Tuesday, March 01, 2016

former deacons of MH file RICO complaint against officers of Mars Hill Church, Mark Driscoll and Sutton Turner, survey of coverage and some notes on how this was percolating since April 2014

Yes, there'd been rumblings and murmurs for a couple of years.  It wasn't worth writing about while it was just rumblings and murmurs.  Now that an actual complaint has been filed, however, there's something to write about.

In an earlier post we revisited an old Mark Driscoll tweet about forgiveness.

https://twitter.com/PastorMark/status/346683312452030465
Forgiveness is not covering up sin committed against us. If a crime is committed, you can forgive someone & still call the cops.
10:38 AM - 17 Jun 2013


Well, as of February 29, 2016 a RICO suit has been filed against officers of the non-profit corporation that was Mars Hill.

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/2016/02/29/rico-lawsuit-filed-against-former-leaders-of-mars-hill-church/
http://wp.production.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/files/2016/02/Filed-Complaint.pdf

http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/mark-driscoll-accused-of-racketeering-at-mars-hill-church/
http://www.seattlepi.com/local/politics/article/Ex-members-in-suit-charge-pattern-of-6861173.php
http://www.ballardnewstribune.com/2016/03/01/news/mark-driscoll-former-mars-hill-leaders-sued-fraud

http://www.religionnews.com/2016/03/01/mark-driscoll-reportedly-sued-to-find-out-where-tithes-went/
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/02/29/lawsuit-controversial-pastor-ran-mars-hill-megachuch-like-a-crime-syndicate.html

For those who may not have seen the headline ...

http://www.worldmag.com/2014/04/mars_hill_church_moves_to_destroy_documents

...
A group of 16 former Mars Hill members delivered a letter to the church earlier today, asking Mars Hill to delay or rescind the implementation of this policy. In the letter, obtained by WORLD, the group’s attorney, Brian Fahling, asked the church to “preserve electronically stored information that may contain evidence.” Fahling wrote that his clients anticipate legal action in which the church, Driscoll, and others in church leadership “will be named as defendants.” The letter lists anticipated litigation in the areas of “RICO [Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act], Fraud, Conspiracy, Libel, Slander, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress.”


WORLD magazine reported as far back as April 2014 that a RICO suit was being considered. So news coverage from nearly two years ago established that some kind of litigation was being considered.  For those who, against all odds, have never come across the upcoming statement before, back in 2014 Mark Driscoll said:
 “A lot of the people we were dealing with in this season remain anonymous, and so we don’t know how to reconcile or how to work things out with people because we’re not entirely sure who they are.”

That July 19, 2014 statement post-dated WORLD's coverage by a few months, obviously. Joyful Exiles first appeared in March 2012.  If campus leadership at Mars Hill was attempting to contact Wenatchee The Hatchet by certified letter as far back as December 2013 and WtH wasn't even a former staff member or leader, then surely during a season (May 2013) in which the BoAA sent letters to more than 100 former staffers it could have been possible to figure out who would have sent that letter from April 2014.

For those who read the 42 page document a good deal of content relates to Mars Hill Global.  For what it's worth, it might be worth noting that back in May 2015 ...
http://investyourgifts.com/mars-hill-global/
...
Unfortunately, Mars Hill’s attorneys have requested that I not blog. I have removed some of the financial information as well as other non-financial information in response to their request.

Now it's certainly possible to not trust what Turner wrote but by his account he was contacted by attorneys for Mars Hill and told to remove financial information related to the topic of Mars Hill Global, apparently. They also requested that Turner not blog. 

It may be something to keep in mind about how long things have taken to get to a point where a RICO has been filed, whether or not anything actually comes of the RICO being uncertain. 

So maybe for a guy like Mark Driscoll forgiveness is a gift you give to yourself to move on with your life, and maybe forgiveness still provides the liberty of calling the cops if a crime has been committed.  Well, in that taxonomy of forgiveness it may be possible to forgive someone but still file a RICO suit against them.