I am documenting this here so no one can say they were "shocked" to learn about it later.
In WARNING: Money launderers using muslims as red herrings, I raised the warning about two professional con artists in Gainesville Florida. Evidence suggests their plan to burn The Koran is nothing more than manufacturing a cause célèbre so they can paint themselves as victims of religious persecution before they take the money and run.
Based on public information, I concluded Terry and Sylvia Jones
- take in money for allegedly religious purposes (placement) and
- shuffle it around through multiple businesses across state lines and even internationally (layering)
- bring the money back in through a variety of channels managed by for profit corporations that are subsidiaries of TS and Co., LLC (integration)
- turn profits into multiple real estate holdings of considerable value (payday).
Upon further examination I realized I missed something very important. I missed the slave labor.
Let's review the real estate Terry D. Jones and Sylvia Jones have controlling interests in, or own outright. This is not limited to the church and its surrounding parcel of land.
Their primary property holding is at 5805 NW 37th Street in Gainesville, FL 32653. It houses the church, known as Dove World Outreach Center, their "mission" called the Lisa Jones House, an online retail operation called TS and Company Designs, a furniture moving company called TSC Moving, and the corporate headquarters of their holding company, TC and Company, LLC.
The property is assessed at about $1.6 million. The Joneses originally listed it at $4.2 million, but it is now on the market for $2.9 million.
That's a nice chunk of change, but it isn't their only holding. According to tax records pulled by the Gainesville Sun
Six properties, four in Phoenix and two in Pineridge, were purchased between March 2006 and August 2007 for a combined $647,500. Financing information for the properties was not immediately available.
Terry and Sylvia Jones also own 4.42 acres of vacant land in Chiefland purchased in 2004 for about $28,000.
The couple purchased a house in Slidell, La., in January 2007 for $303,900.
And they own a condo in the Paradise Island Towers Condo on Treasure Island, which was purchased before Terry Jones’ first wife died.
Even before you figure in the value of the condo, we are looking at almost another $1 million in real estate. The condo, assuming it is a modest 2 bedroom affair could easily go for $300,000. If it's got three bedrooms, it could be worth anywhere from $500,0000 to $1 million, depending on where it is located.
It's nice that Terry and Sylvia have such a cozy upscale retreat nearby, because I'm sure the squalor their flock lives in depresses the hell out of them.
In my previous piece, I pointed to a shipping transaction from Sweden as possible evidence they are money laundering through their various enterprises. Now I'm wondering if that furniture bought at auction might not have wound up in their Treasure Island retreat. I had assumed, incorrectly, these scumbags were actually paying for the labor they used. Turns out that is not true.
The real secret of TSandCompany’s success though, is the free-labor provided by church volunteers who do everything from packing, delivering and picking up furniture to collecting food donations from area businesses and even dumpster-diving for discarded packing materials and inventory.
Ex church-members describe 12-14 hour workdays for no pay except room and board on church property which consists of low-income housing bought up by Jones in Gainesville neighborhoods that have seen better days. The Engels, a couple that emigrated from the Jones’ Cologne, said that for more than a year, they lived in an apartment in Pineridge in northwest Gainesville with their two young sons and worked more than 40 hours a week unpaid. The Engels said they didn’t pay rent for their apartment and that all their meals were provided by the church’s Lisa Jones House, which the church describes as an "outreach to the poor" that uses food from the local food bank.
This isn't hearsay either. According to one ad they placed
TSC Moving is a Christian company seeking honest, reliable and courteous drivers to expand our furniture delivery service. We provide first-class delivery of vintage and collectible furniture throughout the Eastern half of the United States. Delivery drivers travel generally on 10-11 day trips, leaving out of Gainesville, FL and stopping at businesses and homes, picking up and delivering along the way. Two people travel together in order to provide in home delivery. Hotels are provided by the company, and one full day off is included.
