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES FINANCIAL HONESTY & INTEGRITY SUBSECTION PAGE 5 OF 14
 
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KINGDOM HALL 
ZONING & CONSTRUCTION CASES
 
SUBSECTION PAGE 1 OF 2

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(Various Newspapers February 1927.)

HENRY WARD BEECHER HOME BEING WRECKED

Wreckers are demolishing the historic three-story brownstone house of [124] Columbia Heights, Brooklyn, occupied almost a half century by Henry Ward Beecher, the famous preacher. Abraham Lincoln is said to have visited the famous preacher in the old structure. A nine-story building to house the International Bible Students' Association, and the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, will be erected on the site.

EDITOR: The erasure of 124 Columbia Heights from America's history by the anti-American WatchTower Cult was as much a crime against humanity as has been ISIS's ongoing destruction of middle eastern historical sites. HWB's sister, Harriet Beecher Stowe, the author of "Uncle Tom's Cabin", lived for a time at 124 Columbia Heights. Multiple 19th century celebrities made pilgrimages to Columbia Heights to attend services at HWB's Plymouth Church (also once owned by WatchTower, but saved from later destruction by a forced sale during the 1918-19 imprisonment of WatchTower officials), seek reformer HWB's advice and counsel, and visit at and eat at HWB's home, as did presidential candidate Abraham Lincoln, and later, President Abe Lincoln. Included was HWB's good friend, Mark Twain. The WatchTower Cult also demolished the adjacent 110 Columbia Heights, from which Brooklyn Bridge engineer, Washington Roebling, lived and supervised the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge. Over the decades, the exact same thing has repeatedly happened across America to numerous properties of lesser state and local historic significance. Most such stories have been buried and hidden (if even reported), because local government officials and community leaders quickly became ashamed of the fact that they did nothing to stop the WatchTower Cult from destroying their local history. Any reader shocked by such expressed contempt for America's historic religious and political institutions must be completely ignorant of basic WatchTower "anti-everyone" and "anti-everything" theology.

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Readers should be aware that all legal matters involving local Congregations of Jehovah's Witnesses are and always have been immediately referred to the "Legal Department" at WatchTower Society HQ, in New York, which then oversees and handles that matter. If local legal counsel is hired to represent a local Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses, that representation will be overseen/managed by the WatchTower Society's Legal Department. Local attorneys are particularly desirable in all types of cases when the Cult anticipates losing the case if all of the facts are truthfully and completely disclosed. The Cult then is able to bamboozle the ignorant local attorney in hopes that the local attorney will then unwittingly bamboozle the ignorant local court.

Additionally, researchers should be aware of the fact that the WatchTower Cult historically has had a SOP of using "straw purchasers", or "straw buyers", in its realty transactions. There are a plethora of realty court cases on nearly every continent in which the court was required to first sort out the correct parties to the litigation. Such cases can be particularly troublesome when the involved transactions are several decades old, and the involved persons have died, or have been transferred to or retired to another part of the planet.

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ILLUSTRATIVE RECENT WATCHTOWER CULT REAL ESTATE FLIPPING SCAM

In 2004, the WatchTower Cult announced that it was going to begin translating its infamously mis-translated New World Translation bible into American Sign Language. Few JWs were aware that there then were only about 2000+ or so deaf JWs in the United States. Thus, not only was this project going to take a lot of time and effort, but even considering the use of volunteers, it was going to be very expensive on a "per deaf JW" basis.

From 2005 until 2015, the ASL-NWT project was performed at the Cult's regular Translation Dept facility in Patterson, NY, where all ASL projects were headquartered. However, in 2015, the Cult relocated the entire ASL Team to an office-apartment complex at 1236-1240 NE 15th Ave., Fort Lauderdale, Florida, which the Cult had purchased for $1,950,000.00, and thereafter renovated using its free volunteers. No reasonable reason for the 1350 mile move to Florida was given, but you can bet that the ASL Team was ecstatic.

Then, in May 2019, the WatchTower Cult purchased a second larger office building only a few blocks away at 5300 N Federal Hwy., which also is known as the major north-south artery, Highway 1. Executive homes on the canals are only one minute away, while the ocean may be as much as five minutes away. Despite the fact that this property already was in "move in" condition, the Cult used its unquestioning "volunteers" to renovate this pristine property. Most deaf JWs assumed that this second building was going to be used to expand the ASL-NWT Translation team, since this 2005 project was still uncompleted.

In February 2020, a dedication ceremony for this second building at 5300 N. Federal Hwy. was held at the WatchTower Cult's local Assembly Hall. A sign was installed in front of the newly renovated building stating that it was a "Regional Translation Office". Most of the dedication ceremony's 2500 attendees were "deaf JWs" who sat in the reserved sections directly in front of the podium. After the new property had been dedicated, Governing Body Member Jackson made an unexpected surprise announcement. The ASL NWT bible had been completed!!! While the video shows the "deaf JWs" waving their hands in excitement, one can only wonder how many were wondering why this freshly dedicated second property had been purchased.

Mysteriously, the WatchTower Cult's extremely active Propaganda Dept did little to promote the new property in Fort Lauderdale. It was not until one year later that lengthy and detailed Press Releases were distributed nationwide. The May 2021 Press Release introducing the new ASL NWT included a photograph -- not of the building where the ASL-NWT work had been performed -- but rather a photograph (#10 of 13) of the unoccupied 5300 N. Federal Hwy. building.

As far as we know, the 5300 N. Federal Hwy property was never occupied. Sometime in 2022, it was placed on the market for $4.1 million. The Cult only paid $2,875,000.00 back in 2019, and the unneeded renovation was done with free volunteer labor and donated building materials. HHHHMMMMMMMMMM???? 

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ZONING VARIANCES & EXCEPTIONS

Local government zoning officials should be aware that over the past 40 years that the WatchTower Bible & Tract Society has quietly turned the construction of new Kingdom Halls and the renovation of old Kingdom Halls into a major "money-making" activity. Since the 1990s, the "WatchTower Real Estate Tract Society" has made out like a "bandit" as it has started "flipping" Kingdom Halls only recently built in residentially and commercially zoned areas, which had been granted "zone-busting" variances/exceptions by local government zoning bodies which had anticipated that such Kingdom Halls would serve the local Jehovah's Witness community for 30-40 years to come.

In years past, residential neighbors of those zone-busting Kingdom Halls often have suffered the consequences. First, they had a "church" that looked more like a small office building crow-barred into their residential community. Then, 15-20 years later, when the WatchTower Society decides to take its profit, local government officials must grant a second variance/exception because the WatchTower Society wants to sell its Kingdom Hall to a higher-paying commercial purchaser, rather than selling their "church" to a lower-paying not-for-profit religious group.

More recently, the WatchTower Society has decided that it can make more money from "flipping" Kingdom Halls if such are located in commercial and industrial zones. Now, re-designed flat-roof Kingdom Halls which look like franchised Tire Stores are being constructed in the midst of retail shopping areas. In some retail areas, the WatchTower Cult is constructing new Kingdom Halls intentionally resembling various franchised retail stores and country/family style dine-in restaurants. Larger WatchTower Assembly Halls resembling bigbox "Mart" stores are being constructed in retail, industrial, and farming/agricultural zoned areas. (To see photos of the multiple new construction designs of Kingdom Halls being built in the USA in 2015 and afterward, go to GOOGLE, click "IMAGES", and search on the two phrases, "Kingdom Halls" and "New Design".) Already, there have been zoning fights over Kingdom Halls located in commercially-zoned areas, where the WatchTower Society wanted to "flip" those Kingdom Halls to a commercial purchaser whose type of business did not "fit" into that particular commercial neighborhood.

During either of these construction or resale scenarios, a local government zoning body might wish to ask the WatchTower Society (a religious NFP) to provide it with certain statistics pertaining to such scenarios -- SIMPLY AS A MATTER OF COURTESY. (It should be noted that the anally-retentive WatchTower Society has a century-old reputation for keeping records of "everything". Don't let them bluff their way out of providing these statistics.)

1. Over the past 40 years, within the 50 United States, how many KHs were built on properties already zoned for construction of "churches"?

2. Over the past 40 years, within the 50 United States, how many KHs were built on properties which required a zoning variance/exception?

3. Over the past 20 years, within the 50 United States, how many sales of existing KHs included a request for a zoning change -- either by seller or by buyer? How many requests were granted?

4. Over the past 20 years, within the 50 United States, how many existing KHs put-up-for-sale had been constructed less than 20 years prior to marketing? ... within 20-30 years prior to marketing?

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Nearly without exception (maybe an occasional eminent domain situation), the WatchTower Society will proclaim that the "tremendous growth" of membership within the geographic area in question is the reason for the need for the construction of a new Kingdom Hall. We believe that the alleged "tremendous growth" of new members which supposedly has sparked the need for the construction of a new Kingdom Hall often has been contrived by the WatchTower Society in order to extract $$$$$$ from the old Kingdom Hall which actually had experienced "tremendous growth" in "market value" -- and in order to bamboozle both its local members and local government zoning officials into going along with the "scam".
 
Particularly, we believe that the WatchTower Society often has contrived the need for the construction of a new Kingdom Hall by manipulating the numbers of Jehovah's Witnesses within the geographic area in question. In large, urban areas, manipulation of the number of attendees at any given Kingdom Hall can be accomplished quickly and easily by the simple re-assignment of JWs as to which Kingdom Hall they attend. In smaller cities and towns, the number of attendees at a Kingdom Hall can be increased with only a little more difficulty and slightly less speed by the WatchTower Society dipping into its' "well" of unpaid Congregation Elders and Ministerial Servants living across the United States who have made it known to the WatchTower Society that they are willing to quickly relocate themselves and their families to wherever the WatchTower Society directs them to relocate. (Zoning officials may wish to request that a Congregation seeking a variance/exception provide them with a detailed "history" of the Congregation's membership, particularly including its Elders and Ministerial Servants, SIMPLY AS A MATTER OF COURTESY to the zoning body.)
 
We believe that the following scenario with which we are familiar may be typical of countless "Kingdom Hall construction" scenarios which have occurred across the United States over the past 50 years, and should be highly informative for non-JW readers.
 
During the 1960s, new Kingdom Halls were constructed in each of two adjacent bedroom communities located only a few miles outside a large growing metropolitan area. Both of those bedroom communities were also growing rapidly from the influx of upper middle-class and wealthy professionals -- which are classes of people from which the WatchTower Cult does NOT convert very many members. INTERESTINGLY, as has occurred with new Kingdom Hall construction for decades, the size of those two newly built Kingdom Halls would only accommodate about 25% growth -- this despite the proclaimed past and anticipated future "tremendous growth" of those two Congregations. Quietly, over the next two decades, Jehovah's Witnesses living in the nearby city's growing outskirts were assigned to attend each of these two Kingdom Halls located outside the county in the two nearby bedroom communities -- such that each Kingdom Hall occasionally began to meet or exceed its seating capacity during some better attended meetings.
 
By the 1980s, as the mortgages being paid to the WatchTower Society on those two Kingdom Halls were nearing payoff, the WatchTower Society's "Circuit Overseers" (District Sales Managers) took note of the fact that the market value of Congregation-A's Kingdom Hall had "exploded" -- having been intentionally constructed in a residential area adjacent to ever-expanding commercial/retail areas. The Circuit Overseers "suggest" that Congregation-A had experienced such "tremendous growth" of new members that a larger and nicer Kingdom Hall needed to be constructed (instead of suggesting that the Congregation split -- city folk and town folk -- with each new smaller Congregation sharing time at the existing Kingdom Hall). Shortly thereafter, Cong-A was further convinced to go ahead and sell its Kingdom Hall quickly "while the real estate market is at its peak". The WatchTower Society directs Cong-A to share nearby Cong-B's Kingdom Hall for the next year that it takes to locate, obtain the necessary zoning variance/exception, and purchase a lot for the construction of Cong-A's new Kingdom Hall. INTERESTINGLY, the new lot just so happens NOT to be located within the original bedroom community, but instead is located several miles away within large city's bulging boundary area. More interestingly, the new lot is also near the territory boundary which separates Cong-A and Cong-B. Cong-A's Kingdom Hall and lot was sold for 10X the original 1960s cost. Since Jehovah's Witnesses donate without cost their labor to construct new Kingdom Halls, Cong-A's new Kingdom Hall and lot cost only ONE-HALF of the proceeds received from the sale of the old Kingdom Hall. Cong-A was convinced to DONATE the balance of the proceeds from the sale of its old Kingdom Hall to the WatchTower Society.
 
Shortly thereafter, the WatchTower Cult's Circuit Overseers convince Congregation-B that it also needs to sell its old Kingdom Hall and build a new Kingdom Hall due to the "tremendous growth" of new members. Once again, Cong-B's Kingdom Hall was sold quickly "while the real estate marker is at its peak" -- even before a lot for the new Kingdom Hall was located. Cong-B's Kingdom Hall was sold for nearly 15X the cost of the Kingdom Hall and lot due to the foresight of also having been intentionally constructed in a residential area adjacent to expanding commercial/retail areas. The WatchTower Society directs Cong-B to share time at Cong-A's recently constructed Kingdom Hall, which conveniently just so happened to have been constructed near the territory boundary of Cong-A and Cong-B -- and "equidistant" from each of the two SOLD 1960s Kingdom Halls. The WatchTower Society graciously holds for Cong-B the proceeds of the sale of Cong-B's Kingdom Hall until Cong-B "needs" those funds for the construction of its new Kingdom Hall.
 
Ten years later, into the 1990s, and no suitable lot had yet been found on which to construct a new Kingdom Hall for Cong-B, and Cong-B's members were still sharing Cong-A's Kingdom Hall. Another 10 years later, into the 2000s, and the WatchTower Society's "Circuit Overseers" again take note that Cong-A's 1980s Kingdom Hall had been overtaken by the ever-expanding surrounding retail/commercial areas, and its market value had skyrocketed to 10X the original 1980s cost. Shortly thereafter, Cong-A and Cong-B were convinced that Cong-A's 1980s Kingdom Hall needed to be sold, and that ONE SINGLE much larger mega-Kingdom Hall should be constructed to meet the "tremendous growth" of both Cong-A and Cong-B. The WatchTower Society graciously holds for Cong-A the proceeds of the sale of Cong-A's second Kingdom Hall until Cong-A "needs" those funds.
 
