A decade or so ago, Don Tiger was well known in COG circles for "preserving" and making available cd's of Herbert Barnstorms telecasts, booklets and articles. They were widely circulated during the implosion of the Worldwide Church of God as it started refuting the teachings of Herbert Armstrong.
The following article has been making the rounds again on various Yahoo COG related groups. As usual, David C. Pack's hands are right in the middle of the ordeal. Pack wanted to take all of Tiger's work for himself to use in the RCG. A decade later and things still have not changed. Corruption still abounds in the Restored Church of God.
Friend says Church of God member wrongly indictedBy Dixon Cartwright
Journal writer Mac Overton contributed to this article.Some of Don Tiger’s former associates in some Church of God groups act as if he is guilty of heinous crimes and have hung him up to dry. So says Mr. Tiger’s close friend Greg Walburn of Pasadena, Calif. Mr. Tiger, a certified public accountant and information-technology professional who lives in Wadsworth, Ohio, was indicted in June for failing to answer a summons to a federal court. Articles have appeared about him in Ohio newspapers and on Church of God Internet forums that assume his guilt on various counts, Mr. Walburn said.Yet Mr. Tiger’s only crime, said his friend, has been “trying to help Church of God groups” by compiling historic Worldwide Church of God literature, especially the writings of WCG founder Herbert W. Armstrong. Mr. Tiger, a former WCG member and later an employee of the Philadelphia Church of God (PCG), based in Edmond, Okla., and the Restored Church of God (RCG), based in Wadsworth, was indicted in June on a charge of forgery for opening a bank account in Ohio under an assumed name.From a disagreementNews reports have said Mr. Tiger was also indicted on a charge of embezzlement. Yet that charge is “ludicrous,” said Mr. Walburn, and stems from a disagreement between Mr. Tiger and RCG founder Dave Pack, also of Wadsworth. “The investigations have found no proof of Dave Pack’s embezzlement charges,” said Mr. Walburn. “As it stands now, he has not been charged with anything from David Pack’s complaint and probably will not be.” Mr. Walburn said Mr. Pack accused Mr. Tiger of embezzling funds after Mr. Tiger, as church accountant, paid himself his last month’s salary immediately before Mr. Pack fired him.Mr. Tiger and Mr. Pack had had “major disagreements” that had nothing to do with Mr. Tiger’s legal troubles, said Mr. Walburn. “Don could see the handwriting on the wall, that Dave was going to terminate him. Don had authorization to pay himself his salary and did so before he left the employ of the RCG.“Before Pack fired him, he resigned. But just before he resigned he paid himself for the time he worked less one day, using a check at the back of the church’s checkbook, because Don had firsthand experience with Mr. Pack not paying people the money he owed them after he fired them. He did not tell Dave Pack he was going to pay his salary that day because he knew Dave Pack would have stopped payment on the check.”Subsequently, said Mr. Walburn, “the Wadsworth police took all of Don’s CD files, all he had worked on for 10 years. It will be interesting if Dave Pack gets all the CD stuff; that may be one of the things that Pack wants to achieve in all of this: control over the HWA writings that Don has worked so hard on.”Local officials, said Mr. Walburn, have not filed any charge of embezzlement “because they realize, even the detective realizes now, based upon the evidence, that Dave Pack is a liar. They found no evidence of wrongdoing on Don’s part whatsoever.”Yet Mr. Tiger still faces charges of failure to appear in federal court and forgery in a local court. The federal proceedings are working their way through the system in Detroit, Mich.Newspaper accountAccording to a July 14 article in The Medina (Ohio) Gazette, 40-year-old Donald H. Tiger “funneled an undisclosed amount of church funds into phony businesses naming him, or his aliases, as the proprietor.” According to the article, Mr. Tiger was investigated after the Restored Church of God, founded and administered by elder Dave Pack, discovered checks missing from the back of the church’s checkbook.Police arrested Mr. Tiger June 21 and held him on $100,000 bond until July 3, when his bond was lowered to a $10,000 cash bond and he was released. Police, the newspaper said, executed a search warrant at Mr. Tiger’s home and at three “storage units.”