Why did NAMB claim that McRaney sought $7.7 million in damages? It was not in the lawsuit filing.
In late June, The North American Mission Board (NAMB) of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) published a claim that Will McRaney sought $7.7 million in damages from it.
According to a NAMB article published June 30, “Nearly two years later, Dr. McRaney filed a lawsuit against NAMB in April 2017, after demanding that NAMB pay him more than $7.7 million.”
The June 30 article was two days after NAMB lost its bid to have the lawsuit heard before the Supreme Court. Last month, the justices refused to grant NAMB certiorari. The justices allowed a ruling by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to stand—forcing NAMB to face a lawsuit over its sub-Christian conduct. (The conduct also was illegal as the publicly available evidence shows.) If you want to learn more about the case start here and here. A copy of the lawsuit can be read here.
This was not the first time NAMB claimed McRaney wanted $7.7 million in damages.
Baptist Press reported May 22, 2017, “NAMB claimed McRaney ‘seeks to unfairly enrich himself’ in filing suit and alleged he ‘demanded in a letter to NAMB that it pay him … $7.7 million in damages.’”
So, where did this number come from?
The $7.7 million figure is not in the complaint filed in 2017.
Or, as far as we can tell, any other legal filings in the case by McRaney’s lawyers.
So, where did NAMB get that figure?
Did it come from their lawyers? In that case, NAMB released confidential attorney-client communications, which could mean that to score a PR win that it inadvertently waived this privilege.
Did it come from confidential discussions between lawyers in the case attempting to broker a deal or get the parties to sit down for settlement discussions?
If so, that would likewise be an inappropriate disclosure—a disclosure that raises a host of issues for NAMB.
If it came from this type of discussion between lawyers, then does that show another part of the NAMB statements to be false?
Specifically, it would show that McRaney sought some sort of reconciliation prior to going to court.
In fact, the publicly available information proves that McRaney did try to find a solution outside the court system.
In February 2016, over a year before the lawsuit was filed, McRaney wrote a letter of concern. This letter sought help from NAMB trustees to deal with the damages McRaney suffered because of Ezell’s actions. You should read it. It does a nice job summarizing the issues.
How did NAMB trustees respond? In less than a day, the trustees denied McRaney’s allegations.
That was some extensive investigation they conducted.
And this is why from the very beginning of the McRaney case, we have confidently said, NAMB trustees act like enablers instead of those representing the interests of the Southern Baptist Convention.
What was the next step in the McRaney battle with NAMB? That would be NAMB having lawyers send McRaney a letter.
So, just to be clear—it was NAMB that brought lawyers into this issue first. McRaney did not hire his lawyer until a year later—February 2017.
This is an important element of the NAMB narrative—it was their reckless actions and expensive attorneys that caused McRaney to hire an attorney and then ultimately to seek justice in court—justice denied him by the North American Mission Board, its trustees and ultimately the Southern Baptist Convention.
But, back to that NAMB statement.
So, why did NAMB put out that large number? It wanted to smear Will McRaney.
However, governing NAMB for short-term PR wins is not a good long-term strategy. Now that the case is moving forward toward trial, NAMB faces growing legal pressures.
The question remains: Will NAMB trustees hold Kevin Ezell accountable? Or will they continue to sacrifice the good of the Southern Baptist Convention to defend Ezell?