Ten years later, and into the mid-2010s, after Cong-A's 1980s Kingdom Hall was sold back during the 2000s, Cong-A was last known to be seeking a zoning variance/exception for a new Kingdom Hall to be constructed inside the territory of not Cong-A, but rather Cong-B. Apparently, Jehovah's Witnesses living in those two bedroom communities have been driving long distances to attend meetings at older, existing Kingdom Halls located inside the boundaries of large city. Sounds like Cong-A's members, who were forced to drive a much longer distance to their new 1980s Kingdom Hall, now will be forced to drive triple or quadruple that amount of miles/time to get to their newest mega-Kingdom Hall, which they will be forced to share with who knows how many other congregations -- if and when it is built. ... Hmmmmmmm!!!
 
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Since posting the above essay, a Reader writes that such continuous building-selling of Kingdom Halls is not limited to urban areas with sky-rocketing real estate prices. Reader relates that they are familiar with a Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses which is located in a small-population rural county, which has constructed 4 new Kingdom Halls over the past 4 decades -- without there being any significant growth in the number of members during the past three decades.
 
Reader reports that the first new Kingdom Hall construction occurred in the early 1970s -- in a rural location. In the mid 1980s, KH#1 only occasionally began to approach maximum occupancy during the occasional special meeting. The increase in members was due to recent transfer-ins by the rural county's only manufacturer -- NOT local conversions. The WatchTower Society's Circuit Overseer pushed the idea of selling KH#1 and building a new KH#2 despite the fact that "occupancy" was only a recent only months-old issue, and despite the fact that three families already were making plans to relocate out of the county sometime within the next 6-12 months. Location #2 was a tract of rural farmland donated by an elderly member. In the mid-1990s, during another spike in transfer-ins by the aforementioned factory, once again, the WatchTower Society's Circuit Overseer began to push the idea of selling rural KH#2 and building a new KH#3, closer to town, in a "better, higher-visibility" location. Location #3 was on a main artery leading into a large residential neighborhood inside the city limits. Around 2010, the WatchTower Society's Circuit Overseer once again began to push the idea of selling KH#3 and building a new KH#4 in order to gain "better visibility". This time, the selected location for KH#4 was an unzoned growing mixed retail and commercial area.
 
As noted in the opening paragraph, Reader reports that there has been no significant growth in the total membership count of this small-town Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses since the mid-1980s -- and there have been no other congregations which have split off from it. Numbers have occasionally temporarily fluctuated due to the economy and the resulting transfer-ins and transfer-outs of the still only major manufacturer in the county. Reader has not been privy to most of the financial information on these four Kingdom Hall build-sells, but speculates that a large "profit" must have been enjoyed by "someone" -- undoubtedly the WatchTower Cult.

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DEVONPORT ASSEMBLY HALL OF JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES v. DEVONPORT BOROUGH was a 1976-81 Australian zoning case in which the initial zoning application regarding the closed "State Theatre" building was done in the name of the local North Shore Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses, who purportedly wanted to purchase the older building for renovation and use as its local Kingdom Hall. In May 1976, the City granted the North Shore Congregation its desired "waiver", so in September 1976, the purchase of the building was finalized. However, by only November 1976, the City became aware that the property had been titled in the name of the Devonport Assembly Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses, and the theatre building was being used every weekend for "assemblies" (small conventions of WatchTower "circuits" of 20 congregations). The building's use by the local North Shore Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses as its local Kingdom Hall was merely a pretense and was purely incidental to the building's primary use as a circuit convention venue ("Assembly Hall") by the WatchTower Society. This court case illustrates that the WatchTower Cult's practice of fraudulently deceiving governmental entities, and zoning officials in particular, is a worldwide "standard operating procedure" that has been going on since zoning laws were first instituted. Non-JWs should never forget that Jehovah's Witnesses believe that local, state, and federal governmental entities and officials are "tools of Satan" who/which can be lied to and deceived in order to further the work of the WatchTower Society.

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ONGOING KINGDOM HALL "USAGE" SCAM

After years of having read countless United States and international records from civil and adminstrative proceedings relating to the "zoning" of local Kingdom Halls, it has finally dawned on us that such local government zoning bodies have been repeatedly and consistently DEFRAUDED for decades as to the meeting times and the number of meetings conducted at local Kingdom Halls. Again, after years of reading countless minutes and decisions from "zoning hearings", it has finally dawned on us that we have little or no recollection of local government zoning officials being informed about the MULTIPLE DAILY FORMAL "Meetings for Field Service" conducted by each individual Congregation that uses a single Kingdom Hall, whether that be one Congregation or MULTIPLE Congregations.

Zoning officials seeking to accurately assess the quantity of usage, traffic, etc. of a Kingdom Hall, and the impact of such on neighbors and the surrounding neighborhood, should have been informed that not only does each individual Congregation conduct its own "Meeting for Field Service" at around 9:00 A.M. every morning, Mondays through Sundays, for "morning field service", but many, especially larger Congregations may also have a second formal "Meeting for Field Service" at 1:00 P.M. for "afternoon field service". Occasionally, especially during summer months, some Congregations will even conduct a formal "Meeting for Field Service" around 5:00-6:00 P.M. for "evening field service".

On Sundays, at Kingdom Halls used by MULTIPLE Congregations, the Congregations which have their Talk/Study Meetings in the afternoon will also conduct a morning "Meeting for Field Service" prior to the first Congregation holding its morning Talk/Study Meetings. That first Congregation which held its Talk/Study Meeting on Sunday morning will then hold an afternoon "Meeting for Field Service" prior to the second/third/fourth Congregations holding their afternoon Talk/Study Meetings.

Most Jehovah's Witnesses perform obligatory "field service" on Saturdays. While "Meeting for Field Service" attendance on weekdays may range from 5% - 10% of membership, on Saturdays, "Meeting for Field Service" attendance jumps to 20% - 40%. On Sundays, "Meeting for Field Service" attendance may range from 10% - 20%.

Non-JWs should understand that the main purpose of "Meetings for Field Service" are to assign members to "car groups" and assign "car groups" to specified, mapped "territory". While "Meetings for Field Service" are supposed to only last about 20 minutes, in actuality, members will start arriving as much as 30 minutes early, and often remain after the meeting for as much as another 10-20 minutes. Thus, the typical 9:00 A.M. "Meeting for Field Service" start time means that some JWs will start arriving at the Kingdom Hall at around 8:30 A.M (eating McD's breakfast in their cars), and the sharper JWs will kill as much time as possible after the "Meeting for Field Service", and will not exit the Kingdom Hall parking lot until 9:30-9:45 A.M.

Jehovah's Witnesses have also been taught to take a 15-30 minute break halfway through a "field service" session, and some JWs will meetup back at the Kingdom Hall at around 11:00 A.M. for that break. A ""morning field service" session ends around Noon, which means that JWs will begin returning to the Kingdom Hall at around 11:40 A.M. While some will quickly leave for home, others will be forced to wait around on others who rode with them to the meeting, but were assigned to other "car groups". Thus, JWs will be coming and going from the Kingdom Hall parking lot from around 11:40 A.M. until 12:30 P.M (for those JWs who were not assigned to the same car group and want to socialize for whatever reason).

Non-JWs should understand that the majority of Jehovah's Witnesses do NOT like knocking doors any more than non-JWs like having their doors knocked. (Don't expect them to admit such.) If you are doing the math on how much time that JWs actually spend knocking doors, your math is NOT wrong. While most JWs will report to the WatchTower Cult that they spent 3 hours in "field service" on a particular morning or afternoon, they probably spent less than an hour actually knocking doors. The other two hours is spent criss-crossing and driving around the neighborhoods and to-from the Kingdom Hall -- killing as much time as possible so that they don't have to get out of their cars to actually knock doors. In actuality, on any given morning or afternoon, a single JW car may be generating as much local traffic as 5-10 normal cars going about normal activities.

Recently, the WatchTower Cult has begun building more and more larger Kingdom Halls (those over 1500 square feet), so that those larger Kingdom Halls can be used by MULTIPLE area Congregations of Jehovah's Witnesses. Once again, zoning officials are not always being told that these larger Kingdom Halls are planned -- either in the shortterm or in the longterm -- for use by MULTIPLE area Congregations -- some of which frequently are not even located in the same city or even the same county where the Kingdom Hall in question is located.

Here is a 2012 example of a DOUBLE KINGDOM HALL that was approved for construction adjacent to an elementary school. Note that Zoning officials were NOT informed about the daily Meetings for Field Service held during the elementary school's peak morning traffic time. We further suspect that this DOUBLE Kingdom Hall was NOT constructed just for use by only two Congregations, but was actually longterm planned for eventual use by FOUR congregations. Further note that NOT even the name of the second Congregation was mentioned in this document. 

Do Jehovah's Witnesses ever truthfully inform local Zoning officials about their daily Meetings For Field Service and the use of a Kingdom Hall by MULTIPLE Congregations? YES they do -- when doing so benefits them. Here is a 2012 example where both usages were quickly acknowledged to the local Zoning Board by the Jehovah's Witnesses. What was the context? The Jehovah's Witnesses wanted to SELL their "Agricultural-Residential" zoned Kingdom Hall, which also was located near a local elementary school, to a Daycare Center operator who needed a zoning variance. In this after-the-fact situation, the Jehovah's Witnesses were more than happy to testify truthfully about the amount of daily traffic generated by their daily "Meetings for Field Service" at that Kingdom Hall, as well as the use of that Kingdom Hall by a second local Congregation -- as evidence that that Daycare Center would not generate any additional traffic during weekday morning hours than had been generated by normal Kingdom Hall activities.

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ONGOING KINGDOM HALL "PARSONAGE" SCAM

Local government zoning officials should be aware that local "Congregations of Jehovah's Witnesses" do NOT have "employed" or otherwise financially compensated "pastors" or "ministers" as those positions are commonly known. Each individual "Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses" has what is termed a "Body of Elders" (BOE), which is a group of local adult males who VOLUNTEER their time to perform the duties that ministers, pastors, and priests perform in other denominations. The number of "Elders" generally depends on the size of the Congregation -- anywhere from two to a dozen. Because ALL local "Jehovah's Witness Elders" are and always have been responsible for earning their own living and supporting their own families, JW Elders are not and never have been provided with a "parsonage".

Thus, over the decades, the overwhelming majority of "Kingdom Halls" have been constructed without attached or detached residential living quarters. The occasional rare exception has been in larger cities where there are multiple Kingdom Halls within a small geographic area. In those urban areas, some of those urban Kingdom Halls have sometimes been selected to include an "attached" apartment or a basement apartment. HOWEVER, that apartment is not for the use of one of the Congregation's "Elders". Instead, the WatchTower Cult has used such an "apartment" to house its "District Sales Manager" ("Circuit Overseer") working in that urban area. Often, when a newer Kingdom Hall with such an apartment is constructed in that urban area, the "Circuit Overseer" has relocated to the newer apartment, leaving the old KH apartment vacant. This editor personally knows of such older apartments then being RENTED OUT for income to local JW members who are not Elders nor "Ministerial Servants" ("Deacons").

Increasingly, over the past decade as the WatchTower Society's international headquarters and field staff have gotten extremely "aged", the WatchTower Society has quietly begun directing local Congregations across the United States to construct "apartments" -- both at the sites of newly constructed Kingdom Halls, but also on the sites of older, existing Kingdom Halls (often requiring zoning variances due to not meeting square footage requirements). The WatchTower Society -- technically with no legal ownership of these local Kingdom Halls -- is then RETIRING its own elderly staff to these apartments. The WatchTower Society RETIREE is then technically named as one of that Congregation's "Elders". The local Congregation foots the bill for the RETIREE's housing, and the Government of the United States provides the RETIREE's income via basic Social Security. What these alleged, so-called "parsonages" actually are is "unassisted senior citizens living facilities". They do NOT serve the needs of local citizens and taxpayers. They serve the financial needs of a NFP which has an established decades-long history of avoiding paying any taxes whatsoever.

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WASHINGTON COUNTY ASSESSOR v. WEST BEAVERTON CONGREGATION OF JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES

In the Oregon Tax Court Regular Division, Property Tax.

February 16, 2006 (Edited)

Taxpayer is a religious organization owning property in Washington County. Taxpayer's property consists of a parking lot and two buildings: a house of worship (the Kingdom Hall) and a detached residence, which is approximately 1,000 square feet in size, and includes a garage, living and dining room, kitchen, bedroom, office, and two bathrooms. Since 1976, taxpayer has enjoyed tax exempt status for all its property except the residence, which was not built until 2001. For the 2003-04 tax year, taxpayer sought tax exempt status for the residence ... The county denied taxpayer's request for exemption.

Before explaining the particular facts of this case, it is helpful to give some background information on the organizational structure of Jehovah's Witnesses. Jehovah's Witnesses worship within congregations, each of which meets within a Kingdom Hall.[2] Each congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses is located within a circuit. Taxpayer, for instance, is one of approximately 22 congregations located within Oregon Circuit 6, which stretches from Beaverton to the coast and from Tillamook to Astoria.[3] Congregations are led by Elders and Ministerial Servants, both of whom are volunteers and generally have secular employment. Elders minister to other congregation members and train Ministerial Servants to assume increasing responsibility within the congregation and larger organization of Jehovah's Witnesses.

Higher up in the organizational structure, Jehovah's Witnesses are led by members of the Worldwide Order of Special Full-Time Servants of Jehovah's Witnesses (the Order). Members of the Order take vows of obedience and poverty, eschew secular employment, and dedicate their lives to overseeing and directing the spiritual needs of Jehovah's Witnesses. In return, the Order promises its members housing and a minimal stipend to cover living expenses. There are several types of Order members, including Circuit Overseers and Special Pioneers. Circuit Overseers live within the circuit to which they are assigned and work with congregation leaders to meet the needs of each congregation. Specifically, Circuit Overseers supervise the work of Elders and Ministerial Servants by annually traveling to and spending at least a week with each congregation within the circuit. Circuit Overseers usually stay in the homes of local Jehovah's Witnesses as they travel from congregation to congregation. Substitute Circuit Overseers, who fill in for Circuit Overseers when they are temporarily unable to fulfill their duties, are rarely Order members, but instead are usually secularly employed Jehovah's Witnesses. Regarding Special Pioneers, the only kind relevant to this case are those who are on infirm status. Special Pioneers on infirm status, few in number, are often ex-missionaries. They generally do not travel but rather stay with one congregation and serve that congregation, as well as the circuit and religion as a whole. However, few congregations have a Special Pioneer, whether on infirm status or not, assigned to them.

