Thursday, July 24, 2008

Russell Foundation Scandal Turning Heads

The Russell Foundation describes itself as "a Christian faith-based organization that recognizes that all people are made of one blood, and therefore should co-exist as one body of people upon the earth, living in various nations, yet emanating from the same instance of human origin." People knowledgeable with the grand jury investigation of the nonprofit organization in the wake of its recent bankruptcy filing describe a small group of individuals squeezing every last ounce of blood out of the organization for their own personal benefit. There are tales of a California clothier being flown into town to fit the men in charge with the finest in tailored suits. The women had to settle for the best that Nordstroms had to offer. A northside jeweler crafted gold rings with "RF" initials to distinguish the illustrious crew doing God's work. Exotic rugs were purchased and then disappeared without the bill ever being paid. And a high-ranking Indianapolis police department official pulled double-duty as "chief of security" for the group. An IMPD police cruiser couldnt' cut it. He had a Cadillac Escalade to make his important rounds.

As the Star's Jon Murray notes in his story yesterday, it is estimated that at least $1 million was misappropriated by key officials within the organization. All totalled, the foundation's filing lists more than $2.5 million in debts and assets of just $235,000. A grand jury investigation is focusing on three individuals, Rev. Michael Russell, Indianapolis City County Councilor Paul Bateman and Manuel Gonzalez. While one of the investigated is protesting his innocence, a source close to the investigation says the individual cannot account for nearly $500,000 in foundation expenditures. The foundation accumulated at one point about 17 cars, most of which are identified in the bankruptcy filing. The source says forged signatures allowed one of the individuals to get hold of nearly $100,000 using a financing scheme through a Connersville car dealer for cars already purchased.

The source suspects the individuals in charge of the foundation went on the spending spree in anticipation of an $11 million investment from an outside investment firm. There were big plans. Talks with some of the country's wealthiest businessmen in America were supposedly underway--hence the need for a "chief of security". The focus was no longer on helping inner-city poor with housing and other needs. There was big talk of a high speed monorail from Indianapolis to Chicago, tapping a closed down steel mill in Northwest Indiana that would help put many unemployed in Da Region to work. Ethanol production was planned. It all required lots of walking around money we're told. Cash-filled wallets were needed to work the halls at the State House and our nation's capitol to win support for the foundation's projects according to one tale.

The matter is now in the hands of a Marion County grand jury. The Star's Jon Murray writes, "Earlier this month, investigators seized computers, files and financial documents from the foundation's headquarters on Indianapolis' Far Southside, according to court records." "Another search of Gonzalez's home resulted in the seizure of a computer and records." Murray's article notes that a grand jury investigated another nonprofit run by Russell's former wife in 2004. "The center's board accused Russell's then-wife, Executive Director Florence Alexander, of financial malfeasance, spurring a search of the Near-Northside community center by Brizzi's grand jury investigators," Murray writes. "No charges resulted, but the center later went into receivership." Will this investigation end the same way? Who knows. I would feel more confident if the feds stepped in and took over this investigation, particularly since the allegations involve a federal tax-exempt organization.

UPDATE: The Star's Jon Murray reports on the resignation of Councilor Paul Bateman as a member of the Council's Ethics Committee following news of the investigation of the Russell Foundation. Marion Co. GOP Chairman Tom John called for Bateman's resignation from the panel at a press conference outside the City-County Building earlier today.

UPDATE II: An observant AI reader brought to my attention this story from the July 5, 2008 Gary Post-Tribune discussing the death of the planned monorail by the Russell Foundation. John Byrne wrote:

This time last year, Northwest Indiana was abuzz with the possibilities of a space age public transit system and hundreds of local jobs to support it.

Remember the monorail from East Chicago to Indianapolis? Well, it apparently has become yet another of the region's transportation pipe dreams.

Much ink was spilled over the plan, which investors first unveiled to state legislators in spring 2007.

