Joseph Ward III offers our weekly digest of the latest headlines at the intersection of Christian faith and LGBT equality.
Have you ever stood in the Christian Closet?
Former Republican Presidential candidate Jon Huntsman called marriage equality a “conservative cause.“Â He and more than 80 prominent Republican leaders are sending a “friend to the Court“Â brief to the Supreme Court as it prepares to hear cases over Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act.
Father Shannon Kearns will lead a retreat for queer and trans people in Minnesota this spring.
Rev. Andy Oliver talks about United Methodist doctrine and polity, and why the church should not support discrimination based on sexual orientation.
A 65-year-old nurse challenged a Catholic Archbishopâ€™s gay marriage stance.
Why do gay Americans pay more taxes, for fewer rights? Suzy Orman shares her thoughts at CNN.
Cartoonist David Hayward illustrates the diversity of our kids.
Watch as these Texans defend lesbian and gay families from a â€œhomophobicâ€ waitress. (Thanks Gwen for sending this over!)
Hereâ€™s a final thought from Marge Ragona:
â€œThe Bible had many, many models for what we now call marriage. I’m not even sure they had a concept of marriage. It was more a concept of ownership.â€ â€“February 19th @BOLFacebook
Photo courtesy of Country Club Congregational United Church of Christ
Joseph Ward is the Director of Believe Out Loud, an online network that empowers Christians to work for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality and a writer on religion and LGBT equality issues. Follow him on Twitter @JosephWardIII.
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‘Fire Sale Prices’: Biographer Predicts Trump ‘May Soon Be Personally Bankrupt’ and Could See His Assets ‘Liquidated’
Donald Trump, the one-term, twice-impeached ex-president who is running for the White House while facing four criminal indictments that include 91 felony counts across three jurisdictions, “may soon be personally bankrupt,” according to a journalist who has written two books on the man he calls a “self-proclaimed multibillionaire.”
Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist David Cay Johnston, author of “The Making of Donald Trump,” and “The Big Cheat: How Donald Trump Fleeced America and Enriched Himself and His Family,” reported on Tuesday’s decision by Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron. The judge ruled Trump had committed fraud for years, by massively inflating the value of his assets. He ordered Trump’s business certificates revoked and his assets dissolved.
“Donald Trump is no longer in business,” Johnston writes at DC Report. “Worse, the self-proclaimed multibillionaire may soon be personally bankrupt as a result, stripped of just about everything because for years he engaged in calculated bank fraud and insurance fraud by inflating the value of his properties, a judge ruled Tuesday.”
The ex-president’s “gaudy Trump Tower apartment, his golf courses, his Boeing 757 jet and even Mar-a-Lago could all be disposed of by a court-appointed monitor, leaving Trump with not much more than his pensions as a one term president and a television performer,” Johnston wrote.
Trump will likely appeal any ruling, but Johnston, who has chronicled Trump for years, says it’s “highly unlikely” an appeals court will reverse Justice Engoron’s decision.
“Barring a highly unlikely reversal by an appeals court, Trump’s business assets eventually will be liquidated since he cannot operate them without a business license. Retired Judge Barbara Jones was appointed to monitor the assets, an arrangement not unlike the court-supervised liquidation of a bankrupt company or the assets of a drug lord,” Johnston writes. “The various properties are likely to be sold at fire sale prices and certainly not for top dollar when liquidation begins, probably after all appeals are exhausted.”
Johnston last year said “that the former president ‘knowingly’ committed dozens of tax crimes over the past several years,” according to Newsweek. Johnston’s comments in December came “shortly after Democratic-led House Ways and Means Committee held a vote to publicly release Trump’s tax return documents,” and “published a report showing that Trump was not properly audited by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) while he was president. The IRS has a policy requiring that a sitting president is audited each year while in office.”
Trump Goes on Wild Rant Targeting Judge and Attorney General After Being Found Liable for Fraud
Donald Trump unleashed a wild rant Wednesday morning, targeting the New York attorney general and the Manhattan Supreme Court judge in the State of New York’s $250 million civil case against him. The judge on Tuesday declared the ex-president had committed fraud for years in building his real estate empire and ordered his business certificates revoked and holdings dissolved.
Trump has been warned to not make public attacks against or attempts to intimidate witnesses or officers of the court, or prejudice jurors in one of the criminal cases he is currently facing. Two weeks ago, after appearing to not heed those warnings, the Special Counsel prosecuting the ex-president for his alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 election asked the judge presiding over that case to limit his speech.
