7/31/2009

Tkach To Terminate Canadian Plan, $1.1 Million Short; Can Tkach Be Trusted?

Dateline Surrey - The WCG-CGI ministerial pension plan covering Canada, according to a reliable source, is today $1.1 million dollars short of getting a final termination by the church.

Under financial pressure, the rather costly Canadian church defined benefit plan is to be terminated as soon as is financially possible, once the million dollar plus shortfall is overcome. To come up with that amount of cash shortfall, WCG-GCI Canada now has few if any remaining “aces” up its sleeve to overcome the shortage. It did convert church camp real estate into hard cash, to bring the ministerial pension plan back up to short-term solvency. Instead, it must hope on future upside gains in the stock and bond markets, subsequent to the current worldwide economic meltdown. (And to fix this pension shortfall preferably, the remaining ministry must think, before WCG-GCI Canada itself turns bankrupt. The ministry may already see the handwriting on the wall.)

Should the Canadian sect survive in the long-term as an ongoing concern, new ministerial hires, if any, would be put into a new, much less costly defined contribution scheme. The present pension plan is under financial pressure due to a shrinking church, with fewer donating income, resulting in an underfunding of the plan; and significant recent decline in stock and bond market yields. In the meantime, more recent Ambassador grads and fossils in the tenured ministry want to get everything they possibly can out of the defined benefit plan before it absolutely has to be terminated.

Not to worry, though, everyone in the ministry will get a monthly old age check from the Canadian government with medical for sure, regardless of what apocalyptic Rod Meredith predicts will happen prophetically in the next three to five years. They would get those basic government pension benefits, even if WCG-CGI Canada goes completely bankrupt and has to pay out any remaining pension plan money on an apportioned basis to its remaining ministry. However, that's not necessarily so for the ministry unlucky enough to be serving since 1986 in other countries, such as the Philippines, who get not one dime from the Tkachs for all the millions in tithe money that flowed directly into Pasadena back in the day.

At the direction of the Tkachs, Mr. Frank Brown (himself since retired on pension, in B.C.) put the Canadian ministerial pension plan into place in the the early nineties. The first year Mr. Brown funded the defined benefit plan, (termed Pension Plan for Employees of WCG Canada, 86130-1) he placed $500,000 in church assets irrevocably in the plan; on that date, future long-term pension liabilities were actuarially estimated at $4 million. Back at that time, the high returns in the stock and bond markets made it relatively easy to fully fund most any defined benefit pension plan. Besides getting relatively high returns on church investments in the nineties, WCG-CA would benefit from the fact that on average, the ministry was twenty years younger then. It therefore had much more time – using the power of compound interest- for church assets invested to gradually accumulate in the plan and snowball over time to fully fund all plan payment liabilities to the ministry.

By the time 1995 rolled around, with the tremendous boom in investment returns on average, the plan was back on track with $4.3 million in assets and owed just $3.9 million in long-term future liability payments to the ministry.

Yet another helpful factor the defined benefit plan has remained solvent over time is Tkach began shrinking the Canadian church and ministry. As member contributions to the church plummeted, Tkach shrunk the church ministry not in his good standing. He terminated many in ministry, or they left WCG-CA under pressure for greener pastures. Thus, the millions required for funding future liability for ministerial pension payouts also shrank over time, because fewer in the ministry will be around to collect those payments. Of course, each one in the ministry gets a different defined benefit or monthly check amount based on start date, length of service, highest salary, and other compensation factors.

WCG-GCI Canada 2009 Pension Plan Balance Sheet

Total plan assets................. $6,600,000
Total pension liability........... $7,700,000

Total over (under)............... $(1,100,000)

As of 2009, the WCG-GCI pension plan is underfunded with a total of $6.6 million in cash assets. Liabilities of the defined payout plan total $7.7 million. So total pension liabilities (if the plan were closed down and terminated today from going forward) total more than the assets can produce. The pension plan is as of now insolvent, or short to the amount of $1.1 million dollars. If the Canadian church could raise the level of assets in the plan to $7.7 million, the pension plan would be immediately closed off to any new hires. Ministerial pensions would then be paid out to the old guard as promised.

