With Apologies To Don Kistler (But He Doesn’t Want One)Posted: November 9, 2006
In the last few weeks I’ve received a number of emails, some of them quite hostile, demanding that I issue a public apology to Tim Dick, and to Ligonier Ministries, and in particular to Don Kistler, for having alleged that Tim Dick defrauded Don Kistler in the Ligonier Ministries acquisition of Soli Deo Gloria Ministries.
It’s been alleged by several witnesses that, at best, a key reversionary clause was deliberately omitted from the contract which Dr. Kistler had been assured would be included, and at worst Tim Dick was responsible for at the last moment switching out the contract for one which didn’t include the agreed upon reversionary clause. This “discrepancy” was promptly pointed out to Tim Dick immediately after it was discovered.
There’s no dispute over the fact that the reversionary clause had been agreed to by all parties prior to the contract signing. The only point of contention is over whether there was an administrative error or a deliberate bait and switch fraud. At least one person present at the contract signing ceremony claims to have overheard Tim Dick whisper to another Ligonier employee, “He thinks the clause is in there.” Regardless, all subsequent efforts to amend the contract to include the reversionary clause have been evaded by Ligonier “senior management.”
With Don Kistler’s recent public statement disavowing the allegation that Tim Dick perpetrated a fraud, demands continue to mount for an apology from me. There’s just one problem — Don Kistler himself doesn’t want an apology, nor does he believe that he’s owed one, and he’s told me so. The fact that Don Kistler himself has told me that he doesn’t believe that I owe him an apology is significant. If Don Kistler himself doesn’t believe that I owe him an apology then why would anyone else?
I care a great deal about what Don Kistler thinks. If Don had told me, “Yes, I believe you owe me an apology” then I’d issue a public apology. I don’t care as much about what others think, and I especially don’t care what Tim Dick’s defenders think. Nevertheless, it would seem that their demands have escalated, and will continue to escalate, and so a public response at this time appears to be necessary. So here it is:
Don Kistler has stated that I don’t owe him an apology, and on that I take him at his word. Therefore I won’t be apologizing to Don Kistler.
Tim Dick and his defenders believe that I owe Tim Dick an apology. However, everything that’s transpired is entirely Tim Dick’s own fault. I won’t issue an apology to the man that caused the scandal in the first place. Furthermore I won’t apologize for standing up to a bully who picked a fight with me.
Anyone who’s taken the time to review the events knows that Tim Dick and Ligonier’s “senior management” (John Duncan) are bullies and liars. They’ve lied regularly and repeatedly, including and especially to their own financial supporters. They even lied to the judge. I will not issue apologies to bullies, liars and perjurers.
Don has expressed concerns to me that it might become problematic for him if it were known by Tim Dick that he was even talking to me. This too is very significant. Why should the founder of Soli Deo Gloria Ministries have to be fearful of Tim Dick for talking to me? Don has a vested interest in attempting to bring some closure to the discrepancy between his recently issued public statement and what several witnesses claim that he’s told them in the past, regarding the SDG acquisition by Ligonier.
But it’s not just Don who wants to bring this matter to closure. I’d like to do the same. We should both be free to work toward that end, and we shouldn’t have to go about it in secret. But with the witch-hunt climate at Ligonier overshadowing everything else it’s a little hard to accomplish that. Don’s fears are justified, and they’re confirmed by the numerous emails I’ve received from even former Ligonier employees who tell me that there’s been an active Ligonier witch hunt, headed up by Ligonier General Manager John Duncan, threatening anyone who’s even remotely suspected of speaking with me. At this point just about everyone is a suspect.
Should Don Kistler have to be fearful of Ligonier “senior management” for speaking with me? No, but he is, and the fact that he is says a great deal about the fearful working climate at Ligonier. John Duncan bears responsibility for creating fear and even some hysteria. His stories are nothing short of bizarre, including even telling callers that there are death threats against the Sprouls and Dicks. John Duncan is so caught up in his own paranoia that he’s having trouble with being able to think through rationally just how far he can reasonably push the envelope of his silly fear-mongering.
The fearful working climate at Ligonier should also tell you something about the likelihood that Don was coerced into issuing his public statement. Those who’ve been carefully following this story recognized that for themselves weeks ago. For example Hank Barnes posted this insightful comment in response to comments by “Mike” and “FVS”:
As I communicated to Don Kistler very recently not one of the original witnesses who came to me and told me that Tim Dick had defrauded Don Kistler in the Ligonier Ministries acquisition of Soli Deo Gloria Ministries has changed their story. According to them it was Don Kistler who came to them in the first place and complained that key language that Don was promised was in the final contract (the reversionary clause) in point of fact wasn’t in the contract at all.
Don was not himself present for the signing. He delegated that responsibility to his brother Rev. Dan Kistler, who was also an SDG board member. It was also Dan’s understanding that the reversionary clause was in the contract. It wasn’t. Granted, it was Dan’s (and Don’s) own fault for not carefully reviewing the actual physical contract before signing it. Bad things can happen in contract signings, some accidental and some deliberate. It’s never wise to make assumptions, especially with such significant decisions, and especially when dealing with a guy like Tim Dick. Too bad no one warned them.