Taxpayer built the residence at issue in this case so that it could donate its use to the Order, which it did. The residence, during the period in question, served and currently serves as a home for David Parsons, a member of the Order, and his wife.[4] Parsons served as a Circuit Overseer in various parts of the country for decades, until his wife became ill and practically bed-ridden. Parsons then retired from the duties of a Circuit Overseer and now devotes substantial time caring for his wife. Although the Order did not require Parsons to live in the residence, it allowed him to do so, and today Parsons serves taxpayer and the Order as an Elder, Substitute Circuit Overseer, and Special Pioneer on infirm status.[5]

To fulfill his religious duties, Parsons spends approximately four to five hours per day on religious activities, including counseling members and religious leaders of the congregation, holding religious meetings, evangelizing, giving religious presentations, mentoring area Circuit Overseers, substituting for area Circuit Overseers when necessary,[6] and helping organize and speaking at religious conventions. Some of those activities are conducted within the residence, including over the telephone,[7] although some are conducted in the Kingdom Hall and at other locations. Counseling, for instance, is often conducted within the residence because the Kingdom Hall has little private space for that use. Additionally, Parsons's wife leads regular Bible studies and evangelizing activities within the residence. None of Parsons's religious duties, however, require him to take care of the Kingdom Hall or remain nearby to open it up for others. When Parsons's duties carry him away from home, he arranges for someone else to look after his wife. Parsons is admired, respected, appreciated, and frequently consulted by members of his congregation, the circuit, and the larger organizational structure of Jehovah's Witnesses. Parsons is of particular use to his congregation and circuit both because of his lifetime of experience and because he is available during the day, unlike most other congregation members who are secularly employed. Parsons also provides a unique benefit to his congregation in that he serves as a sort of Circuit Overseer dedicated just to it, not needing to travel to other congregations throughout the year.

Although taxpayer built the residence with Parsons specifically in mind, testimony showed that the residence would have been built and donated to the Order even if Parsons were not going to live in it.[8] Testimony also showed that the Order indicated to taxpayer that it would use the residence, over which it has discretionary control, as housing for other Order members should Parsons cease to live there. Moreover, even though Parsons is on infirm status, the Order could send him anywhere at any time. Parsons would also have to leave the residence, and the Order, should he ever find that the time spent caring for his wife, or some other cause, rendered him unable to fulfill the duties of his post.

In the present matter, the county concedes that the office located within the residence is exempt ... because it was reasonably necessary and primarily used to advance church purposes. ... However, the county maintains that the rest of the residence is taxable because Parsons is not required by the Order or by practical necessity to live in the residence; it is not essential that the residence be located near the Kingdom Hall; and the residence was not used primarily for religious objectives, but instead for Parsons' convenience. The county notes that few congregations have Special Pioneers and none are required to; moreover, Elders and Substitute Circuit Overseers are almost always secularly employed citizens who pay property taxes on their homes.[10] The county also argues that there is no connection between the religious work conducted by Parsons and his wife and the residence's location next to the Kingdom Hall.

Taxpayer cites no tenet of its religion or rule of the Order that requires Parsons to live in the residence, nor does taxpayer cite any requirement that Order members, Elders, or anyone for that matter, live near a Kingdom Hall. Instead, taxpayer makes another argument. Taxpayer contends that, because Parsons has taken vows of poverty, lifelong service, and obedience to the Order, ... and because the Order promises its members housing in return, Parsons must live where the Order sends him, in this case, at the residence that is the subject of this action. Additionally, taxpayer argues that, because Parsons is a Substitute Circuit Overseer assigned to Oregon Circuit 6, he must live within that circuit. Finally, taxpayer contends that because Parsons is an Elder, he must live near the congregation of which he is a member.

Taxpayer is mistaken. First, although the Order required Parsons to live in Oregon Circuit 6, it did not require him to live in the residence, but only allowed him to do so. Second, although the Order owes Parsons an obligation of housing within the circuit, that housing need not be in the residence, but could instead be in the home of another Jehovah's Witness, in an apartment, or some other place within the circuit. Indeed, Parsons testified that Order members live in all sorts of arrangements. Circuit Overseers, for instance, often stay with local congregants as they travel from congregation to congregation within the circuit. Substitute Circuit Overseers are rarely Order members, but rather are generally secularly employed. Parsons testified that only once before had he heard of a case in which a Substitute Circuit Overseer lived on church property next to a Kingdom Hall. Neither does Parsons' capacity as an Elder in taxpayer's congregation require him to live in the residence; Elders are secularly employed and pay for their own housing. The court concludes that neither church doctrine nor practical necessity requires Parsons to live in the residence.

Even if the Order did require Parsons to live within the residence, the court finds that the proximity of the residence to the Kingdom Hall is not necessary to further church objectives, but rather serves to benefit Parsons. Although Parsons devotes substantial time to religious duties, those duties do not require close physical proximity to the Kingdom Hall. Parsons could easily prepare presentations, counsel congregation members, and telephone with church leaders from any other location within Beaverton. ... Accordingly, the court finds that taxpayer does not meet the ... test, requiring that the use of the property be "reasonably necessary for the furthering of the religious aims of the church." ...

The court also finds that taxpayer fails ... the test, that the use "must be primarily for the benefit of the church." ... Parsons' job may be made easier by the residence's location, given his wife's illness, yet that fact only underscores that the primary reason for the residence's location is Parsons' convenience, not that of the congregation. ... With regard to residences, it is neither the vows of poverty and obedience nor the promise of free housing, nor even substantial religious use, that leads to exemption, but rather the religious and practical requirement of residence in close proximity to a specific house of worship, combined with actual use primarily for the benefit of the religion and not the resident. In close cases, exemptions must be denied.

The court concludes that Parsons is not required by church doctrine or practical necessity to live in this or any residence with such close proximity to the Kingdom Hall on taxpayer's property. The court also concludes that the primary use of the residence, except the office within it, is to provide Parsons and his wife with housing, and that the advancement of the religion of Jehovah's Witnesses is only an incidental benefit. Now, therefore, IT IS DECIDED that taxpayer is not entitled to a property tax exemption ... for tax year 2003-04 for the detached residence, except for the office, located on its property.

FOOTNOTES:

[2] Although four congregations share the Kingdom Hall on the property at issue in this case, for clarity the court refers to them collectively as one congregation.

[3] Oregon Circuit 6 consisted of 19 congregations during tax year 2003-04 but has since grown.

[4] From 1995 until taxpayer built the residence, Parsons and his wife lived in a trailer on taxpayer's property. One of the reasons taxpayer built the residence was because the county had informed it that the trailer violated local zoning laws. When taxpayer built the residence, it also expanded the Kingdom Hall and installed a surface water drainage system required by the county All construction was done through the volunteer labor of local Jehovah's Witnesses.

[5] Parsons is one of approximately a dozen Elders at taxpayer's Kingdom Hall, and one of several Substitute Circuit Overseers available to the circuit. He is on infirm status as a Special Pioneer because of the time he spends caring for his wife.

[6] Parsons substituted as a Circuit Overseer only a few times, for a short time on each occasion, during his decade of residence in Oregon. He did not substitute as a Circuit Overseer during the 2003-04 tax year.

[7] Parsons and his wife use most of the residence for religious activities, including the office, the living and dining room, and the bedroom, where Parsons' wife is generally confined by her illness but meets with other Jehovah's Witnesses.

[8] The county points to evidence that taxpayer has been disingenuous in its arguments regarding that point. For instance, in a letter attached to taxpayer's application for tax exemption, Franklin Ellis, taxpayer's President, stated that the residence was to serve as a "benevolent care facility" for church officials who are "disabled." At another time, taxpayer claimed that the residence was for a caretaker. However, the weight of the testimony shows that taxpayer was not disingenuous in making those statements, but rather attempted in good faith to describe its situation to county authorities and negotiate the necessary bureaucratic hurdles.

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As EVIDENCE of both the ONGOING KINGDOM HALL "USAGE" SCAM and the ONGOING KINGDOM HALL "PARSONAGE" SCAM, read this "Conditional Use Evaluation Report" issued by the Henry County Georgia Zoning Advisory Board, in October 2008. First, note that the WatchTower Cult was then planning on constructing TWO 5000 square foot KINGDOM HALLS and one 900 square foot RESIDENTIAL DWELLING on this property. Second, note that the Zoning Advisory Board reported to the Henry County Georgia Zoning and Planning Commission that the 900 square foot RESIDENTIAL DWELLING was for the use of "the acting Pastor" -- assumedly as a PARSONAGE. Third, note that with regard to the amount of traffic generated in this then light-traffic "Residential-Agricultural" zoned area, the Zoning Advisory Board's report makes no mention of the fact that these two new Kingdom Halls will be used by MULTIPLE local Congregations of Jehovah's Witnesses, and no mention is made of the fact that each local Congregation using these TWO new Kingdom Halls will also meet one or more times DAILY for a "Meeting for Field Service".

One would have thought that the Henry County Georgia Zoning Advisory Board would have been sufficiently intelligent to question why the single South Jonesboro Georgia Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses was planning on constructing TWO IDENTICAL KINGDOM HALLS on this 5.15 acre property, and why was there only one "PARSONAGE" for one "ACTING PASTOR"? After discovering the truth that MULTIPLE congregations (with MULTIPLE Bodies of Elders serving as their "pastors") were going to use these TWO KINGDOM HALLS, the Henry County Georgia Zoning Advisory Board possibly may have asked enough additional questions to learn the truth that the residential dwelling was NOT a "parsonage", but rather was a WatchTower Cult retirement home, PLUS that there was going to be much more traffic than estimated -- on nearly every day of the week -- rather than just additional traffic merely "during weekends and a few weeknights".

As noted on Page 2 of 2 of this sub-section, the WatchTower Cult RELIES and COUNTS on the stupidity and ignorance of non-JWs to win court cases and zoning decisions. Jehovah's Witnesses testifying during trials and hearings are taught to answer potentially negative questions "vaguely", and then hope that their questioner makes a favorable assumption, which the JW is further taught not to correct. It is for these very same reasons that the WatchTower Cult frequently employs local attorneys ignorant of Cult specifics to represent it in local court cases and zoning hearings. Local non-JW attorneys can't divulge what they don't know.

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"PARSONAGE" PROPERTY TAX SCAM

If it not bad enough that local Congregations of Jehovah's Witnesses frequently request from local governments the exemption from real estate taxes on such aforementioned attached and detached "rental dwellings" -- claiming "religious use as a parsonage" -- a Tipster reports to us a recent even more outrageous instance of FRAUD committed by two conspiring local Jehovah's Witness Families.

Tipster reports that an income-producing rental house owned by a JW Elder (local contractor and real estate developer), which he rented out to another JW Family, was recently reported in the local newspaper as being on that County's list of real estate properties which had applied for and been granted an exemption from county and city real estate taxes due to that rental home's "use" as a "Jehovah's Witness Parsonage". Tipster immediately knew that there was something "fraudulent" being affected on local tax officials since the rental house was a couple of miles or more distance from the local Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses, and Tipster knew, or thought that he knew, that the rental house was NOT occupied by any "Minister".

Tipster telephoned the local tax office and reported what he knew and suspected about the rental home and the tenant. A report was taken by a secretary, who briefly reviewed the file and informed Tipster that in making their decision that the tax board had been aware that the "parsonage" was not located on the same piece of real property as was the local Kingdom Hall. The tax board also had been aware that the rental house was not titled in the name of the local "Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses", but rather was titled in the name of a "Trustee" of the local "Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses". However, the tax board also had been informed that the "tenant" was "The Minister" of the local "Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses", and that "The Minister" and his family occupied the house as a "parsonage" -- assumedly at nominal or zero rent.

Tipster reiterated to secretary that Tipster believed that most if not all of that information was "inaccurate". Secretary told Tipster that she would submit Tipster's "tip" to the tax board. Tipster relates that he forgot about the matter -- until Tipster received an unexpected telephone call from that same secretary several months later. The secretary "thanked" Tipster for their prior "tip", and related that the local tax board had reviewed the "exemption" and discovered that the "exemption" had been granted based on "incomplete information", and had been rescinded effective the following tax period.

While that secretary did not want to release many more specifics about that case, she did hint to Tipster that when the local tax board originally had granted the tax exemption that the board had not simply taken the word of the JW Elder-Landlord that his rental property was being used as a "Jehovah's Witness Parsonage", but that the alleged JW Minister-Tenant had also supplied supporting documentation to the tax board. However, when the two Jehovah's Witness Co-Conspirators were re-questioned about the matter several months after the exemption had already been granted, they both then realized that their SCAM had been discovered, and they both quickly FESSED UP to the actual situation -- that this was just simply a routine rental agreement between a Jehovah's Witness Landlord and a Tenant who also was a Jehovah's Witness, both of whom now claimed that this "mistake" and "confusion" had resulted from the fact that all Jehovah's Witnesses are considered to be "ministers".


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Former group member claims

Jehovah's Witnesses 'owe him 10,000 [pounds]' over donation to new centre

Bob Lockwood is disappointed that people he viewed as friends have refused to give him back 10,000 [pounds] he gave them as a donation. He gave it to the Tewkesbury Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses, when he was a member of the group, at a time when it was appealing for financial help to build a new centre on the edge of the town.

The group had planned to leave its home of many years, an 18th century building in Barton Street, Tewkesbury, that it had bought in the early 1980s. In 2009, it put its Kingdom Hall site on the market for 300,000 [pounds], saying it no longer met its needs. The plan at that stage was to build a new modern church elsewhere in Tewkesbury.