In other words, that means the pension plan has been underfunded by the Canadian church by approximately -14 percent. By Canadian regulation, WCG-GCI Canada has five years to make up the $1.1 million dollar shortfall. It could be granted an extension by the Canadian government to stretch the 1.1 million shortfall over a longer period, if necessary, to come up with the necessary cash. Either plan investments have to grow by $1.1 million, or the Canadian members have to cough up the cash to retire their ministry as promised.

Currently, cash payments required to keep the Canadian defined benefit pension plan alive as a long-term, ongoing concern are costing the Canadian membership $78,000 annually. Todd Martin ('85) Abbotsford, and Eric Warren ('82) Regina, question if their account was properly funded for those ten years or so they had worked prior to the time the Canadian pension was initiated under Frank Brown. Given the history of the WCG in ripping off people, perhaps both could well benefit from getting individualized expert advice from a specialist in defined benefit pensions. WCG-Canada simply no longer has the donation income to afford this and the long-term liabilities of funding the plan as an ongoing operation.


Of course, the WCG/GCI USA pension plan is an entirely different story from the Canadian. United States oversight and funding requirements of pension plans are far more lax than those in Canada. Even company plans going through a bankruptcy are treated more leniently than those in Canada. Company CEOs with pension plans know how lenient government funding requirements are. They certainly know how to take advantage of lax pension funding requirements (and corporate bankruptcy law) to shift pension liabilities over to the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation to break their promises of a pension to current and retired employees.

Multimillionaire Tkach says he thinks his USA pension plan is “four million underfunded now.” But Tkach himself may not even be in the WCG-USA pension plan! He doesn't want to disclose his secret deal nor his appointed lifetime salary, nor his lifetime pension. But even if he is in the employee plan, there are compensation schemes to get around paying CEO Tkach far more than the pittance he would take under the defined contribution plan set up for his at-will employees.

The WCG-GCI USA plan may have several different classes of members, but the details of the plan have yet to be gracefully disclosed to the congregations that actually fund it. Some aged ministers or former employees may be on an entirely discretionary scheme, where Tkach ultimately decides which employee doesn't maintain their “good standing” to qualify for another monthly support check from the church. This helps to keep the mouth of former employees shut. It could bridle those who may want to express their opinions about WCG-GCI publicly, or write a candid book about the Armstrong-Tkach family dynasty.

While part of Tkach's pension plan is discretionary for those in good standing, part of Tkach's plan could also be discriminatory for another class of ministers. WCG trainee Joe Tkach Jr. goofed around in a government job he took with the state of Arizona doing casework on the retarded. Fellow Pasadena alumnus Dennis Diehl labored full-time in the ministry since graduation. Diehl wound up getting basically nothing from Tkach for his laudable WCG efforts over all the miles, moves, and years. So much for Tkach's obviously phony reconciliation (see Canadian Q and A with Tkach - judge for yourself) with all those situated like Dennis Diehl, who were run over by Tkach's changes.

Yet another aspect of Tkach's WCG-USA retirement plan could consist of matching contributions. Glendora could decide to match ministerial contributions at a given percentage. It's all money coming from the collection plates anyway. At its own annual discretion, the sect could match employee paycheck set asides (depending the amount of money siphoned away from local meetings (up to 20% weekly!) by Glendora) for those ministers and employees current in its employ in WCG-USA. It's a defined contribution carrot, to coerce those feigning loyalty to Tkach to stick around a while longer, while the show can still go on.

“Australia is dealing with it, the UK is dealing with it, and just think some of our employed pastors in some places don't have a retirement program. The Philippines has been trying to set one up in the last few years.”

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Shiver me timbers!

The Tkach pirates done raided enough gold 'n booty to pay those Canadian pirates off right 'n proper.

Aaaaaarg!

Purple Hymnal said...

Thanks for this informative post, Stan, I was wondering what effect the mini-recession was going to have on the Canadian pension fund.

"Not to worry, though, everyone in the ministry will get a monthly old age check from the Canadian government with medical for sure, regardless of what apocalyptic Rod Meredith predicts will happen prophetically in the next three to five years."