A silent, ecologically sound train could carry people and freight between East Chicago and Indianapolis, a model for the rest of the nation.

Best of all, it wouldn't cost the public a dime to build.

The Westminster International Corp., a Montana investment group, would front all the money to build the transporter on existing railroad right-of-way, company spokesman Richard Shafsky told a group of local officials in Merrillville last year.

And better yet, Shafsky said the company would reopen a local steel mill to construct monorail infrastructure and sell it around the country.

On Wednesday, a spokeswoman for Shafsky said a lack of political support locally killed the monorail plan.

"It never got past the initial discussions," said a representative for Shafsky who declined to give her full name.

Area political consultant Joe Gomeztagle worked on behalf of the monorail investment group -- which included the faith-based Indianapolis non-profit the Russell Foundation -- to coordinate discussions with decision makers along the proposed route between Lake Michigan and the state capital.

Gomeztagle said he recently received word from Russell Foundation lawyers that the group had declared bankruptcy.

"I was worried as this went along that they would give people around here hope for this monorail proposal and then it wouldn't work out," Gomeztagle said.

Russell Foundation attorneys were not available this week to discuss the agency.

A telephone number listed on the Russell Foundation Web page has been disconnected.

22 comments:

guido said...

More corruption from the clergy

Curious George said...

Who was the high-ranking IMPD officer?

Concerned Taxpayer said...

Gee...imagine that. A poor, black church is gonna save the world by building high-speed monorail to Chicago, re-open a closed steel mill, ethanol factories, etc.

The Congress of the United States and the Indiana Legislature couldn't get any of this done, but these three could!

All it took was a fancy suit, fancy cars, and gullible people.

Chandler said...

The IMPD High Ranking Official is Deputy Chief Bill Benjamin, assisted by Major darryl Pierce and retired cop Richard Crenshaw. No stranger to investigations involving missing money (Property Room) and investigations for corrupt activities (Myron Powell)

Advance Indiana said...

Note that there is no evidence of wrongdoing by any police officer in question. The focus is one the decision-makers who had control of the foundation's expenditures.

Bart Lies said...

http://www.taxexemptworld.com/search.asp?type=os&state=IN&city=Indianapolis

Tax-exempt status is a very popular thing. I had no idea.

Chandler said...

You obviously don't know these police officers! Tell me...if the Russell Foundation was a Housing Development or Rail Lines Development Foundation and they have no real estate, no houses, no rail lines and no equipment. What exactly were these "so called" police officers patroling? What was the Chief of Security securing in his expensive, bling bling cadillac? Or should I ask, who were they patroling?

Concerned Taxpayer said...

You mean those police officers, with more than 50 years as detectives, didn't think maybe something was wrong!!!

Chandler said...

What these "Keystone Cops" did was give an air of legitimacy to Russell and his band of prostitute ministers. The cops had to know that something was wrong! You are Chief of Security and you patrol "nothing" in a brand new Cadillac? Was the poor victim who loaned the million dollars to the Russell Group motivated to trust them because they had high ranking IMPD officers as security? What were the high ranking officers doing while the Russell Group was purchasing all of the expensive cars, clothing and gold rings?
The Russell Group also sponsored a reception for Greg Ballard at the Skyline Club after he was elected. They slicked Greg Ballard into keeping their special security cops in appointed ranks within IMPD and it would appear based upon their bankruptcy filing that they also stiffed the Skyline Club for the bill for Greg Ballard's reception. I wonder if Greg Ballard has "Had Enough" of these B.S. community leaders and their Special Security!
Did the Chief of Police approve of these high ranking officers working for a group associated with a man that that was the target of other investigations involving missing money. (Citizens Service Center?) How can these high ranking officers reduce murders in their jurisdictions when they are performing private security duties for a Con-Operation and patrolling in a fancy Cadillac? I understand that certain people have recently removed fancy and expensive oriental rugs from their Giest area homes????????? Can you spell "COVERUP"

Fair View In News said...

