Is going Broke?

by Vanderhoven7 68 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • Journeyman
    I have mentioned in the past, that the WTS has a lot of their net/gross worth in property,etc. Now cash, especially available cash, not so much. Cash flowing is a necessary thing, using property as collateral is an iffy situation when applying for loans

    Indeed. Not only that, but property is not as useful for covering your current debts and keeping you afloat if you're not earning some kind of income from it.

    Historically, the org has bought property (or land to build on) for their own personal use. That's fine as a "locked-in" asset which you can sell later (particularly the land itself), but it's not earning you anything in the meantime unless you either 1) lease it to others if it's land, or 2) rent it out if it's property, and to my knowledge the org has never really done either until now.

    As a result, they only get financial value from a property when they sell it, and when they do that it's just one-time revenue and they lose the asset. Also, in the meantime, as long as they hold that property it is costing money to maintain. That wasn't a problem when it was all on the shoulders of the local congregations to pay for maintenance, but since the org centralised all repairs under the WDC/RDC/LDC arrangement, that means any major repairs to halls would also have to come from their central pot of money, so it's in their interests to just flog off any halls that are looking like money sinks, or where the value of the land is much greater than that of the building on it.

    I think you're right that individuals are not donating as they used to, and as the org has calculated they 'should', and so it's looking at other methods to improve immediate liquidity. That would explain things that look like penny-pinching, like the sell-offs of surplus Bethel hardware, and attempts to cut overheads, at the same time as still making large property deals.

    Remember when they first formed the WDC/RDC/LDCs, they were trumpeting that many halls needed repairs and hundreds of new ones would be built across the USA - but pretty soon after that number dropped drastically and suddenly all the talk was about consolidating congregations to make more 'efficient' use of existing halls. They must have crunched the numbers and realised they couldn't possibly fund that level of repair and construction up front, so instead they are now concentrating on a smaller number of large projects, like assembly halls (for example, that one in Woodbury, NY, mentioned earlier).

    Eventually, moving all assemblies and conventions to their own assembly halls would be an obvious money-saver. First, cutting out any cost to external companies for rental of facilities (and venue staffing). Second, they can generate income by charging publishers for convention 'overheads' at a rate greater than the actual cost (something which many suspect they have already been doing in certain areas for some time). And of course they have the benefit of total control over how the buildings are used and what dates they schedule events.

  • Nathan Natas
    Nathan Natas

    NotFormer queried, "So what are members called now? Obviously not parishioners. Congregants? What is the word used by the WT for R&F witnesses?"

    The official term for the Rank-and-File JWs is "Fools," usually with an obscene adjective attached.

  • NotFormer

    @Nathan Natas: "the flock that must be fleeced"?

  • ThomasMore

    An attorney for a CSA plaintif told his client that it would be wise to take the settlement offer. In discovery, his firm decided that WTC could not last 3 years before chap 11. That was roughly 1 year ago.

    Since then, WTC has shifted it's position on adjudicating in courtroom venues. It now desires to settle out of court with negotiating tactics and a tight NDA. So what changed?

    They were losing cases - almost every case they fought. Why? Plaintifs attorneys had a large amount of harmful evidence that swayed juries and judges. What did WTC do? WTC hired the same legal firm that represented US Catholic dioceses. Why is this significant? All the dioceses they represented declared chap 11. That firm immediately told WTC to stop wasting resources in court battles. Their solution for the dioceses was to protect assets by filing chap 11. Chap 11 is closer than ever as WTC aligns their assets to prepare. Like the dioceses, they know that chap 11 is not the end if they can limit the bad PR among the R&F.

    So back to the original OP question. Is WTC broke? Not exactly, but they can see themselves being broke if they don't seek debt protection soon. CSA cases are still flooding in, and a new batch of hybrid CSA cases is forming in PA. Reports from inside Warwick are not flattering as the intensity of CSA cases intensifies.

  • ThomasMore

    Also for consideration

    Many are aware that WTC had all KH's appraised several years ago. There are only 2 reasons to appraise a property: 1) To sell it at market value 2) To leverage it as collateral for debt

    It is falsely assumed that WTC has never had debt. That is not true. I personally knew the GB member who used to go to the bank regularly to take loans. They used the headquarter buildings as collateral and it worked, until it didn't. They sold everything in NY city, paid debt and built Warwick. Bad times came and now the money is not there for Ramapo. They must rely on extra money that can be squeezed out of the R&F.

    Don't they have billions in offshore accounts? I remember when they absolutely did. Where did it go? They hemorhaged cash as they paid debt, settled CSA cases, succumbed to health care costs for an aging Bethel family and SFS's, watched giving decrease, lost Regional Convention revenue streams and on and on and on. In discovery only 3 years ago, they disclosed the cash they had - it was just enough operating expense for a few years. Things have not improved since then.

  • Vidiot

    “In discovery”?

    Sorry, what does that mean?

  • NotFormer
  • Vidiot

    Ah, thanks.

    ”Full disclosure” in movie-lawyer-speak.

  • LV101

    SFS's --- sorry, can't figure out what that stands for/thanks.

  • NotFormer

    @ Vidiot: Discovery and disclosure are a legal manifestation of the FAFO Ratio:

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