CCoJWs Requests/Denied Local Tax Money Allocation

by MadApostate 27 Replies latest watchtower scandals

  • MadApostate

    This city of Columbia SC webpage shows that CCofJWs requested, but was denied, allocation of local tax dollars from the city's Accommodation Tax Budget Allocation.


    Any locals here that can check out the person that actually formalized this request, and how did CCofJWs say they were going to use the $$$ to promote Columbia?

  • MadApostate


  • LDH

    BWA HA HA this is a good one. Why on earth would JW be requesting $$$ from the General Fund of Columbia SC?

    Although, I sense that their answer would be that whatever of Caesar's money they got would be less that the rank and file would have to pay for.

    So please, MA, enlighten me. Why is this an issue for you NOW when I pointed out and you defended it? I believe you stated, umm, let's see, oh yeah, here it is:


    and you said:

    However, from the "general things" that I know about such "financial arrangements", I see NOTHING WRONG with this, since it is primarily a "cost-cutting" measure. If any so-called "profit" ocurrs when the auto is finally disposed, then so what?
    and then you said:

    YOU JUST DON'T GET IT. The auto leasing arrangement saves $$$$, thus saving $$$ for those who foot the bills-donors.

    Why would this be any different from the "cost-cutting measure" of asking for Caesar's tax dollars? Isn't the defense the same? "Why, we're just saving money for the poor old rank and file." [8>]

    Either way, they're scamming the general rank and file.


  • dungbeetle

    And either way, there is a line between being a 'religion' (gimmee those religious protectins d**mit!!)and being a business (crank out those tax dollars d**mit!).

    When push comes to shove, and th US gets really tired of teh Watchtower, all this stuff will come back to bite their buttocks. And deservedly so.

    Run Watchtower Run!!!

  • waiting

    Howdy MA,

    I only saw 3 specific religious organizations listed - and all 3 were denied funds. Several other groups also, but I didn't recognize the names.

    Christ Central Ministries
    Christian Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses
    Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church

    I've been to a Greek Festival at that church. Nice group, very family orientated. Good food


  • MadApostate


    Let's see:

    Why do I criticize the Society's attempt to obtain tax dollars legislatively intended to promote tourism within Columbia, SC, when at the same time defend the Society's attempt to control the cost/expense of one of its programs?

    I believe the question answers itself.

    You understand so little about any of this that I really don't know where to start explaining such, since you obviously still don't eve understand the CircuitLeasing portion.

    FOR EVERYONE ELSE, this "may" only be the tip of an iceberg.

    Ask yourself why CCJW would even attempt to obtain tax dollars designed to be allocated to groups who promote Columbia tourism.

    It would seem that CCJW/WTS may be trading on their history of bringing JWs to assemblies/conventions in Columbia, and they thought that they could use such to obtain an allocation.

    This makes me wonder if they have attempted or even suceeded in doing this in other cities where they arrange conventions. Has the WTS been trading on their bringing JW dollars to a city in exchange for a kick-back of the accomodation tax?

  • nelly136


    Jehovah's Witness gathering spurs economy
    Merchants forecast big sales as followers learn more on faith

    you mean like this?
    yes there is more on the net somewhere about a town that was complaining they were being...persuaded to give increasingly better rates to the convention that was regularly held there and if memory serves me correctly there was some dispute over the cost of and police?
    I cant think where it is offhand there may have even been a court case over it
    will post it if i can find the url again

  • expatbrit


    Was this what you were thinking of:


  • MadApostate

    Thanks EXP for providing the link to your related previous thread. Per your initial post in that thread, the WTS had been obtaining grants from Jacksonville to offset the expense of renting convention facilities. I suspect that something similar is or was going on, or was being tried, with the city of Columbia, SC.

    I also suspect that if one could get their hands on the necessary paperwork, that in at least one of these convention cities there is something improper going on.

    We ALL know of cities that have been historical "homes" for DAs.
    I betting that every one of these are like the Jacksonville scenario, with the City effectively picking up the tab for the facilities.

    Maybe we should do some factfinding sufficient to interest some local reporters in these cities to take the ball and run with it. Surely, the taxpayers of all these cities would like to know that they are subsidizing JW conventions every summer.