If you've ever seen one of those checks, and the meager pittance they bring in, Stan, you can bet the Canucklehead Ministers of Misery are more than worried. Ahaaahahahaha! Looks good on the f*ckers. :-)


"In other words, that means the pension plan has been underfunded by the Canadian church by approximately -14 percent. By Canadian regulation, WCG-GCI Canada has five years to make up the $1.1 million dollar shortfall. It could be granted an extension by the Canadian government to stretch the 1.1 million shortfall over a longer period, if necessary, to come up with the necessary cash. Either plan investments have to grow by $1.1 million, or the Canadian members have to cough up the cash to retire their ministry as promised.

They're NEVER GOING TO DO IT. "Donations" to "church programs" (such as the "school" in S. Africa that DOESN'T EXIST) are still sent in to HQ (Glendora). 10% of all "contributions" (still, in many cases, 10% of the annual income of the old guard still hanging on to the bitter end) made to each congregation are sent in to HQ (Glendora). Most of the money "donated" to GCI (surprise surprise) still gets sent to (Guess where?) HQ (Glendora.)

Of the 61 congregations remaining in Canada (!!!), the average congregation size is 15 - 30 members. (That's a generous estimate, BTW.) Assuming the high end of the estimate (which is assuming a lot), that's between 700 and 900 predominantly low-income members (most of whom are likely collecting those OAS cheques themselves), supporting a pension plan for approx. 26 pastors. And they're looking for HOW much money?!?!

(This is also assuming ministers like Neil Earle, who defected to the US, but remained in GCI post-changes and sang the new party anthem to Junior's liking, are now under Glendora's dominion --- and pension plan.)

They're never, never, never going to be able to do it. No matter how many fake donation excuses they try and cook up.

Are the GCI members really going to be so blind, once the ministry starts pressuring them from the pulpit for money (if indeed they ever stopped at all), as to dutifully cough up those special offerings without wondering where the "donations" are REALLY going?

Even money says several offertory messages based on Acts 5 will be delivered in Canadian GCI congregations, in the coming weeks.

Purple Hymnal said...

On rereading, this just caught my eye:

"They would get those basic government pension benefits, even if WCG-CGI Canada goes completely bankrupt and has to pay out any remaining pension plan money on an apportioned basis to its remaining ministry."

As far as I remember, ministerial income was tax-exempt; this means they would NOT have paid into the federal pension plan (CPP).

Church members in Canada (one assumes the ministry as well) were actively discouraged from having RRSPs, buying/selling stocks, or otherwise making any kind of financial investment for the future that did not involve sending money to the church.

Self-employed individuals (if you could set your own hours, you didn't have to fight with employers over the Sabbath) similarly opted out of paying into CPP, thus rendering them ineligible for getting any money back out of the system, when they retire.

I can only assume that the least hypocritical members of the Canadian ministry (if there were any such mythical creatures), heeded this bad advice as well, and that is what led to the creation of the Canadian WCG/GCI pension plan with the Bank of Wachovia.

It is therefore highly likely that most Canadian WCG/GCI ministry will NOT be eligible for the Canada Pension Plan, as they would not have paid in, during their years of employ in the church.

CPP is a pittance as well, but it's almost triple the amount paid out in OAS. Look at it this way: CPP is rent/housing money; OAS is groceries OR gas.

The bastards must be sweating buckets. :-)

Anonymous said...

Ironic that WCG would invest in stocks, yet teach that gambling was wrong. To me, there is not much difference between the two.

When I attended with GTA he had the "answer" - you can gamble as long as you tithed on your winnings.

Stan said...

Purple Hymnal,

It is my understanding that WCG policy regarding employees not paying into the federal social security system through payroll tax withholding was radically changed, several years before Armstrong died. The option was given for WCG employees in the United States to "opt-in" to participating in Social Security.

Someone may shed further light about any changes in WCG-CGI policy regarding participating in the Canadian equivalent the social security system, or Canadian CPP.

I think one of your other points (if I read it correctly) is that Canadian WCG personal ministerial income was taxable, but that some type of exemption may have been obtained by the WCG for not paying into the CPP.

As you point out, any tax- advantaged personal savings were discouraged or just plain impossible under triple total control tithing. Especially before '72.

The Armstrongs and the ministerial class bled the members completely dry.

Stan

Lake of Fire Church of God said...