Mr Lockwood said that the group, which he no longer belonged to, held its final meeting at the Barton Street site earlier this month because it was, after 40 years there, moving to Malvern to share use of the existing Kingdom Hall occupied by the Malvern branch of the organisation. He said the large grade II listed building in Tewkesbury had been considered no longer viable for the diminishing numbers of local worshippers.

He said: "A few years ago, when I was a member of the congregation, the church elders solicited donations from congregation members to fund a new meeting hall to be built on land opposite the Wheatpieces Community Centre at Walton Cardiff. They encouraged donors to Gift Aid their donations, enabling the congregation to reclaim tax - which they did.

"In the event, having collected tens of thousands of pounds for the project, they elected not to go ahead with it and the land has since been occupied by a local veterinary practice. Charity law stipulates that in such a situation where a project fails the donated funds should be returned to the donors unless the donor provides a written certificate stating that their donation can be used for other purposes. When I requested that my 10,000 [pounds] donation be returned to me the church elders refused and although I have made several further requests they are determinedly refusing to comply with charity law in order to keep hold of my and the taxpayer's money.

"It would be immoral for any charity to act in such an unprincipled way let alone one that claims to be 'God's only true organisation on earth'. In my opinion the actions of these local congregation elders do nothing but bring reproach on God's name. Perhaps it's a good thing for Tewkesbury that Jehovah's Witnesses have left the town?"

Mr Lockwood said he reported the matter to Gloucestershire Police but, he claimed, the [Jehovah's] Witnesses told the investigating officer that the project was still going ahead and the constable said he could not pursue the matter further as it was a civil rather than a criminal issue.

Mr Lockwood added: "I am no expert but according to my understanding of charity law, I should be entitled to a refund unless I give them written consent by signing a disclaimer which I have never done or been asked to. It's been disappointing to find that men I trusted and viewed as friends have acted in this way, particularly when the motivation for my donation in the first place was to help them and the local congregation have a new meeting hall to call their own."

In response, the group said: "Donations to the Tewkesbury Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses, as well as any other congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses, are made voluntarily and are handled in compliance with relevant charity laws. We can confirm that the charity trustees of the Tewkesbury Congregation carefully considered Mr Lockwood's concerns over three years ago and sought legal advice on the matter at the time. Mr Lockwood also submitted his concerns to the Charity Commission for review. It was and remains our firm conclusion that there is no basis, legal or otherwise, on which to return Mr Lockwood's donation, which was made voluntarily and dates back to 2009. Mr Lockwood has been informed of this conclusion on numerous occasions." -- Gloucester Live, Robin Jenkins, September 26, 2022, edited.


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FOR RENT: APARTMENTS

Bethel Home of Jehovah's Witnesses 

(Kenya Branch Headquarters of WatchTower Society)

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Listed: 07/22/21
Bethel Home of Jehovah's Witnesses, Muringa Road, Nairobi, KILIMANI, Kenya
3-Bed Apartment
Monthly Price: KES 90,000
Apartment Description: Executive 3 bedroom apartment to let in kilimani off muringa road. Master bedroom ensuite, dsq available, swimming pool, constant borehole water supply. Rent 90K inclusive service charge. For viewing book an appointment For more details and to contact: https://realtyww.info/apartments/apartment-for-rent-in-kilimani-nairobi_i27380398

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Listed: 07/05/21
Bethel Home of Jehovah's Witnesses, Muringa Road, Nairobi, KILIMANI, Kenya
3-Bed Apartment
Monthly Price: KES 85,000
Apartment Description: This is an amazing 3 bedroom apartment now available along muringa rd, very spacious rooms, has a dinning area, laundry area, there are 12 houses in a compound, ample parking, and 24hours security For more details and to contact: https://realtyww.info/apartments/apartment-for-rent-in-kilimani-nairobi_i26539292

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Listed: 03/18/21
Bethel Home of Jehovah's Witnesses, Muringa Road, Nairobi, KILIMANI, Kenya
3-Bed Apartment
Monthly Price: KES 90,000
Apartment Description: Three bedroom apartment plus dsq to let in Kilimani off Muringa road.swimming pool available. Ksh 90K For more information/ viewing book an appointment with us 0712942742 For more details and to contact: https://realtyww.info/apartments/apartment-for-rent-in-kilimani-nairobi_i21756600

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Listed: 9/12/20
Monthly Price: KES 40,000
Bethel Home of Jehovah's Witnesses, Muringa Road, Nairobi, KILIMANI, Kenya
1-Bed Apartment, 1076 Sq Ft
Apartment Description: 1 bedroom apartment to let in Kilimani. Ksh 40000. for more information call us 

Features: Spacious house, Spacious Kitchen, Adequate water, Perimeter Security Fence, Visitor Bathroom, All bedrooms have in-build wardrobes, Ample parking, The local and supportive police force is situated at the nearby. Has a lush garden, in a secure area near schools, churches, mosques. The house is ready for occupation

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Listed: 09/16/20
Bethel Home of Jehovah's Witnesses, Muringa Road, Nairobi, KILIMANI, Kenya
2-Bed Apartment
Monthly Price: KES 120,000
Apartment Description: This is a fully furnished two bedroom edroom apartment to let the following are the Features of unit it has an excellent specious kitchen with a laundry area master bedroom en-suite fixed with big enough wardrobe now ready for occupation. Amenities include Swimming pool, gym, basement parking, bore hole, back up generator speed up lifts. For more details and to contact: https://realtyww.info/apartments/apartment-for-rent-in-kilimani-nairobi_i16181959

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Listed: 07/30/20
Bethel Home of Jehovah's Witnesses, Muringa Road, Nairobi, KILIMANI, Kenya
1-Bed Apartment
Monthly Price: KES 35,000
Apartment Description: 1 bedroom apartment ensuite in kilimani on muringa road. For more details and to contact: https://realtyww.info/apartments/apartment-for-rent-in-kilimani-nairobi_i14294785


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ALSO SEE Multiple Rentals of newly constructed residential properties located at the following Lagos, NIGERIA address:

"Jehovah's Witness Road, Bogije, Ibeju Lekki"

Properties look a lot like WatchTower's KENYA rental properties.


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IN RE JAH-JIREH HOMES was a 2012 Hearing before the Quebec Municipal Commission, in which this WatchTower Cult affiliated Retirement Home attempted to falsely portray itself as being a facility whose "main purpose" was to fight discrimination, which would make it eligible for property tax exemption under Quebec law. Notably, none of the main Directors/Officers showed up for this attempted scam. No, they sent the facility director, Phuong Phan Minh. For info purposes, readers should know that this Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec location is only one of multiple such WatchTower Cult affiliated JAH-JIREH retirement homes scattered across Europe and North America. We suspect that this is not the first time that this same/similar scam has been attempted, and in all likelihood, may have been successful in some locale where little effort was made by local tax officials to discover the truth. In any event, the QMC did NOT fall for it in this instance.


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ALFREDO OCAMPO v. SEVEN HILLS CONGREGATION OF JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES was a 2020 Australia state court case in which the residential neighbors of a local New South Wales Kingdom Hall were forced to go to court in order to get the JWs to properly respond to damage to their sewer and drainage lines caused by the roots of trees the JWs had planted too close to the common property line. Per requirements of the pertinent Aussie law, the Ocampos had conducted "extensive correspondence" with the JWs without success prior to filing this lawsuit. The state court ruled that each party pay 50% of the repair bill.

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JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES HAVE BEEN "CHERRYPICKING" THEIR LEGAL ADVERSARIES FOR DECADES

Residents Suing Town Over Kingdom Hall Ruling

PATCH (edited)

March 29, 2012

Four months after the town of Merrimack settled a court case with the Jehovah's Witnesses over allowing the group to build a Kingdom Hall on Wire Road, a new case is bringing them back to court, this time at the hands of the neighbors across from the now-approved project. Robert and Donna Walles, who live at 58 Wire Road, directly across from what could be the 66-car parking lot for the church, filed a lawsuit with the Hillsborough County Superior Court at the end of February seeking for the town to reverse a decision to settle a lawsuit with the congregation.

The congregation slapped the town with a lawsuit after it was denied a special exception to build on the residential road. "[The lawsuit is] really not at all to do with the church," Bob Walles said. "If it were anything that didn't belong in a residential area, we'd be doing this."

Walles and his wife have lived in their home since 1999. He said the idea of a church that will bring more traffic to an already busy road and potentially lower property values doesn't sit well with them. So much in fact, that if they lose this suit, they are seriously considering trying to sell the house and move. With the help of some paralegals and law students, and guidance from the court clerks, Walles, who lives on a fixed income due to a disability, said he put the lawsuit together himself when pressed against a deadline to file or miss their chance. "The paralegals helped out just because they felt good for the cause," Walles said.

The Jehovah's Witnesses approached the town's Zoning Board of Adjustment in 2010 to seek a special exception to build a church on old farm land on the residential road. Several meetings later, after impassioned pleas from abutters to prevent this project, the ZBA ruled in the fall of 2010 against the special exception, citing traffic and public nuisance concerns, among other things. The congregation appealed the ruling, and the ZBA denied the appeal, so the congregation sued the town, charging the town's special exception process is unconstitutional in that it lets a board apply one set of rules to one group and a different set to another. It also charged, among other things, that the town treated the church differently than it would have another denomination, violating the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act.

On Nov. 16, the board reversed its decision against the congregation in a settlement that effectively granted the special exception the board initially denied and moved it on to the Planning Board. The Walleses appealed, [but lost.] In accordance with town statutes, the Walleses had 30 days from the Jan. 25 meeting to appeal the ruling to the Superior Court. Walles filed the lawsuit on Feb. 24.

"I contend that the members of the Zoning Board, during non-public and illegal meetings with the Town Counsel and Town Attorney were told to grant the special exception, to mitigate the potential legal costs of defending the pending lawsuit brought against the town by the congregation," Walles said in the suit.

He said he believes the decision was made "under duress" with pressure to settle to avoid further expense to the town. "Cost to the town is not a viable reason or legal criteria to grant a 'special exception,' " Walles wrote.

It's because he believes that the board was pressured to make this decision that the only thing he is seeking in the suit is to "reverse the special exception granted to the Jehovah's Witnesses and prohibit the construction of a church on Wire Road, a residentially zoned neighborhood."

Town Manager Eileen Cabanel said the lawsuit, which was served to the town on March 23, is in the hands of attorney Garry Lane, who is reviewing it, and that she couldn't speak to it right now. The town must respond to the suit by May 3, but in that time, the congregation has every right to continue moving forward with their construction as approved by the Planning Board, Cabanel said.

Walles said because he and his wife were the ones to appeal the decision, they are legally the only ones who can continue to pursue this case, but that it has brought the neighborhood together and several neighbors have committed a total of around $1,000 already for legal fees incurred in this process and they are considering some sort of block party-style fundraiser to add to that total.

"It's not us against the Jehovah's Witnesses, this is between us and the town," Walles said. "It's not about religion, and I don't want people fundraising on hate." ...


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"SAVE JIM'S VIEW"

"JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES -- THE BEST NEIGHBORS IN THE WORLD"

Jehovah's Witnesses almost always BOAST about being "The Best Neighbors In The World" when applying for zoning exceptions and variances. Any Zoning Board ready to swallow that balony needs to talk with the Jim Mura family in Rio Rancho, New Mexico. In early May 2014, KRQE-TV in Albuquerque ran the STORY of a DISABLED, WHEELCHAIR BOUND former schoolteacher who made the mistake of having his new WHEELCHAIR-ACCESSIBLE HOME constructed on a residential lot which was adjacent to a vacant lot owned by local Jehovah's Witnesses.

One of the few pleasures left to the disabled wheelchair-bound homeowner was to gaze out his dining room window at the desert stretching across the valley to the nearby Sandias Mountains. When Jim and Janet Mura learned that a Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses was going to be built on the adjacent lot located on the pertinent side of their home, they immediately were concerned that Jim's view of the nearby desert valley and mountains might be partially obstructed by the construction. So, the Muras met on multiple occasions with the Elders of the planned Kingdom Hall to explain their situation. The Muras THOUGHT that the Jehovah's Witnesses were SYMPATHETIC to Jim's situation, and the Muras THOUGHT that they had a "handshake agreement" that the Kingdom Hall would be so situated on the Jehovah's Witnesses large lot such that Jim's view would NOT be obstructed. Unfortunately, the Muras were NOT aware of the WatchTower Cult's decades-old policy of telling neighbors and government officials "whatever it takes" to get construction started and too late to stop. Instead of situating the Kingdom Hall where the disabled wheelchair-bound homeowner's view would not be obstructed, the Jehovah's Witnesses backed the Kingdom Hall as close as was permitted right up against the Mura's property line. Click this next link to see Jim's view of the MORNING SUNRISE after it was partially obstructed by construction of the WALL around the Kingdom Hall Compound, and click this third link to see Jim's nearly totally obstructed view after construction of the Kingdom Hall building. So much for "trusting" the word of Jehovah's Witnesses.

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DRY FORK FARMS LLC v. CITY OF HARRISON OHIO ET AL is a July 2014 Ohio civil lawsuit which is related to the WATCHTOWER SOCIETY's ongoing attempt since 2012 to purchase property within a commercial/industrial park in the Harrison Township / Harrison Joint Economic Development District, known as Harrison Commerce Center, for the construction of a regional religious convention facility to be used solely by Jehovah's Witnesses, which is known as an "Assembly Hall". Henkel Schuler Realtors was initially identified by a local newspaper as the actual landowner.

In this particular lawsuit, Dry Fork Farms LLC (or, Henkel Schuler Realtors) is suing the City of Harrison Ohio, its Mayor, and the Director of Public Works for their alleged delay in approving the extension of sanitary sewer service to the property. As is typical of lawsuits filed against anyone who fails to immediately kowtow to every whim of the WatchTower Society, the multiple defendants have all been accused of RELIGIOUS DISCRIMINATION -- a ploy which the local Harrison, Ohio newspaper has labeled as "playing dirty". (SEE BELOW.)