“Checks, documents and wallets containing bogus driver’s licenses were seized and, police said, show Donald Tiger is also Richard C. Russell, Gregory H. Walburn and Walter J. Noble,” said newspaper writer Jennifer Fiala.Mr. Tiger told The Journal in late July that his attorney had advised him not to discuss the case. He said he had legitimate business reasons and permission to use the aliases, all of which represent real people, friends of Mr. Tiger.Mr. Walburn, whose name appeared in the newspaper article as one of Mr. Tiger’s aliases, told The Journal Mr. Tiger is one of his best friends. “I did not worry at all about Mr. Tiger using my name to conduct business under,” he said. “I knew he was not out to defraud anyone.”Began while PCG memberMr. Walburn said the RCG took action against his friend because the church wanted to assume control of a master set of compact discs containing archives of the work of Mr. Armstrong. Mr. Tiger began work on the series of CDs while a member of the PCG. Later he broke with the PCG and affiliated with an independent PCG split, The Church of God of Neosho, Wis., and Uvalde, Texas. After Mr. Pack formed the RCG, Mr. Pack “recruited” him because of the CDs, Mr. Tiger said.The charge of forgery, said Mr. Walburn, stemmed from “false driver’s licenses” issued in Illinois. It comes down to one thing, and that is a bank account under a dba [’doing business as’ an assumed name] that he opened. The question now is was there fraud committed.”Mr. Walburn admits that Mr. Tiger should not have taken out false driver’s licenses in any state. Yet the municipal-court jurisdiction in Ohio is not properly concerned with Illinois driver’s licenses, he said.“Even though it was not a wise thing to do, he has done nothing illegal with the driver’s licenses,” said Mr. Walburn. “There was no fraud, and the courts will show this once this goes to trial. There is nothing illegal in Ohio about using a dba or aliases if there is no intent to defraud.” The legal process “just has to take its course now,” he said. “Don Tiger, even though he was using these other names, was using them by permission and for legal reasons.”If there were no intent to defraud, why was Mr. Tiger pretending to be other people?Invalid subpoena“Because of the federal case,” replied Mr. Walburn. “This judge in Detroit and the IRS [Internal Revenue Service] have illegally gotten after him. “The judge was out for blood. Don sent him a letter basically stating that, since the subpoena was invalid, he was not going to show up in court. That outraged the Detroit judge. In fact, the federal judge threw in jail for a day the person who delivered Mr. Tiger’s letter of refusal to appear. That shows you how out of control this judge is.“Yet, according to a federal judge in Ohio, the subpoena was invalid and should be voided. However, the judge in Ohio told Mr. Tiger that the only person who can void the subpoena is the issuing judge. That is why we still have this case in Detroit.”Wouldn’t it have been smart on Mr. Tiger’s part to humor the judge, even if the judge were in the wrong? “Yes,” said Mr. Walburn. “I told him at the time to humor him. “But Don thought in all good conscience that the judge was out to get the Philadelphia Church of God by bringing some trumped-up charge against that church for giving out ministerial credit on no basis, which was not the case.”The PCG had the right to sanction giving a tax break to an elder or, in this case, a ministerial trainee, said Mr. Walburn. “Don thought the court’s action in that case was just another persecution of another Church of God. Since the subpoena was flawed, he had no legal reason to show up. In fact, that’s why the case will ultimately fall apart.“You’ve got to understand that these federal judges are like gods in their little kingdoms. It gets down to how good of an attorney you’ve got if you are going to prevail over a federal judge. They have enormous power not given to them by the people.”The Detroit judge, said Mr. Walburn, sicced the IRS on Mr. Tiger. So Mr. Tiger realized that all his personal belongings--“everything he had worked for”--were at risk. “So Don took upon himself the aliases to do some business to protect himself and his family from illegal prosecution by the federal government. He wasn’t hiding out. He was just protecting himself and his assets from the federal government, which was giving itself carte blanche to take away everything he owns.”Back to 1996Mr. Tiger’s troubles, said Mr. Walburn, go back to 1996, about two years after he had left the job as treasurer of the PCG in Oklahoma. (He had earlier resigned his position as an information-technology professional in Chicago working for IBM.) In 1996 “a chiropractor who was a member of the Philadelphia Church down there [in Oklahoma] was indicted and sent to prison for failure to pay taxes,” said Mr. Walburn. “The chiropractor listed the PCG and Don Tiger as the parties with whom he worked in the church.“Mr. Tiger had authorized the church to give the chiropractor a minister’s housing credit. But the judge’s assumption, on behalf of the IRS, was that the PCG was just giving these things [housing credits] away illegally.”So after the doctor was indicted and sent to prison, some 18 months after Mr. Tiger had served as treasurer, the court subpoenaed him to testify at the man’s sentencing.