    By the way, if anyone wants to inquire what were the specific details about the CCJW's request for funds from Columbia SC, here is the email addie from their website:


  • nelly136

    yay EXP, yep knew i'd seen it somewhere thankyou for posting it, now is that a banana you got there or are you just pleased to see me

    . another fast buck in the making,

  • MadApostate

    A friend emailed me the following info from their stock of old WT mags:

    It appears from past DC schedules that Carolina Coliseum, in Columbia, has been one of the WTS's regular DC locations, with 3 to 4 weekends per summer. However, in 1999, the Florence Civic Center in Florence SC shared DCs in SC. In 2000, Columbia hosted only the Spanish DC, with Florence getting the 3 biggy DCs. Then, in 2001, both cities split such.

    It appears that the WTS is playing the two locations against each other. This Request/Denial of Columbia tax dollars likely has to do with this scenario. It will be interesting to see how many DCs Columbia hosts this next summer.

    Folks, there must be some good stories here, since this scenario is likely occurring with cities across the U.S.

  • MadApostate

    I have a "general" answer on all of the above, which basicly indicates that all my suspicions were correct.

    The WTS has been "working" the city of Columbia SC, and its tourism related agencies, for every $$$ they can get from them in exchange for holding DAs in Columbia.

    However, in the WTS's overzealousness to get their hands on every possible last penny, they even stooped to applying for an allocation from the local accommodation tax revenue fund, which is intended only for organizations which promote tourism in the Columbia area. They were denied $$$ from this fund, but were kept happy by a grant from the local Convention and Visitors Bureau.

    I wonder where the CVB gets its money, and if the providers are aware that they are subsidizing the Watchtower Society?

  • MadApostate

    For Waiting, and any other SC posters who have done zip to help this thread:

    I don't recall exactly when the WTS sends out the DC schedule announcement, but in case they have not yet, you can tell the locals that there will be 3 this year in Columbia:

    June 7-9, 14-16 & 20-22

  • MadApostate

    BIG THANKS to those who worked behind the scenes to get this story published.

    There hopefully will be more like this one in the upcoming months. Please continue to contact the media and local government officials in those cities where the WTS has been holding conventions for years.

    I would particularly like to point out that this story demonstrates what a few committed workers can accomplish despite efforts from people like LDH (see comments above).

    (Also refer to the 2 threads posted yesterday in which LDH tries to pull the same crap with another effort to contact the media about "shunning" and its possible effect on the LONGO story. LDH must be a WTS Troll, but her efforts are obviously not working.)


    Kennewick, Richland subsidies for church event raises questions

    This story was published 1/4/2002

    By John Trumbo
    Herald staff writer

    Kennewick and Richland have agreed to chip in $6,000 each to help subsidize the Jehovah's Witnesses Watchtower convention scheduled this summer.

    The $12,000 will help pay for renting the Tri-Cities Coliseum, which Kennewick owns.

    The money is coming from the cities' 2002 hotel-motel lodging tax fund. Half of the first 2 percent of the tax from each city goes to the Tri-Cities Visitor and Convention Bureau, and the rest is divvied out as each city desires.
    The Kennewick and Richland councils approved giving motel-hotel tax money to the Tri-Cities Hotel and Motel Association.

    Each council was told by staff that the money would be "solely for the purpose of paying all or any part of the cost of tourism promotion, acquisition of tourism-related facilities, or operation of tourism-related facilities," activities allowed under state law.
    Using the money to subsidize the coliseum rent is questionable, said Keith Lougheed, a specialist in the state auditor's office on lodging tax use.

    "It doesn't sound right," Lougheed said. But unless someone from one of the cities complains to the auditor, it's unlikely the state will investigate, he said.

    "Generally we don't interfere. We do audits (after the fact)," he added. "This is one I would pass by the attorney general."

    Kennewick Councilman James Hempstead, chairman of his city's Local Tax Fund Advisory Committee, said he thought the $6,000 donation was for tourism promotion of the Watchtower events. This is the 10th year the convention is coming to the coliseum.