In Spring 2012, the WATCHTOWER SOCIETY requested multiple (five or six) zoning variances and approval of the project by the involved city and township governmental entities. Because the specified legal purpose for the formation of the Joint Economic Development District was to create jobs via industrial and commerce development within the JEDD, the WATCHTOWER SOCIETY's request was UNANIMOUSLY OPPOSED by the City of Harrison, Ohio, Harrison's Economic Development Director, the Harrison Township Trustees, the JEDD Board, and even the present occupants of the industrial park. In Summer 2012, the Hamilton County Rural Zoning Board declined to approve the project. All parties felt that approving the WatchTower project would VIOLATE the State of Ohio's laws pertaining to the sale of JEDD designated land in that no new jobs would be created by the religious, non-industrial, non-commerce facility, plus, not only would no new payroll tax base be created, a large section of real property would be removed from the property tax base. In exchange for "nothing", local governments would be required to upgrade water, sewer, and other services, including reconstructing the two lane unimproved road which currently accesses JEDD property.

In fact, the Mayor of Harrison, Ohio, even went so far as to label the WATCHTOWER SOCIETY's attempt to ram its will down the throats of local Harrison city and township residents as "PREDATORY CRAP", stating further, "Part of controlling the destiny of a community is having the guts to stand your ground with your zoning and economic development plan and goals. On that one, I consider it a very predatory situation, ... ."

However, in November 2012, the WATCHTOWER SOCIETY appealed those denials to the Hamilton County Commission. There, Hamilton County Commission President, Greg Hartman, along with fellow Commissioners Christopher Monzel and Todd Portune, overruled the arguments and decisions of their fellow Hamilton County officials and the wishes of the involved JEDD and other local voters and residents, and UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED the WATCHTOWER SOCIETY's proposals.

In July 2015, the local trial court ruled that the City of Harrison must provide water and sewer service to the industrial park tract owned by DRY FORK FARMS LLC (pending sale to the WATCHTOWER CULT conditioned on the City providing such services) due to the City's prior agreement to provide those services to all tracts within the industrial park -- despite the fact that it was never anticipated that anyone other than a for-profit, tax-generating, job-producing business would purchase a tract inside the industrial park. The Mayor of Harrison vowed to appeal the ruling all the way to the Supreme Court of Ohio, while further noting that additional potential businesses for the industrial park now run for the hills after learning that the WATCHTOWER CULT might soon locate in the industrial park. After all, who wants to purchase property adjacent to a religious cult known for suing anybody and everybody who fails to kowtow to their every whim???

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ADA TOWNSHIP v. CASCADE CONGREGATION OF JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES was a 2006 Michigan civil lawsuit which arose out of the 2002-03 construction of a single Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses sitting on two adjacent lots -- one in Cascade Township and one in Ada Township, just outside Grand Rapids, Michigan. During the construction of the Cascade Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses, in March 2003, one of the JW contractors broke a portion of the sanitary sewer line belonging to Ada Township. Because the JWs were in such a rush to get the Kingdom Hall completed, the Ada Township utility department agreed to help out the JWs by going ahead and themselves securing a contractor who was licensed and qualified to repair the sanitary sewer line. Ada Township did so only after first obtaining a letter from Cascade Congregation Secretary, Chris Vroma, promising to reimburse Ada Township for all costs to repair the damaged sewer line.

However, when presented with the $64,993.68 bill, the Cascade Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses reneged on their written promise. Ada Township was forced to file this lawsuit in January 2006. Eventually, the Cascade Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses offered to reimburse Ada Township for a mere $25,000.00. At the November 2006 Ada Township Board Meeting, the local attorney hired by the Ada Township Trustees to file this lawsuit recommended that the Trustees accept the lowball settlement offer made by the Cascade Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses. The Township Supervisor even publicly proclaimed that the Township was "stuck" under the circumstances. The Ada Township Trustees then curiously voted to accept the $25,000.00 settlement offer. Even more curious is the fact that the online "minutes" from that November 2006 Ada Township Board Meeting do not include any mention of the actual amount of the bill -- $64,993.68. Instead, the online "minutes" misleadingly leads readers to believe that the sewer line repair bill was $40,000.00 -- rather than that the JWs' offer of $25,000.00 was $40,000.00 less than the actual $64,993.68 bill.

Am I the only person who wonders why the Ada Township Trustees would prematurely terminate this ongoing lawsuit, which must have been close to trial, given the apparent "contract" created by the JWs' written letter promising to make full reimbursement? For those familiar with the Jehovah's Witnesses propensity to avoid any negative publicity whatsoever -- especially that of having had reneged on a written promise -- one can only wonder why these local JWs even would have taken the chance of compounding the negative publicity by making a lowball settlement offer, unless the local JWs KNEW their offer would be accepted, and unless they KNEW little if any additional negative publicity or permanent record would result from the offer and its' acceptance.

Interestingly, this new Kingdom Hall was constructed to provide a new joint facility to be used by two local Jehovah's Witness congregations -- the Cascade Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses and the Wyoming Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses. Local multi-millionaire, Leroy Dale Baker, was the founding incorporator of the Wyoming Congregation, and at one of the zoning hearings, Dale Baker's son, Barak Kerns Baker, aka "Barry" Baker, stated that he was a member of the Cascade Congregation.

Leroy Dale Baker made his millions as the founder of Grand Rapids' "Dale Baker Automotive Group". A subsidiary, Circuit Leasing, Inc., once leased automobiles to the WatchTower Society for its 500 or more traveling "Overseers" assigned throughout the United States -- until Baker eventually sold out his auto business operations.

Barak K. Baker was the Manager of Circuit Leasing, Inc. (Thereafter, the WatchTower Society cut out the middleman and formed its own "Circuit Vehicles" auto leasing subsidiary, which allows this subsidiary company to purchase vehicles directly from auto manufacturers and lease such back to the main corporation.) "Barry" Baker is currently President of the BLOOD CONSERVATION SUPPORT FOUNDATION, whose large expenditures over the years seems to indicate a significant asset for the WatchTower Society's anti-blood transfusion agenda.

L. Dale Baker is also a founding Trustee of JAH-JIREH HOMES OF AMERICA, which is a Jehovah's Witness owned, operated, and occupied retirement community located near Allentown, Pennsylvania. Dale Baker is also the father-in-law of Judah B. Schroeder, who is a former WatchTower Society Attorney and the son of deceased WatchTower Governing Body member, Albert D. Schroeder.

Interestingly, there were even more "curiosities" during the zoning of this new Kingdom Hall, which again was built on two adjacent lots located in two different townships -- thus, involving two townships. First, the combined two lots still did not meet the minimum two acres needed to meet zoning requirements. Interestingly, this lot size problem was circumvented when the local electric company (Consumer Power) "leased" to the JWs one acre of adjacent land (under its powerlines??). Second, during one zoning hearing, an adjacent neighbor alleged that the LLC seller of the lots, whose legal representative was asking for other concessions relating to the parking lot and roadway access, had one or more JWs as some of the owners. While the truth of such is unknown, it is KNOWN that it is decades-long S.O.P. for one or more individual JWs (often unknown out-of-area residents) to initially purchase the real estate for the construction of a Kingdom Hall (or large Assembly Halls) to prevent neighbors and other locals from discovering the planned construction. Third, the JWs also were granted a variance to build a "parsonage" on the property, which contained only 800 of the required 1300 square feet. The two township's Trustees were certainly generous in more than one instance.

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KINGDOM HALLS ADVERTISED AS "EDUCATIONAL CENTERS"

Readers who follow media coverage of the WatchTower Cult will recall the oddity that sometimes during the media's coverage of the construction or remodeling of Kingdom Halls, Assembly Halls, and other WatchTower Cult facilities, the WatchTower Cult spokesperson will repeatedly refer to that particular Kingdom Hall as that community's newest "Educational Center" -- with that particular verbiage then being repeated by the media as the name of the local facility.

A tipster alleges that such verbiage possibly may sometimes play a "financial" role that noone has ever suspected. "Churches" are not eligible for state government or federal government "grants", nor are they typically eligible for donations from other non-affiliated NFPs. However, "Educational Centers" can be construed to be eligible for state government or federal government "grants", and eligible for donations from non-affiliated NFPs, by grant writers and others sufficiently dishonest to make the mischaracterization.

Tipster alleges that back around 2000 that at a Circuit Assembly held in Massachusetts, that it was announced from the platform the completion of a remodeling project of an existing Kingdom Hall's basement into a separate Kingdom Hall for the local Deaf Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses. Tipster alleges that the speaker was sufficiently STUPID enough to further announce that the Kingdom Hall construction project had been greatly aided by GOVERNMENT GRANT FUNDING which was used to purchase $50,000.00 of Audio/Visual Equipment. Makes one wonder how many other Deaf Congregations of Jehovah's Witnesses around the United States have received large government grants or NFP donations to purchase A/V or other equipment for installation in a local Kingdom Hall???

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PARKING has long been a major issue with the zoning and construction of Kingdom Halls. As noted on our homepage (link at top of this page), the WatchTower Society even appealed two losing "parking-related" court cases all the way to SCOTUS -- in 1957 and 1960. We have not posted the several old parking-zoning related court cases because the zoning issues in those cases probably will never reoccur. However, that does not mean that "parking" cannot be an issue with today's Kingdom Halls -- as JWs continue the practice of attempting to purchase the cheapest and smallest building lots that they can find, and as cowardly government zoning officials continue to grant local JWs zoning approval for undersized building lots. Here are a couple of exceptions:

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A 2002 City of Honolulu webpage provides info regarding parking problems at a local city park due to an adjacent Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses using the park's parking area for its own meetings. Kingdom Halls in Honolulu typically have 3-4 different Congregations of Jehovah's Witnesses using a single Kingdom Hall, so given five regular weekly meetings per week per congregation, plus two daily meetings for field service, it can be assumed that the park's parking area had essentially been taken over by the JWs. This "situation" is included here because the City of Honolulu webpage indicates that the Kingdom Hall's lack of adequate parking was anticipated during zoning hearings to approve construction, but when seeking zoning approval, the Honolulu JWs had assured local zoning officials that they would NOT use the city park's parking area at all.

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The Owner/Operator of a Building Supply/Materials business has sent us this complaint about his former Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witness neighbors, who have since sold this location and relocated elsewhere. O/O relates that his multi-generation family-owned business is located on "River Road", which runs along the outskirts of a small rural town with a population of around 5000 people. Long and winding River Road is not zoned and is sparsely populated with only a few scattered older businesses and older low-value rental houses. O/O's building supply business is located on the narrow river side of the road, and consists of a storefront/office and multiple storage buildings all fronting down River Road for about 300 feet. Across the road from O/O's business is unimprovable rocky hillside and woodland -- except for a small lot with an old, often unoccupied rental house across the road from O/O's last two warehouses, which had been for sale "forever". One day, two JW Ministers (Elders) came into O/O's store and proudly informed O/O that the local Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses had just bought the lot and house down the road, and were going to remodeled the dilapidated house into a "Kingdom Hall". The remodeling job was to be done gradually over several weekends, and the two JWs made a big deal of the fact that they would be purchasing some of their building materials from O/O (eventually amounted to less than $1000.00).
 
O/O relates that he immediately wondered where the Kingdom Hall attendees were going to park given that the level part of the small hillside lot was barely larger than the house. O/O relates that the JWs did do some bulldozing and managed to create a parking lot big enough to park 8-10 cars or so. The following early Spring, the same two JW Elders walked into O/O's store one day and told O/O that they were planning a "special meeting" (Memorial) to be held one night a few weeks later, and they asked if it would be okay for some of the expected additional attendees to park down in front of some of O/O's storage buildings -- since O/O's business would be closed at the time. Wanting to be a good neighbor, O/O told the two JW Elders that that would be okay. Thereafter, as the annual construction season opened, when O/O would occasionally stay late or even return for customers on weeknights, O/O began to notice a few cars occasionally parking down in front of his last few storage buildings. O/O thought little of the JWs' "assumed" continued use of his property until one weekend in early June.
 
O/O and his family had a nice boat that they frequently used on a nearby lake during the Summer, which O/O kept stored in one of the larger storage building at the end of his lot. Having prepped the boat earlier that week, O/O, his wife, and their three children showed up on Sunday morning around 10:00 A.M. to pick up their boat for their first day on the lake that Summer. Needless to say, the entire family was excited, UNTIL ... . Parked in front of several of the storage buildings and blocking the doors to the building containing the family's boat were 6-8 cars from the Kingdom Hall. O/O relates that initially that he was merely "pissed-off". However, as O/O wondered outloud what they could do to get access to their boat -- blow the horn, or go interrupt the ongoing "church service" -- O/O's wife and three kids began to piss and moan. The more his family protested, the more O/O became angry. O/O relates that he did remain calm enough not to start blowing his pickup's horn, nor go pound on the door of the Kingdom Hall, given his demeanor at that point. What O/O did do was go open the store and retrieve a handful of NO PARKING signs, which he then nailed to his storage buildings in front of each of the cars parked by the trespassing JWs. O/O relates that he attempted to find something else to do to entertain his family that Sunday, but O/O's wife and kids pissed and moaned not only the rest of that day, but for several days thereafter, for having missed out on the first day of boating that Summer.
 
Monday afternoon, one of the two JW Elders came into O/O's business and inquired about the NO PARKING signs that had appeared out of nowhere on Sunday morning. O/O relates that he attempted to explain as courteously as he could what had happened on Sunday morning. JW Elder apologized for ruining O/O's planned day at the lake, but related that O/O should have simply come into the Kingdom Hall and asked an attendant to have the necessary cars moved. JW Elder further apologized for the "confusion" as to the JWs continued use of O/O's property. JW Elder indicated that he and the other JW Elder were under the impression that during their previous conversation that O/O had given them ongoing permission to use his lot for parking on Tuesday and Thursday nights and on Sunday mornings. JW Elder pointed out to O/O (who had worked at the family business on River Road since he was a child) that River Road had a ditch on the JWs uphill side of the road, thus there was no place for them to "street-park" excess cars. JW Elder related that they were depending on O/O's kindness to help them out with their parking predicament. Attempting to be a good neighbor, O/O apologized for overreacting with the NO PARKING signs. O/O told JW Elder that the JWs were welcome to park anywhere they wanted in front of his storage buildings just so long as they did not park in front of the doors to each building, so that O/O could access such if and when he so needed.
 