“The question is why would Don need to testify after the man was convicted of tax evasion?” said Mr. Walburn. “Don Tiger said what’s the point?” he continued. “’I have no records. I haven’t been treasurer for a couple of years now. I have nothing to say.’Furthermore, the subpoena was illegally written. It was not valid. So Don Tiger says, ‘I’m not going to show up’ and delivered a letter informing the court of his constitutional right to refuse based on legal grounds.”At that point Mr. Tiger asked PCG founder and director Gerald Flurry of Edmond to hire an attorney on his behalf, but, according to Mr. Walburn, Mr. Flurry refused to do so. “Gerald Flurry sold him out,” said Mr. Walburn.The judge handling the chiropractor’s case is the same judge handling Mr. Tiger’s federal case in Michigan. “The judge got mad and abused his authority by sending his marshals and the IRS. But, when they investigated Don, they found nothing.”Fickle failingsSince the beginning of Mr. Tiger’s troubles, the leaders of Church of God organizations with which he has associated have “turned on him,” Mr. Walburn told The Journal. “Don Tiger gave up a sizable income with IBM and with banks in Chicago to work with these churches. He sincerely worked with all these splinter groups, and the leadership of every one of them has turned out to be just another Judas Iscariot. They have all betrayed him.”Mr. Walburn wasn’t in a mood for mincing words. He continued: “Some leaders of Church of God splinter groups have been found to be hypocrites time after time,” he said. “Don Tiger’s legal troubles stem from his association with the Philadelphia Church of God and Restored Church of God.“Don came to understand that the leadership in both organizations is incompetent, and from that realization grew disagreement. Once you disagree with men like Gerald Flurry and Dave Pack, they immediately want to get rid of you. That is my understanding and experience.” Mr. Walburn said the “brethren” of the groups “have been very supportive of Don. They’re the soldiers in the fight. The leaders are the sponges that want the tithes.“Dave Pack and his henchmen have even driven by Don Tiger’s house and honked at him just to harass him. “Frankly, every step of the way I warned him about these churches.”In the United States, Mr. Walburn said, “you’re guilty if you’re arrested. You are considered guilty by the district attorney and the police and the judge. Let’s face it: When you’re arrested everyone thinks they had to have something on you to arrest you. “But, if you look at the federal case in Michigan, it’s a completely unjust use of power by a judge. Remember, the federal judge in Ohio agreed with Don Tiger.”Fair-weather friendsMr. Walburn, who comes from a WCG background and is now a Modern Orthodox Jew who attends synagogue each Sabbath, said he had tried to warn Mr. Tiger about the fickleness of the Church of God leaders he was trying to assist.“He’s been working on these CDs for the last 10 years. All he wants to do, for the sake of history, is preserve and make available the writings of Herbert Armstrong that have been taken out of circulation. He isn’t making any statement about what is accurate or inaccurate in those writings.”Mr. Walburn and Mr. Tiger got acquainted in 1985. “We both worked for the Bank of America in those days, when he started getting interested in putting together all the Worldwide News issues, The Plain truth, The Good News, the correspondence-course lessons, all of it on CDs, just copying them and putting them on CDs as the technology warranted. That’s all he wanted to do.”Erosion of freedomMr. Walburn concluded his interview with The Journal with a statement about the “erosion” of freedom in America.“Our freedom is the only thing we have in this country that makes us different from any other nation,” he said. “America needs to wake up and realize that the court systems are not our friend. They take our freedoms away every day. I could tell you horror stories.”He says that, once Mr. Tiger’s legal troubles are settled, he will advise his friend that he should “go to work for a top-10 firm somewhere and get out of helping these churches. I think he’s just about learned his lesson.”The Journal tried repeatedly and unsuccessfully to contact Mr. Pack to include his comments in this article. But, just before this issue went to press, the attorney for Mr. Pack’s Restored Church of God, Craig Beidler of Wadsworth, telephoned The Journal.“The church’s position is not to sensationalize the matters involving Don Tiger, attorney Beidler said. “There are aspects that are still under investigation by civil authorities, and I’m really not at liberty right now to indicate to what extent that may or may not involve the church. Criminal investigations by their very nature are not matters that you can discuss much while they are going on.”Mr. Beidler said the church does not want to “make all kinds of claims of theft” against Mr. Tiger. “We’re really trying to reserve comment in regard to what did or didn’t happen here. As far as the indictment against him is concerned, it is for matters that don’t involve the church per se.”Mr. Walburn has set up a legal-defense fund for Mr. Tiger. Mr. Walburn said Mr. Tiger would also welcome cards and letters of encouragement. Write Mr. Tiger or contribute to the fund in care of Mr. Walburn at 2814 Mataro St., Pasadena, Calif. 91107, U.S.A.Reprinted from The Journal: News of the Churches of God, July 31, 2000.Web site: http://www.thejournal.org