WATCHTOWER SOCIETY PRESIDENTS, OFFICERS, DIRECTORS, ATTORNEYS,
and OTHER LEADERS COURT CASES
GREGORY HOLLAND v. THOMAS MATOS, NANCI MATOS, AND BESTLIFE GIFTS LLC is/was a 2018-20 New York federal civil court lawsuit. Gregory Holland started MINISTRY IDEAZ in 2002 from his home in Ecuador as an online business which manufactured and sold a large variety of products related to the lifestyle of Jehovah's Witnesses. Thousands of Jehovah's Witness Families across the world became customers of MINISTRY IDEAZ.
MINISTRY IDEAZ was so successful, that in 2017, Holland decided to open a storefront in Pine Bush, New York, which is near WatchTower Farms, and is a hub for Jehovah's Witness tourists visiting WatchTower Farms, WatchTower World Headquarters, and the other multiple WatchTower Cult facilities nearby. To facilitate such, Greg Holland partnered with an American Jehovah's Witness couple named Thomas Matos and Nanci Matos. Typical of many Jehovah's Witness partnerships, both the personal and business relationships were soon broken, and in July 2018, Holland filed this lawsuit. Explaining such is the following excerpt (edited) from Westfair Business Publications, July 27, 2018:
A Jehovah's Witness who partnered with a couple he trusted based on their shared faith is suing them over ownership of a religion-themed gift shop in Orange County[, New York]. Greg Holland of Victoria, British Columbia, claims in a federal lawsuit that Thomas and Nanci Matos of Pine Bush, New York, coerced him into relinquishing his property. "Through deceit and intimidation, the Matoses stole Holland's investment and interest in Ministry Ideaz LLC," the complaint states. "The Matoses then used Ministry Ideaz's inventory and cash to establish their own competing business." ...
[Gregory] Holland started Ministry Ideaz in 2002 as an online business from his home in Ecuador. The company makes and sells leather and paper products such as Bible covers, notebooks and calendars for Jehovah's Witnesses. Last year, [Holland] decided to open a store in the U.S. He met the Matoses through a mutual friend and, "based on his trust of fellow members of the Jehovah's Witness faith, agreed to partner with them."
Holland held 90 percent of the New York company, and the Matoses owned the rest. Holland claims he wired more than $40,000 to the Matoses to set up the store and then another $190,000 to cover expenses for nine months. He shipped $250,000 in inventory from Ecuador that he hoped would sell at retail for $750,000. In May 2017, they opened a storefront in Valley Supreme Plaza in Pine Bush, 25 miles from the Jehovah's Witnesses headquarters. Business was good. The store sold $38,837 in goods in the first month and another $250,000 in credit card transactions over the following four months.
But [Gregory] Holland became estranged from his wife in late 2017, having engaged in an extramarital affair. His wife moved to Canada with their two children. Holland describes the Matoses as his "surrogate parents". They offered emotional support during his marital troubles and assured him that he need not worry about the business because it was in their good hands. At the same time, Holland alleges, the Matoses were trying to persuade his wife to divorce him, seek sole custody of their children and "extract a financial settlement".
The Matoses, the complaint states, were already "secretly scheming to steal Holland's entire investment". They registered BESTLIFE GIFTS LLC in February , using the Ministry Ideaz address. On March 2[, 2018], the Matoses held a "special meeting" at their home and decided to dissolve [MINISTRY IDEAZ LLC]. Holland, the majority owner, claims he was not notified. Thomas Matos emailed him on the same day, stating, "We are severing ties!"
"The store sign has been removed, the lease has ended, utilities, phones and internet cancelled," the message said. "There has been far to (sic) much pressure on Nanci and I being in business with you," the message stated. "Being associated with Ministry Ideaz has become a liability that has already damaged us." To this day, according to the July 25 lawsuit, [BESTLIFE GIFTS LLC] operates from the same storefront as Ministry Ideaz, uses the same telephone numbers and sells the same inventory.
On March 5, the complaint states, Thomas Matos threatened to reveal Holland's marital problems to the customers he had cultivated for 16 years and to stop processing about 1,000 online orders. Matos allegedly offered a deal. He would not follow through on the threats if Holland signed over his entire interest in Ministry Ideaz, agreed to dissolve the company and relinquished the equipment and inventory. Holland says he signed the one-page agreement, "fearing that the Matoses would ruin his livelihood and his relationship with his family and his church."
Holland reconciled with his wife, moved to Canada and "began to grasp the extent of the Matoses' deceit." [Gregory Holland] is demanding $300,000 in damages, and he wants the court to declare the dissolution deal null and void and to bar the Matoses and [BESTLIFE GIFTS LLC] from selling inventory and assets.
For decades, the WatchTower Society has repeatedly portrayed itself to its followers and the general public as one of the most cost effective and cost efficient organizations on the face of the earth. Why? Because, the WatchTower Society is the organization chosen by God, and directed by God, to do His earthly work in the "last days" of "this system of things".
While reading the following HENWOOD court case, ask yourself not only how cost effective and cost efficient was the WatchTower Society for the last quarter of the 20th century with regard to what is assumed to be one of its largest expenditures, but also ask yourself whether such was simply due to incompetence at all levels, or whether such was possibly due to other reasons which seem to ooze out of the Court's opinion.
IN RE BANKRUPTCY OF RFS ECUSTA INC. was the 2002-03 North Carolina federal Bankruptcy case of a Cigarette and Bible paper manufacturer which owed the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society $117,685.39 for accumulated returns amounting to 3 trailer loads over the 14 month period preceding the filing of bankruptcy -- during which it is arguable that the WBTS should not have been doing business with this company given its instability, ie, purchase by a foreign investor, ongoing labor dispute, etc.
"Although Watchtower never entered into a contract with Paper Corp. or Fraser, the following arrangement developed over time: Watchtower placed orders through Henwood and Paper Corp.; Fraser manufactured paper at its mills and sold it to Paper Corp. at a price negotiated by Fraser and Paper Corp.; Paper Corp. then added a gross margin determined by Henwood and Dan Romanaux (Romanaux), the president of Paper Corp. during the relevant period; Paper Corp. then sold the paper to Watchtower." (Note that "Fraser" is the manufacturer from whom Paper Corp purchased the paper which was sold to the WatchTower Society.)
"Henwood, as the Paper Corp. sales representative, was intimately involved with, and controlled the Watchtower account on a day-to-day basis. He communicated with Watchtower and Fraser regarding, among other things, the quality and volume of the paper purchased by Watchtower. He also attended quarterly (and other) meetings where paper quality, inventory and other issues were discussed. From 1991 through 1999, Watchtower was Henwood's only account. He neither serviced nor attempted to develop other accounts during this period."
"Despite having only a one-client book of business, Henwood was the highest paid sales representative at Paper Corp. for each year between 1985 and 1999. Henwood's financial success was due, in part, to the unusually high gross margin that he, in consultation with Romanaux, set on paper sales to Watchtower. The average gross margins on the type of paper purchased by a client of Watchtower's size were typically in the range of 3% to 4%; the gross margins charged to Watchtower were 11% to 13% and higher. This resulted in relatively high commissions for Henwood, who in 1998 earned commissions in the amount of $1,329,692.68 and in 1999 earned commissions in the amount of $1,007,038.74."
"In 1995, Wayne Rittenbach assumed responsibility for the entire United States purchasing operation at Watchtower. As the supervisor of all of Watchtower's purchases, Rittenbach reported to Watchtower's Operations Committee, which was responsible for Watchtower's operations in the United States. In servicing the Watchtower account, Henwood worked directly with both Rittenbach and Ralph Lindem (Lindem), a paper buyer for Watchtower who began reporting to Rittenbach in 1995. Beginning in approximately 1997, Watchtower, through Rittenbach, began to ask Henwood specific questions about the cost components of the paper Watchtower purchased through Henwood (i.e., those factors that affected the total price)." ... ... ..."In March 1998, Watchtower's Operations Committee met for its quarterly meeting. The agenda for the meeting included a discussion of the pricing of paper purchased by Watchtower from Paper Corp. Henwood attended the meeting and was aware that Rittenbach intended to present various graphs and pricing indices that compared the price Watchtower was paying to industry trends. However, after consulting with Lindem, Rittenbach decided not to raise the issue openly at the quarterly meeting." ... ... ..."By a letter to Romanaux dated March 16, 1999, Rittenbach renewed Watchtower's requests for price information by asking Paper Corp. to provide specific information." ... ... ...."Subsequently, on April 24, 1998, Rittenbach met with Henwood and Romanaux for the specific purpose of discussing the pricing of the paper Watchtower had been purchasing through Henwood. According to Rittenbach, he received 'nothing of any value' on the issue of price justification at this meeting." ... ... ...In an internal memorandum to the Operations Committee dated July 15, 1998, Rittenbach expressed concern about Paper Corp's failure to respond to Watchtower's inquiries about pricing. ... ... ...
By a letter to Romanaux dated March 16, 1999, Rittenbach renewed Watchtower's requests for price information by asking Paper Corp. to provide specific information.
"I was very clear with him in front of anybody who wished to - - - any Watchtower people who were around, that I felt my responsibility to my company and to [Watchtower] was to make sure that we were fully and completely competitive, because I recognized that they had the option at any given time, sans a contract, to go out and purchase a similar quality and grade from anyone in the world. And, if they were successful in doing that, with a product equal to what we were supplying, that I either had to meet that price or give them a better price or lose the business. ... When [Rittenbach] asked about the costs, I deflected it by the statement I just gave you. That was my response to his request for costs." ... ... ..."Rittenbach also testified that his disclosure to Henwood that Watchtower was interested in looking at the marketplace for competitive costs led to some negative reaction from Henwood. Rittenbach testified:'I mean a significant negative reaction. I remember some instances where after discussions - - I remember one in particular, a discussion on the way home from the Madawaska Mill in the airplane. There was a very animated discussion on the part of Mr. Henwood trying to convince us of why it would not be appropriate to go looking to the marketplace and why it would be inappropriate for us to contract our paper - - competitively bid our paper.'"