Great post Stan.

I am glad you mentioned Dennis Diehl in your post. If Tkach had any integrity, he would give Dennis a retirement annuity.

Richard

Bamboo_bends said...

As a child Joe Tkach's mother lost her mind after being subjected to an hours long marathon interrogation session by Rod Meredith. Rod targeted her while Joe Sr was out of town, when he knew she'd be vulnerable.

Meredith was trying to get the scoop on Garner Ted's latest sins. He didn't like that number 3 slot of power. He wanted Garner Ted gone. I infer that Joe Sr knew much about GTA's escapades but wasn't saying much. The late Bill Rapp once said of Joe Tkach Sr, "he knows where all the skeletons are hidden in the Church".

Tkach was laid off by Ron Dart in 1974 during another "budget crisis in the work". It seems to be a pattern that cowardly executives of "the work" favored very impersonal and disrespectful ways of firing employees. I think Joe got notice by Western Union telex, some got a curt but brief phone call. I'm sure if they had email back then, they would have used that to fire people. WCG ministers were never known for their personal courage. If you want to find the person who pulled the trigger on events for the next 20 years, its got to be Ron Dart.

In any case for someone raised in the Imperial School system, indoctrinated at Ambassador College, and who grew up thinking being a minister was the highest life form on earth, Joe was shattered emotionally. Later he lost his wife to another man. Something seemed to snap in Joe at that point. His world fell apart.

I remember how the local elders treated him once he lost his job, you'd think he had the plague. Power shifts in organizations, even on the local level are funny things. The lone sympathetic exception was one German-born local elder who said to Joe - "come over and we'll just talk it over and get drunk". Joe still speaks fondly of that man who cared enough to listen.

With his highly sought after AC Liberal Arts degree, He really didn't have much choice about working with delinquents at The Arizona Boys Ranch.

Later he got work in his "cushy State job" with the "retarded" (I think the preferred term these days is mentally challenged).

Whatever your opinions are of Tkach, give some respect to those who through no fault of their own are not the sharpest knives in the drawer of humanity.

But back to the subject of Tkach, I think you miss the important lessons of someone who mastered the social services networks of Arizona. He learned how to game the system, and seems to have carried forward that mentality to his later career as leader of the WCG/GCI - along with a touch of revenge towards those who did him in 1974. Look how early Meredith bailed from the organization!

There's a video on YouTube where outsiders sympathetic to the Tkach administration show a video segment with the late Walter Martin. Walter correctly points out the evil system HWA put in place through absolute control of finances - fade to black.

Then the video goes on to say how bad Herbert's doctrinal teachings were and how wonderful it was that the Holy Spirit brought all these wonderful doctrinal changes (and lately even a new name).

Nowhere does the video point out that when it comes to money, structure, and control, that NOTHING has changed in regards to the very subject Walter Martin insightfully expounded on. The man must be rolling in his grave.

So given Tkach's background in very skillfully gaming organizational structures and people for his purposes, what do you suppose is going to happen to the Canadian Ministers Pension fund? I thought you'd say that.

PurpleHymnal said...

"As you point out, any tax- advantaged personal savings were discouraged or just plain impossible under triple total control tithing. Especially before '72."

Post-1975 not as prophesied, during the "get the church back on TRACK" era, any kind of gambling or financial investment for the future (and the two were often equated as one and the same), was actively preached against from the pulpit.

"I think one of your other points (if I read it correctly) is that Canadian WCG personal ministerial income was taxable, but that some type of exemption may have been obtained by the WCG for not paying into the CPP."

Actually, paying into CPP is an individual income tax, 99.9999% of the time, deducted from your payroll check, along with federal and provincial income taxes. Since WCG was a hierarchical American corporation prior to the changes, it stands to reason that the church absolutely would NOT have paid into CPP, nor would it have deducted CPP payments from its employees' checks.

Now, that said, if your employer does not take CPP out of you, you CAN opt in, of your own volition, to pay CPP either every pay, or yearly when you file your income tax return. The less hypocritical of the ministry in Canada most likely would have opted out of this; I don't recall many who would have had the "character" (if you could call it that) to do so, however. Especially not those who stayed in, and changed their tune as the Party dictated....