I’m quite aware that Don Kistler didn’t appreciate my intervention, but as Don knows I didn’t start this fight. Tim Dick provoked the whole thing, and once Tim decided to start swinging I wasn’t about to just walk away. Tim Dick is a bully and the worst thing you can do with a bully is to back down. But especially once I started receiving such incredibly damning emails from Ligonier insiders about Tim Dick there was no way that I could just walk away. As I told Don recently,
“My intention was never to put you in a bad light, and I trust that you’d be in agreement that nothing that I’ve done to date has in any way reflected negatively on you. I want that to continue. As far as I was concerned, and as far as I’m still concerned, you were always the victim and Tim Dick was the perpetrator. But you’re far from being the only victim. Tim Dick has caused considerable damage in the lives of many people, all for the sake of pursuing his selfish ambitions. The testimonies of multiple witnesses all confirm that Tim Dick is a self-serving duplicitous man who is completely unfit to be heading up a Christian ministry of any kind.
“Yes, I recognize that you never wanted me stepping in as a whistle blower. But what you fail to acknowledge is that others did, and those others were people (witnesses) that all claim that you repeatedly came to them and complained about Tim Dick screwing you over. If you didn’t want something to be done about it you should have kept it to yourself. The same goes for your private statements that Tim Dick compelled you to issue that sham public statement — that he was standing over your shoulder watching you the whole time that you wrote it. The message that you communicated was obvious — you wrote it under duress.”
If anyone is due an apology it’s me. I’m due an apology from Tim Dick for:
- His repeated evasions of my question, “Did you or did you not defraud Don Kistler in the Soli Deo Gloria acquisition?” Tim Dick did reasonably and timely answer all my other questions. However, he repeatedly evaded the SDG question.
- After multiple evasions on August 18 I issued him a ten-day ultimatum to make things right with Don Kistler or I’d publicly expose his fraud. At no time prior or subsequent to August 18 did Tim Dick deny the allegations. Had he at any time simply said, “You don’t know what you’re talking about Frank. Your sources have got the story wrong. I didn’t do it,” then I never would have published the story.
- In an email on August 22 Tim stated, “I want to address all these issues with you Frank, but think it may be wise to wait until next week because of time constraints. I want to be thorough in my response yet have a full schedule this week so, I’ll try again next week. Unless of course, you can free yourself up to make a visit this week?”
- The only reply I received from Tim the following week (which also happened to be the last email I ever received from him) was on August 26, and it too was completely evasive of the fraud question. There was only one “issue” to be resolved, and that was the issue that Tim repeatedly evaded answering. He could have easily answered with a simple “No.”
- I declined Tim’s offer to go to Orlando, noting that nothing that I was looking for couldn’t be handled by email. The fact that Tim was so eager for me to come to Orlando, when it could have all been easily addressed via email, only increased my suspicions of him.
- I was informed on August 24 that Don Kistler had suffered a stroke on August 15. The fact that I’d been in contact with Tim Dick subsequent to August 15 regarding issues that pertained directly to Don, and the fact that Tim never mentioned anything about Don’s stroke, only elevated my suspicions. It appeared to me that Tim was acting opportunistically in Don’s absence.
- It later became only too obvious that Tim’s invitation for me to “make a visit” to Orlando was nothing but a ploy to stall for time while he was getting his lawsuit prepared.
- Tim signed the lawsuit on August 24 and it was filed with the court August 25. No doubt Tim would have been thrilled for me to make a personal appearance in Orlando so that he could have the lawsuit served on me.
- Tim failed to notify me that he’d sued me. I only found out about it later by the Orlando Sentinel.
- Tim lied to the judge by saying that there was no way to contact me, thus trying to get the judge to issue an injunction to shut down my blog through secret ex parte hearings.
- When the Orlando Sentinel exposed the lawsuit and angry calls started coming into Ligonier from their own supporters Ligonier lied and said, “There is no lawsuit. We don’t know how that story got started.”
- When I was able to get my hands on a copy of the lawsuit and publicly post it so that Ligonier could no longer get away with lying about it, they changed their story, but they only lied again by claiming that “It’s not a lawsuit, it’s an injunction” failing to acknowledge that an injunction is a form of lawsuit, and also the fact that they’d sued me for $15,000 for defamation.
- Tim Dick and John Duncan lied again when on September 20 they posted a public statement claiming that the lawsuit had been “withdrawn.” Yet on September 21 they were back in court, not to drop the case, but for another secret ex parte hearing to figure out how to move the case forward. It wasn’t until September 27 that they finally withdrew the case.
- Tim Dick lied in his September 20 public statement when he claimed that he had “refuted the accusations,” not to mention all the other lies in his statement.
- On September 29 the Orlando Sentinel ran a story in which an interview with Ligonier attorney Dan Brodersen it was acknowledged that Ligonier would likely sue me again if they could track me down.
It shows a remarkable degree of willful ignorance for anyone to think that I owe the liar Tim Dick an apology, or that I even owe Ligonier Ministries or RC Sproul an apology. RC Sproul is the one who appointed his lying son-in-law to be President/CEO/CFO. He bears full responsibility for the disastrous consequences to Ligonier.
However, I can appreciate why there are still some who legitimately feel that I owe Don Kistler an apology. It seems to me that Don Kistler himself is the best authority on that subject. Given that he’s told me that he doesn’t believe that I owe him an apology I think it best to follow that advice.
Rather than issuing a public apology I will issue, once again, a public call for the repentance of Tim Dick and John Duncan, and I call on them to prove the sincerity of their repentance by resigning their Ligonier “senior management” positions immediately. I also call on RC Sproul to repent, for by his own silence he’s demonstrated his complicity in their sins.