"... we also realized that our business was large enough to justify inquiry to the paper mill directly. ... - - it seemed like the time was right. Our volume was enough so it was time to make that inquiry."
TOM WILLIAMS v. SANDOR PETROLEUM was a significant 1957-1959 Texas civil court case that pitted the WatchTower Society's resident attorney in Texas, named Tom Williams, against the Head of the WatchTower Society's Legal Department, and one-time WatchTower Society Vice-President, Hayden Cooper Covington. Tom S. Williams was a Houston, Texas attorney who personally represented dozens of his fellow Jehovah's Witnesses during the multitude of state and federal court cases that occurred in Texas in the 1940s and 1950s. Tom Williams handled the "dirty work" at trial level, and then acted as Hayden C. Covington's co-counsel on the numerous appellate court cases that Hayden Covington decided to take to the state and federal appellate levels. It is this "THEFT" case that very well may have motivated the other WatchTower Society Leaders to excommunicate (disfellowship) Hayden Covington from the organization; which eventually transpired in 1963.
In late 1955, four Jehovah's Witnesses, Hayden Covington, Tom Williams, Alec Joseph Sabo, and his wife, Evelyn Sabo, incorporated Sandor Petroleum Corporation as an oil and gas exploration business. At the time that Sandor Petroleum was formed, the Sabos contributed the corporation's original assets, which consisted of various oil and gas leases on about 1000 acres of land scattered about on three sections of land in Upton County, Texas. The Jehovah's Witness Combine wanted to first obtain leases on the balance of the unleased acreage before drilling was started.
In addition to performing the corporation's legal services, it was Tom Williams job to obtain the leases on the unleased portions of land. The appellate court decision does not say exactly how much of the unleased acreage that Williams was able to obtain, but Williams evidently did a good job, because the Sabos and Covington agreed to give Williams 10% of the corporation's authorized capital stock in exchange for Williams' time and cash that Williams spent obtaining those leases.
By latter 1956, Tom Williams was unhappy with the way that Sandor Petroleum was being managed (specifics not provided by court), and Williams apparently made his feelings known to the others; including his desire to sell his stock. On January 8, 1957, Hayden Covington traveled from WatchTower Society Headquarters to the Sabos home in Abilene, Texas, where Covington and the Sabos held a special Board of Directors meeting for the purpose of amending the corporation's bylaws so as to restrict the sale and transfer of Williams' stock, and give the corporation first option to purchase any of its' stock offered for sale, at a price to be fixed by appraisers. Covington and the Sabos notified Williams of the changes that same day via telegram.
Two weeks later, Williams offered to sell his stock to the Sabos, but they refused to buy it. Williams then offered his stock to Hayden Covington, but Covington also refused to buy Williams' stock. Covington and the Sabos also failed to make an offer for Williams' stock on behalf of the corporation, that is, until Tom Williams threatened to file a civil lawsuit for "CONVERSION", which is the civil law equivalent of criminal "THEFT".
Covington and the Sabos then made an offer to buy Williams' stock, but their offer was withdrawn, and Williams was advised that he would have to proceed according to the amended bylaws if he wished to sell. On February 18, 1957, Covington and the Sabos canceled Williams' two original stock certificates, and mailed Williams a new stock certificate, which had the amended bylaw printed on its reverse side. On the same date, Covington and the Sabos gave notice to the prospective buyers of Williams' stock that they would not recognize a sale, or transfer the stock on the corporation's books, unless the restrictions contained in the amended bylaw were first complied with. Tom Williams refused to accept the new stock certificate, and returned it to the corporation. The corporation thereafter returned the new stock certificate to Williams, and he again tendered it to them at the trial.
Shortly thereafter, Tom Williams filed this civil action for the "theft", or "conversion", of his Sandor Petroleum Corporation stock. Williams alleged that the "conversion" was accomplished by a corporate bylaw passed after the issuance of the stock to Williams resulting in the cancellation of his original stock certificates, issued without restriction as to their sale or transfer, and substituting in lieu thereof, a stock certificate with restrictions concerning sale and transfer. The case was tried before a jury which found that the act of canceling Williams' two stock certificates, and amending the bylaws of the corporation by making certain restrictions relative to the sale of the stock, constituted a "conversion" of said stock. A judgment was entered for Tom Williams for the sum of $27,500.00.
UNBELIEVABLY, on appeal to the Supreme Court of Texas, the Defendants/Appellants contended that Williams' two original stock certificates were not issued for money paid to, labor done for, or property actually delivered to the corporation, as required by Texas law, and that Williams' stock certificates thus were "void". The Defendants/Appellants also contended a bunch more malarkey -- none of which was "bought" by the Texas Supreme Court, which affirmed the trial court's rulings and judgment, stating in part:
The evidence shows that certificates numbers four and eight were issued to Williams for a good and valuable consideration. ... There was evidence to the effect that the corporation received and accepted legal services rendered by Williams of the value of $3,950 and that he expended $1,250 in money in behalf of the corporation. The jury found upon sufficient evidence that appellants accepted such services and money from Williams in consideration for stock certificates numbers four and eight and recognized the validity of the certificates. ... ... ...... There was no provision in the articles of incorporation, in the original bylaws or in the shares for a restriction on the sale or transfer of the stock except a provision that a transfer must be made on the stock transfer books of the corporation. Williams thus acquired 2,500 shares of Sandor Petroleum Corporation stock free of any charter limitation on its sale or transfer. His ownership of the stock and his right to sell or transfer it was a vested right and interest, subject only to the right of the corporation to manage and regulate its affairs under the laws of this state and under the provisions of its charter and bylaws. ... ... ...... Conversion is defined as "an unauthorized assumption and exercise of the right of ownership over goods or personal chattels belonging to another to the alteration of their condition or the exclusion of an owner's rights." ... The essence of conversion of property is the wrongful deprivation of it to the owner. Conversion may be direct or constructive. ... The evidence shows that in accordance with the bylaw restricting the sale of non-restricted stock certificates previously issued to Williams, the corporation cancelled his certificates numbers four and eight and substituted in lieu thereof certificate number nine containing the restrictions on sale and transfer. This was an unauthorized alteration of the condition of Williams' stock. Actually the cancellation of his original shares was in effect a taking of his stock and was an unauthorized and unlawful act amounting to conversion. ... The new stock certificate was enclosed in a letter to Williams from the corporation advising him of the action taken. The letter stated in part: "Please return original certificates number four and eight which are cancelled." The evidence further shows by letters from the corporation to Williams that unless the procedure prescribed in the amended bylaw restricting the sale and transfer of stock was complied with no transfer would be recognized or entered upon the books of the corporation. Williams had been negotiating with prospective purchasers of his stock. Appellants by letter advised such prospective purchasers that the corporation would not recognize a sale of Williams' stock and would not enter a transfer on its books unless the requirements of the amended bylaw were first complied with. They were wrongfully asserting and exercising an authority over a right in the stock which was adverse to and destructive of the vested property right and interest of Williams therein. ...
*** Alec J. Sabo was reared as a JW in Carteret, New Jersey. In 1946, at age 26, Alec Sabo moved to Abilene, and married a JW named Evelyn Parker, in May 1947. During WW2, Hayden Covington "unsuccessfully" represented Sabo's brother-in-law in a "draft dodger" case in New Jersey. Given Sabo's age, and having moved long distance away from friends and family soon after WW2 ended, Sabo too may have done prison time during WW2, and may also have been represented by Hayden Covington.
Interestingly, Sandor Petroleum Corp is still doing business in 2013, and is still partially owned by 98 year-old Evelyn Parker Sabo. However, the current President now is a wealthy Jehovah's Witness Investor in multiple businesses domiciled in Lousiana and California, named Walter H. Bass. Former WatchTower Society attorney, Judah Ben Schroeder, may possibly be Sandor's corporate attorney.
PIONEERS IN THE TRAVEL-TRAILER and MOBILE HOME INDUSTRIES
Visitors should first read the Texas SANDOR PETROLEUM court case above to understand that there is concrete proof that the WatchTower Society and/or its top brass were engaging in for-profit business operations in the state of Texas during the 1950s.
Given the fact that this Editor was reared as a Jehovah's Witness during the days when many WatchTower Society "Circuit Servants" (District Sales Managers) pulled travel trailers from congregation to congregation, I could not help but be intrigued when I ran across the fact that during the 1950s that "Jehovah's Witnesses" in Texas were "Pioneers" in the travel-trailer and mobile home industries. Having previously discovered and publicized the SANDOR PETROLEUM case, when we further discovered that a WatchTower "Circuit Servant" had been introduced into the management of a second Texas company, we could not help but be "suspicious" that the WatchTower Society and/or its' top brass possibly had wiggled their way into becoming "silent-partners" with the Jehovah's Witnesses who had founded and were operating that Texas manufacturing business. Our suspicion only increased when we further learned that soon after the introduction of the "Circuit Servant" into the management of that Texas manufacturing business, nationwide expansion occurred, which was quickly followed by the sale of that business to capitalize on its recent large increase in worth and future market potential -- all in only 3 years. Here is what we have discovered. Take such for what its' worth.
UNITED STATES v. CLETUS COY HENSLEE was the 1942-43 Texas federal prosecution of a 23 year-old Jehovah's Witness who had refused to be inducted into the U.S. military, when he was drafted soon after Pearl Harbor. Cletus C. Henslee was convicted and sentenced to two years in prison. Undoubtedly, Cletus Henslee and fellow DFW Jehovah's Witness Attorney Hayden Covington became well acquainted during this court case.
In 1948, in Grand Prairie, Texas, Cletus Coy Henslee began to build "trailers" of unknown kind and quantity. That new business grew quickly into the Henslee Mobile Home Manufacturing Company, which eventually was relocated to Arlington, Texas. There, in October 1954, the new corporation, Hensley Mobile Homes, Inc., was formed. Cletus Henslee also founded a Finance Company called Mobile Homes Investment Finance Company, as well as a separate wholesale distribution company, and a separate local retail sales lot. Money was rolling in. That fact apparently caught the eye of the Henslee family's fellow Jehovah's Witnesses.