Also! This information is for the current taxable year, but apparently the eligibility requirements have been tightened in recent years: Ministers in the church would have been able to claim a tax deduction on their residence.

"The Armstrongs and the ministerial class bled the members completely dry."

Yep. While we subsisted on Kraft Dinner and Hebrew National Wieners, homemade baked beans, and lentil soup. Driving old, used vehicles, dressing in Sally Ann clothes (Except for church! That was what 2nd tithe money was for....), and generally living in the cheapest (and usually the worst) rental housing available.

All because "Time is (was) short, brethren!"

Cdn WCG/GCI ministry's time grows short now, and it looks like they're finally going to get a taste of what some of their members had to go through, at their hands.

I really shouldn't sound so happy about that, I guess. Poverty sucks, whether you deserve it or not.....

LARS said...

Again,
the money is sitting in glendore, ca at azusa-pacific university!
APU was an unaccredited bankrupt foresquare gospel college.
Tkach and friends rushed ambassador accreditation for a reason. it tranferes!
meanwhile, while taking tithe money under the false pretence that they would preserve the church, tkach began liquidating assets and depopulating the church.
the so called leaders who had enough clout to alert the members were given generous departure bonuses and forced to sign confidentiality agreements to not discuss or belittle the decision to change the church.
it was a perfect crime.
the victims were actually tricked into giving the robbers their money.
the perpetrators were covered by other churches because of their apparent CONVERSION!
meanwhile as wcg member's tithe money is disolved into apu trust accounts the old agreements will be dissolved because of lack of funds!
all of those co-conspirator ministers and thr go along to get a long gang will one by one be left out in the cold by the same greedy crook that has robbed the members.
the dots have all been connected.
someone should write a book!

Stan said...

Bamboo Bends:

Accounts of abuse in both private and state-operated camps are widespread. What qualified Tkach to work at Arizona Boys Ranch? His potted bio says,

“His responsibilities involved the development and implementation of rehabilitation programs for juvenile delinquents.”

That sounds impressive! So Tkach developed and implemented various programs for juvenile delinquents.

The regimen at the Arizona Boy's Ranch included forced marches, black uniforms, “in-your-face” discipline and a daily diet limited to an apple, a carrot and a bowl of beans for the day.

Compare that to SEP camp! I can only hope that above regimen isn’t one of the juvenile delinquent rehabilitation programs Joe was responsible for developing and implementing.

At the Arizona Boys Ranch, Nicholaus Contreraz, 16, was forced to sleep in soiled underwear, eat meals on the toilet and carry a yellow trash basket filled with his own vomit. He collapsed and died on March 2, 1998. The Boys Ranch had provoked nearly 100 complaints in the previous five years.

How many complaints did Arizona Boys Ranch get after Joe Junior was working there?

In regard to working for Arizona, again I ask, what professional qualifications did he have to work with the developmentally disabled?

Joe could anoint them, but did he have any germane academic course work, medical knowledge, or other qualification for this specialized kind of social work?

Not that I am aware of.

Stan

LARS said...

news arrived today from WASC that APU did not lose its accredidation in the 1990's therefore the Ambassador accredidation wasn't necessary.

news also brought this tidbit of information, at least two of APU's board members are former Spielberg employees. howard kajanzian and tom kovashi. The connection? Joey's sec. is a direct relative of the director.

Also, stanley rader had connections to spielberg's empire as they traded lawsuits in the past over "raiders of the ark."

Rumors confirmed that the new academic center is named the john and marilyn duke accademic center cannot confirm if the same Duke as the russel duke family.

Russel Duke is the dean of APU theology school. tim finlay is an asistant prof.

Stan said...

"So given Tkach's background in very skillfully gaming organizational structures and people for his purposes"

I think we have to give Tkach Senior a lot of credit to gaming HWA and the WCG to his own advantage in this area. Given his lack of education (even at AC!) and incompetency at the pulpit, he gets promoted to WCG evangelist, then placed on the COE, eventually walking over everyone else to be HWA's successor. HWA by this time was enfeebled, thoroughly debilitated, mentally incapacitated by anemia and congestive heart failure.(Not that narcissistic HWA made the best personnel changes on his good days.)

