Because of another NAMB lie—the false claim of being a supporting organization—Will McRaney’s attorney is now seeking to subpoena the NAMB financial records.
“Whoever digs a pit will fall into it, and he who rolls a stone will have it roll back on him.” —Proverbs 26:27
A tactical move made by Kevin Ezell and the North American Mission Board (NAMB) to defend itself in a lawsuit filed by Will McRaney may have backfired. NAMB claimed it was a supporting organization of the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware. However, McRaney’s lawyers in new court filings dispute this and argue that the claim means that they should get discovery of financial records, tax filings, and deposition of top staff. In other words, all the NAMB financial secrets could finally be opened to the public.
The bombshell was dropped by McRaney’s attorneys in a brief filed late Monday afternoon in federal court. (Scroll down to bottom to read the entire legal filings.)
According to the filing, “However, if the Court is disinclined to deny NAMB’s motion now, based on this manifest defect, the Court should defer considering the motion or deny it, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(d), so that Plaintiff may obtain information through discovery relevant to adjudicating NAMB’s motion.”
According to the brief, McRaney’s legal team intends to seek financial documents and depositions about financial issues involving NAMB along with tax documents. Since NAMB claimed it was a supporting organization, McRaney’s legal team claims it should have access to financial records and federal tax filings to determine if NAMB meets any of the legal requirements for a Supporting Organization.
An affidavit from non-profit law expert Charles R. Lindsay was filed by McRaney’s legal team. The affidavit highlighted that NAMB does not meet the definition of a supporting organization.
McRaney’s attorneys told the federal court, “Mr. Lindsay identifies numerous relevant documents and areas of inquiry, which Plaintiff should be permitted to pursue in discovery to defend against NAMB’s motion. In addition, Plaintiff wishes to take several depositions which will, among other things, provide discovery relevant to NAMB’s motion, including: Mr. Ferrer; Mr. Stolle; a 30(b)(6) deposition of NAMB; and a 30(b)(6) deposition of BMCD. Plaintiff also intends to seek in discovery all communications between NAMB and BMCD about the Separation Agreement—before and after it was executed.”
According to the expert witness affidavit, “The documentation NAMB has filed with the court (documents 79 & 80) does not establish, or even support, that NAMB meets the criteria as a church and therefore would not be afforded the special tax treatment as a supporting organization.”
In other words, once again the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention has misled federal court in legal filings.
McRaney’s legal team had to secure an expert witness to tell the court what Ronnie Floyd, the SBC Executive Committee and all the State Convention Executive Directors already know—that NAMB is not a Supporting Organization of the BCMD or any state convention.
According to McRaney’s expert witness, “The Law of Tax Exempt Organizations states the following definition of a Supporting Organization: “A category of organization that is a public charity is the supporting organization. A supporting organization must be sufficiently related to one or more qualified supported organizations, which usually are institutions and/or publicly supported organizations. A supporting organization must be organized and operated exclusively for the benefit of, to perform the functions of, or to carry out the purposes of one or more qualified supported organizations. This type of organization must be operated, supervised, or controlled by one or more qualified supported organizations, supervised or controlled in connection with one or more such organizations, or operated in connection with one or more such organizations.”
Thus, for NAMB to be a supporting organization of the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware as NAMB claims, the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware would need to have direct control over the directors (trustees) of NAMB and have been organized by and operate exclusively for the benefit of the BCMD.
Of course, that is impossible as the Southern Baptist Convention is the sole member of NAMB. Something that was reiterated in resolutions passed at this year’s SBC Annual Meeting.
Conclusion: NAMB’s latest lie might backfire
This latest tactical move could accelerate discovery of some critical financial data. The tactical move could result not only in a tactical defeat but a significant strategic defeat—as people might finally see how much money NAMB is spending and how it is being spent.
NAMB thought it was being clever, but the pit it dug for others might just now be for it.