September 17, 2003
To: The concerned members of Heights Presbyterian Church
Re: The Courtís Ruling on September 16, 2003
1) Well by now most of you have heard of the courtís ruling yesterday; a copy of which is attached. This is a complicated lawsuit but let me just say that the ruling is ridiculous and will never stand and all the attorneys know it. The only way it would stand is if I did not challenge it on appeal and you all know that is not going to happen.
2) Let me first say what is positive about the whole situation. What the court has done is essentially make a statement that she does not want to get involved and has decided to let the appeals court make all the decisions. The positive thing about this is that the Administrative Commissionís hands are now tied at least until December 2004, which is the earliest that the appeals court will hand down a full blown ruling. This means that Delgatto and Patty will be closely watched and will have to ask the Administrative Commission before they do much of anything for the next fifteen months.
Secondly, as a result of the lawsuit, the church money is now secure. The numbers are out via the Second Interim Report as to what the bank balances are and so nothing is going to disappear from this point on. Also, the Administrative Commission knows that it cannot allow the church to continue to spend itself into bankruptcy. Since the Administrative Commission is in charge, it is going to have to balance the budget or deal with my accusations that they were brought in by Presbytery to bankrupt Heights so they can take possession of Heights Tower and Heights House and sell them for about $10 million to Heights after the forty year HUD restrictions are removed in about ten years.
The Administrative Commission is also going to have to open up the membership of the church. In fact, in time, I am going to force the issue by sending out post cards and running telephone dialers all through the Heights to bring people into the church. Two things are going to happen, the membership is going to have to be opened and the new members will dilute the authority of the rogue members. This was the goal from the beginning, to grow the church in order to balance the budget. It just got side tracked with the lawsuit.
In addition, the Administrative Commission is also going to make Joe go to work and they are going to have to get rid of him next year if the statements I have heard about the mandatory retirement rules are true: that Joe will have to retire when he turns 70 next February. If this is true, then there is going to be a problem for Presbytery in explaining why he is still on board after February. I can assure you that he will be gone before the lawsuit has a final resolution.
So all in all the rogues no longer have unlimited power and the Administrative Commission is going to be forced to follow the Book of Order or else. I really think it is funny that the Administrative Commission will have no one to blame for the ills of the church from now on. They are in control and they will have to take responsibility for whatever happens. There will be no one else to blame. And if they shut the church down when it allegedly has $500,000 in liquid assets, there are going to be problems. And if they do not find a minister who will work and grow the membership, they are going to be in trouble. When the church grows, the power of Patty will significantly reduce and the church will begin to heal.
3) Let me take a second here and explain than no ruling from any court is final until all the appeals have been exhausted. This means that until the Supreme Court of Texas rules on this matter sometime late in 2005, none of the Defendants are off the hook. The appeals court or the Supreme Court can send the case back for trial. And due to the nature of this case, when it comes back down for trial, not only will the Defendants have to account for their past acts, they will also have to account for everything they have done from now forward.
So what is really going on now is that the Presbytery has taken over the administration of the church and they will be watched by the appellate courts. The appellate courts can make some rulings to stop some of the things that the Administrative Commission does. Further, do not forget, all this is going to be on the internet for the whole world to see. And due to the problems within the Catholic church with its pedophiles and the Episcopalsí problems with the gays and the lawsuits in Texas to remove the Ten Commandments from the capitol grounds in Austin and the Alabama suit to remove the Ten Commandments from the court house premises and the lawsuit to remove the Bible from the Harris County Courthouse premises this lawsuit against the Presbyterian Church will be closely watched. The hits to my web page at Presbyterians-R-Us.com are significant already and now they will increase even more as people watch things unfold at Heights.
Further, the appeals court, unlike the trial court, must by law make a specific ruling on each of the issues in the lawsuit. In other words, they will have to make a ruling on each issue and then quote the law that supports their ruling. When this happens, the case will be sent back down for trial. I know the law and so do the Defendantsí attorneys. And the law does not support Lindseyís ruling.
Before we go to the appeals court, I will file a motion to reinstate within thirty days. That motion will essentially embody the appeal and will be about eighty pages in length. The Defendantsí attorneys are going to be forced to respond to the motion or the judge is going to be hard pressed not to reinstate the lawsuit. If they do not respond to the motion to reinstate, they will have to respond to the appeal.
4) In addition, the judge did not throw out the case my mother has against Patty and Madeline for slander. This means that they will both have to give their depositions. A deposition is my taking of their testimony under oath. And I have a lot of latitude in what I can ask for. Further, I can require them to attend the deposition for up to six hours.
5) Now let me tell you a few of the things that are wrong with the courtís ruling. One, there was no hearing set regarding dismissal. Reagan Brown set a hearing but he did not give notice as is required by the local rules and the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure. The court cannot say that she did not consider his motion but came to the ruling on her own because her ruling was almost copied and pasted from Brownís motion.
