Happy Triskaidekaphobia Monday

There are Mondays, and then there are Mondays. And tomorrow is the 13th. It’s a trifecta of bad.

This is just a reminder that Monday, August 13 is the day Lutheran Church Canada will get a sense if its actions as a religious corporation were legal or not. If things have gone this far, probably not.

Alberta Securities Commission Hearing

Two pastors, three laymen, the ABC District, and Synod itself – Lutheran Church Canada – are facing an Alberta Securities Hearing tomorrow.

Why is this happening? Because there is concern that regulations and laws were broken when tens of millions of dollars were emptied from the Church Extension Fund to a real estate investment called Prince of Peace Village.

We’re likely to hear there were unchecked conflicts of interest and  breaches of fiduciary duty.  There could eventually be a referral to the crown for criminal charges. Church leadership is treading water in a deep legal cesspool – they’d rather not switch on the lights, for obvious reasons.

What does it mean if the entire church body is complicit in fraud? Well, it’s within the realm of possibility that charitable status for the church body could be in jeopardy. You can bet no one is saying any of it out loud. It’s a discussion you should be having where you live. My own sense is that LCC will be treated like any other corporation. Then again, the church doesn’t garner the respect it once did…for obvious reasons…

Here are some reminders of what the church leadership is facing tomorrow”

Take notice that orders or settlements made by the Commission may form the basis for parallel orders in other jurisdictions in Canada. The securities laws of some other Canadian jurisdictions may allow orders made in this matter to take effect in those other jurisdictions  automatically, without further notice to you.

Docket: ENF-010583 – Page 1 – Reciprocation

This means securities commissions across Canada may be able to adopt the Alberta Securities Commissions findings and levy similar sanctions in their jurisdictions. Synod will need to follow up in all the provinces to clarify its legal status once the dust settles. Whether it will or not is an open question. I’m guessing after this experience, Synod may be more attentive to “compliance issues.” It’s always been a big deal Synod is involved. This was never about just what was happening in Alberta and BC. Remember, Synod’s own documents say there is but ONE body. What happens in ABC District doesn’t necessarily just stay in ABC District…

Staff of the Commission allege that the Respondents breached Alberta securities laws in connection with a long-term, large-scale investment program. …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. 

Docket: ENF-010583 – Page 2 – Paragraph 1 – Overview

Ouch can be spelled two ways. ouch, and Ouch. That’s an Ouch. Why so Ouchy? Because it’s a pile-on. Let’s tabulate the highlights so we can see how the words stack up in the mind, rather than the page:

LONG TERM
LARGE SCALE
HIGH-RISK
LOAN-DEFAULTING
SPECULATIVE LAND DEVELOPMENT
WITH NO APPROPRIATE DISCLOSURE

Actually, looking at that again, that’s what honest advertising would have looked like when ABC district was selling CEF. Yeesh.

Here’s the crazy thing: this is all from JUST the Notice of Hearing. These are general headings. When we see the list of charges, it’ll be significantly uglier and more detailed.

Sleep tight Lutheran Church Canada. Tomorrow is a big day.

Andreas Schwabe is editor and publisher of SolaGratia.ca, and an Edmonton-based multimedia & communication strategist and producer. His focus for SolaGratia is on administration, governance, and issues of faith. For clients, he writes or produces just about anything.

5 thoughts on “Happy Triskaidekaphobia Monday

  1. Neil Neufeld, CPA CMA

    Andreas,
    It was noted within your commentary the absence of accounting irregularities on how the POP properties were even accounted for!
    Keep in mind that every one of those properties paid fair market value for the property before the additional $3,000 was extorted under the guise that if the money wasn’t forfeited, then the corporation carrying the fully funded ‘lease’ would prevent realization of the fair market value exit clause.
    This means that all the money ‘spent’ to build the POP condos was 100% returned with a profit at the time of possession of each condo. However this wasn’t reflected in the financial statements as per ASPE rules at the time.
    Fraud, indeed!

    • Rev. Robert Clifford

      This is an issue that has come up repeatedly from the very beginning of this fiasco:
      that the sale proceeds from the original sale of the life lease units was never used to repay the loan from CEF that was granted to build the properties in the first place … CEF made a loan to POP to build these properties; the condos were built & sold; but the sale proceeds were not used to repay the loan.

      Who knows for sure, Or where can we read a reliable report from an accounting firm who knows the factual answer?

  2. Michael Schutz

    Thanks for the clarification. I was only seeking to address what you’d written in the post, which is what the ASC is doing, and more precisely, to whom they were doing it. I wasn’t ignoring, wilfully or otherwise, the spiritual damage; the ASC isn’t going to address that. Only the church can properly address that. (And, as has been the case all along, you’ll find no disagreement from me that we’ve not even come close to properly addressing that.)

  3. Michael Schutz

    “and Synod itself – Lutheran Church Canada – are facing an Alberta Securities Hearing tomorrow”. Unless I’ve missed something, the Synod isn’t named in this. The two corporate respondents listed are the District and DIL.

    • You are correct. Only District and and DIL are in the deepest of financial and legal trouble. My mistake. Humble apologies. Mind you, it would be willful not to mention the unnamed and uncounted spiritual damage the church has done and continues to do by leaving the issue in the courts and unaddressed in any serious way. But it’s always nice to have the legal ducks in a row.

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