O/O took down the NO PARKING signs, and instead installed DO NOT BLOCK signs on the doors to only the storage buildings in front of the Kingdom Hall. O/O relates that he had no further problems with the blocking of his doors until a couple years later when, once again, the doors to the building housing his boat were blocked on another summer Sunday morning -- this time mid-season. That time, O/O asked for the car to be moved.
 
O/O relates other minor problems with his JW neighbors. O/O relates that about once a year, he and his employees would find WATCHTOWER literature stuffed under or through all the warehouse doors, and occasionally customers parked at his business would exit to find WATCHTOWER literature plastered on their windshields. O/O relates that thankfully everybody in the world knows how annoying are Jehovah's Witnesses, and most customers who bothered to complain about such simply expressed their surprise that such was not a daily occurrence given the location of that Kingdom Hall.

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FRANCESTOWN v. JOSEPH M. GIZA and SANDRA L. GIZA is an ongoing 2009-14 municipal code enforcement action between the Town of Francestown, New Hampshire and a prominent local Jehovah's Witness Elder and Elderette, who own and operate a trucking-shipping company called Northeast Express LLC at 300 Campbell Hill Road, in Francestown, NH. The case is pertinent to this webpage because Joe Giza is also a prominent member of the WatchTower Society's "Regional Building Committee", which is responsible for renovations to Kingdom Halls and new construction of Kingdom Halls and Assembly Halls in the states of New Hampshire and Vermont.

This five year long running battle apparently started sometime in Summer 2009 when city code enforcement officials first alleged that Joe Giza was operating an unlicensed "auto repair shop" and later an alleged "junkyard" on part of his property, which raised questions concerning possible ground water contamination. Per the linked minutes of the Town Board, Giza may have initially refused to appear before the Board concerning the matter, and at some point may have denied city officials further access to his property. At least one adjoining neighbor appeared before the Board complaining of property line encroachment, as well as alleged multiple unregistered vehicles supposedly parked on the Giza property. One Board meeting discussion even included a discussion about "police officers" accompanying city officials to the Giza property. At some point, a lawsuit was filed by the City. In April 2013, mediation resulted in an agreement whereby Giza was given until December 2014 to bring his property into compliance with local zoning ordinances.

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A BATTLE LOST BY THE WATCHTOWER CULT THAT MANY THINK IT WON

TIP: Where Was This Assembly Hall Eventually Constructed?

JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES ASSEMBLY HALL OF SOUTHERN NEW JERSEY INC v. THE PLANNING BOARD OF WOOLWICH TOWNSHIP ET AL was a 1987-88 New Jersey Appellate Court decision which REVERSED the trial court decision which had ERRONEOUSLY declared "that the total exclusion of churches and places of worship from residential districts violates the guarantee of freedom of religion as provided for by the New Jersey Constitution", and thus further ERRONEOUSLY concluded that Woolwich Township "cannot totally exclude plaintiff's use", so ERRONEOUSLY remanded the site plan application of Assembly Hall back to the Woolwich Planning Board "for further consideration in accordance with the [trial] Court's written opinion".

Assembly Hall, which precipitously purchased a 59 acre tract of land, applied for site plan approval to construct a 1500 seat convention venue in Woolwich Township, which had a population of only 1200. The Hall was to be surrounded by a two-story administrative office, storage rooms, and meeting room facilities -- all with a total floor area of 57,000 square feet. The application also sought approval for a second 9600 square foot maintenance building, plus on-site water supply and sewage disposal facilities.

The tract was then located partially in an R-2 (residential) zoning district and partially in an M (manufacturing) district, in both of which churches and places of worship were permitted uses. During the pendency of the site plan application, Woolwich Township amended its zoning ordinance placing the entire Assembly Hall tract in an R-2 zone, and excluded as a permitted use from that zone, and from all other residential zones, any "church or any place of worship including parish house and Sunday school building."

Assembly Hall filed this lawsuit in state court which alleged that the zoning amendments were "arbitrary, capricious, discriminatory and unlawful," that they constituted "unlawful, invidious discrimination directed against the religious beliefs of plaintiff," that they were undertaken "in bad faith and for purposes not contemplated by or intended by reasons or purposes behind zoning legislation," that they effected "an unlawful prohibition of the free exercise of religion and unlawful denial of the fundamental rights of freedom of assembly and association" and that the ordinance as amended was "unconstitutionally vague." Invoking various provisions of the United States and New Jersey Constitutions as well as the Federal Civil Rights Act, the Jehovah's Witnesses sought equitable relief and money damages.

Assembly Hall concurrently filed in the Federal District Court a complaint which essentially duplicated the state complaint. Assembly Hall asserted that the USDC "has original jurisdiction of all federal questions, federal civil rights violations and violations of plaintiff's rights under the United States Constitution." Accordingly, JWs asked the state court "to stay action on all claims raised by the pleadings herein which assert such federal constitutional rights until the USDC has ruled on all federal questions." Assembly Hall requested that the state court only "consider and rule on all issues and claims of a non-federal and non-constitutional nature raised by the pleadings submitted herewith." Woolwich subsequently moved unsuccessfully to dismiss the federal complaint, which was still pending and undecided.

Shortly after the filing of the state complaint, the NJ trial judge entered a management order directing Assembly Hall to procure a transcript of the Planning Board proceedings and ordering that the case "be tried in open court upon the record below at a date to be set by the court after receipt of the transcript." In keeping with that order, the matter was disposed of at a March 1987 hearing which consisted solely of the argument of counsel. Apparently deferring all other issues to the federal litigation, counsel for Assembly Hall argued that under the New Jersey Constitution "it is an invalid, unreasonable exercise of the zoning prerogative on the part of the Township to simply zone out religious uses from a residential area." The NJ trial judge capitulated, so held, and remanded the matter back to the Planning Board for reconsideration of the site plan application, with the directive that the municipality "cannot totally exclude [the Assembly Hall] use." Woolwich appealed. Held:

The question whether a municipality can, through its zoning power, exclude from residential zones churches and similar places of worship is an open one in New Jersey. The trial judge purported to resolve that issue by announcing, upon a narrowly constructed record and with essentially no findings of fact, a broad and absolute rule that "the total exclusion of churches and places of worship from residential districts violates the guarantee of freedom of religion as provided for by the New Jersey Constitution." Neither that nor any other determination of the issue can properly be made on the record presented to us.

The exclusion of churches from residential districts has been described as one of the most common church-zoning issues facing the courts over the last three decades. Courts have approached that issue in a variety of ways, some focusing on First Amendment free-exercise considerations, some using due process analysis. The New Jersey cases show no clear pattern, drawing on, and sometimes merging, both free-exercise and due process analysis. Case law and academic discussion, moreover, offer variant approaches to both the free-exercise and the due process tests. But there is one common theme in the cases and academic comment: the court must make a thorough exploration and a careful evaluation of the facts bearing on the competing religious and governmental interests.

Some of the factual considerations which may bear on the resolution of such a question are as follows. The court must determine whether the activity allegedly burdened by the zoning ordinance is in fact religious. It must determine whether the ordinance imposes a significant burden on religious practice. Another significant consideration is what alternative locations are reasonably available to the religious organization and what zoning alternatives are available to reasonably accommodate the organization. The court must also carefully identify and evaluate the governmental interest in establishing and maintaining its zoning plan. However tested and articulated, the propriety of the zoning restriction must turn on a weighing of the conflicting religious and governmental interests thus identified.

Here none of the relevant factual considerations were explored or evaluated in the trial court. We have neither a record nor findings as to such matters as the alleged religious nature and significance of the activities to be conducted at the Assembly Hall; the availability of other property in Woolwich, or elsewhere in the area to be served by the Assembly Hall, for location of the facility; the convenience and economic viability of those other locations or the kind and extent of disruption of the Woolwich zoning plan that would result from construction of the Assembly Hall. Until the relevant facts are explored, the validity of the zoning restrictions cannot properly be addressed.

We are thus constrained to reverse the judgment which remands the matter to the Planning Board. We remand the matter instead to the Law Division, which shall conduct a plenary hearing, report its findings of fact and conclusions of law, and enter judgment accordingly. (EDITED.)

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LAKEWOOD OHIO CONGREGATION OF JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES v. CITY OF LAKEWOOD was a lengthy 1971-1985 state and federal court battle which we include here as evidence of the FACT that Jehovah's Witnesses and the WatchTower Society are unquestionably BULLIES whom the liberal media have repeatedly portrayed as "victims" for decades.
 
The City of Lakewood, Ohio is a suburb of Cleveland. In the 1960s, the Lakewood Ohio Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses was located in a storefront building in a commercial zone of the City. In 1971, desiring to build a new Kingdom Hall, the Lakewood JWs entered into an option contract to purchase a half-acre corner lot at the intersection of a residential city street and a busy six-lane thoroughfare. That lot was zoned "residential". That was why the Lakewood JWs had entered into an "option contract". The sale/purchase was made conditional on the City of Lakewood granting a zoning exception for construction of the Kingdom Hall.
 
In 1971, the Lakewood Jehovah's Witnesses applied to the City for a permit to build a Kingdom Hall on the optioned residential lot. The permit was denied because a church on that corner would have created traffic hazards, increase noise levels, potentially decreased nearby property values, and would have cause various other problems.
 
The Lakewood JWs appealed to the Board of Zoning Appeals. The Board of Zoning Appeals affirmed the City's decision.
 
The Lakewood JWs appealed to the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court. The Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court affirmed the Board of Zoning Appeal's decision.
 
The Lakewood JWs appealed to the the Court of Appeals for Cuyahoga County. The Court of Appeals for Cuyahoga County affirmed the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court's decision.
 
The Lakewood JWs appealed to the Supreme Court of Ohio. The Supreme Court of Ohio refused to hear the Lakewood JWs' further appeal.
 
 
What did the Lakewood Jehovah's Witnesses do next? -- or what were they TOLD TO DO next? The Lakewood JWs went ahead and purchased the residential lot.
 
 
In 1973, the City of Lakewood enacted a new zoning code for the entire city. However, the residential lot owned by the Lakewood JWs still remained zoned as "residential - single family dwellings". As planned by the WatchTower Society's Legal Department, in 1975, the Lakewood JWs once again sought the City's approval to construct a Kingdom Hall on its "residential" lot.
 
The Building Commissioner of Lakewood denied the permit.
 
The Lakewood JWs appealed to the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court. The Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court affirmed the Building Commissioner's decision.
 
The Lakewood JWs appealed to the the Court of Appeals for Cuyahoga County. This time, the Court of Appeals for Cuyahoga County reversed the lower court's decision, and remanded the case back to the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court for determination of the constitutional issues raised by the Lakewood JWs that: (1) that the zoning ordinance was unconstitutional on its face and (2) that it was unconstitutional as applied to the Lakewood JWs scenario.
 
The Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court granted summary judgment in favor of the City.
 
The Lakewood JWs appealed to the the Court of Appeals for Cuyahoga County. In 1979, the Court of Appeals for Cuyahoga County once again reversed and remanded back to the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court on the "constitutionality" issues.
 
 
TAKE 'EM TO FEDERAL COURT FOR RELIGIOUS DISCRIMINATION
 
Instead of further pursuing the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court case, the Lakewood JWs filed a FEDERAL lawsuit in United States District Court challenging the constitutionality of the City of Lakewood's zoning ordinance.
 
Circa 1981, the USDC ruled against the Lakewood JWs, and that the City of Lakewood's zoning ordinance was constitutional.
 
The Lakewood JWs appealed to the United States Court of Appeals. In 1983, the USCA affirmed the USDC's decision against the Lakewood JWs.
 
The Lakewood JWs appealed to the United States Supreme Court. In 1983, SCOTUS refused to hear the appeal.
 
 
BACK TO STATE COURT
 
After SCOTUS refused to hear the Lakewood JWs, the Lakewood JWs returned to the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court case and attempted to resurrect that lawsuit.
 
The Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court denied the Lakewood JWs' motion to amend their original complaint. The Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court granted the City of Lakewood's motion for judgment on the pleadings or, in the alternative, summary judgment.
 
The Lakewood JWs appealed to the the Court of Appeals for Cuyahoga County. In November 1984, the Court of Appeals for Cuyahoga County affirmed the decision of the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court.
 
The Lakewood JWs appealed to the Supreme Court of Ohio. In March 1985, the Supreme Court of Ohio refused to hear the Lakewood JWs' further appeal.

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Evidencing the WatchTower Cult's original intent to locate its "Kingdom Halls" in the midst of residential neighborhoods by whatever means necessary, in Summer 1948, Eddie F. Clements, the "Company Servant" of the San Mateo California "Company" of Jehovah's Witnesses applied for a building permit to construct a 23x40 addition on the rear of his home located at 1006 East Fifth Avenue, which was to be used as the new local "Kingdom Hall" for Jehovah's Witnesses in San Mateo and surrounding area. Before the San Mateo Planning Commission, Clements claimed that a "Kingdom Hall" was NOT a church, but rather was a "study hall" used for meetings of "bible students" affiliated with the WatchTower Society. Rather than argue the point with Clements, the Planning Commission denied a permit for what it deemed to be a "private school" by Clements' definition.

Clements appealed the denial, but the City Council unanimously upheld the denial. Ridiculously, as the group of 30 or so defeated Jehovah's Witnesses exited the City Council Chambers, Clements announced that he had just received a telephone call from an unidentified LOCAL MILLIONAIRE -- who was NOT a Jehovah's Witness -- who had promised Clements to provide the funds for the local JWs to build an even BIGGER and BETTER Kingdom Hall in San Mateo. The "spontaneous" demonstration elicited by this "surprise" was so loud that the Mayor had to order the doors shut to the Council Chambers so that the Council could continue transacting business. INTERESTINGLY, it apparently took that unidentified Millionaire several years to come up with the money, since it took the San Mateo JWs 6+ years to construct that new Kingdom Hall.