TO ADVANCE:
IT APPEARS A BETTER DESCRIPTION OF THE RUSSELL FOUNDATION MISSION AND PURPOSE IS FOUND ON THEIR WEBSITE AT WWW.RUSSELL-FOUNDATION.COM TO ALLEVIATE POVERTY AND TO BRING ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT TO INDIVIDUALS, FAMILIES, AND COMMUNITIES. THE FOUNDATION WAS APPARENTLY PREPARING TO LAUNCH ITS OPERATIONS BY ITS OWN CORPORATE DESIGN FOR EXECUTIVE LEVEL STATUS.
A CORPORATION PLANNING AND EXPECTING TO IMPLEMENT HUMANITARIAN AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS IN THE MILLIONS AND BILLIONS OF DOLLARS, SHOULD SO REFLECT THE MISSION BY A TOP-LEVEL EXECUTIVE ENVIRONMENT, THEREFORE, CORPORATE APPAREL, VEHICLES, STATIONARY, OFFICES ARE NOT UNCOMMON OR UNUSUAL. I BELIEVE THE EXOTIC RUGS ARE ANOTHER FALSE REPORT.
THE CADILLAC ESCALADE WAS PURCHASED BY THE FOUNDATION FOR ITS SECURITY DETAIL IN TRANSPORTING AND PROVIDING PROTECTION FOR HIGH-LEVEL REPRESENTATIVES OF PRIVATE INVESTMENT GROUPS (PRIVATE BANKERS) AND THEIR TECHNOLOGICAL REPRESENTATIVES, AS THEY ARRIVED FOR DISCUSSIONS AND PROJECT DEVELOPMENT ACTIVITIES.
GONZALEZ ADVISED THAT THERE WAS NO “FORMAL GRAND JURY PROCEEDING” UNDERWAY, AND NO 1099 WAS APPARENTLY ISSUED FOR FOUNDATION $500,000, THESE ARE OTHER INCIDENTS OF FALSE REPORTING.
THESE CARS WERE APPARENTLY OBTAINED FOR CORPORATE EXECUTIVE USE, WHICH IS NOT UNCOMMON, ESPECIALLY, IN LIEU OF A STATEWIDE OVERSIGHT OF PROGRAMS AND PROJECTS FOR EXECUTIVES. IT APPEARS THAT THE FOUNDATION HAS INVOLVEMENT WITH SEVERAL PRIVATE BANKING GROUPS FOR PROJECT FUNDING OF GRANTS, COMMUNITY INFRASTRUCTURE, MONORAIL, AND ETHANOL AND HAD JUST COMPLETED PROJECT DEVELOPMENT REQUIREMENTS NECESSARY FOR FUNDING.
ONE OF THE FUNDER’S REPRESENTATIVES COMMITTED TO $11 MILLION FOR OPERATIONS DEVELOPMENT, MEANING PAYROLL, EQUIPMENT, ADVERTISING AND OTHER OPERATIONAL PLANS. IT APPEARS THERE WAS A DELAY OF FUNDING DISBURSEMENTS, BUT THAT SUCH COMMITMENTS ARE STILL FORTHCOMING, APPARENTLY NOT IN TIME ENOUGH TO SAVE THE CORPORATION FROM BANKRUPTCY.
SECURITY FOR HIGH-LEVEL EXECUTIVE GUEST IS NOT UNCOMMON OR UNUSUAL, ESPECIALLY DURING A PERIOD OF HIGH CRIME IN INDIANAPOLIS LAST YEAR, OF WHICH SEVERAL CASES WERE NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONALLY BROADCAST. EXECUTIVES REPRESENTING SUCH WEALTH WOULD EXPECT SECURITY IN SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES. THE HIGH RATE OF CRIME IN THIS YEAR SHOULD DICTATE THE SAME PROTOCOL, AS A MATTER OR RESPECT AND SECURITY.
IT APPEARS THAT THE ENTIRE CORPORATE PLANNING IN OFFICES AND PERSONNEL DEVELOPMENT SHOWED AN INTENSE EFFORT ON THE CORPORATION TO PREPARE TO FOCUS ON ITS COMMUNITY PROGRAMS(GRANTS, ETC.).
THE FOUNDATION IT APPEARS DID CONTRIBUTE TO MANY COMMUNITY CAUSES LAST YEAR. (GRANTS LINK COMMUNITY SUPPORT CONTRIBUTIONS)
THE WEBSITE REFLECTS THE CREATION OF 25,000 JOBS WITH THE MONORAIL CONCEPT, AND ETHANOL PLANT FINANCING FOR FARMERS AND ENTITIES HOLDING PERMITS FOR PLANTS BUT WITHOUT AMPLE INVESTMENT CAPITAL. THERE IS APPARENTLY NO PLANNING WITH THIS FOUNDATION FOR SPECIFIC MINORITY INTERESTS, BUT, SIMPLY OPPORTUNITIES FOR ALL.
I BELIEVE THE REPORT OF "CASH-FILLED WALLETS WAS NEEDED AT THE STATE HOUSE AND THE NATION’S CAPITAL" IS ANOTHER FALSE REPORT, AS NO ONE APPEARS TO BE KNOWLEDGEABLE OF SUCH LOBBYING ACTIVITIES.
APPARENTLY NEWS REPORTS AND RUMORS REFERRING TO RUSSELL’S CONNECTIONS TO CITIZENS RECEIVERSHIP TAKEOVER; BATEMAN’S FINANCIAL CONNECTIONS WITH THE UAW, AND GONZALEZ’S FINANCIAL CONNECTIONS WITH THE HISPANIC CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION IS UNFOUNDED AND UNTRUE AS REPORTED AND RUMORED.
ALSO, IT WOULD APPEAR THAT A GREAT DEAL OF PROJECT DEVELOPMENT IS NECESSARY BEFORE IMPLEMENTATION OF ANY PROJECT OF THIS MAGNITUDE. MR. SHAFSKY MAY BE AWAITING THE EXECUTION OF THOSE DEVELOPMENTS, AS HE HAD MENTIONED IN HIS PRESENTATION AT THE STATEHOUSE AND TO NORTH WEST INDIANA OFFICIALS.
TO GUIDO: NO SIMPLY MORE SLANDEROUS PERCEPTIONS DEVELOPED FROM FALSE REPORTING.
TO CONCERNED TAXPAYER: THE RUSSELL FOUNDATION DOES NOT APPEAR TO BE A POOR BLACK CHURCH, AND IF SO, WHAT A SARCASTIC REMARK TO GOD’S ABILITY TO USE SMALL PEOPLE FOR BIG THINGS (DAVID, GIDEON, JOSEPH) SUCH OPPORTUNITIES ARE NOT UNCOMMON WITH GOD’S GUIDANCE.
IT APPEARS CONGRESS AND THE LEGISLATURE DIDN’T WANT TO INVEST THE MONEY FOR THESE PROJECTS, BUT PRIVATE BANKING AND PRIVATE INVESTMENT GROUPS ARE INTERESTED, AND THE MONEY MAKES THE DIFFERENCE IN GETTING THESE THINGS ACCOMPLISHED. APPARENTLY, NONE OF THE HIGH LEVEL ENGINEERS, SCIENTIST, POLITICIANS, ETC. WAS GULLIBLE TO THESE UNIQUE OPPORTUNITIES AS THEY PERFORMED THE PROJECT DEVELOPMENT ACTIVITIES.