In 1949, George Card and his wife, of Portland, Oregon, graduated from the WATCHTOWER BIBLE SCHOOL OF GILEAD. From 1949 until 1955, George Card and his wife were assigned by the WatchTower Cult as a "Circuit Servant" (District Sales Manager) couple to various regions of the state of Texas. In October 1955, 45 year-old George Card suddenly ceased his duties as a Circuit Servant and became "Vice President" and "General Manager" of Henslee Mobile Homes, Inc. Three months later, in January 1956, a new Texas corporation was formed as a holding company for the Henslee factory properties.
Soon thereafter, a second Henslee manufacturing plant, Casa Manana Trailer Corporation, was pursued in Waycross, Georgia. In December 1956, Henslee finalized a deal with the City of Waycross, Georgia and Ware County, Georgia, to lease a 37,000 square foot building at the Waycross Airport, for a new mobile home manufacturing plant, where operations were begun as soon as the building was remodeled. Other than that, little more is known about Henslee's Georgia operations. We will assume that Cletus Henslee did to the citizens and taxpayers of Waycross, Georgia, what Henslee thereafter did to the citizens and taxpayers of Bend, Oregon, and that the well-publicized Oregon maneuvers had been patterned after Henslee's maneuvers in establishing the barely-publicized Georgia operation.
Even before the Georgia deal was finalized in December 1956, in mid-1956, a third Henslee manufacturing facility was pursued in the state of Oregon -- George Card's home state. Henslee and Card negotiated with the Chambers of Commerce at both Salem, Oregon and Bend, Oregon, and played one against the other. By December 1957, the Chamber of Commerce of Bend, Oregon had agreed to lease to Henslee a 7 acre tract of industrial property, to which the City of Bend would construct a new road and railroad spur. The cost of the new spur and road has not been found, but the new water main/lines, supply, etc., required for the sprinkler system at the new Henslee factory cost the City of Bend a new $200,000.00 bond issue. Henslee's new Oregon corporation, Henslee Mobile Homes Manufacturing Inc., received a local bank loan of $125,000.00 for the construction of the building, and was also given local loans for equipping the new factory, which totaled $50,000.00 -- a $30,000.00 bank loan co-signed by seven local investors, and a $20,000.00 direct loan from the same group of investors. Basically, the citizens and taxpayers of Bend, Oregon were conned into putting up most if not all of the $$$$, and conned into taking all of the financial risk of this new business venture. Cletus Henslee began attempts to "cash-out" his limited investment in this Oregon operation around the same time that manufacturing operations started.
Ground was broken on the new 50,000 square foot factory on December 31, 1957. Construction took less than six months. Production of "trailers" began in June 1958 -- with Gilead-graduate and former WatchTower Circuit Servant George Card serving as the Oregon manufacturing plant's "Resident Manager" -- as well as serving as the new "Congregation Servant" of the Eugene Oregon Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses.
In early January 1959, the seven local Bend investors received a telegram from Cletus Henslee informing them that he was going to "retire" (age 39) to his cattle ranch on the advice of his doctor due to his poor health, and that he was selling all three of his manufacturing operations for $1.5 Million to "Midwest Steel", of Dallas, Texas -- subject to the "first option" rights held by those seven Bend stockholders. Henslee offered to sell the majority shares in the Oregon corporation held by Henslee and an "Ivan Toller" (identified as the Manager of Henslee's Georgia factory) to the seven Bend investors for $70,000.00 (the corporation's debts and legal obligations stayed with the corporate entity -- thus we are unsure exactly what Henslee and Toller actually had invested in that "$70,000.00").
When those seven Bend investors did not exercise their right to purchase Henslees and Tollers stock, Cletus Henslee announced that his Georgia and Oregon manufacturing operations had been sold to Eugene Fant, a Texas investor who owned one of Henslee's steel suppliers -- New Process Steel and Supply Corp, of Dallas, Texas. An option on Henslee's Arlington, Texas operations was included.
Curiously, in June 1959, although the sale of the Oregon factory to Gene Fant was completed, Cletus Henslee, his family, Ivan Toller, and Gene Fant, all traveled to Bend to look over the Oregon operations. Bend reporters were told that Fant had also purchased Henslee's Arlington, Texas operations, as well as a fourth mobile home manufacturing operation in Arkansas.
In November 1960, the Bend, Oregon factory was closed down by unpaid creditors -- with that separate Oregon Corporation owing around $553,000.00 to local Oregon lenders, investors, and suppliers. We have not yet discovered what happened to the Texas and Georgia operations under Fant's ownership. Neither do we known what happened to George Card after the bankruptcy of the Oregon corporation. George Card and his wife seem to disappear off the face of the planet. Interestingly, the aforementioned fourth mobile home manufacturing plant purchased by Fant at the same time that Fant supposedly had purchased Henslee's operations, which Eugene Fant had briefly mentioned to the Bend media, was also "busted out" and forced into bankruptcy almost at the same time as was the Oregon operation. Interestingly, no mention of any of these purchases, or the ownership or operation of any of these separate corporations, are included in the now deceased Eugene Fant's business biography.
Is anyone else reminded of the GOOD FELLAS restaurant bust-out segment? Anyone else wonder how many similar, but smaller and unpublicized, JW-owned business profit-taking scenarios may have occurred over the decades? There is an unconfirmed rumor that for decades thereafter at WatchTower Cult HQ in Brooklyn, New York, that "Bend, Oregon", was known more aptly as "Bend-Over, Oregon".
We also ran across several other HALF-TRUTHS and LIES told during the BEND, OREGON SCAM. First, in the 1958 local newspaper article in which George Card introduced himself to the community as the new "Congregation Servant" of the Eugene Oregon Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses, George Card failed to mention that he was "Vice President" of the Henslee Mobile Homes, Inc., and that he had relocated to Bend to work as the "Resident Manager" at the new factory. George Card simply related his graduation from the WATCHTOWER BIBLE SCHOOL OF GILEAD, and that thereafter, he had served as a WatchTower Society "Circuit Servant" in Texas. George Card told the reporter that he had ceased serving as a "Circuit Servant" in Texas, and had relocated to serve as Bend's "Presiding Minister" due to his "ill health" -- without Card mentioning that he had been working as the General Manager of the Henslee factory in Arlington, Texas, since October 1955.
During Cletus Henslee's negotiations with the Bend Oregon Chamber of Commerce, Henslee apparently also misled them into believing that he was going to relocate his main offices from Texas to Oregon. In fact, in 1957, the Bend CoC publicly announced to local businessmen that if their negotiations with Cletus Henslee were successful that Henslee and his family were going to relocate to Bend. Cutely, Cletus Henslee placed one of his mobile homes on a trailer lot owned by a local JW, and the Henslee family did in fact stay there several weeks while the new Oregon factory was being constructed. However, they thereafter returned to their mansion in Texas. Additionally, while it may have been true that Henslee had "ulcers", it soon became apparent that Henslee never had any intentions to "retire".
In fact, starting in the early Spring of 1959, Henslee Mobile Homes, Inc., began purchasing additional tracts of land for the construction of additional manufacturing facilities at Arlington, Texas, including a tract that contained a residential home, which was converted into a new Henslee Manufacturing office building. There is no further evidence -- other than their claims -- that Henslee actually sold his ownership of the Texas corporation to Eugene Fant. In fact, Henslee trailers and mobile homes continue to be manufactured in Arlington, Texas throughout the 1960s under the management of Cletus Henslee. Additionally, at some point after the departure of George Card, around 1965-66, Card was replaced as the "Vice-President" and "General Manager" of Henslee Mobile Homes, Inc. by Cecil A. Rainwater (see below), who also became the "Congregation Servant" at the local Grand Prairie Texas Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses.
Finally, in January 1969, Henslee Mobile Homes, Inc. was sold to a Dallas corporation named Republic Gypsum Company. Henslee Mobile Homes, Inc. possibly was valued as much as $8.5 MILLION at the time. Stock ownership is unknown, but Cletus Henslee was still "President" when the sale occurred. Thereafter, business was conducted under a new corporation called Republic-Henslee, Inc.
DANIEL K. BURRY and SARA BURRY v. NATIONAL TRAILER CONVOY, INC. Visitors should first read our summary of National Trailer Convoy, Inc. to understand that at all times regarding this court case, CONVOY was managed by Cecil A. Rainwater, "Congregation Servant" at one of Tulsa's two Kingdom Halls, while the other Congregation Servant, Chester Brazeal, also worked at the company. Other JWs undoubtedly also worked at CONVOY. WatchTower HQ and/or top HQ officials likely had a piece of this profitable pie. Rainwater and others were intentional CROOKS, as indicated.
United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit. November 25, 1964. (edited)
Plaintiffs, who are husband and wife, sued to recover unpaid minimum wages and overtime compensation, liquidated damages and attorneys' fees under the Fair Labor Standards Act.The USDC entered judgment for plaintiffs, awarding $5,447.73 to Dan Burry and $2,512.73 to Sara Burry; and fixed attorneys' fees at $2,000.
Defendant, whose home office is in Tulsa, Oklahoma, is engaged in the transportation of house trailers and mobile homes throughout the country, both from manufacturer to dealer and from place to place under contracts with private owners. It maintains approximately 160 terminal offices in 45 states.
In 1956 (the year that Cecil Rainwater took over management of daily operations), defendant set up a number of new terminals in the southeastern part of the United States, and during September of that year established a terminal at Knoxville, Tennessee.
During the period here involved, this terminal consisted of an office in plaintiffs' house trailer. Dan Burry was placed in charge of the Knoxville terminal, and worked under an oral contract from 1956 until November 1, 1960, when a written contract was executed.
Prior to opening the terminal, both Burrys attended a training course at defendant's establishment in Thomson, Georgia, where they were instructed in the use of defendant's tariff books, the methods of filling out freight bills and drafts, obtaining permits for contract haulers, and other details of the business.
In addition to managing the Knoxville terminal and soliciting business away from the terminal, Dan Burry operated a truck as a contract hauler, in the transportation of mobile homes for defendant. This hauling was done under defendant's Interstate Commerce Commission permit. It was necessary that Mr. Burry be away from the Knoxville terminal for days at a time while so engaged in the transportation of mobile homes out of Knoxville and out of the state of Tennessee.