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BLOOMINGTON ILLINOIS v. BLOOMINGTON CONGREGATION OF JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES were criminal and civil actions relating to the ONGOING CONSTRUCTION of Bloomington's first Kingdom Hall located at 3 Felton Place, in April 1952. Residential neighbors became concerned when continuing construction in their neighborhood revealed a new building to be a 2000 s.f. concrete block building, rather than a typical residential house. City officials were contacted, and it was discovered that the local building inspector, William Price, had issued a building permit to the Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses for the construction of a Kingdom Hall -- this despite the fact that the City Council previously had instructed him NOT to issue a building permit to the JWs for a different location. Obviously, the building inspector was "in" on the deal.

Construction was halted by Bloomington Police, who issued a citation for violation of Bloomington's zoning laws. Neighbors obtained a temporary restraining order blocking further construction. At a meeting of the City Council, a smirking Building Inspector irritated the council with his ridiculous answers as to why he had issued the building permit. One councilman insightfully remarked that Jehovah's Witnesses were a "commercial" organization masquerading as a "religious" organization, thus a "Kingdom Hall" should be zoned as "commercial". Carl Quanstrom, seller of the building lot, was blamed for the mess.

The local JWs threatened neighbors with bringing down onto them the wrath of the WatchhTower Society's Legal Department. In the end, neighbors were more than happy to agree to dropping their restraining order and paying restitution of $120.00 ($1200.00 in 2021 dollars) to the JWs for concrete which had hardened during the stoppage.

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MILWAUKIE COMPANY OF JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES v. CITY OF MILWAUKEE, OREGON was a 1953-58 Supreme Court of Oregon court case which involved yet another attempt by the WATCHTOWER BULLIES to force a local municipality to grant a zoning exception to permit a Kingdom Hall to be constructed on a lot already zoned as "Residential - single family dwellings". Despite the fact that the WatchTower Society sent in the "almighty" HAYDEN C. COVINGTON (see HOMEPAGE of this website -- link at top) to overwhelm the Oregon Justices, those Justices sent Hayden Covington packing -- along with a nice "spanking". This decision is included here for the remarks it includes about the Jehovah's Witnesses' false claims of RELIGIOUS DISCRIMINATION:

We observe that at the threshold of our consideration of the charge of discrimination, we are confronted with an anomalous situation produced by the [JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES]. We recall that during the course of the oral argument, [HAYDEN COVINGTON] complained because the trial court denied [JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES] an opportunity to produce evidence of discrimination. Our examination of the record reveals no basis for such representation. To the contrary, [JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES] was given that opportunity but failed to embrace it. Notwithstanding the representation made orally, its brief on the subject rests upon the assumption that evidence of discrimination is before the court.

The statement made by [HAYDEN COVINGTON] in this court may have been an inadvertence, due in part to the fact that he was not the trial counsel in the lower court. We would be inclined to ignore and excuse it were it not for certain misstatements of fact which appear in [HAYDEN COVINGTON'S] brief and to which we will presently make reference. ...

... [HAYDEN COVINGTON'S] brief is replete with statements which, contrary to the record, assume a state of nonexistent facts. It is upon these erroneous representations of the evidence that the [JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES] predicates its entire argument as being a victim of discrimination. ...

... [HAYDEN COVINGTON] then makes the following extravagant statement: "The only objection that the defendants have urged or can urge is that the defendants do not like the religious practices of Jehovah's Witnesses and their attending the plaintiff's church ... ." We cannot pass such an unwarranted and unjust conclusion without comment. It is unfair to the [City] Council. It is unfair to those representing the [City] Council in this matter. Not only does the brief of [CITY] fail to disclose one iota of hostility toward [JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES], but there is not one word in the record from whence an inference of such intolerance or prejudice on the part of the [City] Council can be derived. We find nothing resulting from the action of the [City]Council which would warrant us in concluding that discrimination was a resulting incident of the [City] Council's denial.

If there was evidence of discrimination, we would give it careful consideration and likewise to the various authorities offered by [HAYDEN COVINGTON] in support. But finding no evidence of discriminatory action, we conclude that [JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES'] claim in this respect is wanting in merit.

... At the trial the [JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES] had the burden of proof but not only failed utterly to prove discrimination but also failed to establish that the [City] Council in its consideration of the application acted arbitrarily and capriciously as previously defined. There was no evidence to overcome the presumption of reasonableness and validity which the law accords to such administrative decisions in zone matters.

MILWAUKIE COMPANY OF JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES v. CITY OF MILWAUKEE, OREGON was Hayden C. Covington's appeal of that LOSING decision from the Supreme Court of Oregon to the SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES. In May 1959, SCOTUS dismissed the appeal and denied certiorari.

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JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES v. CITY OF AZUSA, CALIFORNIA was a 1954-58 California Court of Appeals decision which involved yet another attempt by the WATCHTOWER BULLIES to force a local municipality to grant a zoning exception to permit a Kingdom Hall to be constructed on a lot already zoned as "Residential". And, yet again, the WatchTower Society sent in the "almighty" HAYDEN C. COVINGTON (see HOMEPAGE of this website -- link at top) to overwhelm the California Justices. Here is what this California appellate court said about the JWs' false claims of RELIGIOUS DISCRIMINATION:

[JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES] insistently claims that there was prejudice against Jehovah's Witnesses which controlled the decision of the zoning authorities. ... The inference from the hearing record seems plain that [JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES] sought to ride through the [first] hearing upon the emotional issue of prejudice against Jehovah's Witnesses, buttressed by the claim of absolute right of a church to have a variance when and where it desires. ...

In January, 1955, [JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES] filed [an appeal] claiming prejudice against Jehovah's Witnesses and breathing defiance to the zoning authorities. ... [while further claiming] "no city or political subdivision or state authorities thereof have the right to require a variance before a piece of property can be used for a church. ... I anticipate that the Planning Commission of the City of Azusa and the City Council will deny this application, as the Planning Commission and the City Council previously denied my application. ... Said sections of the code have been enforced by the Planning Commission and the City Council so as to authorize many of the orthodox and popular religions to build church buildings or repair or add additions thereto in the City of Azusa since the passage of said measures, while discriminating against the Jehovah's Witnesses."

The California Justices ignored the incessant self-flagellation of the Jehovah's Witnesses, refuted Hayden Covington's FALSE CLAIMS directly from the records of the local zoning proceedings, and like the Oregon court -- sent Hayden Covington packing back to his coven in Brooklyn.

In December 1958, the SUPREME COURT OF CALIFORNIA refused to hear Hayden Covington's appeal.

JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES v. CITY OF AZUSA, CALIFORNIA was Hayden C. Covington's appeal of this California lawsuit to the SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES. In May 1959, SCOTUS dismissed the appeal for lack of a properly presented federal question.

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SCHNELLER v. HURON SOUTH DAKOTA CONGREGATION OF JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES was a 1959 South Dakota civil court case which also PROVES that the WatchTower Society regularly practiced FRAUD and DECEPTION during the 1950s and 1960s with regard to the purchase of real property for the construction of Kingdom Halls throughout the United States. In this instance, WatchTower Cult HQ, in Brooklyn, sent "secret agent" District Servant Arden B. Stutler and his wife to the small town of Huron, South Dakota, with the specific intention of affecting this fraud.

The "unknown" Arden Stutler approached the three heirs of a small vacant lot located in a residential neighborhood inside Huron, and told them that he was seeking to purchase a lot so that he could build a home for he and his wife. Once purchased, the lot was transferred to the Huron Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses, who applied for a building permit for a Kingdom Hall to be constructed on the lot. The Schneller family then filed this civil fraud case, which a local court eventually dismissed in favor of the JWs. Over objections filed by 27 neighbors, the City of Huron approved the building permit after Stutler filed a lawsuit against the City.

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KEYERLEBER v. EUCLID OHIO CONGREGATION OF JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES was a 1956-57 Ohio Court of Appeals decision. Paul and Anna Keyerleber were the joint owners of a house and lot in the Village of Richmond Heights, Ohio. The Euclid, Ohio Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses wanted to purchase a vacant lot on which they could construct a new Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses. Observing that the Keyerleber's home was constructed at one far end of their 200 foot lot, these Jehovah's Witnesses schemed with a local real estate firm to deceive the Keyerlebers into selling off the vacant portion of their lot adjacent to their home.

The Euclid Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses employed Powers Realty Company to approach the Keyerlebers to propose the purchase of 140 feet of the 200 foot lot. The Euclid Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses also authorized the realty broker to approach the Keyerlebers in the name of "Robert J. Wendt", who actually was the "Congregation Servant", or head Elder of the Euclid Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses. The Euclid Congregation also authorized the realty broker to not inform the Keyerlebers who was the real purchaser, nor the purpose of the purchase.

A "Mr. Adams" (possibly also a JW) from The Powers Realty Company made the solicitation. When the Keyerlebers asked who was the broker's client, and what would be done with the lot, Adams described Robert Wendt variously as "a splendid young man", "a single man", and "A young man who wanted to buy property for his personal use." Adams also led the Keyerlebers to believe that Wendt was going to construct a home adjacent to their home, and even told them, "The residence will not be built immediately". The Keyerlebers asked to meet Wendt, but Adams refused their request. Based on the fraudulent info, the Keyerlebers decided that they would sell off the majority of their lot to Robert Wendt, and they signed a sales contract which listed "Robert J. Wendt" as the purchaser. The Keyerlebers had paid no attention to the fact that the words "except restrictions of record" had been crossed out on the contract.

Interestingly after the closing, the escrow agent mistakingly sent Wendt's check back to Wendt, who then took it to the Keyerlebers. It was only then that the Keyerlebers were told that Wendt was going to transfer the land to his JW Congregation for the construction of a new Kingdom Hall. The Keyerlebers restrained their displeasure with having been scammed, but thereafter telephoned members of the Village Council and its zoning board, who reassured the Keyerlebers that the lot was zoned strictly for residential residences, and that no variance would be granted to the Jehovah's Witness scammers.

However, when the rezoning was denied, the JWs typically filed a lawsuit, and the Village quickly gave in rather than fight it -- just as the JWs had anticipated. A building permit was issued, and construction began. It was only then that the Keyerlebers employed an attorney to go after the JW scammers and have the deal undone. A local court did stop construction with a restraining order, but on the JWs appeal, the Ohio Court of Appeals held that although the Keyerlebers had beed deceived and defrauded by the Euclid Jehovah's Witnesses, the Keyerlebers had waited too long under the equitable doctrine of "laches" to have the deal ordered rescinded by a court of equity. However, that did not stop this Ohio Court of Appeals from publishing a record of the fraud perpetrated by this JW Congregation:

... [The Euclid Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses] found a real estate firm to agree to go along with the scheme, and as a result a compact was entered into to that effect between the defendant, its agent, Robert J. Wendt, and The Power Realty Company. Mr. Adams, the salesman for The Power Realty Company, became the instrumentality for carrying out this cabal, and he performed capably in the furtherance of the scheme. These basic facts show beyond question that a fraud had been perpetrated upon the Keyerlebers, and that The Euclid Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses was the instigator of it. The motive that prompted the defendant to engage in the scheme in no way minimizes the deceit practiced and the legal consequences flowing therefrom, and the defendant is accountable under the law for it. The plaintiffs, as owners of the land, were deprived of a valuable right by the fraud perpetrated upon them, namely, the right to dispose of their property to whomever they wish. ... ...

... [The Keyerlebers] did nothing for three and one-half months to indicate to the defendant that they were not accepting the situation that had been foisted upon them through fraud and that they would demand the return of the property by reason of the deceit. It seems to us, therefore, that under the circumstances here set forth they acquiesced in the sale of the land and in legal effect affirmed the contract made and waived the right to ask for its rescission in a court of equity.

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NORTH FORT WORTH CONGREGATION OF JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES v. HALTOM CITY TEXAS was another "Kingdom Hall Construction" court case which occurred around the same time as the KEYERLEBER case. WatchTower Society Lead Attorney Hayden Cooper Covington represented the Texas JWs during the successful appeal. Sometime in latter 1953, the North Fort Worth Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses, who were seeking to build a new Kingdom Hall, purchased a residential zoned building lot located on a quiet residential street in a Fort Worth suburb, which the Fort Worth Jehovah's Witnesses KNEW would have to be granted a zoning exception by the City before a Kingdom Hall could be built on the lot. However, instead of first applying for the zoning exception before purchasing the lot, or making grant of a zoning exception part of the purchase deal, the Fort Worth Jehovah's Witnesses did something which anyone familiar with Jehovah's Witnesses knows was totally foreign to normal procedures for the construction of new Kingdom Halls. The Fort Worth JWs contracted with the lot's seller, a man named Clayton, to build a new Kingdom Hall for them, per their specifications, on that residential zoned lot prior to the conveyance of the deed to them. In January 1954, supposedly without the JWs knowledge -- at least that is what all the "honest Jehovah's Witnesses" swore to in court -- Clayton DEFRAUDED and DECEIVED the City by applying for a building permit to construct a "single family residential dwelling" on the lot.

The North Fort Worth Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses was practically completed before the City discovered the true intended occupancy and stopped further work. Yet, in June 1954, despite the facts that the JWs knew that Clayton had DEFRAUDED and DECEIVED the City as to true occupancy of the building in order to obtain a building permit, and knew that the building was sitting empty under a stop-work order, the Fort Worth JWs did not hesitate to fulfill their contract with Clayton and accept transfer of the deed. The Fort Worth JWs immediately applied for a zoning exception as a "church", and a certificate of occupancy as a "church". The JWs thereafter unsuccessfully appealed to the Zoning Board and the City Council before filing this lawsuit in Texas district court. Recognizing the obvious fraudulent conspiracy, the Texas district court also ruled against the JWs. However, on appeal, the Texas appellate court FORESEEABLY ruled in the JWs favor. Via the reasoning in their ruling, these appellate Judges made it apparent that they would find whatever reasoning necessary to allow the JWs to use the already constructed Kingdom Hall owned by them. Their opinion even included the ridiculous statement that they believed that the Fort Worth JWs had not known of Clayton's fraud and deception until the City issued the stop-work order.