THE SECURITY PERSONNEL WERE ONLY RELEVANT TO SECURITY PLANNING, AND HAD NO DEALINGS OR INVOLVEMENTS WITH OPERATIONS DEVELOPMENT.
TO CHANDLER: THE OFFICERS MENTIONED ARE BEYOND REPROACH, AND IS AMONG INDY’S FINEST IN SOLVING CRIMES AND WAS ONLY ASSOCIATED WITH THE PROPER DEVELOPMENTS OF THE FOUNDATION’S ACTIVITIES AS IT RELATED TO PROVIDE PROTECTION FOR REPRESENTATIVES OF PRIVATE BANKING ENTITIES AND THEIR TECHNOLOGICAL BUSINESS PARTNERS. THIS VEHICLE WAS PURCHASED FOR SECURITY TRANSPORT OF EXECUTIVE GUEST AND NOT OWNED PERSONALLY OR PRIVATELY BY THEM. THE PATROL ANALYSIS IS SIMPLY YOUR BLIND ATTEMPT TO DESCRIBE ACTIVITIES THAT YOU’RE NOT INFORMED ON.
IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT THE PERSON YOU DESCRIBE AS A “POOR VICTIM” THAT LOANED START-UP CAPITAL TO THE ORGANIZATION TO USED AT IT'S SOLE DISCRETION, IS A BUSINESS PARTNER OF THE FOUNDATION, WHO MET AND CONVERSED EXTENSIVELY WITH PRIVATE BANKER REPRESENTATIVES; SPOKE AT THE FOUNDATIONS NORTH WEST ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT SUMMIT HELD IN NORTH WEST INDIANA AT THE RADISSON; AND THAT THE FOUNDATION WOULD IN TURN SUPPORT HIS ORGANIZATION. I BELIEVE THE FULFILLMENT OF ALL ONGOING PROJECT ACTIVITIES WILL PROVIDE THE OPPORTUNITY FOR MUTUAL SUPPORT OF BOTH ORGANIZATIONS AS APPARENTLY AGREED.
CHANDLER FALSE STATEMENTS:
NO RECEPTION FOR MAYOR BALLARD WAS RENDERED BY THE ORGANIZATION.
MAYOR BALLARD CANNOT BE SLICKED, AS YOU ASSERTED. THE SKYLINE BILL MENTIONED IN BANKRUPTCY APPEARS SPECIFIC TO ONE OF THE THREE PERSONS BEING INVESTIGATED AND OCCURRED IN THE MONTH OF DECEMBER (?).
THIS FOUNDATION, AS MANY OTHER PEOPLE AND ORGANIZATIONS HAVE BEEN THE VICTIM OF FALSE PERCEPTIONS, OPINIONATED STATEMENTS, JUDGMENT CALLS ON THERE CORPORATE DESIGN STRUCTURE. IN MY OPINION, THE FREEDOM OF THE PRESS, SHOULD NOT EXEMPT THEM FROM SLANDER LAWS DESIGNED TO PROTECT AMERICAN CITIZENS FROM REPORTS GENERATED WITHOUT DUE DILIGENCE TO DISCOVER THE TRUTH. THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ARE DEPENDENT UPON THE NEWS AND BLOG FORUMS TO ASCERTAIN TRUTH, NOT MERELY, TO EMBRACE THE VARYING OPINIONS OF UNINFORMED CITIZENS BEING PROJECTED “AS TRUTH”.
OFTEN PEOPLE AND ORGANIZATIONS EXPERIENCE A “HIGH-TECH LYNCHING” FROM NEWS REPORTS GENERATED TO DEVELOP SENSATIONALISM FOR HIGH-VIEWER RATINGS, PAPER SELLS, AND CONTROVERSIAL AND COMPETING NEWS FORUMS, ALL AT THE EXPENSE OF GOOD PEOPLE. CAREERS HAVE BEEN RUINED THROUGHOUT THIS COUNTRY FOR YEARS BY FALSE NEWS REPORTING. IT WOULD APPEAR INCUMBENT UPON NEWS ORGANIZATIONS TO EXECUTE THEIR RIGHT TO FREEDOM OF THE PRESS, WITH A DUE DILIGENCE RESPONSIBILITY TO PRINT ACCURACY AND TRUTH.
OUR NATION IS EXPERIENCING HOMICIDES AT AN ALARMING RATE, PEOPLE ARE KILLING OTHER PEOPLE FOR GAIN, WELL IT APPEARS THAT ANY NEWS FORUM THAT REPORTS FALSE RUMORS AS FACT, AND THEN COMMENT ON THE FALSE RUMOR AS TRUTH, ARE NO DIFFERENT FROM THE MURDERER'S ABROAD WOULD INJURY,MAIM, AND KILL FOR PERSONAL INTEREST, AND CARELESSLY LEAVE BEHIND SERIOUS DEVASTATION TO ITS VICTIMS.

