The Great Cash Call of 2018

True Story: Mrs. SolaGratia reports “sewer drains sound beautiful.” If you’d been deaf and heard a sewer for the first time in 30 years, you’d think so too. Speaking of sewers…

At it’s peak, the ABC District Church Extension Fund weighed in at a hefty $113,000,000.00  By sustained acts of concerted arrogance and hubris, the fund was lost to bankruptcy. Normally you’d think, “yeah, lesson learned.” Aww, that’s sweet. Really it is, but this is LCC, where ignorance is the catalyst for planned inaction. It only ever seems to get worse. Next up: congregations get to pay for what looks like a mangled pension fund for pastors.

YOU: “Are you serious? LCC has another financial crisis brewing?”

ME: (looks down to avoid eye contact…sweeps the floor with his foot)

YOU: No seriously. There’s ANOTHER financial crisis in LCC?

ME: (looks at the ceiling and whistles a gentle “Chief of Sinners Though I Be”)

YOU: (binge eats five pints of Ben and Jerry’s “Chocolate Fudge Brownie” Ice Cream)

Unwanted Attention

So, yes, it’s another church scandal. The roman Catholics kicked things off with the endless horrors and abuses at Mount Cashel Orphanage. The Anglicans dragged out their scandal over decades of Residential Schools. To round out the trifecta of scandal, LCC dropped tens of millions of church members money into a black hole.  Not a real black hole. Real black holes require physics. LCC can’t manage a balance sheet let alone physics.

One thing LCC can do: get media attention.

Save the Date for the Alberta Securities Commission: August 13, 2018

It’s been a long time, but hey, we’ve been busy retooling our life from deaf, to #deafnotdeaf. Mrs. Solagratia’s Cochlear implant is a miracle and we’re just overjoyed and under-grateful. There just isn’t enough gratitude.

The funny thing about Cochlear Implants is that you mark your life by calendar dates. For example, candidacy day (the day you find out if you get a CI or not) was October 5. Implant surgery was December 12. Activation was January 29. Each date has its own moments, anxieties, and story.

The ABC District and by Extension LCC has a red-letter date its own: August 13, 2018. That’s the day the Alberta Securities Commission is going to hold a hearing because, the ASC says…

“1. Staff of the Commission allege that the Respondents breached Alberta securities laws in connection with a long-term, large-scale investment program. The program generally was designed to provide a means for church members to invest and earn interest on funds by pooling and loaning them to Lutheran churches and schools for capital improvement projects. However, while  representing the investments to be safe, diversified, and “guaranteed”, the Respondents placed the overwhelming majority of the invested funds into a high-risk, loan-defaulting, speculative land development project without appropriate disclosure to investors. The program and the corporate Respondents collapsed financially in early 2015, with court protection under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA) being sought and granted.

2. Staff allege that the long pattern of positive representations, without including necessary risk related disclosures, amounted to misleading statements. The Respondents knew or ought to have  known that the information withheld from investors was material, and meant that the statements which had been made were misleading. The Respondents knew or ought to have known that the price or value of the securities in issue was dramatically affected by the non-disclosures.

3. Investors in the program have lost many millions of dollars as a result of its collapse, with the exact value not yet determined. In recognition of investors’ losses and in order not to deplete assets  that may be available in ongoing CCAA proceedings, Staff will seek no monetary administrative penalties against the corporate Respondents.”

So, in spite of the many protestations of being nice people, the Alberta Securities Commission alleges ABC District breached securities laws and mislead church members/depositors. In order NOT to cause more loss to the investors, the ASC isn’t going to go after money from District. Which is nice. It’s more than District or Synod have ever done for depositors in meaningful terms (any defence to the contrary is silly because…well…the ASC says “breached securities laws,” and depositors are suing District, so there’s that.

As is the way in LCC, the gospel will take the back seat; lawyers and the courts will have the final say.

Click here for the entire Alberta Securities Commission Document

Do’s and Don’ts

Compliance is a flexible word. In mountain biking, a “compliant” bike is one that sucks up some of the rough trail and still lets you feel in control. Of course mountain biking you don’t steer as much as guide and bounce to a new location. Compliance is a way to think about being in agreement: as a Synod, we expect all congregations to subscribe to the Lutheran Confessions – they are compliant.

Compliance is doing what you’re supposed to be doing; following all the rules, laws, and regulations of that particular industry.

One of the most heavily regulated sectors in Canada is the financial sector. Canada avoided the economic ditch after the 2008 downturn, largely because Canada’s regulatory system has built-in checks to make sure everything is in the green. There are always loopholes, but generally Canada has managed to avoid falling victim to circumstances seen in the USA and elsewhere.