Pastor Duane Vander Klok’s Response to Request to Return Funds
Forensic Statement Analysis by Laurie Ayers
Posted April 2015
In 2014 David W. McQueen was sentenced to 30 years in Federal prison for an investment scam. One of the recipients of over $300,000 in stolen investor funds was Resurrection Life Church in Grandville MI. The US Attorney’s office sent a written request to the church to voluntarily return the funds. The church responded “We have prayerfully considered your request that the Church return all or part of this donor’s gifts and tithe monies, and must respectfully decline to do so.” See the church’s letter responding to the request here.
What followed next was a public outcry for Resurrection Life Church to reconsider their refusal to return the funds to the innocent investors. Within a few days of the media coverage the Senior Pastor of the church posted the following message on their Facebook page. His statement is below, along with my content validity, forensic statement analysis of his words in bold purple font.
A statement from Pastor Duane regarding the issues raised in the local news:
We at Resurrection Life Church are committed to uphold a high ethical standard as well as to obey all the laws that govern the use of donated funds and how they may be dispersed. We are very saddened to hear of the illegal activities of Mr. McQueen and especially of the losses it caused so many innocent investors.
*Committed to is the same as trying. It’s not the same as saying we uphold high ethical standards and we obey the laws.
Mr. McQueen did make multiple donations; the funds in question were given in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009.
Regarding the recent request to voluntarily return the funds that were donated years ago by McQueen, we unfortunately do not have those funds. The money was dispersed to various charitable causes many years ago according to the requirements of the law. Because so much time has passed since the donations were made, it is impossible to find those dollars now. The orphanages, missionaries, even local businesses who actually received portions of that money have all long since put it to good use, and so have the businesses where they spent it and so on.
*Dispersed according to the law, yet it’s now impossible to find? These are contradictory statements.
People will use the word “actually” to emphasize something. The use of this word also indicates a person is comparing two thoughts. Consider the following question and answer.
Question: “Did you go out for breakfast?”
Answer: “Actually, we went out for lunch.”
In this answer, it is easy to see the person is comparing dining out for breakfast with dining out for lunch. Most of the time when people use the word “actually” you will be able to see what the person is comparing.
When the word “actually” is used and no statement has been submitted we then have some undisclosed information. Sometimes you will be able to figure out what information the person is withholding.
If it is impossible to find the dollars, how are they able to state factually the funds were put to good use?
If Resurrection Life Church had been aware of the nature of the funds at the time they were received, or even before the funds were dispersed to charitable causes, we would have gladly returned them to the investors. Sadly, we never had that opportunity because no one had any knowledge of the illegal circumstances surrounding the gifts until many years later.
Any attempt to take our current donations and redirect them to the investors would create an ethical and potentially legal dilemma because, not only do we not have an equivalent sum available but, what we do have was donated recently and not for that purpose. Redirecting donated funds to a purpose other than what they were donated for is a very serious legal matter. We do not desire to be unethical, or commit a crime today, in reaction to the crime committed by someone else many years ago.
Since for both ethical and legal reasons we cannot simply redirect funds to the investors, we have been exploring what we can do for them. We are in the process of establishing a special fund account to benefit the investors who lost their funds. Our church community can donate to the account and all the monies received into that fund will be put towards the restoration of the investor’s loss. An independent attorney will oversee the escrow fund and will coordinate with the US Attorney for eventual distribution of all funds received to the victims. Details of how to give to that account will be made available to our congregation through our website and social media as soon as they are finalized.
Pastor Duane Vander Klok
At the end of the day the church is stating they will now set up a special fund to try to recoup the funds for the investors. However if that had been stated with the original request there never would have been the public clamor.
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