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FALKENBURG v. EARL M. SAUNDERS and JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES was a 1956 Louisville, Kentucky court case. In October 1956, William R. Falkenburg and Irene 0. Falkenburg, whom owned a home in Hollywood Terrace Subdivision, filed this lawsuit in an attempt to stop construction of a Kingdom Hall on the residential building lot adjacent to their home. By the time the Falkenburgs discovered whom were their new neighbors, the foundation already had been completed. Earl M. Saunders and M. Marie Saunders had sold the property to the Jehovah's Witnesses. The Falkenburgs alleged that construction of a "church" violated restrictions of the 35-year-old Hollywood Terrace Subdivision. Outcome unknown.

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WILLIS ET AL v. THE NEW ORLEANS JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES, INC. was a 1962-63 Court of Appeal of Louisiana case in which the ongoing construction of a Kingdom Hall in a New Orleans, Louisiana subdivision was halted; construction of that Kingdom Hall was permanently enjoined; and the completed portion of that Kingdom Hall was ordered removed from the lot. The Louisiana appellate court upheld the local court's action, and the Supreme Court of Louisiana refused to hear any further appeal.

The Pines Village Subdivision had been formed in 1950, and consisted of unspecified HUNDREDS of residential lots restricted to use for construction of single family dwellings. The subdivision initially also had two sections dedicated to construction of commercial businesses and construction of a park and other recreational facilities to service this large residential development. In 1955, the City Planning and Zoning Commission approved a revision which dedicated certain subdivision sections for a proposed public school and playground and a proposed Catholic church and school -- both of which were constructed soon thereafter. All subdivision property owners had approved all such revisions.

In September 1962, with full knowledge of the subdivision's building restrictions, a local Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses purchased one residential lot in the Pines Village Subdivision, and began construction of a Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses. Multiple subdivision property owners successfully brought this lawsuit in December 1962 after they learned that the building under construction was not a single-family dwelling. Amusingly, the Jehovah's Witnesses had even "arrogantly" violated the subdivision's set-back provisions, thus the partially completed Kingdom Hall could not be simply converted into a single-family dwelling and sold, but had to be demolished.

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WOODLAWN HILLS KINGDOM HALL OF JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES v. ALTA TSCHIRHART was a 1968-9 Texas court case. In March 1968, a San Antonio, Texas area Jehovah's Witness Elder, conveniently listed as "J. M. Norris", purchased two adjacent "restricted" single-family residential dwelling building lots in the Woodlawn Hills Subdivision from Alta Tschirhart. J. M. Norris immediately transferred the two lots to the Woodlawn Hills Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses, who in turn immediately began construction of a "Kingdom Hall" on the two lots. Since "Kingdom Halls" are rectangular boxes resembling ranch-style homes, the adjacent property owners were clueless as to the intended occupancy until it was too late. After the hurriedly constructed Kingdom Hall was nearly completed, and after two WatchTower meetings were held in the Kingdom hall for sake of anticipated legal action, Tschirhart and other subdivision property owners sought and obtained an injunction from the local district court stopping any further construction. However, just as the WatchTower Society directed Texas JWs had anticipated, the Texas appellate court found a technical glitch in the restrictive covenant so as to allow the JWs to use the already constructed Kingdom Hall. Jehovah must have been so proud of His "only true worshipers".

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NORTH POUGHKEEPSIE CONGREGATION OF JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES v. WILLIETTA BOOTH was a 1971 New York "Kingdom Hall Construction" court case (is anyone staring to notice a trend). In 1968, Jehovah's Witnesses in Poughkeepsie, New York, decided to build a new Kingdom Hall on the northside of the city. Instead of purchasing any number of available lots for sale which had already been zoned for a "church" by the City, in January 1969, the Poughkeepsie JWs instead purchased a tract of land which the JWs KNEW was subject to a restrictive covenant which stated, "The premises shall be used for residential and farm purposes only." Although the court decision does not state such, it is suspected that the JWs may have again used a "straw buyer" during the purchase negotiations. In May 1969, the JWs began constructing their "Kingdom Hall". The seller of the lot became aware that it was a "Kingdom Hall" that was being constructed on the lot only after an unforeseen circumstance arose, which will be revealed later in this summary. The lot seller and other adjacent property owners quickly sought and obtained a court order halting construction.

Since the Kingdom Hall was only approximately 15-20% complete, this New York appellate court ruled against the JWs. In fact, this appellate Court found the actions of the Jehovah's Witnesses to be deceptive, although the court never used the term. In addition to pointing out that there were lots available already properly zoned for construction of a Kingdom Hall, the court noted that the JWs had been completely aware of the covenant restrictions that they now were attempting to have the courts override. The JWs even testified during the original trial that they had been told by the seller at the closing that they could ignore the covenant restrictions. This appellate court wondered why, if such were true, then why hadn't the JWs simply obtained a written waiver. This New York Court apparently had also read the KEYERLEBER, FORT WORTH, WOODLAWN, and maybe other previous court cases, given this resounding parting shot at the Poughkeepsie JWs:

The real [com]plaint of plaintiffs appears that were it not for a title company requiring a written release upon plaintiff seeking a building loan, it would not be in its present unfortunate position for, as it states, if "plaintiff had had the necessary funds, its Kingdom Hall would be erected and operating now." This, indeed, is a rather extraordinary argument to be advanced to persuade a court to exercise its equitable conscience in its favor.

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OLSEN v. JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES OF SPRINGFIELD ILLINOIS was a 1977 Appellate Court of Illinois case which was won by the Jehovah's Witnesses due to a panel of appellate judges apparently seeking to rule in the favor of the Jehovah's Witnesses -- probably so that a partially completed Kingdom Hall did not have to be ordered to be demolished. Washington Park Gardens Subdivision had been platted outside the city limits of Springfield in 1916. The 1916 lot deeds contained a restrictive covenant which OBVIOUSLY restricted construction in the subdivision to one residential dwelling per lot costing at least $10,000.00 to construct. That conclusion is "obvious" despite the archaic verbiage used in those 1916 deeds, because noone had attempted to construct any type structure but a residential dwelling in that subdivision from 1916 until the Springfield Jehovah's Witnesses did so in 1977. The local Springfield court was easily able to deduce the original and decades-long continuing intent of the language of the 1916 restrictive covenant, and permanently enjoined the construction of the Kingdom Hall. However, the more liberal appellate court justices picked apart the archaic verbiage, plus ignored its obvious intent, in order to find a "peg on which to hang their hats", and overturned the local court's "obvious" correct decision.

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WATCHTOWER CULT BACKSTABS AND BULLDOZES NATIVE AMERICANS

In the 1960s, when there were fewer and less stringent federal and state laws protecting ancient Indian burial sites, a dispute arose in Fremont, California over the construction of the Fremont Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses located on Washington Boulevard, adjacent to the six acre Ohlone Indian Historical Cemetery. The American Indian Historical Society had been attempting for two years to obtain the vacant one acre lot from the out-of-state "heirs" of the recently deceased previous longtime owner (probably for low cost or donation), when, in June 1966, the Fremont Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses requested a "use permit" for the construction of a Kingdom Hall on the property. Apparently, the Fremont Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses had approached the out-of-state owners and had obtained a purchase contract for $14,000.00 contingent on zoning and construction approval by the City of Fremont.

The American Indian Historical Society claimed that the one-acre lot was in fact an extension of the adjacent site of the Ohlone Indian Historical Cemetery, which was consecrated ground that also contained ancient Indian burials. The American Indian Historical Society also claimed that the lot had been used by the Catholic Church and others for unmarked burials as recent as 1917, and contained the unmarked graves of at least two Catholic Priests.

At a June 1966 meeting of the Fremont Planning Commission, the JWs request for a "use permit" was rejected -- not so much due to the complaint from the American Indian Historical Society, but because the City required a church lot to be at least two acres to ensure adequate parking. Interestingly, the Fremont City Council, and particularly Mayor Donald Dillon, were strangely in favor of the Jehovah's Witnesses, and voted in July to overturn the recommendation of the Fremont Planning Commission -- this despite opposition from a local Protestant Ministerial Association, a local Catholic group of interested citizens, and others.

Thereafter, in September 1966, while the Fremont Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses was waiting on the building permit, the American Indian Historical Society offered to purchase the property from the Fremont Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses for the contracted price of $14,000.00. However, the Fremont Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses counteroffered to sell the lot to the American Indian Historical Society for the $14,000.00, ONLY IF the American Indian Historical Society could find the Fremont Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses another suitable lot located in the same part of Fremont which they must guarantee to be granted all necessary permits and zoning approvals, plus that the American Indian Historical Society would pay all additional attorney fees, permit fees, and even specified interest, etc., etc. The American Indian Historical Society rejected the WatchTower Society's counteroffer -- labeling the counteroffer as nothing but a "publicity stunt" to keep the Jehovah's Witnesses from looking bad, and claiming that the proposed deal would ultimately cost them close to $25,000.00.

In October, required borings on the lot supposedly did not uncover any bones. In December, bulldozers performed site prep on the lot, and Congregation Servant, Allan R. Kemline, claimed that no bones were uncovered. The Fremont Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses on Washington Boulevard was constructed in early 1967.

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MODESTO WEST CONGREGATION OF JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES v. STANISLAUS COUNTY was a 1962 California Court of Appeals decision. In the late 1950s, Modesto Jehovah's Witnesses purchased a residential lot for the construction of an additional Kingdom Hall in the Olympic Tract, which was a self-contained residential subdivision zoned R-1, located outside the Modesto city limits, in Stanislaus County. There were no through streets. Only a single, already overcrowded residential street provided ingress/egress to the lot owned by the JWs. When denied a use permit by the Planning Commission, the JWs appealed to the Board of Supervisors, which affirmed the denial after holding a new hearing. The JWs typically filed a lawsuit alleging the usual litany of violations of their constitutional rights. After losing at the Superior Court level, this appeal was filed.

The California Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court decision holding that the lower governmental bodies/court had all found substantial reasons to deny the use permit -- despite the fact that reasonable minds could disagree on each reason for denial. Amusingly, the Court took the time to note that the Jehovah's Witnesses had alleged "religious discrimination" while complaining that there already were two other churches constructed inside the Olympic Tract. The Court was appreciative that the County Attorney pointed out to the Court that those two older churches already were there long before the county had enacted its zoning ordinance.

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KOREAN ENTERPRISES LTD v. JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES CONGREGATION, COMMISSIONER OF LANDS, and HONIARA TOWN AND COUNTRY PLANNING BOARD was a 2003-04 High Court of Solomon Islands civil court case which aptly demonstrates that violating land covenants in reliance on the later capitulation of the local Zoning Body is a decades-old civilly criminal practice exported internationally by the WatchTower Society.

In this case, a Soloman Islands Real Estate Developer sold a lot that had a covenant running with the land which restricted use of the land to residential purposes. In all likelihood, the purchaser was an individual Jehovah's Witness acting as a secret proxy for the Soloman Islands branch of the WatchTower Society. A "residential-looking" Kingdom Hall was then constructed. By the time that the Real Estate Developer realized that a "church" had been constructed in the midst of its residential development, it was too late.

In its lawsuit, the Real Estate Developer named both the Commissioner of Lands and the local Zoning Commission as defendants, along with the JW corporate entity which constructed the Kingdom Hall. The Real Estate Developer alleged not only violation of the restrictive land covenant by the local JW Congregation, but failure by the Commissioner of Lands to ensure the existence of required permits and consents to such change of use, before agreeing to the usage variance. The Real Estate Developer further alleged failure by both the Commissioner of Lands and the local Zoning Board to publicly notify adversely affected parties of the variance request and proceedings.

Outcome unknown. The SI Court did rule against the WatchTower Society's motion for summary dismissal, but my guess is that the SI Courts did exactly what the WatchTower Society has counted on for decades -- that the local Court would somehow find some "peg" on which to "hang its hat", such that the already constructed Kingdom Hall was found either not to violate the land covenant and/or not to violate local zoning laws.

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NEW YORK CITY v. WATCHTOWER SOCIETY was a 1921 building code violation prosecution which involved the WatchTower Society's main Columbia Heights headquarters building. In 1910-11, a 9-story building fronting on Furman Street (much lower elevation than Columbia Heights) was constructed behind the 3-story main office building fronting on Columbia Heights, with the conjoined buildings sharing floors 1 and 7. Around 1920, the Fire Commissioner finally discovered that the rear structure did not have standpipes installed as were required for a building of that height by the NYC building code, and ordered that such be installed after his request for such was "stubbornly resisted". At trial, Judge Rutherford claimed that the 9-story Furman building did not require standpipes, since once it was conjoined with the 3-story Columbia Heights structure, it should be considered a 3-story building, not a 9-story building. Apparently, Judge Rutherford thought that he should be permitted to interpret the NYC building code the exact same way that he interpreted the Bible. The WatchTower Society was found GUILTY, and ordered to pay a $250.00 fine (hefty fine in 1921 -- nearly $3500.00 in 2016 dollars), and ordered to install the standpipes.

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In the mid 1990s, a Jehovah's Witness Minister, who owned a growing business which employed a number of other Jehovah's Witnesses, including Elders and Ministerial Servants, wanted to build a new commercial building to house his business's offices and warehouse. This JW Minister located a desirable tract of land in an affluent suburb, which had a light commercial zoning despite being surrounded by high-value residential properties. The JW Minister needed to obtain a zoning variance simply to qualify a warehouse for the tract. However, this JW's business operations generated too much traffic (including semi and other large trucks), which would have to travel through or adjacent to the surrounding residential areas. That, plus other now long forgotten issues, would have certainly disqualified this JW from obtaining the variance he needed from the local Zoning board. What to do? JW Minister conspired to lie to the zoning board. After consulting with one real estate attorney in order to educate himself on everything needed to be done and said to obtain the variance, the JW business owner then employed a second attorney to represent him in his case to the Zoning board. JW Minister was then able to provide all the "right answers" to second attorney. When the zoning hearing was scheduled, the second employed attorney was informed that he had to attend the hearing by himself, because JW business owner had a much more important out-of-town appointment which could not be re-scheduled!!!

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Readers specifically interested in the topic of Jehovah's Witness Honesty and Integrity should be aware that related court cases are scattered throughout this website -- specifically the JW Business Owners, Managers, and Supervisors page. Readers should also refer to the 8 webpages of other types of thefts and other criminal court cases posted on the JW CHILDREN website linked from this website's Homepage.

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