The USDC made an affirmative finding of fact that Sara Burry with the knowledge of defendant performed all the necessary duties incident to the maintenance and operation of the Knoxville terminal when Daniel K. Burry was absent from the terminal office.
The USDC further found that the terminal was kept open and available to the public from 8:00 a. m. until 9:00 p. m. on week days, and from 8:00 a. m. until 2:00 p. m. on Sundays, and that the responsibility for managing the Knoxville terminal involved the following duties: the preparation of freight bills; paying of contract haulers or drivers working in and out of the Knoxville terminal; the relaying of trailers; checking leased equipment which consisted principally of trucks owned by various contract haulers and which were leased to the defendant corporation; performing routine office work; soliciting business; and miscellaneous activities, such as receiving telephone calls from various drivers working both in and out of the Knoxville terminal, handling numerous telephone calls from prospective customers who sought information concerning tariff rates, and also handling communications between the various terminals operated by the defendant throughout the United States and communications between the home office of the defendant in Tulsa, Oklahoma, both by mail and telephone.
The plaintiffs also had to prepare all necessary papers and instruments relative to hauls and transportation of mobile homes through the Knoxville terminal to satisfy the rules of the defendant corporation and to comply with Interstate Commerce Commission regulations, promulgated for this type of activity.
As to the relationship between the parties, the USDC found that under the agreement and the procedure followed in the operation of the terminal, Dan Burry was under the control of defendant, and that his relationship with defendant was that of employee, not independent contractor; that it also was contemplated that Sara Burry would work in the Knoxville office; that defendant suffered and permitted Sara Burry to work for it within the meaning of the Fair Labor Standards Act with its knowledge and under such circumstances that the duty of paying compensation to her will be implied; and that Mrs. Burry was an employee of defendant within the meaning of the FLSA.
The district court found that the contract between the parties was a device to circumvent the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act and is, therefore, void and a nullity, and the terms of this contract cannot be invoked and relied upon by the defendant to the detriment of either of the plaintiffs; that Burry was paid on a commission basis, which failed to provide him with the minimum compensation prescribed by the Fair Labor Standards Act and did not include any compensation for his hours of overtime work; that defendant paid nothing to Sara Burry for her services; that the contract undertook to impose limitations upon the time to be expended by Burry in certain terminal functions; that in other areas representatives of the defendant corporation undertook verbally to circumscribe the activities of Burry from a time limitation standpoint; that the reports of time devoted to the business which Burry filed with defendant each week were inaccurate and the home office reviewed his weekly worksheet and was cognizant of the patent inaccuracies therein; that the defendant was well aware that the Knoxville terminal was being kept open hours far in excess of those shown on time reports submitted by plaintiff, Burry; that Burry is not bound by the figures contained in the various weekly time reports which he submitted to the home office of the defendant because these reports can not deprive him of minimum compensation as prescribed by the Fair Labor Standards Act; and that the defendant's representative who presented a written contract to the plaintiff for his execution, stated in substance, or led the plaintiff to believe from what he said, that if the hours stated on the time report exceeded commissions earned, then the Knoxville terminal would be closed.
On this appeal, defendant-appellant argues that Burry was an independent contractor, not an employee; that the contract was valid and binding; that Sara Burry was not an employee of defendant, and, if she is entitled to any compensation, it is the obligation of Dan Burry to pay her under the terms of the contract; that plaintiffs failed to sustain the burden of proof; and that the trial court committed prejudicial and reversible error in permitting plaintiffs to introduce parol evidence to vary the terms of the written contract of employment. This court will not overturn the decision of the district court involving issues of fact unless clearly erroneous.
We have read the entire transcript of the evidence introduced before the district judge and it is our opinion that his findings of fact as to both Dan Burry and Sara Burry are ... supported by substantial evidence. ... The holding of the USDC that Dan Burry was an employee, rather than an independent contractor, is well supported by the authorities. ...
The holding of the USDC to the effect that defendant with knowledge suffered and permitted Sara Burry to work for it, so that she became an employee within the meaning of the FLSA, Defendant further contends that plaintiffs cannot recover because the written contract prohibited Dan Burry from working in excess of 40 hours per week without first obtaining defendant's written consent, and because he submitted time sheets showing fewer hours than he actually worked.
The USDC found as a fact that defendant had actual knowledge that Dan Burry's hours of work exceeded those specified in the contract and shown on his time sheet, and that the contract was designed to circumvent the Fair Labor Standards Act. For the same reasons we hold that defendant cannot avoid liability by reason of the time sheets prepared by Burry which defendant knew to be inaccurate.
All other contentions made by defendant-appellant have been considered and found to be without merit. The judgment of the district court is affirmed.
FOOTNOTE: More detailed findings of fact made by the USDC as to Sara Burry were as follows:
The Court also finds that Sara Burry was an employee of the defendant and that the defendant suffered and permitted her to work for it and knew that she was employed at the Knoxville terminal; that when Daniel K. Burry was employed in 1956 to manage the Knoxville terminal, both he and his wife, Sara Burry, were directed by the defendant to go to Thomson, Georgia about September or October, 1956, and there receive instructions together at the terminal office of that city owned and operated by the defendant and there both plaintiffs took a course in managerial duties to acquaint them with terminal operations and to prepare them for the management of the Knoxville terminal and they both spent some two and one-half days at this Georgia City in learning the operations of the company business at Knoxville; that shortly after their return to Knoxville, one Thomas Swift, a company representative from the Georgia office, came to Knoxville and gave further help and instructions to both plaintiffs in regard to operation of the Knoxville office.
Further evidence of the defendant's knowledge that Sara Burry was working in the Knoxville terminal during her husband's absence is the fact that the company representative, Abla, came to Knoxville while Daniel K. Burry was absent and talked with Sara Burry at the terminal office which she was operating at that time. From her testimony, it was found that she signed a signature card furnished by the defendant concerning the company account at the National Bank of Commerce in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and that occasionally Sara Burry paid drivers by check drawn on this bank and on the defendant's account at the National Bank of Commerce, and which fact is confirmed by Ernest Connatser, witness for the plaintiff, who was formerly a driver at the Knoxville terminal, and who testified that he formerly worked for the defendant for a period of some five (5) years prior to January, 1962, and that he was personally aware of the fact that Sara Burry performed all the necessary duties incident to the maintenance and operation of the Knoxville terminal when the plaintiff, Daniel K. Burry, was absent from the terminal office.
The Court finds that Donna Cottengim, representative of the defendant corporation in the home office at Tulsa, Oklahoma, wrote a letter to Daniel K. Burry on November 16, 1961, complaining about the way Sara Burry had allegedly mishandled a situation with a customer of the company, which imputes knowledge to the corporate defendant of her activities for and on its behalf.
Included in the USDC's decision were additional CONVOY employees whom had interacted with the Burrys -- Cecil A. Rainwater, General Manager; Mr. Humburg (former Indiana State Trooper); Mr. Privitt; Carl James; Mr. Connatster; Mr. Radford; E. Wayne Thompson, Manager; Mr. Thee; Mrs. Huff; Mr. Bruce, Sect/Treas; and Mr. Alba.
1894 WATCH TOWER SOCIETY REBELLION
PASTOR C. T. RUSSELL CHARGED WITH PATTERN OF BUSINESS IRREGULARITIES
In Spring 1894, several of the WatchTower Society's most prominent Bethelites, Colporteurs, and even a WatchTower Society Director, whom all had worked intimately with Charles Taze Russell for several years, brought public charges before the Allegheny Congregation against Russell with regard to what they perceived to be an established pattern of unchristian, unethical, and even illegal business dealings on Russell's part. Setting the pattern for decades to come, Russell "circled the wagons" loaded with unquestioning sycophants, slandered and defamed his accusers, and "disfellowshipped" those whom had the courage to tell "Emperor Russell" that he was "wearing no clothes".
Prominent Bethelite and intimate friend of Russell, Elmer Bryan, whom had loyally served Russell for several years at WatchTower HQ, apparently had become fedup with Russell's constant "shady" and "crafty" business dealings, and posted a number of charges, some of which Russell dismissed as being petty, including Bryan's complaint that Russell had once advertised for rent in a local newspaper one of Russell's rental houses under Bryan's own name, without first asking Bryan if it were okay with Bryan. This may be a petty charge while standing alone, but there is such a thing as "the straw that broke the camel's back".
Elmer Bryan also accused Russell of deceiving the general public with regard to the authorship, publication, and distribution of THE DIVINE PLAN OF THE AGES shortly after its first publication in 1886. In early 1887, Russell devised a scheme to "loan" copies of THE DIVINE PLAN OF THE AGES across the United States in hopes that those readers would eventually pay for those copies, as well as recommend Russell's book to other purchasers. Russell also schemed to obtain FREE ADVERTISING from magazines and newspapers across the United States.
Here is a self-explanatory sampling of those FREE ADS ran by countless newspapers and magazines across the United States. (Some 1887 newspapers spelled out that their readers should send their request to: "Mrs. C. B. Lemuels, Allegheny, Pennsylvania", while others assumed that their readers could decipher simple 1887 addresses on their own.) Note the subterfuge of Russell's failing to identify the mysterious "MRS. C. B. LEMUELS" as actually being his Watch Tower Society clerical staff, along with Russell's failure to even provide the title of the book in these ads so as to not harm future sales.Who knows how genuine are the "testimonial letters". Even if real, they probably were solicited by Russell and authored by sychophants.
San Francisco Chronicle
Monday, April 18, 1887
AN ECCENTRIC WOMAN
She Offers to Send Religious Book to All Who Will Read It
Mrs. C. B. Lemuels of Allegheny has been making a generous offer through the newspapers of the country, and letters to her have been pouring in at the rate of seventy-five a day. Several men and boys are being kept busy in answering the inquiries. Her notice offers to loan free of postage to such as will return it, a book which shows the Bible to be a self-interpreted and its teachings grandly harmonious viewed in the light of sanctified reason and common sense, and to put this book into the hands of all the skeptically inclined as an aid and guard against the growling scientific skepticism.
