Kingdom Hall remodel - scam

by Dagney 84 Replies latest jw friends

  • Dagney

    I was wondering from any here in the know, does it seem like there is a lot of "remodels" going on?

    In the last week I had the occasion to talk with two JW's in different halls, about 10 miles apart. They both are undergoing major remodels. One is in a low income neighborhood, with people that can ill afford the expensive of the remodel. Last time I was in that hall was about 5 years ago.

    The other one is my old hall which was completely redone just before I left, about 10 ears ago and I participated. I used to stop by in the evening to have a beer with security on the way home. NOw I heard last night it is going through another remodel, changing the stage back to where it was before etc.

    The reason I ask is my old hall was a former church, the building build in 1920's, and for many reasons, even though the congo could afford it, they choose not to remodel. When we had the first remodel about 10 years ago, my friends (brothers/elders) were appalled at the scam that was being forced on them regarding the cost of the construction charged by the society but performed by volunteer work. It was another straw for me regarding the ethics of the WTBS.

    I'm curious what others think here about the RBC work. Are remodels being forced by them? Does it seem like a money making scam for corporate (WTBS), or am I off base?

  • Dagney

    And another thing, if we are "soooooo close" to the end, wouldn't that money be better spent elsewhere? I supposed that is what is bugging me.

    Burdening the congo with more debt they can ill afford p****s me off. In the past KH's performed just needed upkeep, painting, carpet etc to keep it fresh, and the WTBS funds were wrapped up in the printing company. Now that is gone is this an investment tool for them to keep the interest $$$ coming?

  • truth_b_known

    You're right on target, 5 x 5.

    This is the new way the Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society makes its money and they make a lot of it. Whether it is quick build Kingdom Halls or remodelling them, they are all financed via a loan from the WTB&TS. Yes! There is interest.

    On top of that, the WTB&TS ends up holding the deed to all these properties and makes a ton of money every time they sell one of these properties.

  • designs

    I remember working on the nearby Slump Stone block Fort of a Kingdom Hall, half the congregation was on Welfare. Publishers who signed the pledge on how much they could afford bailed within a year or two of completion. That was fun.

  • OnTheWayOut

    Yes, the price of a remodel is pretty high. It's a kind of pay-off to RBC honchos. They are told to charge the full price for their equipment and expertise. But the main thing is whether a building already belongs to Headquarters or not. If it still belongs to the local cong. with trustees, then they take out a loan from WTS for a remodel and sign some papers and the building will belong to WTS.

    Also, if a building has a bunch of cash in the operating fund, then they probably need a remodel to deplete those funds and pass it on to RBC.

    I have seen perfectly suitable Kingdom Halls get a remodel because they had operating cash.

    The whole thing is controlled by the C.O.'s report on the finances of the congos. and the condition of the building.

  • thetrueone

    Since the core foundation of this religion is a scam, why would it be so surprising that they would be running a financial remodeling scam.

    As far as the title of those newly remodeled KHs being transfered to the WTS., I pointed this out not long ago and some folks said this wasn't true.

    If anyone has some accurate information to this I would certainly like to hear from you, I'm sure others as well.

    It would seem that by doing so they would be breaking some law regarding non-profit charitable status.

  • Ding

    Dagney's first question was the same one that struck me.

    I remember before 1975 a lot of JWs putting off medical care and dental work, giving up jobs, selling houses, etc. because Armageddon was only months away.

    Thirty-seven years later, the WTS is still telling JWs that this system of things can't last much longer.

    At the same time, they are overlapping generations, buying up more real estate, and having JWs pay to build and remodel kingdom halls.

  • thetrueone

    One of the real business investments that the WTS. operates under and most JWS are not aware of is its real estate holdings and development

    of the holdings. One can look at the properties owned by the WTS. in Brooklyn , where properties were bought and the organization used some

    inside JW owned business to remodel those buildings, as well free labor by JWS themselves.

    The end result was the increased value of those buildings as they eventually were being sold.

    The WTS. exploits people in so many different ways.

  • thetrueone

    Good point Ding

    Another questionable thing is why is the WTS. moving out of Brooklyn to develop new and better facilities elsewhere ?

    The man behind the curtain isn't just a pretentious demi-god of sorts, he's also an accountant . $$$

  • wha happened?
    wha happened?

