This eventual takeover was foreshadowed by the Menlo Park, California Kingdom Hall takeover back in 2011-2012. The Watchtower Society not only took over the Kingdom Hall that had been paid for (and paid off completely) with private and local funds, but disfellowshipped the then current elders (who were also board of trustees for the property) when they objected.
The whole story has been replayed many times on this forum and also on Ex-JW.com and YouTube. In spite of the unforeseen events and final disposition of the Menlo Park affair, no one could see that within just a few months after the State Court ruled in favor of the Watchtower on a case relating to alleged bank fraud and deed issues - and the United States District Court for Region 9 refused to act on complaints filed there, the mold for the future was cast.
Essentially both courts, by their rulings and rejection of the BOE complaints, opened the door for the Watchtower to take over every Kingdom Hall in the United States with impunity, whether those halls were financed by the Watchtower Society or completely with local funds and private gifts.
Just think back 5 years and realize how far things have progressed. The Watchtower has become even more of a real estate holding company than a publishing company. Yes, they still do some printing, but compared to the heydays of 1950- 2000, "publishing" has mostly just become a front for them. Now it's all about buying and selling properties, mostly in the United States. They are now reaping the rewards of all those volunteer hours and donations that were used to buy, expand, and build from scratch the many buildings bought at fire-sale prices dating back to the 1920s.
To think that they have already sold off well over a billion dollars in properties in New York and Brooklyn, but now have another billion-plus offer for several more buildings - and they still own more than a dozen others in New York. A "billion" (or a thousand-million in most other countries) is a very, very big number - even if it is only an accounting entry in some bank account. I could pay off most of my debt and go out to dinner once a week with a billion dollars.
The Watchtower is pleading poverty, but that is just more of their misdirection. Like a magician, they say "look over there" while what they are really doing is going on behind their back or being manipulated inside their jacket or up their sleeves. A billion dollars could pay every JW child abuse victim a substantial amount, and they would still have a ton of assets - not counting what comes in every month.
Like the fictional Wizard hiding behind the curtain, their act is all smoke, mirrors and self-puffery. Some day they will be exposed for what they have been doing. Eventually, some right-hearted Bethel attorney or officer in the organization will see the light and want to do the right thing - and expose all of the black secrets behind that curtain.
Ray Franz did it once. There just has to be another brave soul who will eventually come out and tell the truth.
May that day come soon...