Mrs. Lemuels identity at first could not easily be established. It was found that she received her letters at the office of of J. C. Russell, editor of Zion's WatchTower. Russell explained that Mrs. Lemuels' husband does not like the notoriety her circulars gave his wife, and besides he does not agree with her religious views. Russell said that Mrs. Lemuels possesses a comfortable fortune in her own right and felt it her duty to make as public as possible the book which had helped her.
---------Detroit Free PressMonday, April 18, 1887MRS. LEMUELS' PHILANTHROPY.The Novel Method Pursued by an Allegheny Lady For Doing Good.Pittsburgh. April 10 Special!Allegheny has a philanthropist. Mrs. C. B. Lemuels has been making a generous offer through the newspapers of the country, and letters to her have been pouring in at the rate of seventy-five per day. Several men and boys are being kept busy in answering these inquiries. Her notices offer to loan, free of postage, to such as will return it, a book which shows the Bible "to be a self-interpreter, and its teachings grandly harmonious, viewed in the light of sanctified reason and common sense." "I want," says her circular, "to put this book into the hands of the skeptically inclined as an aid and guard against growing scientific skepticism, it is not dry, musty reading, but truly meat in due season to the hungry."Mrs. Lemuels, whose identity at first could not easily be established, it was found received her letters at the office of J. C. Russell, editor of "Zion's Watch Tower." Mr. Russell said that Mrs. Lemuels possesses a comfortable fortune in her own right and felt it her duty to make as public as possible a book which helped her so much. Mr. Russell then permitted copies of a number of letters to be taken. A New York pressman writes : "Dear Lady: Seeing your good, kind, generous offer I have been thinking that now is the time for me to try and be saved and not wait until the last day. 1 am only 23, and for the past week have been troubled with kidney complaint, and am just now beginning to realize my awful fate unless I turnover a new leaf. I trust l am deserving of the loan of your valuable book."-----------Democrat and Chronicle (Rochester, New York)Saturday, April 23, 1887Allegheny, Pa. , has a philanthropist, says the New York Tribune.Mrs. C. B. Lemuels has been making a generous offer through the newspapers of the country, and letters to her have been pouring in at the rate of seventy-five a day. Her notices offer to loan free of postage to such as will return it, a book which shows the Bible "to be a self -interpreter." "I want," says her circular, "to put this book into the hands of all the skeptically inclined as an aid and guard against the growling scientific skepticism." Mrs. Lemuels' husband does not like the notoriety her circulars gave his wife, and besides he does not agree with her religious views, Mrs. Lemuels possesses a comfortable fortune in her own right.Among the letters received is the following from a Portchester, N.Y., man: "For many years I was a local preacher. Even at that time doubts would often trouble me. I have taken no part in the meetings for years simply because I do not want to create doubts in others. I should be happy if I could have the old faith returned." A New York pressman writes: "Dear lady: I have been thinking that now is the time for me to try and be saved and not wait until the lost day. I am only 23, and for the past week have been troubled with the kidney complaint, and am just now beginning to realize my awful fate unless I turn over a new leaf."
Pastor Russell likely had been motivated to attempt this bolder form of "industrial espionage" against the Post Office only after Russell had already successfully done so in a lessor and more troublesome form. Previously, for 24+ months, Pastor Russell had taken advantage of the conversion to Russellism of the Postmaster of a small, rural Pennsylvania Post Office located about 60 miles outside Allegheny. That Russellite Postmaster had been sufficiently stupid to author, and Russell had been sufficiently egotistical to publish in one of the issues of the WATCHTOWER magazine (Russell's readers were perfectly aware of Russell's ongoing battle with the Post Office, and Russell wanted them to know that he was still somehow sticking it to the Post Office), a Letter from that Postmaster in which he admitted having mailed out 59,000 copies of OLD THEOLOGY QUARTERLY magazines and other literature for the WatchTower Society within the previous 2+ years -- including mailings to multiple foreign countries.
We assume that readers fully understand the significance of the Post Office to Russell's religion business. Pastor Russell was likely the most hated person at the Pittsburgh Post Office. Almost from the start of his religion business, Pastor Russell and the Post Office began a running battle over rates, and Russell almost always WON -- but Russell did so "by hook or by crook".
When Russell's complaints to the Pittsburgh Postmaster did not get Russell whatever decision that Russell wanted, Russell went over the head of the Pittsburgh Postmaster to the Postmaster-General in Washington D.C. When Russell did not get the decision that he wanted form the Postmaster-General, Russell started mail campaigns in the pages of the WATCHTOWER magazine, in which Russell would provide multiple sample letters for his Russellite followers to copy and mail to the Postmaster-General, then later to their Congressmen and Senators, and eventually even to the President of the United States. When these honest methods failed Russell, Pastor Russell simply CHEATED the Post Office.
Few people familiar with the OLD THEOLOGY QUARTERLY "magazines" actually understand why they were what they were -- tracts, pamphlets, and booklets of widely varying sizes. What OTQs were -- was a POSTAL RATE SCAM. OTQs were miscellaneous WatchTower literature published in the "disguise" of a regular quarterly "magazine", so that the hoped-for later small quantity orders of such could be mailed out at the CHEAPER/CHEAPEST second-class regular periodical rate, rather than at the higher third-class rate. While the initial mailing of one copy to a subscriber could rightfully be mailed using second-class postage, later mailings of small bulk quantities of original printings and any quantities of later reprints should have been mailed at the higher third-class rate, but they were not.
Pastor Russell pulled the same SCAM with soft-cover DIVINE PLANs and THY KINGDOM COMEs -- despite being repeatedly caught by the Pittsburgh Post Office. Pastor Russell and the Post Office went back and forth on both these two softcovers and the OTQs, with there being time periods that Russell won out and could legally mail such as second-class matter. However, Pastor Russell continued doing so even during the time periods when such was not legal. Years later, when the Post Office finally permanently stopped mailing these softcover BOOKS out at the cheaper periodical rate, Russell simply stopped publishing the two books as softcovers, and started publishing them in magazine format. That still violated the rules for second-class matter, because such were not part of a regular periodical series, but since the books "looked" like then semi-monthly WATCHTOWER magazines, postal workers never caught on to what Russell was pulling. By then, Pastor Russell had his own personal "secret agent" inside the Pittsburgh Post Office, who would either allow through the improperly classified mailings or warn/tip Russell as how to get such by other Pittsburgh postal employees.
Back in February 1896, the U.S. Attorney General's office had issued this response to an inquiry from the Postmaster-General's office, which was responding to yet another "Appeal" from Pastor Russell of the Pittsburgh Postmaster's refusal to mail certain literature at second-class rates:
"I think you were clearly right in excluding from the mails as second-class matter volumes 1 and 3 of the "Millennial Dawn Series," published by the Tower Publishing Company at Allegheny, Pa., under the title of "Zion's Watch Tower." Those volumes have all the insignia of "books" and not numbers in the series of a periodical publication. Here is a plain attempt to evade the law. Calling these volumes "Special issues of Zion's Watch Tower, representing Nos. 3, 4, 5, vol. 1886, and No. 6, vol. 12, 1891," respectively, does not change their character. They are "books" in every sense of the word, and hence chargeable with the third-class rate of postage. ...
"The company has issued, also, and claims the right to send through the mails at the pound rate what it terms "Extra No. 31, November 1, 1895," of the "Old Theology Quarterly;" ... which is beyond question a circular only, and should be charged with the third-class rate of postage. This is a more palpable evasion of the law than the volumes above mentioned. This circular calls these volumes "books," and is manifestly intended to advertise them to the public. ... ."
We don't know what happened, but after receiving this Advisory Opinion from the U.S. Attorney General's office, the Postmaster-General ignored such and granted Russell his Appeal. However, there were unknown events which years later caused this decision to be reversed. Russell eventually stopped his Appeals and his Letter writing campaigns, and instead, Russell initiated "industrial espionage" -- first with his own out-of-town Postmaster, and then more conveniently, with his own local Postal Clerk. After all, the "Faithful and Discreet Slave" ALWAYS got his way -- either by HOOK, or by CROOK. (See our RUSSELL FINANCIAL BIOGRAPHY and our RUSSELL DIVORCE.)
UNITED STATES v. J.T.D PYLES was a 1912 District of Columbia criminal prosecution of prominent Russellite J.T.D Pyles, who had accompanied Charles Taze Russell on his infamous "world tour" in 1911-12. Pyles was the wealthy owner of a chain of grocery stores located in the greater Washington D.C. area. In June 2012, an "unlabeled" jar of sweet pickles was sold from one of Pyles' stores which contained "a large number of large worms". That jar was turned over to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which tested the filthy contents and prosecuted this violation of the Food and Drugs Act. Pyles pled guilty and paid a fine of $10.00 (equivalent to $300.00 today).
UNITED STATES v. J.T.D PYLES. In March 1911, the U.S. Department of Agriculture seized 2880 cans of condensed tomato soup from the Pyles chain of grocery stores. The cans of soup had been found to contain large quantities of mold and bacteria. Prosecuted as a violation of the Food and Drugs Act, a local court ordered the soup destroyed.
UNITED STATES v. J.T.D PYLES was a 1919-20 District of Columbia criminal prosecution of J.T.D. Pyles for selling containers of "lard" which had been "watered" down with beef stearin. Pyles failed to appear in court on this charge, so his $50.00 bond was forfeited.
SHADY BEGINNINGS OF "JUDGE" JOSEPH FRANKLIN RUTHERFORD
The following six BOONVILLE, MISSOURI court cases may explain why Joseph Franklin Rutherford -- known locally as "JOE RUTHERFORD" -- was more than ready in 1907 to accept the offer of Charles Taze Russell to move his family away from their lifelong home and relocate to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. After having practiced law for 15 years in Boonville, Joe Rutherford's "reputation" was likely suffering greatly amongst the regular local citizens who did not view "sharp practice" and even THEFT and FRAUD as being acceptable, and the norm. If there are any lingering doubts about Joseph F. Rutherford's lack of honesty and moral character, the seventh New York court case summary should resolve such.