    Association President Ginny Hill said Tri-City hotels and motels have been chipping in money to help pay the coliseum rent for the Watchtower convention for nine years. This is the first time the association has received a share of the cities' lodging tax money to subsidize the rent, she said.

    This year, the difference between the rent due and what the Jehovah's Witnesses can pay is $17,500.

    With $6,000 each from Richland and Kennewick, motel association members have to come up with the remaining $5,500, Hill said.

    Tom Walker, whose term on the Kennewick council expired Dec. 31, said he, too, understood that the money was "specifically for promotion or advertising" of the Watchtower event, but he didn't know exactly how the association was going to spend it.

    Other council members in Kennewick thought the same. Mayor Jim Beaver could not be reached for comment on the issue.

    But Robert Noland, Kennewick's chief financial officer, said he was aware the money was "going to the coliseum to help pay for the rent," and he believes it is a proper use of the tax money.

    "It can be argued that it is going for tourism," Noland said.

    Although Kennewick could have discounted the rent for the convention and preserved the lodging tax money for other uses, Noland said the way it is being done benefits the bottom line on the coliseum, which has struggled to operate in the black. "We're trying to run the coliseum as a business," he said.

    Promotions Management Inc., which oversees the coliseum for the city, reported just breaking out of red ink in 2001, when it was hoped to have at least $226,000 in profits.
    Richland Councilwoman Rita Mazur said giving the lodging tax money to help with the coliseum rent may appear to be a subsidy for Kennewick's coliseum, but it's well worth it.

    "Our (Richland's) hotel-motel tax committee agreed to it," she said, noting the convention is expected to generate 29,000 visitors over five weekends and bring $9.5 million to the Tri-Cities.

    Richland council members were advised by a staff memo that the $6,000 donation would "complete the bid packet" and help "retain the convention in the Tri-Cities and expand the event to five weeks in 2002."


  • MadApostate

    State asks cities to review meeting

    This story was published 1/10/2002

    By John Trumbo
    Herald staff writer

    The Washington State Auditor's Office has asked city attorneys of Richland and Kennewick to scrutinize the cities' promised contribution of $12,000 in hotel and motel tax money to help pay rent on the Tri-Cities Coliseum for a Jehovah's Witnesses conference this summer.

    The legal review was requested in response to public questions about each city's $6,000 donation to the Tri-Cities Hotel and Motel Association for promoting the convention.

    The five weekend sessions would bring about 28,000 people to the conference who would spend about $9.5 million in the Tri-Cities.
    State law requires that hotel and motel taxes -- room taxes -- be used solely for promoting tourism or to support tourism-related facilities.

    Association representatives asked the cities to pony up the money not to promote the convention, but to cover the difference in what the Jehovah's Witnesses could pay for the coliseum rent over five weekends and what it actually costs.

    The subsidy would end up as revenue for the coliseum, which is owned by Kennewick and managed by Promotions Management Inc. of Green Bay, Wis.

    "We've told the cities they need to run this scenario past their attorneys," said Mindy Chambers, a spokeswoman for the state Auditor's Office.

    If the city attorneys do not kill the deal but give it the OK, the next step will be to have the state attorney general's staff review the issue, Chambers said Wednesday. She said the attorney general's opinion would determine if the donations would be against the law.

    Kennewick's hotel-motel tax fund had $40,000 for the 2001-02 budget biennium. City records show $8,800 of that has been spent as of Monday, not counting the $6,000 promised as coliseum rent subsidy for the Jehovah's Witnesses convention.

    Kennewick City Attorney John Ziobro said he expects to complete his review of the planned expenditure next week.

    Richland City Attorney Tom Lampson could not be reached for comment.


  • MadApostate

    Cities may rescind coliseum rent donations

    By John Trumbo
    Herald staff writer

    Kennewick and Richland may rescind their $6,000 donations to help pay Tri-Cities Coliseum rent for a Jehovah's Witnesses conference this summer.

    Kennewick City Attorney John Ziobro said he is recommending the Kennewick City Council not follow through with its Dec. 18 decision to use the money from the hotel and motel tax fund to help promote the conference.