FREEDOM OF THE PRESS AND FREEDOM OF SPEECH DOES NOT EXEMPT ANY ENTITY OR PERSON FROM LAWFUL PROTECTION AND A REMEDY AT LAW AGAINST SLANDER AND LIBEL. OPINIONS RENDERED WITHOUT FACT CAN BE SLANDEROUS AND DEVASTATING; STORIES REPORTED WITHOUT FACTUAL BASIS CAN BE SLANDEROUS AND DEVASTATING. SEVERAL OF THE NEWS CHANNELS, NEWS PAPERS, AND BLOGS ARE REPORTING FALSE PERCEPTIONS AND FALSE INFORMATION CONCERNING SEVERAL ISSUES CURRENTLY IN THE NEWS. FOR THE SAKE OF THE PUBLIC TRUST, WHO IS DEPENDENT ON THE NEWS FOR WHAT IS TRUTHFULLY HAPPENING IN OUR SOCIETY, THERE SHOULD BE STRONGER COMMITMENT TO ACCURACY IN REPORTING. WITHOUT THAT COMMITMENT ANY PERSON IN OUR SOCIETY COULD BECOME VICTIM TO MEDIA, DETERMINING WHO AND WHO NOT TO DESTROY. OUR CONFIDENCE MUST BE RESTORED, NOT ONLY IN THIS STORY, BUT ALL STORIES.
I APPRECIATE THIS BLOG, HOWEVER, BETTER DUE DILIGENCE SHOULD BE GIVEN TO POSITIVE AS WELL AS THE NEGATIVE VIEWS.

