Saturday, November 30, 2013

End of an increasingly sad legacy?

It started with so much hope and promise. And then . . . What happened? Nasty, nasty stuff! You get into the comments of Jen Fishburne's blog and find out how truly awful the Vision Forum situation is—and/or is likely yet to become.

Still, watchful, careful commenters--like “Johnny”--write:
I must remind folks to be careful about speculation. This blog can do a lot of good, but folks should stop speculating where they don’t really know the truth; case in point, this statement above: “as far as we can determine from the tax records, VFI has never paid any rent to VFM and which, if VFI were to have complied with the tax code, it would have had to do. No one gets to occupy a separate legal entity’s property rent free.”
Well, sorry to disappoint you, but VFI has paid rent to VFM all along. . . .
Jen (the blogger) replied:
Johnny, you are correct that a small amount of rent was being paid, but certainly not anywhere near fair market value. . . .

On Vision Forum’s Form 990, it [shows (see p. 9--JAH)] a small amount of rent collected. Vision Forum Ministries owns two buildings: the warehouse/office that houses Vision Forum (both ministry and business), and Doug’s house. Since Doug has previously stated that he pays rent for his home to VFI, the very small amount of rent collected could conceivably be split between the two buildings. Even if it was just for one of the buildings, it would be FAR from fair market value. Considering it must cover both buildings, it is pitifully small. Here are the numbers.

Doug’s house has a current tax appraisal value of $681,900. Fair market rent for that particular home would be at least $5000 per month.

The Vision Forum land/building was appraised at $848,600 in 2011. If we figure that Vision Forum, Inc. uses about 80% of the 28,634 square feet of the building, and that the warehouse uses 90% of that, and the retail store uses 10%, if we were to assess 2011 commercial rates for the warehouse portion and separate rents for the retail store portion, fair market value commercial rent for that particular property should be approximately $14,400 a month.

Between the two properties, Vision Forum Ministries should have received approximately $232,832 in annual rents received. In reality, only $18,452 was collected by VFM between the two properties, leaving an annual shortfall of $214,380 (and an actual stated rental LOSS of $29,386; see p. 9 of the VFM 2011 990--JAH). Doesn’t seem like fair market value to me.
Another commenter noted that Jen is a certified tax preparer. . .

And then there was/is this comment by Peter Bradrick on his Facebook page. (Bradrick was Phillips’ executive assistant, now the operations manager for the National Center for Family Integrated Churches). He closes with the verse that always seems to go through my mind when we hear of someone's "fall from grace." But whether we feel ourselves likely to fall into the same errors or sins or not, I think of this verse in terms of being wary lest we gloat over someone else’s downfall, period. Let justice be done. But let us grieve at the cause:
The past decade of my life has been defined by my close relationship with my mentor and former spiritual father. Those who know me recognize my longstanding, fierce commitment to his family, his work, and his legacy. As soon as I caught wind of what was going on, I became very involved in working towards fulfilling the duties of friendship and brotherhood – to confront a man who has been like a father to me for a third of my life and plead with him to truthfully confess, and to genuinely take responsibility for longstanding betrayal of everything we had fought together for with the hope of ultimate restoration.

Friends... truth and justice are mercy. Covering sin is not mercy. (Proverbs 28:13, “He who covers his sins will not prosper, But whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.”) This was the message of the men that joined me to go in person to plead with him. Men he’s called “bosom brothers”, son’s in the Lord, close friends, and a mentor of his. What for us was a tender, emotional, mission of mercy and plea for true repentance was met with something, and by someone I never could have imagined. Instead of being received as the “wounds of a friend” (Proverbs 27:6), I was formally disowned and declared to be a “destroyer” to my face.

There is no way to describe the soul crushing blow I was dealt that day and it's overall impact on my life. It's was like experiencing the scene from Braveheart… where William Wallace finds out he's been betrayed by Robert the Bruce, over and over again. Walking away from that meeting, I couldn’t speak for hours I was so stunned. I am still physically, emotionally and spiritually broken and asking God to give me wisdom. I know many people are so very hurt and confused regarding what has transpired and my prayer for myself, my family, and everyone involved is that we look to Christ alone with hearts of love, mercy, and repentance seeking to root out the sin in our own lives. Galatians 6:1 Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.
This post was "inspired" by Vision Forum Inc. to Permanently Close December 31 . . . and previous posts about the goings-on at Vision Forum.

Absolutely heart-breaking.

Saturday, November 02, 2013

A quick summary of statistics related to homeschooling and homeschoolers

I thought this was interesting . . .

Homeschooled: How American Homeschoolers Measure Up