With COVID 19 making a mess of things, the long delay since we’d last heard from Deloitte Restructuring, Sage, and KPMG, along with some accidental comments on past articles pertaining to “where are things” and “I’ve waited long enough for my money”, I thought it’d be a good time for a refresh on where everything is.
ABC District CEF and DIL CCAA
The ABC District CEF / DIL CCAA action is being handled by Deloitte Restructuring Inc, and their CCAA web page is here.
Deloitte Restructuring’s April 1, 2020 letter related that the CCAA process is almost done – they need court approval to make the final distribution and get certain approvals to wrap everything up. When COVID 19 hit, the courts restricted their calendar to “important” cases which resulted in CCAA related cases being delayed for the forseeable future. This means (yet another) delay in getting money back to the depositors and concluding the CCAA process. (1) Once the CCAA action is concluded, the representive actions can then proceed.
If you’re a depositor, have moved, or haven’t heard from the Monitor in a while, the letter lists Georgia Young at (403) 956-0365 or firstname.lastname@example.org as the contact for address updates and questions about the CCAA case.
ABC District CEF / DIL Representative Actions
The representative action lawsuits are being handled by these lawyers:
- CEF: https://higgertylaw.ca/lutheran-church-representative-actions/
- DIL: https://www.smrlaw.ca/Lutheran-Church-Canada-The-Alberta-British-Columbia-District-Investments-Ltd.shtml
Some prep work on the CEF action has taken place, beyond that these actions are “on hold” until the CCAA action is concluded. I’ll be tracking these representative actions as they proceed.
Sage Properties was created out of ABC District’s properties and businesses and tasked with selling the assets in a way that maximizes shareholder return. Their properties included the Prince of Peace residence home and Prince of Peace school. You can read the Sage shareholder communications here.
In the December 2019 shareholder update, Sage discussed how they’d received interest from prospective buyers and they were working through the various details to determine the best way to get to a sale. When COVID19 hit, Sages following updates detailed how they had pivoted to focussing on protecting the residents. As of the last update Sage has reported no Covid related deaths at the Prince of Peace facility.
I expect the Board’s primary focus will continue to be protecting their residents and navigating through pandemic-related issues until the pandemic has passed. In addition, there’s a wave of COVID19 related bankruptcies coming that will impact how much banks lend and who they lend it to. In the immediate term I expect this combination of factors will delay the sale of Sage related properties until this crisis has passed and life gets closer to normal.
Shepherd’s Village Ministries
SVM was another senior’s housing initiative that ABC District created, shoveled ~$17M into, then “forgave” ~$12.5M before the SVM Board ultimately folded tent and the courts appointed KPMG to liquidate the assets. The KPMG liquidation web page is here and you can find links to some of my past articles on SVM here.
According to KPMG’s second report, the SVM Board left the company in a complete mess as well as being named in a number of lawsuits. All told I expect SVM to remain under liquidator control for quite a while before it’s finally sold off and whatever funds remain is returned to the creditors.
Progress reports have been few and far between with the initial entries dated 2017 and last liquidator report dated Feb 2019.
LCC Ecclesiastical Disciplinary Action
In September 2019 the ASC settled their case with the ABC District respondents, which involved each respondent admitting to:
48. Subsequent to January 1, 2008, the District and DIL each violated section 92(4.1) of the Act by making statements which they knew or ought to have known did not state all of the facts required to be stated to make the statements not misleading, and which would reasonably be expected to have a significant effect on the market price or value of the securities distributed by the District and DIL.
The respondents were Donald Robert Schiemann, Kurtis Francis
Robinson, James Theodore Kentel, Mark David Ruf, and Harold Carl Schmidt.
The ABC District formed a Task Force which issued a particularly damning report that you can read here. District President Schaefer and the ABC District BOD dissolved the Task force before it could issue a concluding report.
All told, for a pastor, telling the truth is kind of a big deal. For a District President discussing the safety of people’s life savings, the standard is even higher. And yet – somehow – even in the face of overwhelming evidence and their public confession of culpability, I have not heard of any ecclesiastical action being taken with respect to Pastors Donald Schiemann and Mark Ruf.
Not only do they remain members in good standing on the LCC clergy roster, the Nov/Dec 2019 Canadian Lutheran reported that Don Schiemann participated in clergy related activities in Valleyview, and I’ve gotten reports of them engaging in clergy-specific activities in other churches.
Now imagine being a parishioner that was misled and deceived by these people, who had their life’s savings wasted on speculative real estate ventures, who had their retirement devestated by this loss, who hasn’t heard a word of repentance, and then seeing one of these men at the front of your church daring to claim to represent Christ to His people.
This naturally leads one to ask – when Synod adopted Article VI of the Synodical Constitution at the 2017 convention, did it really mean it?
Article VI Termination of Membership
1. The membership of a Member who acts contrary to the confession laid down in Article II or to the conditions of membership set out in Article V or persists in an offensive conduct, shall, after previous futile admonition, be terminated.
2. Termination of membership shall come into effect only after following any procedures set out in the Synodical Bylaws.
One has to wonder – if Synod can’t act to protect the lay membership from dangerous clergy when evidence of their out-of-bounds behavior is both clear and overwhelming, then what is the point of being a member of Synod? Scripture’s recording of the consequences of the “sin of Eli” doesn’t paint a pretty picture about the end result.
Note 1: The “dissenters” group delayed resolution of the ABC District CEF/DIL CCAA action by a number of months and cost their fellow depositors a fair amount of money in professional services fees that was completely avoidable. If the dissenters had participated in the process instead of repeatedly trying to hijack it, the CCAA action would’ve concluded by now and I estimate depositors would receive 2-4% more of their funds back than they will get now.