    Ziobro isn't saying the donation is against the law, only that the council's stated purpose to use the money for advertising and promotion as allowed by state law isn't what was going to happen.

    Richland City Attorney Tom Lampson said Wednesday he was still studying the problem but should have an answer by Friday.

    The Richland City Council voted Dec. 11 to put up $6,000 from its hotel and motel tax fund to subsidize the coliseum rent, based on a recommendation from the city's Lodging Tax Advisory Committee. But Councilwoman Rita Mazur now believes that donation will not materialize.

    "I think what (we did) is legal, but because of all the ruckus we'll let it go. I don't think we'll be helping unless Lampson can tell us it is 100 percent legal," Mazur said.

    Neither city has forwarded any of the $12,000 to the Tri-Cities Motel and Hotel Association, which in turn planned to forward the money as a rent subsidy to help bring the Jehovah's Witnesses' Watchtower Convention to the Tri-Cities. The event is set for five consecutive weekends July 4-6 through Aug. 16-18, skipping the first weekend in August.

    The convention, which has been in the Tri-Cities for 10 years, is expanding from three weekends to five this year. The extra $12,000 would pay the rent for the two additional weekends.

    Ziobro and Lampson started researching the proposed expenditure of funds earmarked for promotion and advertising after the state Auditor's Office staff questioned using the money to subsidize coliseum rent.

    Public outcry followed a Jan. 4 story in the Herald about the proposed subsidy, but much of the concern was focused on the cities directing money to benefit a religious organization's conference.

    But those criticisms are not the major issue for state auditors or the city attorneys.

    Ziobro said he considered the state auditor's concern to be an issue of "form over substance."

    In a letter sent Tuesday to the state auditor's office, Ziobro acknowledged the $6,000 in hotel and motel tax funds assigned by the council were not for advertising and promotion the Watchtower convention as stated in the agenda.

    But Ziobro said Kennewick still can funnel the money to the coliseum as a rent subsidy because the city owns the facilities, and state law allows hotel and motel tax funds to be spent on operation of tourist-related facilities.

    Richland, however, does not have that loophole to donate its hotel and motel money to the coliseum as a rent subsidy. "Richland is on their own," Ziobro said.

    Jehovah's Witness spokesman Eddie Tubbs said the concern about appropriateness of spending city money to subsidize the coliseum rent won't cause a cancellation of the convention events this summer.
    "The letters have gone out, and once we are committed and start making (lodging) arrangements we are committed," he said.

    The Tri-Cities Hotel and Motel Association has estimated that the five weekends of conference activity is worth about $9.5 million in business because it draws about 29,000 conventioneers to the region.


  • MadApostate
    Moore said the hotel association is eager to protect the Watchtower group.

    "They never asked for the money," said Moore, who said the hotels will step in to pick up the remaining coliseum rent. "We're taking the high road."

    Sounds like MOORE is protecting the WTS by LYING. Yah, they didn't ask for the $$$$, just like they didn't do the same thing in Columbia, SC where they submitted an Application for the same tax dollars (or was it actually for a "library card"?)

    Also, since the Hotels/Motels are now going to pick up the tab for the thousands of $$$$, maybe that tells us how good of a job the WTS does in negotiating room rates.

    Maybe they have been getting hotel/motel kickbacks all along???


    Hotels to help pay rent for coliseum

    This story was published 1/29/2002

    By John Trumbo
    Herald staff writer

    No city money will be spent to help pay the rent at the Tri-Cities Coliseum for the Jehovah's Witnesses Watchtower weekend conventions this summer.

    The Tri-Cities Hotel & Lodging Association is withdrawing its request that Kennewick and Richland each provide $6,000 to help cover rent.

    Association President Kathy Moore said the controversy and negative publicity resulting from the proposed coliseum rent subsidy had become too much.

    The association sent letters to the cities Friday to officially cancel the request.

    Instead, said Moore, Tri-City hotels will put up the cash needed to cover the deficit between what the Watchtower organization will pay and what the coliseum charges. The subsidy would have paid $12,000 of $17,500 needed to expand the convention events from three weekends to five weekends.

