Mike has done another great job on Don't Drink the Flavor-Aid with a new entry The Government’s Case Against Ronald E. Weinland.
Here are some excerpts:
We’re here today, ladies and gentlemen, because Ronald Weinland attempted to evade his taxes willfully during the years 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008. During that period of time, he used his church to fund an affluent lifestyle and he used the instrumentalities of that church to conceal his true income from the Internal Revenue Service and shield himself from further taxation.
There’s a duality here that I think the evidence is going to show you about the nature of the Church of God and Ronald Weinland’s role in it. On one side we have the spiritual nature of the church and the congregation. That’s not what we’re focusing on. What we’re focusing on and what the evidence will speak to is the organizational function, structure, and income sources of the church that are legitimate as they relate to their employee, Ronald Weinland. There’s a duality with regard to Mr. Weinland. He is the spiritual leader of the church, but he is also the business leader of the church. And the church, like any other organization, has a legal component, a structural component, a hierarchy of organization, functions, and area that it covers, which all give the basis for what are ordinary and reasonable expenses.
Despite Weinerdude's lies that this is a direct attack on his splinter cult, the court action was NEVER against the church. It was directed directly at him.
The church is structured just like any other corporation might be. There is a board of directors and there is a president of the corporation, and that president and board, of course, sets the policies and decides what the corporation will do, how it’s organized and where it goes, et cetera.Advisory councils in Armstrongism are in name only. They operate at the whims of the Evangelist in charge. Deviate the slightest from the golden path and you ass is grass. That is part of the reason all the various COGlet splinter groups still live in the 1980's and cannot cross the portal into the 21st century.
The only difference about this corporation and many others is that Mr. Weinland is the only board member and the only officer of the corporation with any legal authority in the corporation. Now, there is an advisory board of directors and they are called evangelists and elders.
On the legal side of the house, they have no authority, only what Mr. Weinland allows them. And interestingly, they can be dismissed from their positions by Mr. Weinland at his discretion. There’s no regulation on that, it’s up to him. And there’s nothing inherently illegal about any of that, but that is the legal structure of the Church of God – Preparing for the Kingdom of God.
Generally, the way the church operates – because I think what the evidence will show you is the vast majority of the expenses are related to Mr. Weinland’s travel – is Mr. Weinland or his wife, Laura, would put church expenses on their personal credit cards. Over this period of time we’re talking about, they had seven different credit cards with three or five different institutions. So if Mr. Weinland is going to Melbourne, he’s going to put the travel, the flight, the hotel, the meals, everything that’s a legitimate expense on his American Express or some other card.
He might also put on that American Express an article of clothing or some other item he might buy while he’s there. The — when he comes home, he might put on that American Express dinner out with his wife and so on. So what he’s doing is, and Laura does this too, Mrs. Weinland, is they’re commingling their business expenses and their personal expenses on these credit cards. So when the credit card bills come in to Audra — By the way, I forgot to tell you on the Church of God accounts, there are three signatories, Robert Weinland, Laura Weinland, and Audra Little. When the Church of God — when the bills come in, what Audra does is she pays them, every credit card gets paid off every month.
And here’s what she does: She looks at the amount of the credit card, she’ll testify to this, she takes money from a Church of God account and she puts it into a Weinland account. Ronald and Laura Weinland over this period also have, I think it’s about, ten or 11 personal accounts, checking, savings, money market accounts that they use and put money in. The three signatories to that account — those accounts are Ronald, Laura, and Audra; the same three people. When the credit card bill comes in, the money gets transferred by Audra from a Church of God account into a Weinland account and then it gets paid in full.
You might hear some testimony that then it goes to Laura Weinland and she then determines what were the business expenses, what were the personal expenses, and you’ll see some checks going back into Church of God accounts and you’ll see some checks made out to Laura Weinland going back into a Weinland account, but when it comes out in the wash, there isn’t enough money of legitimate income for the Weinlands to cover the costs of all of the money that we’re talking about.
Let me give you an example of what I’m talking about. Just on the credit cards alone, the evidence will show you from 2004 to 2008, the Weinlands had over $500,000 of personal expenses paid for by the Church of God. And that’s excluding anything that is arguably a Church of God expense. The evidence will also show you the same thing happens from their accounts.
I have always wondered why they never went after Weinerdude's wife and daughter Laura. These two appear to be accessories to Weinerdude's criminal activities.
What are the things that Mr. Weinland spends money on other than the legitimate church expenses? And this is what the evidence will show, I’m just going to tick down this list.
All these things and more are paid for ultimately by church funds. Now, that in and of itself, while it’s not really good business practice, is not inherently illegal. The crime here is willfully evading your income tax.
- Dining out for himself or Laura Weinland;
- expensive clothing for himself and his wife;
- Mrs. Weinland’s travel with him everywhere he went;
- his mortgage and utilities;
- his adult daughter, Audra’s, mortgage and utilities;
- health and auto insurance for himself;
- health and auto insurance for Audra;
- a security system for his home;
- and a security system for Audra’s condo.
- He bought jewelry for Laura and Audra,
- and we believe he bought his son’s wife’s engagement ring.
- Also, he bought automobiles. He bought an automobile for himself,
- and he bought an automobile for Audra,
- and he bought an automobile for Jeremy, which he eventually shipped over to Germany, because that’s where Jeremy lives.
- And in addition to all the world traveling he did, he also took vacations during those period of times, including a trip to Germany to celebrate Audra’s wedding and a cruise to Alaska.
Check the above link to the article for the complete article.