When you are done reading the seven RUTHERFORD court cases below, you might be interested in reading additional information regarding Joseph Franklin Rutherford's life in Missouri prior to becoming President of the WatchTower Society. Go to our JOSEPH FRANKLIN RUTHERFORD BIOGRAPHY WEBPAGE to read about the TWO CAREERS kept secret for decades by the WatchTower Society, which J. F. Rutherford separately attended College and briefly separately practiced before Rutherford finally became an Attorney.
"The facts established by undisputed testimony show a valid levy and unquestionably prove that the officer did not intend to abandon the same while he went to consult the lawyer. And it is equally clear that [ATTORNEY JOE RUTHERFORD], at the time, so understood it. It would be trifling with justice, and offering a premium to what appears "sharp practice" to hold that the constable intended to, or did, in effect, abandon the levy which he had already made."
HESS v. DRAFFEN & COMPANY was a 1900?-1903 Missouri civil court case in which the Draffen & Company Law Firm, of which JOSEPH F. RUTHERFORD was one of three partners, was sued for allegedly committing FRAUD in the sale of stock in a newly formed corporation in which JOE RUTHERFORD and his two Law Firm Partners had an interest. Hess, the aggrieved party, testified that it was D. T. Draffen's misrepresentations on which he relied, but given that the Law Firm was a small firm in the small town of Boonville, Missouri, plus the fact that Hess regularly interacted with the Law Firm and its three partners, it is inconceivable that Hess would not have spoken with JOE RUTHERFORD at some point regarding the formation of this new business corporation and the sale of its' stock. It is also very unlikely that Rutherford would not have sat in on or listened in on the discussions between Hess and Draffen, or otherwise known of Draffen's representations to Hess. Regardless of what role Joe Rutherford did or did not play in the inducement of the stock sale, his later trial testimony, under sworn oath, in support of the Law Firm's position makes J. F. Rutherford's role in this matter just as egregious.
Interestingly, Draffen & Company did not merely practice law. The firm also brokered real estate, sold insurance, and made loans. Draffen & Company also owned a set of real estate abstract books, which were to be the "tools" for a newly formed abstract business. The plaintiff, Hess, alleged that he was induced to purchase 10 shares of stock in this new corporation at a cost of $1000.00 ($32,000.00 in today's dollars). Hess alleged that he was told that J. F. Rutherford and the third Partner had each paid $1000.00 for 1/3 interest in said abstract books several years previous, which were now being "sold" to the new corporation at their present market value of $6000.00. Hess alleged that he later learned that Joe Rutherford and the third Partner had actually paid the aforementioned $1000.00 for their 1/3 interest each in the Law Firm, which owned the abstracts, rather than paying that amount for the books themselves. Hess further alleged that the books were severely incomplete and not worth more than $1500.00. Hess also alleged that part of his inducement to purchase the stock was the misrepresentation that other locals, including a relative of the third partner, had already purchased shares in the new corporation at the same price offered to Hess, but such was not true.
At trial, after all testimony had been presented to the jury, the local Circuit Court judge directed a verdict for the Law Firm. On appeal by Hess, the Court of Appeals of Missouri unanimously REVERSED and REMANDED the case, stating in part:
The question presented is, whether the court was justified in instructing the jury, upon plaintiff's evidence, to return a verdict for defendants? In order to sustain the action it is admitted that plaintiff must show that the alleged representations, if made, were false; that they were knowingly made with intent to deceive; that the plaintiff had the right to and did rely upon them; and that he was damaged thereby.
If the books were such as the evidence showed them to be they did not contain a complete abstract of the lands situate in Cooper county. An abstract is defined to be: 'That which comprises or concentrates in itself the essential qualities of a larger thing, or of several things; an abridgment, compendium, epitome, or synopsis.' They were, at most, only an index to the books of the recorder of deeds for the county, showing the different conveyances of land and the books and pages where they might be found. They did not contain an abridgment of the contents of the different instruments including the acknowledgments of the manner in which they were executed, nor their dates. At best, they were only partial abstracts most certainly not complete. As the defendants had used them they must have known what they were and it therefore must necessarily follow that defendants knew that the said representations were untrue. And the evidence tended to show that they did not cost the sum of six thousand dollars, but much less. ... ...
... The complaint is not that the corporation, but that the plaintiff as an individual, was defrauded by the individual acts of the defendant partnership.
Under the authorities, the plaintiff, who was a stranger to the business, had the right to rely upon the representations of the defendants who were the promoters of the enterprise. ... The circumstances tended to show that plaintiff was wholly unacquainted with the business; that he relied upon the representations of the defendants as to the sufficiency of the abstracts and their cost; and that he was damaged thereby. We are therefore clearly of the opinion that plaintiff made out a case entitling him to go to the jury. For the reasons given the cause is reversed and remanded. All concur.
For those readers in urban areas who are wondering why JOE RUTHERFORD and his law partners never got into legal troubles due to their shenanigans, those naive readers need to understand that half of the attorneys and judges in any given area were related either by blood or marriage to the other half, and on those occasions when that wasn't true, the involved parties either were members of the same political party, or attended the same church/denomination or same fraternal organizations. Additionally, from 1899-1902, Rutherford's third law partner at Draffen & Company was "Prosecuting Attorney of Cooper County", and when things got busy, Rutherford helped him out as "Assistant Prosecuting Attorney". Nuff said!!!
Interestingly, sometime around 1903-04, D. T. Draffen, who had more roots in Cooper County than did a local cornfield, relocated himself and his wife to Muskogee, Oklahoma -- nearly 350 miles away. Then, in June 1905, they moved back to Boonville. Then, in September 1906, Draffen shot himself in the head. One can't help but wonder whether Draffen's problems also were the motivation for Rutherford to finally get "baptized" by A. H. MacMillan in 1906 -- 12 years after he started peddling WatchTower literature. Puzzlingly, it is my understanding that during this time period, new WatchTower Society converts were not re-baptized if they had already been "immersed", which the Southern Baptist Rutherford already had been as he himself acknowledged.
CASTLEMAN v. CASTLEMAN was a 1897-1904 SUPREME COURT OF MISSOURI case which apparently has completely escaped the attention of WATCHTOWER SOCIETY RESEARCHERS AND HISTORIANS for decades -- primarily because the "good ole boy" legal system of that era stopped the Supreme Court from including Bar member JOSEPH F. RUTHERFORD's full name in its decision, and more importantly, stopped both the Supreme Court and the local trial court from labeling the defendant guilty of OBVIOUS FRAUD in this matter -- which would have made local Attorney Joe Rutherford an AGENT of such FRAUD, and subject to possible sanctions or even DISBARMENT.
This complicated lawsuit involved two brothers fighting over their grandfather's 815 acre Cooper County, Missouri farm, which was then appraised as high as $32,000.00 ($1.1 MILLION in today's dollars). Their grandfather's WILL left the farm to his surviving widow and their only child -- the mother of the two brothers. When the Grandmother died, the family believed that the two brother's Mother had received a life interest in half the farm (remainder to her two sons), and full ownership of half the farm. In 1894, one of the Brothers, who had moved to St. Louis to live, and whom apparently had prospered, purchased what he believed to be his Mother's half interest in the farm. Apparently, the ATTORNEY in Boonville who handled that real estate transaction eventually discovered that the two Brothers' Mother did not own half of the farm outright, but rather held only a life estate in all the farm, with remainder to the two brothers. Thus, only the St. Louis Brother knew that he and his brother held equal remainder interests in the entire farm, while the Cooper County Brother believed that he held only a half remainder interest in the half of the farm which had no buildings or improvements.
On October 9, 1896, St. Louis Brother set up his Cooper County Brother by writing him a letter in which he offered Cooper County Brother $600.00 for his remainder interest in the farm -- which Cooper County Brother believed to be only 1/4 of the farm. At the same time, St. Louis Brother had already authorized SOMEONE in Boonville, named RUTHERFORD, to thereafter approach his Cooper County Brother and offer him $800.00 for his interest in the farm. Cooper County Brother jumped at RUTHERFORD'S higher offer and deeded his interest to RUTHERFORD and his wife on October 31, 1896. Shortly thereafter, RUTHERFORD deeded that interest in the farm to St. Louis Brother.
After Cooper County Brother learned that his St. Louis Brother now owned his interest in the farm, Cooper County Brother filed a lawsuit in Boonville seeking to undo the two property transfers -- initially only due to the FRAUD which had been perpetrated in the inducement of the sale, because Cooper County Brother had not yet discovered that he actually had owned 1/2 rather than 1/4 interest in the farm. Interestingly, St. Louis Brother sought and obtained a change of venue to Howard County. WHO DID NOT WANT THIS CASE HEARD IN COOPER COUNTY -- St. Louis Brother or "Rutherford"?
Regardless, the Howard County Circuit Court eventually found in favor of the Cooper County Brother, and the property transfers were undone. However, the Howard County Circuit Court was careful to do so on the grounds of "Mutual Mistake", and not to find FRAUD on the part of St. Louis Brother or his agent, "Rutherford". That would have been too messy and detrimental to the legal profession in Cooper County and the state of Missouri. On appeal by St. Louis Brother, the Missouri Supreme Court affirmed the trial court's decision and rubber-stamped its reasoning, but included sufficient info for those readers capable of reading between the lines to understand what really had occurred here.
JOHN PURSLEY v. HENRY GOOD was a 1900-1902 Court of Appeals of Missouri decision in which JOSEPH F. RUTHERFORD and one of his law partners privately counseled and represented at trial a client who both committed FRAUD and LIED UNDER OATH on the witness stand.
This case involved yet another complicated sale of a farm in Cooper County which would have necessarily required constant and repeated legal advice and counsel to both parties not just during the sale in 1894, but especially so in 1898-99 when the circumstances arose which resulted in this lawsuit. INTERESTINGLY, Joe Rutherford SOMEHOW once again WON the local Cooper County jury trial, but that egregious decision was REVERSED by the Court of Appeals of Missouri, which stated in part:
The evidence of Henry L. Good, in the main, is in conflict with not only the allegations of his answer, but also with the said written agreement. However, after many equivocations and contradictions, on cross-examination he stated ... . ... ...