    "Although this convention clearly qualifies for hotel tax funding, recent rhetoric initiated by the
    Tri-City Herald has raised some unwarranted concerns. We value our relationship with the city ... and do not want to put you in a compromising position," Moore wrote in her letter.

    "The hotel association feels this (expenditure) is a good use of the hotel tax funds, but we want the negative press to stop," Moore said Monday.

    Kennewick City Attorney John Ziobro announced a week ago that he believed the expenditure approved by the council in December was not as represented in a background report. The council voted to donate $6,000 to be used for advertising and promotion, but the money was actually going to be used as a rent subsidy.

    Richland's city attorney had not concluded his review of the issue. State Auditor's Office staff had asked both cities to review the proposed expenditures from their hotel tax account to see if it was proper under state law.

    The Watchtower events are expected to bring about $9.5 million worth of business to the Tri-Cities over the summer.

    This will be the group's 10th consecutive year meeting in the Tri-Cities. Moore said the hotel association is eager to protect the Watchtower group.

    "They never asked for the money," said Moore, who said the hotels will step in to pick up the remaining coliseum rent. "We're taking the high road."


  • MadApostate

    The above scandal was also reported by KEPR TV 19:

    Also notice website poll re this story.



  • MadApostate



    State auditor asks for review of cities' tax aid promise KENNEWICK

    The state auditor's office has asked the city attorneys for Richland and Kennewick to review a promised contribution of $12,000 in hotel-motel taxes to help pay for a Jehovah's Witnesses convention this summer.

    The review was requested in response to public inquiries about the cities' agreements to provide $6,000 apiece to the Tri-Cities Hotel and Motel Association to subsidize the convention.

    The five weekend sessions at the Tri-Cities Coliseum in Kennewick would bring about 28,000 people to the area.

    State law requires that hotel-motel taxes be used exclusively to promote tourism or to support tourism-related facilities.
    The hotel and motel association asked the two cities to provide the money to cover the difference between what the religious group would pay to rent the coliseum and what it actually costs.

    The subsidy would end up as revenue for the coliseum, which is owned by the city of Kennewick and managed by Promotions Management of Green Bay, Wis.

    "We've told the cities they need to run this scenario past their attorneys," said Mindy Chambers, a spokeswoman for the state auditor's office.

    If the attorneys approve the idea, then the state attorney general's office will review the deal, she said.

  • MadApostate

    This was previously posted as a separate thread, but I'm adding it to this thread so as to keep info on this TAX $$$$ topic together.


    Wonder whether this was a BIG THANK YOU for $$$$$ or FREE ASTRODOME RENT provided by city of Houston???

    $81,000,000 Impact??? Come on! Sounds more like, "Fellows, don't worry, your "investment" paid off bigtime."


    City Council Chamber, City Hall,
    Tuesday, July 7, 1998

    A Regular Meeting of the Houston City Council was held at 1: 30 p. m., Tuesday, July 7, 1998, with, Mayor Lee P. Brown presiding and Council Members Bruce Tatro, Michael J. Yarbrough, Martha J. Wong, Jew Don Boney, Jr., Rob Todd, Ray F. Driscoll, Jean Kelley, Felix Fraga, John E. Castillo, Annise D. Parker, Joe Roach; Orlando Sanchez and Chris Bell; Mr. Harlan Heilman, Chief of Claim Subrogation Division, City Legal Department; Mr. Jesse Cantu, Director, Citizens Assistance Office; Mr. Dan Jones, Agenda Director, and Ms.
    Martha Stein, Assistant Agenda Director, present. Council Member and Carroll G. Robinson out of the city on personal business.

    At 2: 02 p. m. Mayor Pro Tem Boney called the meeting to order and stated Council Member Kelley would lead in prayer. Mayor Brown, Council Members Tatro, Yarbrough, Todd and Roach absent. Mayor Pro Tem Boney presiding.

    At 2: 03 p. m. Council Member Kelley led everyone in prayer and then led everyone in pledging allegiance to the flag. Mayor Brown, Council Members Yarbrough and Roach absent. Mayor Pro Tem Boney presiding.

    At 2: 04 p. m. the City Secretary called the roll. Council Member Robinson out of the city on personal business. Mayor Brown, Council Members Yarbrough and Roach absent. Mayor Pro Tem Boney presiding.