Chandler said...

The Post by "Fair View in News" was drafted by a Russell Foundation insider and co-conspirator! no stranger to incidents and investigations of missing money and other corrupt activities!

Chandler said...

Dear Fair View on News; Thanks for your B.S. I guess that millions of dollars are not really missing? This is all just an innocent misunderstanding by everyone..."BUT YOU" and your friends on the police department! Tell us all, what disadvantaged group of citizens actually benefited from the corrupt activities of the Russell Group?

I WAS THERE said...

Fair View In News can be no other than self-proclaimed: "Bishop" Michael Russell himself...

Trust me, as an insider for over a year; I recognize the self-aggrandizing, egomaniacal blame dispersing hyperbole from a mile away.

I heard it time and time again, whenever someone had the audacity to question the "emperor" and his lack of clothes...

He used the scripture and ranting of "ye of little faith" to distance himself from the blatant truths of his inability to make good on his bountiful promises to hundreds of people.

I believe that most involved with RF initially, had the best of intentions, but it became readily apparent that this was truly a "false prophet". Most of the well intentioned left the sinking ship long before any of these monies were seen.

The scariest part of this whole charade is that he already has plans to do it again under a different name as revealed by the Indy Star article. Also, it seems that this person actually believes his own BS rhetoric... as demonstrated by his poorly cloaked: Fair In View nom de plume.

My biggest hope is that the self proclaimed Bishop or Fair In View as he now calls himself will respond to the following with no rhetoric:

With all of the millions spent to project the proper corporate image; how much actual money went to community development projects?