We are at a loss to understand upon what theory the [COOPER COUNTY JURY and] court based its finding in favor of the defendants, ... .It seems to us, from all the evidence, the defendant Henry L. Good, the principal in the note, acted in BAD FAITH, and that his object, from the beginning, was to OPPRESS and DEFRAUD the plaintiff. An examination of his evidence shows that he not only AIMED TO WRONG the plaintiff, but that he was willing to do so AT THE EXPENSE OF TRUTH. No man intending to tell the truth was ever involved in more contradictions, and on questions of vital importance to the case, and we have no hesitation in saying that no court should be bound by his evidence.
In all fairness to Henry Good, CHARLES TAZE RUSSELL, during his multiple trial testimonies under Joe Rutherford's orchestration, made Henry Good look like one of the most honest persons on the planet.
See also 1899 Supreme Court of Missouri case, ALEXANDER v. ALEXANDER, in which JOSEPH F. RUTHERFORD was Co-Counsel to DESPICABLE plaintiffs in a DESPICABLE legal action. An invalid, bachelor Cooper County farmer died without making a WILL because he thought that his only surviving heir was his loving brother. However, after the farmer's death, SOMEONE with both knowledge of the law and confidential knowledge of the family's pre-Cooper County past traced down a group of half-siblings and their survivors who had been fathered by the two brothers' deceased male parent years after their parents had divorced in another Missouri county. There had never been any knowledge of nor previous contact between the two brothers and their deceased father or his other children/grandchildren/great-grandchildren after the parents had divorced many decades earlier. Thus, without SOME DESPICABLE P.O.S. from Cooper County tracing them down and informing them, that group of potential heirs would never even have known that they each had a potential share in a Cooper County farm of which they had no previous knowledge or contact. Interestingly, JOE RUTHERFORD and his out-of-county co-counsel requested and received a Change of Venue away from Cooper County, and WON at the trial court level. Thankfully, on appeal to the Missouri Supreme Court, that egregious trial court decision was UNANIMOUSLY reversed.
See also 1905 Supreme Court of Missouri case, MING v. OLSTER, which was a complicated ownership dispute involving a farm located in Saline County. After a "Change of Venue" was granted to the Cooper County Circuit Court, the Plaintiff's legal team decided to hire local Boonville real estate Attorney JOSEPH F. RUTHERFORD as their Co-Counsel. At trial, the Defendants offered into evidence a "certified copy" of the Deed in question, as recorded by the recorder of Deeds in Saline County. The Plaintiff's Attorneys attempted to defeat the validity of that "certified copy" by presenting a Deed they "purported" to be the "original", which amazingly lacked the necessary signature of the Plaintiff's ex-husband, who had moved to Montana. The Supreme Court of Missouri "affirmed" the Cooper County Circuit Court's ruling against the Plaintiff, noting that all of the Plaintiff's evidence and testimony "was weighed by the court and found wanting. The original deed exhibited by the plaintiff showed that it had been tampered with and the circumstances justified the court in concluding that the erasures [to the missing signature] had been made after the deed had been recorded." Once again JOE RUTHERFORD is found representing a client who not only attempted to DEFRAUD an individual, but who also later LIED UNDER OATH at trial and attempted to DEFRAUD the trial and appellate courts.
ANTON KOERBER v. JOSEPH F. RUTHERFORD and MATTHEW A. HOWLETT was a 1940-41 New York civil court case which was dropped either after Koerber lost an appellate court ruling in latter 1941, or more likely after Judge Rutherford died in January 1942. In this lawsuit which Anton Koerber filed against WatchTower Society President JOSEPH F. RUTHERFORD, Koerber alleged that Judge Rutherford had DEFRAUDED him out of his share of the profits made on the purchase and sale of a Cleveland, Ohio radio station which J. F. Rutherford and Koerber had SECRETLY owned as "Partners".
Anton Adam Koerber was an experienced, wealthy real estate agent/investor in Washington D.C., who was also the WatchTower Society's Leader for the Wash DC area. Koerber eventually became a Bethelite and District Overseer under Rutherford before Rutherford had Koerber disfellowshipped in the latter 1930s. It is uncertain which came first, Koerber's DFing or this lawsuit. Unbelievably, Koerber was later reinstated under Rutherford's successor, Nathan Knorr, and was appointed as a Circuit Overseer. In the 1970s, Koerber's severely-edited Biography was published in the WATCHTOWER magazine, and Koerber's "experience" (see our Page 2035) was discussed in "talks" at District and Circuit Assemblies, and during local KH meetings.
In 1940, Anton Koerber alleged in this lawsuit that Judge Rutherford had approached him around 1929 (it actually had been 1925) with the proposition that they become partners (joint venturers) in the purchase of radio station WHK, in Cleveland, Ohio, whose stock was for sale for $10,000.00 ($140,000.00 in today's dollars). Koerber was asked to put up the $10,000.00 purchase price, which he did. Koerber alleged that Rutherford promised to put up another $10,000.00, plus completely manage the radio station for the partnership (joint venture). Rutherford supposedly owned 51% of the stock of RADIO AIR SERVICE CORPORATION, and Koerber supposedly owed 49% of the stock. (RASC was a pre-existing corporation which owned WHK. Rutherford and Koerber apparently purchased RASC. INTERESTINGLY, in January 1926, newspapers reported that WHK had been purchased by the "National Bible Association", which the newspapers ASSUMEDLY confused with the "International Bible Students Association" -- otherwise, we have an even BIGGER STORY than just the secret purchase of a radio station. MORE INTERESTINGLY, we are unable to locate any source where the WatchTower Society ever acknowledged ownership of WHK.)
Anton Koerber further alleged that the purchase of RADIO AIR SERVICE CORPORATION's stock was made in the name of Judge Rutherford's Bethelite "Personal Assistant", Matthew Arnold Howlett, because Judge Rutherford wished to keep his ownership of the radio station HIDDEN from the WatchTower Society's followers.
The three "Howlett Brothers" were publicly advertised as the "owners and operators" of WHK. Matthew A. Howlett was listed as "President" of Radio Air Service Corporation and "General Manager" of WHK, and even served as "Secretary-Treasurer" of the National Association of Broadcasters from 1931-33. (THAT'S CORRECT, the WATCHTOWER SOCIETY SECRETLY INFILTRATED the National Association of Broadcasters in the 1930s.) Eric S. Howlett, was presented as "Station Manager". Harry Howlett was "Commercial Manager" of WHK. (Eric and Harry Howlett may have worked for WHK even prior to the purchase.) INTERESTINGLY, WHK also employed a number of young, attractive female singers. Rutherford no doubt personally auditioned each one before she was hired.
Anton Koerber alleged that Judge Rutherford sold WHK in Summer 1934 for more than $250,000.00 ($4.5 MILLION in today's dollars), without saying anything to Koerber about the sale. (Interestingly, the purchaser was the CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER newspaper. More interestingly, there is reason to suspect that CPD did not acquire all of the stock, but that some of the stock remained under WatchTower control for many more years -- possibly decades.) Koerber alleged that he did not even find out about the sale of WHK until 1935, and that when he approached Rutherford about his share of the sale proceeds and his share of the operating profits from 1929 through 1934, that Rutherford became "antagonistic". Koerber alleges that he made multiple unsuccessful demands for his money from 1935 until he was forced to file this lawsuit in 1940.
Koerber filed a pre-trial motion for an "accounting" -- production of the books and records of WHK -- but Rutherford answered such with a DENIAL that Koerber and he were partners in WHK or that Koerber owned any interest in WHK. In May 1941, the New York trial court ordered Rutherford to turn over only some of the records that Koerber had requested, but that the other records could not be had until after Koerber had prove the partnership. However, in latter 1941, Rutherford appealed that decision to the NY appellate court, which reversed the lower court's ruling and held that none of the requested records would have to be produced until after Koerber established the partnership. Then, Rutherford died in January 1942. Given that Koerber had no written agreement between Rutherford and himself, and had absolutely no way to prove his partnership with Rutherford, Judge Rutherford's death ended the matter.
One must assume that if Anton Koerber had been in the wrong in filing a lawsuit against a sitting WatchTower Society President that Nathan Knorr would never have later appointed Koerber as a Circuit Overseer, and the WatchTower Society would have never published his Biography in the WATCHTOWER magazine decades later, nor decades later praised Koerber's "experience" at District and Circuit Assemblies, and during local KH meetings.
IN THE MATTER OF GEORGE H. HARTMAN was a 1995 New York judicial disciplinary proceeding involving a private NYC Jehovah's Witness Attorney, who over the years represented both the WatchTower Society and individual Jehovah's Witnesses in New York, Illinois, Arkansas, and probably other states, including cases summarized on these websites. Notably, George Hartman liked to boast that he had never attended college nor law school. One can't help but wonder if the three complaining clients were fellow JWs.
Respondent concedes that he neglected an ancillary probate proceeding, an estate proceeding, and a divorce matter.
According to his physician, he is mentally incapacitated by depression from the practice of law. ...
In view of the written report from the respondent's treating psychiatrist as to his mental state and statement from his counsel that respondent is unable to defend himself in the pending disciplinary proceeding by virtue of mental incapacity ... respondent is suspended from the practice of law for an indefinite period of time and until further order of this court upon the ground that the respondent is suffering from a mental condition which makes it impossible for him to adequately defend himself in the pending disciplinary proceeding.
IN THE MATTER OF PAUL ALLAN TERRY II was a series of Tennessee judicial disciplinary proceedings between 2003 and 2005, which involved a Jehovah's Witness Attorney, named Paul Allan Terry II, who had been licensed to practice law in Tennessee, in 2001. Paul A. Terry II was initially suspended from the practice of law in September 2003 for failing to comply with Continuing Legal Education requirements. Paul Terry was again suspended in August 2004, after first being publicly censured for abandoning a client's divorce case, resulting in court order of a replacement attorney, and thereafter failing to respond to that complaint. Terry was finally disbarred in August 2005, after failing to pursue a personal injury case, resulting in the dismissal of his client's case. Paul Terry did not file an answer to that complaint, nor did he file an answer to the Petition for Discipline. Terry further did not appear at the disciplinary hearing. Paul Allan Terry II died in June 2009, at the age of only 34 -- from an undisclosed cause. His obituary listed his final occupation as "self-employed in sales". Rather than calling Terry a JW, his obituary stated that he was merely "affiliated with the Jehovah's Witnesses" at the time of his death.