    Council Members Castillo and Bell moved that the minutes of the preceding meeting be adopted. All voting aye. Nays none. Council Member Robinson out of the city on personal business. Mayor Brown, Council Members Yarbrough and Roach absent. Mayor Pro Tem Boney presiding.


    Mayor Pro Tem Boney stated that Council would begin with a presentation by Council Member Wong. Mayor Brown, Council Members Yarbrough and Roach absent. Mayor Pro Tem Boney presiding.

    Council Member Wong invited all those present for her presentation to the podium. Mayor Pro Tem Boney greeted former Mayor Bob Lanier and his wife Elise. Council Member Wong
    stated that it was her privilege to introduce the co-chairs of the City's 161st Birthday held last year, Mr. Joe B. Allen and Mrs. Helen Allen and Mr. Kenny Friedman; that Mrs. Ann Friedman
    could not be present because she was teaching today, through both wonderful couples the city celebrated its 161st birthday and it was their privilege to honor Mayor Lanier and Elise and as a
    result of that party they were able to raise $60,000 to be donated in honor of Mayor Lanier and Elise for the Sesquicentennial Park. Mr. Friedman stated that it was a pleasure to be a part of something that meant so much to the city and to honor two people who had done so much for the city. Mr. Allen stated that he hoped this years committee would have as easy a time raising money as they did. Mrs. Allen stated that she would speak for both Ann and herself; that it was a pleasure working with the city departments, everyone was very helpful and it was their pleasure
    to present the check to Mr. Bob Eury for the wonderful addition of the Sesquicentennial Park; and she hoped the City of Houston and the downtown area would continue to do very well. Mr. Eury
    thanked everyone for the check and stated they were all partners in finishing Sesquicentennial Park and some things took a while to happen; that this started in 1986 during the city's 150th
    birthday year and twelve years later finished; and children born in the sesquicentennial year, 1986, did the art work and they had wonderful feedback on it and they were thankful to everyone
    for making this work and for being associated with something honoring the great deeds of Mayor and Mrs. Lanier. Mayor Lanier stated that one reason he and Elise identified with Sesquicentennial Park was they could see the speed with which it was completed; that first of all
    to Kenny, Ann, Joe, Helen and Martha the party was magnificent and very touching to him and Elise and they appreciated it and were proud to see the development of the bayou and downtown. Mrs. Lanier thanked everyone and stated that it was a very wonderful event; and thanked Council Member Wong's staff for all their work also.

    Council Member Fraga invited those present for his presentation to the podium. Council Member Fraga stated that a very important international convention would be taking place in Houston this week and invited Mr. Alex Martinez, one of the coordinators, to speak. Mr. Martinez stated that he wanted to thank Council and the City of Houston for the welcome and special thanks to Council Member Fraga for all his hard work; that they would have fourteen countries coming to the Astrodome in a couple of days Belize, Bolivia, Columbia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Puerto Rico and Venezuela; that they had 114 countries in North America that had attended the assembly with the theme "God's Way of Life" and it showed the brotherhood could be accomplished through God's way of life; that they also wanted to thank Mr. Richard Vacar, Aviation Director, for his help at the airport for their delegation; and introduced Mr. John Apeledeo.

    Mr. Apeledo stated that he had the privilege of being assigned by the governing body of Jehovah's Witness to serve as rooming coordinator for the international convention; that having conventions in Houston was nothing new for Jehovah's Witness as every summer for the last twenty years the English speaking Jehovah's Witness had a convention at the Dome and it involved about 20,000 to 30,000 in attendance, but this convention was different as it would be Spanish speaking and about 27,000 would be coming into the city and staying at 28 hotels, using about 3,500 rooms a night with the estimated impact of about $81,000,000 total for the convention; that the real challenge was to see about putting 4,000 from Latin America in private homes so the call went out and they ended up with twice as many rooms so the local hospitality came through; and the convention would be this Friday at the Dome from 10: 00 a. m. to 5: 00 p. m. and would be in Spanish; and their objective was that all delegates would leave speaking of how warm and friendly Houston was.


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