Wednesday morning, Trump called New York Attorney General Letitia James “Racist.” He called Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron “Deranged,” and “Trump Hating,” alleging he had “made up this crazy ‘KILL TRUMP’ decision, assigning insanely low values to properties.” Trump wrote the judge valued his Mar-a-Lago resort and residence at $18 million, and claimed (in all-caps) “it is worth possibly 100 times that amount.”
The judge, however, according to The Hill, “found Trump consistently overvalued Mar-a-Lago, inflating its value on one financial statement by at least 2,300 percent. The ruling pointed to a Palm Beach County Assessor’s appraisal from 2011-2021, which estimated Mar-a-Lago’s value between $18 million and $27.6 million.”
“In his order,” The New York Times reported Tuesday, “Justice Engoron wrote scathingly about Mr. Trump’s defenses, saying that the former president and the other defendants, including his two adult sons and his company, ignored reality when it suited their business needs. ‘In defendants’ world,’ he wrote, ‘rent-regulated apartments are worth the same as unregulated apartments; restricted land is worth the same as unrestricted land; restrictions can evaporate into thin air.'”
“That is a fantasy world, not the real world,” the judge concluded.
At the end of his diatribe Wednesday, Trump declared: “There is also an IRONCLAD DISCLAIMER CLAUSE!”
Trump Organization Given ‘Corporate Death Penalty’ and Ordered Dissolved by Judge After ‘Persistent Fraud’: Legal Experts
A New York judge has ordered Donald Trump’s business entities in the state of New York, including The Trump Organization, dissolved, and his business certificates canceled, according to legal experts, after ruling that the ex-president for years committed fraud and deceived banks and insurers by inflating the value of his assets.
Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron “has ordered cancellation of all [NYS] business [certificates] of ‘any entity controlled or beneficially owned by Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Jr, Eric Trump, Alan Weisselberg, & Jeffrey McConney. An independent receiver will manage the dissolutions,” writes former federal prosecutor Elizabeth de la Vega.
Correct, @AndrewFeinberg. The judge has ordered cancellation of all [NYS] business certs of “any entity controlled or beneficially owned by Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Jr, Eric Trump, Alan Weisselberg, & Jeffrey McConney. An independent receiver will manage the dissolutions. https://t.co/mK0vkzQXon
— Elizabeth de la Vega (@Delavegalaw) September 26, 2023
The Messenger reports Judge Engoron’s “blockbuster ruling found that the former president and his business leaders failed to correct course after warned of a ‘propensity to engage in persistent fraud,'” and ordered “a quick timeline to dissolve the Trump Organization and other corporate entities.”
MSNBC legal analyst Lisa Rubin explains that the “New York trial court judge has found that Trump, his adult sons, and Allen Weisselberg engaged in a persistent, years-long fraud through ‘fantasy world’ valuations of core Trump assets, including his own residence and various golf courses and office buildings.”
“His decision not only eliminates the need for trial on that claim, but also orders fairly dramatic relief: the cancellation of New York business certificates for all of the entities named as defendants, ‘as well as any other entity controlled or beneficially owned by the individual defendants found liable,'” she adds.
“In addition to finding that Trump committed fraud, the judge canceled the certificates of various Trump businesses, appointed a former judge as an independent monitor of the Trump Organization, and will appoint receivers to manage the canceled LLCs,” writes former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti.
“This is a pretty big deal,” he adds.
Professor of law Ryan Goodman, the former Dept. of Defense Special Counsel says Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron ordered the “corporate death penalty” for the Trump organization. Former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance also used the term “corporate death penalty.”
“The leading Republican candidate has been found liable for sexual assault and fraud, his companies found guilty of fraud, and he’s charged with 91 OTHER felony counts. That he is not dismissed politically out of hand says much more about us, than about him,” observes MSNBC’s Andrew Weissmann, the well-known former lead prosecutor in Robert S. Mueller’s Special Counsel’s Office and former FBI General Counsel.
Attorney, retired U.S. Air Force colonel, and former administrative law judge Moe Davis responding to the news, writes: “Trump is the eponymous fraudster. The name Trump is to fraud what Campell’s is to soup, Kleenex is to tissue, and ping is to pong.”
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