IN THE MATTER OF STANLEY LOUIS HOLTMAN was a series of Tennessee judicial disciplinary proceedings between 1987 and 2000, which involved a Jehovah's Witness Attorney, named Stanley L. Holtman, who had been licensed to practice law in Tennessee in the late 1960s, and died in 2015. Stanley Holtman practiced law in the towns of Franklin, Mt. Pleasant, and Columbia, Tennessee.
At various times prior to August 1987, three complaints were filed against Stanley L. Holtman. In one instance, Stanley Holtman MISAPPROPRIATED FUNDS from a real estate sale. In a second instance, Stanley Holtman won a $28,000.00 judgment for a client, but then failed to place a lien on the judgment debtor's house before the debtor sold the house and fled the state. In a third instance, Stanley Holtman was removed as the Executor of an estate after he failed to notify all beneficiaries, and failed to prepare an accounting.
In August 1987, the Supreme Court of Tennessee suspended Stanley Louis Holtman from the practice of law for a period of 11 months and 29 days, plus an indefinite period so long as Holtman owed any monetary judgment related to the three complaints above. The indefinite suspension also was to continue until Stanley Holtman could demonstrate that he had totally abstained from alcohol for a period of 6 months.
At some point between 1989 and 1991, Stanley Louis Holtman was reinstated to practice law in Tennessee. However, Stanley Holtman was again suspended in January 1992 after he failed to pay his Bar fees. Despite having been suspended from the practice of law, Stanley Holtman continued to practice law until a complaint was filed in December 1998. Holtman thereafter paid the back fees and penalties, and ceased practicing law in accordance with the 1992 suspension. Stanley Holtman was thereafter reinstated with censure in January 2000.
THE FLORIDA BAR v. JONATHAN MICHAEL ROWE was a 2007 Supreme Court of Florida disciplinary proceeding. On the complaint of a former client, it was ruled that one of this Attorney's direct mail advertisements was "misleading" as to his fee schedule, and Jonathan Rowe was given this "Admonishment". The court noted that Jonathan M. Rowe had received an "Admonishment" in 2003 for "similar advertising violations". Jonathan Rowe is a third generation Jehovah's Witness. His parents and he served as WatchTower missionaries to Spain for five years during the 1970s. Rowe practices law in the Jacksonville, Florida area. Rowe was selected by the WatchTower PR department to speak to the media at the 2006 WatchTower District Convention held in Gainesville, Florida.
IF IT WALKS LIKE A DUCK AND TALKS LIKE A DUCK, ...
QUEBEC BAR ASSN v. PIERRETTE LEVESQUE was a 2010 Quebec Bar disciplinary proceeding against Pierrette Levesque, then 61 years-old, who is a female Attorney and member of the Quebec Bar, who in this published decision refers to herself as a "friend of the truth" for some 15 years. Although not formally baptized as one of Jehovah's Witnesses by 2010, Pierrette Levesque alleged that she regularly attended Sunday meetings and other Jehovah's Witness meetings.
Pierrette Levesque pled "Guilty" to the complaint which alleged that three times in January and June 2007 that she confronted and attempted to persuade a disfellowshipped Jehovah's Witness who was seeking reinstatement, named Madeleine Guillemette, whom Levesque claimed to have known since 1994, to drop the charge of sexual assault which Madeleine Guillemette had filed against Hermgilde Gagnon -- possibly at the "suggestion" of a local JW Elder. (The details of that case are unknown, so we know no more about the aforementioned interaction between Levesque and Guillemette, or the involved parties, than is summarily related in this published decision. Wouldn't everyone like to know what went on in that case, and what/who motivated the aforementioned contact!!!) Immediately after the third contact in June 2007, Madeleine Guillemette filed a complaint with the Quebec Bar Association regarding Levesque's contact. Allegedly, Pierrette Levesque then contacted Madeleine Guillemette a fourth time about the complaint made to the Quebec Bar Association. This complaint further alleged that Pierrette Levesque then failed to respond to the Bar's inquiries made in early 2008. Pierrette Levesque ultimately pled "Guilty" with the agreement that the outcome of this proceeding would NOT be published in the Quebec newspapers. Pierrette Levesque was quietly ordered to pay a $2000.00 fine, plus received a "reprimand". That's it!!
DE LA ROSA v. WATCHTOWER SOCIETY. Disclosed during the discovery process of another personal injury lawsuit filed by the De La Rosas in 2004, the WatchTower Society had previously SETTLED a DEFAMATION lawsuit involving a "a very personal incident" (unknown facts) for a total of $38,000.00 with plaintiffs Angelo De La Rosa and Joyce De La Rosa, of NYC.
TWO "CONVERSIONS - CIVIL THEFTS" OF TWO CONDITIONAL DONATIONS
MOUNT VERNON, KENTUCKY CONGREGATION OF JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES
In the mid 1990s, when visiting local relatives, a Jehovah's Witness living out-of-state would occasionally attend the Sunday meetings at the Mount Vernon, Kentucky Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses, in Rockcastle County, Kentucky. After one of such Sunday meetings, knowing about OUT-OF-STATE-JW's past generosity to that Congregation, one of the local Elderettes approached OUT-OF-STATE-JW and began "hinting" at the spartan Kingdom Hall's need for two new chairs for the stage (that's "altar" for non-JWs). Later that week, after returning home, OUT-OF-STATE-JW mailed a check for $1000.00 to the Mount Vernon Kentucky Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses, along with a note designating that the donation be used to purchase new stage chairs.
About 3-4 months later, when OUT-OF-STATE-JW next visited relatives in Rockcastle County, Kentucky, OUT-OF-STATE-JW looked forward to seeing the Congregation's new stage chairs at the Sunday meetings. However, on entering the Kingdom Hall, OUT-OF-STATE-JW noticed two things. The first thing noticed was that the same old chairs were still on the stage, and the second thing noticed was that the local JW Elders barely acknowledged OUT-OF-STATE-JW's presence in the very small Kingdom Hall. OUT-OF-STATE-JW "beat themself" for the entire two hour meeting based on the assumption that the $1000.00 donation had been "too stingy" to purchase the desired two stage chairs. After the meeting, OUT-OF-STATE-JW shamefully approached Husband-of-JW-Elderette to see how much additional money was needed to purchase the desired two chairs. OUT-OF-STATE-JW has long forgotten the exact words of the conversation, but after the hesitant initial inquiry, JW Elder quickly let OUT-OF-STATE-JW know that the Kingdom Hall did not need new stage chairs, or anything else for that matter, so the "Body of Elders" had decided to use the $1000.00 donation to re-pay one of the JW Elders for a past "loan" to the Congregation. That's correct, OUT-OF-STATE-JW's $1000.00 went straight into the pocket of one of the JW Elders. OUT-OF-STATE-JW also received a mini-sermon as to how the $1000.00 donation had not been OUT-OF-STATE-JW's money to begin with, but was "Jehovah's money". After referencing the specified designation, OUT-OF-STATE-JW was told that once the money was in the hands of the JW Elders that it was their's to do with as they saw fit. They were Jehovah's appointed representatives in the Congregation.
That was not the first time, but rather the second time, that OUT-OF-STATE-JW had been messed-over with regard to a donation made to that Mount Vernon, Kentucky Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses. The very same JW Elder had previously screwed-over OUT-OF-STATE-JW in connection with a $5000.00 CASH donation that OUT-OF-STATE-JW had secretly handed this same JW Elder some months previously. In fact, a year or so after the $1000.00 "CONVERSION", or "THEFT", OUT-OF-STATE-JW heard via the grapevine that it was this same JW Elder that had pocketed the $1000.00. Does anyone blame OUT-OF-STATE-JW for wondering how much of the $5000.00 CASH donation actually made it into the Congregation's account?
2014 UPDATE: It has come to OUT-OF-STATE-JW's attention that his claim that he was previously "screwed over" with regard to the previous $5000.00 CASH donation has recently been "investigated" and satisfactorily DENIED by both the Body of Elders, but more specifically, by the JW Elder in question. That is what happens when the WatchTower Society "investigates" itself. The WatchTower Society is NOT interested in discovering "the truth". The WatchTower Society is only interested in turning up sufficient excuses to DENY an allegation. (Yes, WatchTower HQ -- particularly "Legal" -- visits these two websites.)
In fact, the previous $5000.00 CASH donation was also a CONDITIONAL DONATION. When OUT-OF-STATE-JW handed the $5000.00 CASH to JW Elder he told JW Elder that the donation was made on the "two conditions" that the money be spent for the concrete paving of the Kingdom Hall parking lot, PLUS that OUT-OF-STATE-JW and his spouse be permitted to join in the manual labor performed on the project. OUT-OF-STATE-JW and JW Elder specifically discussed that JW Elder would telephone OUT-OF-STATE-JW with the details as soon as the date-s had been planned, so that OUT-OF-STATE-JW could make plans to attend and participate in the construction project.
OUT-OF-STATE-JW waited several weeks curious as to why JW Elder did not at least have the courtesy to keep OUT-OF-STATE-JW informed about the progress of the planning. OUT-OF-STATE-JW finally telephoned JW Elder, who then informed OUT-OF-STATE-JW that the parking lot project had already been completed. When OUT-OF-STATE-JW expressed his dismay at not being invited to participate in the construction, JW Elder simply mumbled a half-hearted apology over the "confusion".
Readers should understand that for whatever reason or reasons, the REGIONAL BUILDING COMMITTEE was NOT involved in this construction project, but rather the project was completed by local members of the Mount Vernon, Kentucky Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses. Thus, there was NO REASON that OUT-OF-STATE-JW and his spouse should not have been invited to participate in the project. The Body of Elders certainly did NOT have a problem accepting OUT-OF-STATE-JW's $5000.00 CASH. The local Body of Elders and JW Elder evidently did NOT want OUT-OF-STATE-JW and his spouse present for SOME REASON. Your guess is as good as theirs.