What are you a bishop of? Where is your church?

If you are such the well connected business man as you proclaim: why did you have to use Kevin Jones basement as your base of operation?

What degrees do you hold if any?

You promised jobs to hundreds of unsuspecting people under the guise of Christian altruism; even going so far as to hold fake interviews where you collected confidential I9 information Illegally.

You publicly belittled all of your executives. When they weren't there to defend themselves you spoke of them in less than Christian terms i.e. using the "f" word readily and easily as you spoke of their lack of organizational and leadership skills for fake positions that you created...

In Oct of 06 at Wm Benjamins' church you promised the several RF "execs to be" in attendance that they would be in six figure homes furnished by RF by Thanksgiving... You had Godby Home Furnishings, and John Kirk furniture invest their time and money to work with RF execs in decorating homes with furniture... They were never compensated for this time. They relied upon your false statements to make these fruitless investments.

NOTE: You showed up hours late for this meeting; your shameless excuse: You were out looking at million dollar homes for future exec Aaron Mason. (Now currently listed as a bankruptcy debtor.)

ALSO NOTE: After Thanksgiving came and went, he publicly proclaimed that he never made the promises.

Is is christian-like or professional to have sexual relationships with your office personnel? Maybe we should ask Velveeta Knox. (For more info on Ms. Knox and the possibility of a Bishop Baby go to the WTHR website under Russell Foundation Comments.)

Final Note to All Readers: The comments I have read in their entirety at this site (except for Fair View In News) are all true. As related above also go to WTHR 13
Comment site on Foundation's Troubles Get Councilman in Trouble. The same is true there.

I was told I would receive a six figure home with a pool as a MUST; and a car Chrysler 300 all paid for by RF.

I was measured for corporate apparel which was to be 7 tailor made suits.

I was told I would get an RF ring.

I was there when you promised several people in the cold of Jan. that RF was close to start up and that RF would be purchasing (not leasing) 2, not 1, but 2 entire buildings for corporate use because RF was just so big.

I can't wait for this investigation to reveal the depth of this man's financial and moral corruptions.

Rhasha said...

YOu will soon see that The Bishop( who is not a bishop nor a pastor his father is) is behind all of this and is suing Bateman as a fall guy. If Bateman had any of this money his church would not be in need of things, He wouldnt live in the same house he has lived in for 30 years, he wouldnt be concerned with gas prices. The truth will come out soon. This is not the first time the fake Bishop has been in hot water!!!

Rhasha said...

Dear I was there,
I appreciate your accurate explanation of what went on with RF. It seems you have a lot of personal knowledge on the situation. The best way to alleviate this from happening in the future and anyone else being victimized is to report what you know.Continue to speak out.
Thanks for your time,
Unknown

I WAS THERE said...

Dear Rhasha:

Thanks for the support. During my involvement, I (and most of the RF "candidates" were subjected to an environment cloaked in secrecy.

As related, no one dared speak of for fear of being publicly humiliated and of course being threatened with loss of the bountiful "blessings" so selflessly promised by the great "Bishop."

He was quite the showman. Never any answers; just so much pomp and circumstance about the people he knew and the "hard work" he put in everyday to ensure that we were "administratively ready" to receive our blessings.

Sadly, and truthfully, GREED played a large part in his ability to pull of this charade on such a grand scale.

Along with the uninformed hangers on,there were several (myself incl) well educated professionals who had the best of intentions; but still wanted to receive these great material promises.

As they say: If it looks too good to be true...

Actually, that was also a part of his well contrived deception... There was always this inference among those who questioned of: It must be legitimate because there's a city councilman... Paul Bateman...it must be okay because there are high ranking IMPD involved; Bill Benjamin et.al.

The worst part were the fake interviews for high-paying jobs.

These interviews were conducted in churches, civic centers, and even downtown at the Radisson or Hilton can't remember).