Then Tkach Sr. used the WCG propaganda machines to nearly completely falsify his biography and so-called accomplishments.

After working at the infamous Arizona Boys Ranch, all Tkach Jr. did was get a government job to subsist on survival wages. He later quit that job. I wouldn't particularly call that gaming the system.

You mentioned Tkach had a difficult time going through his divorce. Anyone who screams at and cusses his chauffeur wife out with a tirade of profanity- while on the way to deliver a Sabbath sermon for missing an exit- probably doesn't deserve to be married.

The present Tkachs now stand to lose a lot personally and politically if they don't keep their marriage together. Also, California is a community property state.

After quitting the state job, Tkach Jr. worked with his second wife at Intel to bide his time. HWA wouldn't last much longer, no matter what doctors, blood transfusions, or pills he took. The vultures started to circle as HWA hanged on and on.

When Tkach Jr. arrived back on the scene in Pasadena, his eventual appointment to PG was almost a fait accompli between the Tkachs. Novice Tkach Jr. became busy terrorizing the field ministry.

Feazell was tasked with writing out most of what Tkach Sr. signed and speechified on his jet plane junkets to mingle with the little people. So Feazell also has to be given due credit for putting the changes into Tkach Sr.'s mouth while easily influenced, intellectually challenged Tkach Sr. puppeted what he wanted.

I also think Feazell played a major role as the real author and/or editing Tkach Jr.'s book Transformed By Truth. The published book was later turned in for academic thesis credit by Tkach to get his expensive doctorate at Azusa, while keeping his day job.

Tkach Jr. knew the income, wealth and security that would eventually flow to him as long as his father was completely in charge of $200 million a year in donations, perks and bonuses, real estate, fine artwork, antiques, and gold the church owned.

Because of the way the bylaws of the international church association were set up to protect HWA in so many ways, Tkach Jr. can continue to take complete advantage of the very same secret WCG-GCI church association cult bylaws HWA had, for as long as he wants.

One would think an evangelical sect screaming grace so loudly at the top of its lungs, would want to publish at top speed its very secretive bylaws governing cult administration and unelected leader for life.


Stan

Purple Hymnal said...

Any update on whether or not the Canadian plan has been terminated, Stan? Or is that not likely to happen for a while?

PH Again said...

Sorry, just reread through the comments, they have to make up the shortfall in 5 years or lose the plan.

I still say there's no way they're going to make up the shortfall, not unless they bleed the few remaining members absolutely dry.

Needless to say, it wouldn't surprise me, if they tried that......

Stan said...

PH,

Let me try to clarify one future scenario for the defined benefit plan. The church wants to terminate the Canadian defined benefit retirement plan, which pays a set percentage of employee salary for life, as soon as is legally (meaning financially) possible.

For that to happen, sufficient assets under B.C. provincial regulation have to be in the plan beforehand, to be able to pay out the promised benefits for an expected proper termination of the plan to occur.

Since there is the large financial shortfall of $1.1 million, the Canadian plan will have to delay anticipated closure until such time in the future until plan invested assets reach minimum asset values to close the plan.

If the investment market picks up in the next few years for the assets in which the plan invested, it is possible the Canadian plan could overcome the $1.1 million dollar shortfall.

The Canadian WCG by B.C. provincial regulation allows between five and ten years at the outside to make up the actuarial deficit using the plan's income and asset appreciation. But there's no ironclad prophetic guarantee of plan investments rising or falling by an additional $1.1 million in such time.

Even if the defined benefit plan does fail legally required actuarial solvency tests, $6.6 million dollars is a lot of money to be divided amongst very few remaining ministers in Canada.

We'll see.

Stan

PurpleHymnal said...

"Even if the defined benefit plan does fail legally required actuarial solvency tests, $6.6 million dollars is a lot of money to be divided amongst very few remaining ministers in Canada."

So, in other words, they STILL come up smelling like roses?!

Ah crap.

AFAICT there are about 10-15 of "the old guard" still onboard (and therefore under the pension plan) up here. Any wonder they're jumping up and down on the bandwagon for Jebus. That's an awful lot of filthy lucre to have to give up, after a life that ill-prepared any of them for professions and interactions in the outside world......

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