To be blunt, Terry and Sylvia Jones -- along with their business partner and fellow pastor Wayne Sapp, are making money off the labor of their flock.
Ironically, it wasn't the abusive business practices that got Dove Worldwide Outreach Ministries in trouble. It was their core business that caught people's attention. Sapp may have unintentionally pulled the pin on this grenade. During the last election cycle, Sapp put out vitriolic videos condemning the (now) mayor, who is openly gay. His rants included such choice examples of Christian love as:
Here in Gainesville, they're getting ready to have a run-off election between two candidates, and one of them is openly a homo, gay, fag -- whatever you want to call him. We got one running for mayor of Gainesville, trying to convert Gainesville into Homoville. We can't have it.
The church also put up signs out front saying No Homo Mayor. Although Sapp was the point man on that campaign, Terry Jones made it clear he was doing it with the full blessings of the church:
The senior pastor of Dove Church, Rev. Terry Jones said all videos put online that feature Pastor Sapp or himself have been endorsed and approved by the Dove World Outreach Center church. The video had originally been posted to youtube, but was removed for violating terms of service. Questions are also being posed to the state about the church's tax-exempt 501(c)3 status after flagrantly wading into politics.
They say you can't fight City Hall... and I guess that's true even in Gainesville Florida. Especially when you use your church as a megaphone to call the mayor a bunch of hateful names. As I mentioned in the previous installment, the walls are crumbling on this con game because RBC is calling in the loans on the main property, saying
Due to the material adverse change in your financial condition, we are asking that you move your entire financial relationship to another institution.
When I first saw that, it struck me as odd. If you are in default of a loan, the bank calls it in. But kicking a paying customer to the curb? In these days of upside down mortgages? In Florida? That led me to speculate their non-profit status was in jeopardy due to the commingling of the various enterprises I had noted. Turns out, I was close, but not correct. Their jumping in to local politics is what got them in hot water. Let me repeat part of a quote from above:
Questions are also being posed to the state about the church's tax-exempt 501(c)3 status after flagrantly wading into politics.
To make matters worse, once they opened that can of worms, people started looking into the business dealings that had been operating under the radar. Local county ordinances apparently forbid tax-exempt entities from using their property to run taxable businesses. So, while the money laundering layer cake wasn't the smoke that led authorities to look for fire, it sure is going to add fuel to what will likely become a raging bonfire of the vanities.
Speaking of fire, this brings us to what I believe is going to be their final act, their much-publicized plan to burn copies of The Koran on Sept 11, 2010. This is a classic con artist ploy. Play the emotions so you can distract the marks from your real intention. The point? Get the marks to believe you are working on their behalf so you can take the money and run.
One comment in the previous post confirms what I suspected, the game is falling apart. The marks are walking away.
I have a friend who lurks on the Dove list serve and he heard about their loan being called in and their property insurance being revoked and the pastor complaining about poor attendance. You should realize that this church only has 50 members and many of them are not attending the services.
Another comment in the previous post brought a whole new appreciation for the fact this sort of behavior is a pattern with Jones. Apparently, he was part of a similar con game in the 80s called Maranatha Ministries. Whether you call it a cult or not, there is no doubt it was a multi-level marketing scheme masquerading as a ministry.
The implications of this recurring pattern will be examined in the next installment, NEWSFLASH: Koran burning con artists couldn't care less!. Knowing his track record confirms my worst suspicions about Terry Jones because it puts his current predatory practices in context.
I said it before, I'll say it again:
Here's where I think this is headed. I think these grifters are getting ready to blow town. They have all but shut down their online operations. They are trying to sell their major real estate asset. They are simultaneously trying to provoke a major media event that will put them in conflict with local government, who has expressly forbid them from having their bookburning. I fully expect they will go ahead with their shindig and when the hammer comes down, they will cry "persecution" and flee... taking as much money as they can so they can "start over anew in more hospitable environs"... while leaving the fleeced flock of faithful holding the bag.