However, I would remind you that the court made a ruling on Brownís disguised Motion to Abate the case in June which was not noticed at all. After the court made her June ruling, she refused to set a hearing on my motion for a rehearing. So the judge has a history in this case of ruling on things that are not properly before her.
A second big problem with the ruling is that she said that mother is no longer a trustee when one of the things I asked for in my Eleventh Amended Petition was a determination by the court as to who was and was not a trustee. So the judge cannot say that mother was not a trustee without having heard testimony on the issue. Not only that, per the by-laws of Heights PC, mother is a trustee because she is on the session even if she was not one of the three designated trustees. The judge would have had to consider the affidavits in Brownís motion, which was not before the court, to have come to a determination that mother was not a trustee. It is a convoluted mess and the courtís ruling will not stand.
This matter of who is and who is not a trustee is what the judge used to dismiss the case. By declaring that mother was not a trustee, the judge did not have to consider any of the real issues in the lawsuit. The ruling is just not going to hold up. The judge cannot make a decision on who is a trustee without a hearing and then dismiss the case based on her arbitrary determination as to who is a trustee. That is just not the way the law works.
Once the trustee issue is resolved in our favor, then the case must go forward because there are parties in this lawsuit who are not members of Heights. This is what is so ridiculous. The court knows that the Administrative Commission has no jurisdiction over matters that involve parties who are not members of the church. According to the judge the church officials who are accused of wrong doing are allowed to investigate their own wrong doing. This is nonsense.
I have the option of short circuiting the appeals process by filing an application for a writ of mandamus with the appeals court. A writ of mandamus alleges that the trial court abused its discretion, in this case by ruling on the dismissal that was not before the court as well as making a ruling without hearing all the evidence. The other issue on mandamus is who is and who is not a trustee. A writ of mandamus does not change any of the appellate process, it just gives a preliminary ruling from the appeals court on certain types of issues. The problem is that in a writ of mandamus, unlike the main appeal, the court does not have to give a reason for denying it. So the appeals court can just deny my application for writ of mandamus and not give any reasons. The writ application can be filed at any time.
6) The next three months are going to be complicated in that there will be a lot of detailed legal maneuvering. What further complicates this case is the fact that the case is now split in that the court has made a final ruling on part of the case but has set a trial on the slander issue. So what I will have to do is to file a motion to sever the part she has ruled on, so that I can take that part on up to the appeals court early next year. If I do not sever the case, then it will not be appealable until the trial on the slander issue is over which is presently set for January. Again, all this is very complicated legally and hard to explain but you will see how it works as we proceed and I post things to the internet.
The truth is that it will take me a week or so to sort out all my options and to decide how I am going to proceed. All I can tell you for sure is that this lawsuit is going to go on for at least another two years.
7) In the meantime, nothing is really going to change. Kay and I and LeAnne will continue to attend church every Sunday. We will probably not attend very many other church functions in order to avoid creating any tension due to our presence. I will continue to post to the internet the happenings at Heights. I am definitely going to continue to make an issue regarding the closing of the membership of the church. Things are going to be filed within the church bureaucracy to continue to push them and expose the hypocrisy.
In addition, I will begin to put a lot more effort into the Independence Heights Project. I will push a lot harder with the Inspector General as well as our elected representatives in Washington regarding the corruption in the IHP.
8) Lastly, most of you have never had any real dealings with the judicial system and do not understand that the process in these matters is almost always long and drawn out. Most of the time things do not go beyond the trial court because no one has the money to pay for the appeal. In this case, there is no money needed to pay my attorney fees and since we did not have a trial, we do not have to spend $12,000 on a trial transcript. The total cost to appeal is going to be less than $500. However, the eight or so attorneys who are defending this case will run up about $50,000 in legal billing just on the appeal.
In my expert opinion, the judge made a bad ruling and I am going to challenge it . What goes on in the church is going to be interesting to watch. Overall, I feel that I stopped Joe and PattyĎs dictatorial ways and put them under the thumb of the Administrative Commission.
The Administrative Commission has said that HPC will not have to pay anything toward the IHP. I do not believe that is going to be the case but if money is required, the Administrative Commission is going to have to find a way to pay for it and explain its lies to the congregation regarding the money.
The budget is going to have to be balanced and that means that Joe is either going to have to go to work to grow the church or he is going to have to leave. When Joe leaves, the church will begin to heal but not before. The courtís ruling did not change the fact that Joe lied to the congregation about the IHP. The courtís ruling does not change the fact that everything at HPC has been a big secret. The courtís ruling did not change the fact that the Administrative Commission refused to discuss the 1997, 1998 and 1999 finances. The courtís ruling does not change the fact that the Second Interim Reportís accounting does not add up.
In the end,
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