I am just like many others here in exCOG land that are reading Mike's blog about Ron Weinland. Weinland's conviction as a felon and the jurors that are stepping forward and sharing what it was like listing to this disgusting pig has been a fascinating and eye opening read. These jurors were presented with reams of evidence, so well documented by the prosecution that took eight extra large notebooks to contain it all. They heard the weak excuses that Weinland and his entourage presented as "truth." They heard the lies, saw through the lies, and dealt Weinland the hand he never saw coming. Just think how amazing it will be for Ron's attorney's to be able to list this case on their resume.....
Weinland and his cult are screaming church persecution now in order to blind the members from seeing the real truth about their devious leader and his family. The only problem with Weinland's church leadership taking this position is that the prosecution never once attacked the church or it's"teachings." What was attacked was the misuse of funds by Ron, his wife, his daughter Audry, son Jeremy and others, all in the name of doing the work. Three BMW's, all expense paid vacations, Vegas trips, cruise vacations, massages and Las Vegas shows, are not "the work.".
Through all of this the various splinter group leaders have been conspicuously silent. Even more so after Ron's conviction. Why have none of them spoken out about the abuse of funds? Are they scared that they could be next? It is well known throughout the Churches of God that ministry leaders and higher ups have regularly abused their positions and used tithe/offering money for their own expenses.
They have bought cars, homes, fine art, clothes, had their masters and doctorates paid for with church funds, and on and on the list could go. Meredith got caught decades ago with his hands in the cookie jar and had to repay the church all the money he used from third tithe to furnish and decorate his home. HWA and Rader were hauled into court for their financial abuses and not for church doctrine. Church money paid for divorces, lawsuits (Meredith's Leona McNair debacle), European spas and penile implants.
I imagine many of these splinter group leaders are shaking in their shoes right now at the possibility that they could be next. But, an even bigger question to be asked is, "Why do the members continue to put up with it?" "Why do they continue to let the ministry and church leaders get away with it?" "Why allow them continued use of your hard earned money for their own luxury life styles?" The old Church of God mantra, "once I write that check the money is God's to use as he sees fit" no longer works. God is not the one spending that money, corrupt men and women are. I hope this is only the first of many lawsuits to come down the Church of God pipeline.
All of this rambling was stirred on by yet another posting tonight by one of the jurors that so wisely convicted Ronnie:
[Juror] #215, You do have a good memory. I also would agree that Laura was added to church business just to make her vacations a little more legit, believable, and non-taxable. Even boy wonder, (Ron) admitted on stand that she did not really do much or speak on these trips, but as Ron put it, “we are a team”. One thing she did do very well was shop and spend money. Remember McBride asked “well couldn’t she counsel over the phone?” “Or couldn’t they come to your house and talk to her.” As for the so called “scholarship”, I believe that to be an afterthought to explain why Jeremy’s college courses were paid from a church account or Ron’s account that the church reimbursed. Also to clarify, Jeremy’s expenses were paid through a Citi Bank card or account and Audra’s through a Bank of KY account. The prosecution showed so many accounts it was hard to keep track of them.
As I have mention before, after the IRS Special Agent knocked on their door 7/02/08, they made some small adjustments and continued business as usual. Another observation I had was that these “church related travels” always grew with added vacation times and long (some quite long) layovers in hot spots such as Hawaii, Vegas, or places near some of Weinlands relatives, both domestic and abroad.
As for Google Adwords, Ronnie knew he was obviously under IRS investigation so he had better show some church expenses. However, this was well thought out by the criminal mastermind because I know as well as you, that these adds brought in more money as well. It was the proverbial, killing two birds with one stone.
Another great Ronism was when McBride was questioning him about his $1,700.00 + suit being bought on a church account. Boy wonder states, “I am wearing that suit today” he said with a big proud smile. Then McBride said, “Well, you are on personal business here today”. “Are you not?” “Is that the church’s suit?” PRICELESS!! This occurred when Ron was on the stand. I can not remember if that was before or after Ron was bragging (with another huge smile of confidence) about his 5 series being a “luxury car.” What a moron! Wow, look, his name is in there.
This is strictly my opinion. I find it interesting that Ron &/or Laura seem to schedule these vacations, Oops….! “church functions” in some very nice destinations and traveling hot spots. I also recall that there were not any church members present, except on very few occasions, and those members always seemed to be Johnnie Harrell and his wife, Terry and his wife, Audra and Jeremy and their better halves. I am not sure how many church members were at any of these functions except for some of the local ones that the members paid out of their pockets to attend.
Another classic was listening to Dalrymple and Ron both, but at separate times, explain about the $85.00 deep tissue massage on the Princess Cruise Line. They were both quite convinced that this was a church expense. Okay………whatever y’all say! At that point, among many others, I was ready to put my hip waders on because it was getting deep. If you know what I mean. Anyway, the entertainment factor was PRICELESS once again!
Lastly, I wish I could have gotten a dollar for every time moRON, Audra, and Dalrymple said “I don’t know” or “I guess.” I would be sitting on a heap of cash people. They all remembered explicit details when it benefited one of their lies, but when the overwhelming truth and proof set before their eyes was the subject they seemed to suffer from a terrible case of amnesia. After a long while, Audra at least had a stronger back and a bigger set of balls than the two boys, by admitting “yea, I guess.”