These fake interviews hurt both sides; RF people who were expected to be there on weekends and evenings away from their families, and candidates who were falsely misled into believing that they had found great high paying jobs for a charitable cause.

Little did they know that job descriptions were created at the whim of Michael Russell.

Many of these applicants did not advanced education, or professional experience for positions they were told they were 1) qualified, and 2) would be receiving, once the Foundation began operation.

Again: this writer cannot wait to hear about the results of the investigation and exposure of this
conniver.

I WAS THERE said...

Additional NOTE:

In my last posting I related that the false representation of available jobs was the worst. I was wrong.

The worst part of this whole charade was having to tell your family members; wife, children etc. that the luxury home that they had selected, toured, and even selected furniture for; promised by Thanksgiving wasn't going to happen...

I'll reiterate, he specifically told everyone "executive homes" would be purchased and furnished by RF.

He used this as a leverage tool; you HAD to meet with a realtor to view at least three homes.

After meeting with a realtor, "selecting" our homes, and actually going to furniture stores and reserving furniture; many of us felt this was truly legitimate...

Yet another ploy to string people along.

not a lawyer said...

Did they really collect I-9's on everyone they interviewed?

According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (WWW.USCIS.GOV):

Procedures for Completing the I-9

The I-9 verification must be completed within the specified timeframe:
> On or before the start date if the period of employment is less than three days
> Within 3 business days of the start of employment if longer than 3 days
> May be completed before employment begins
[snip]
The I-9 should never be completed before an offer of employment is accepted because it contains information that could lead to discrimination charges. It is permissible to complete the I-9 after the person accepts an offer but before employment begins, but the hiring unit must be consistent about when the process is completed for all employees. The best way to be consistent is to give all employees the choice of when to complete the process, either before employment begins, or within three business days of the hire date.
[snip]
Section 1 should be completed no later than the first day of employment and Section 2 should be completed by the third day. Although the employee may complete Section 1 ahead of time, the actual verification must be done in person and original documents, not photocopies, or faxes, must be presented. The verification must be conducted in person, because the employer is required to verify identity and examine original documents.
[snip]
You should not complete Form I-9 for job applicants. You only need to complete Form I-9 for people you actually hire. For purposes of this law, a person is “hired” when he or she begins to work for you.
[snip]
The law requires that you complete the Form I-9 only when the person actually begins working. However, you may complete the form earlier, as long as the person has been offered and has accepted the job. You may not use the I-9 process to screen job applicants.

-------------------------------
WOW, that's a $110-$1100 per form fine if they collected these forms!

How many people filled out the I-9 that never received a job offer?

I WAS THERE said...

To Not A Lawyer:

Michael Russell, was ADAMANT even when given advice by those who had knowledge in this area; NOT TO PROCEED with this practice (collection of I-9 and other confidential data prior to employment offer).

All of the "executives" and "management" were required to complete this information.

There were several "interviews" conducted June 06 thru 07.
There were SEVERAL HUNDRED "interviewed" during these time periods.

All were required to complete I-9 forms at these "interview" sessions. A conservative estimate would be 200-300.

I reiterate, Michael Russell was told not to do this. Michael Russell in his infinite arrogance and need to rule over everyone made a grand showing (of many) regarding his absolute knowledge of how to run a business and how to recruit employees.

There was much to do about how he absolutely HAD TO HAVE THIS INFORMATION BEFORE RF COULD BECOME OPERATIONAL.

DIRECTIVES WERE REPEATEDLY GIVEN BY MICHAEL RUSSELL TO COLLECT THIS INFORMATION IF RF DIDN'T HAVE IT.

I hope this is yet another piece of information that leads to the comeuppance of Michael Russell.

stwitty said...

Thank The Lord!!!

Rhasha said...

would any of your posters be willing to do a telephone or face to face interview to discuss the Michael Russell or Florence Alexander issues.
Thanks for your time
Rhasha

Esther Russell said...

My Grandfather did no wrong!