    It's a corporation

  • Momma-Tossed-Me

    this is a huge cash cow for the WTBTS. No collection plate is passed because it is made through interest charges. Some may recall the "watchtower bank" scam they tried to run a few years ago where they would hold any monies in savings a congo had. That didnt go over well so they had t find a way to get that money. This is such a huge deal, it could be an expose news story.

  • flipper

    DAGNEY- I think you are right on the money. Nailed it. I feel the WTS is influencing more congregations to remodel so they can get their greedy little paws on the financial holdings of congregations . AS you know I have a JW relative heavily involved in the building program and she's ( wink, wink ) gone constantly on these things almost every weekend. To the neglect of more important family obligations if you get my drift. Getting ridiculous. Peace out, Mr. Flipper

  • blond-moment

    $20,000 for a toilet (exaggeration), $100,000(pretty close to fact) for a new parking lot, $70,000 for a paint job (pretty close to fact). Take out a loan FROM the society, and pay it back WITH interest. Yeah, but they are an "honest" organization. *faceplant*

    It's sad, if they would just get real estimates on these "upgrades" they would see just how much they are being ripped off.

  • cedars

    Dagney - if you want to know what happens when the local elders object to unnecessary remodelling - research the "Menlo Park" scandal.

    Here is a link to get you going...


  • wha happened?
    wha happened?

    So let me get this straight.

    You have a congregation, that is financially stabe with reserves.

    The WT wants that reserves, so they encourage a remodel.

    The cost is at full price, but the work is voluntary.

    The congregation turns over their reserve, and takes a loan out on the remaining balance, with interest.

    The kingdon hall is signed over to the WT.

    LOan gets paid by the congregations, Proceeds of the KH goes to the society when it'sold later.

    Am I missing anything?

  • Room 215
    Room 215

    For anyone interested in this, a series of articles on the Menlo Park, California Kingdom Hall scandal makes fascinating reading on

  • darth frosty
    darth frosty

    The KH remodels and ass-emblies/conventions are the best money grabs they have.

    KH remodels they have to borrow the money from the society for a bldg that the society already owns at 3% interest. I found out they dis-solved a congo I used to attend because they could not afford the remodel.

    The ass-emblies are a great grab with the way they take a count of people attending and than use the number X's a dollar amount per person and wah-lah there is the assembly hall cost. I used to always wonder why a weekend or special day assembly would cost $8-10k for a paid off assembly hall?!? Now I know.

  • palmtree67

    It was a bogus re-model that started me thinking, too.

    This was purely re-decorating - new carpet, drapes, wallpaper, arborite....Somehow the entire thing was going to cost $50,000......ok.....whatever. Remodel approved by congregation.

    Then, after the most *hideous* decorating known to man (No, seriously....everyone hated it....) a resolution was presented that the congregation now had to come up with another $25,000, no explanation given.

    In the real world, if a company bids on a job and gets it for $50,000, there is no way in hell they can present a bill at the end of it for another 50% over budget and get away with it, with no questions asked.

    Everyone was talking about the hideous decorating and the amount we paid for it, but of course.....we paid it.

  • wha happened?
    wha happened?

    @$75k? Wow.

    I think some brothers get in on the action though. Some years back a brother made the suggestion that keeping up with the groundskeeping was a waste of money, etc etc. Well brothers used to volunteer who did that kind of work. It was handled. Oh no this brother saw a need, and convinced the congs to look into this fake grass. He almost had it sodl to all 4 congregations if it wasn't for an older sister, who asked; "Has anyone looked into less expensive alternatives?"It was really expensive.

    Well that set off a firestorm and eventual name calling. Jezabel, etc etc. But, it was a logical question and it killed the idea. Turns out the brother would have made some decent money on the deal

  • discreetslave

    My father in law told me some time ago that at a big RBC meeting they were told if a KH is paid for and there is another in the circuit or district that is in need of repairs take out a loan (with the WT of course) and donate the funds to the hall in need. This way a KH with publishers with a lower income doesn't have to take out a huge loan if one is still needed to meet the cost. He made it seem like this is so wonderful and caring but I thought why doesn't the WT help them out instead of others taking on a debt.

Share this topic

Related Topics