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TBN EXPOSED - A Case For The Truth

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Selected copies of Fleener's documents have been given to several investigative interests.  Court ordered sealed documents have been included in the reviews.  Confidential financial information on Generation Entertainment, Western Front Publishing and TBN Films have been of special interest as well as the records of TCCSA.
 
Sylvia Fleener vs. Trinity Broadcasting Network, Inc., et al

The following is from the diary of Sylvia Fleener, Plaintiff in a copyright infringement lawsuit filed in:
 
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
Case Number 00-07471 LGB (BQRx)

"WHAT WE KNOW"

events in a life that centered for a time on the California Lawsuit styled

SYLVIA FLEENER, author of The Omega Syndrome

vs.

TBN, ET AL

Date:

May, 19, 1989 Sylvia completes the writing of The Omega Syndrome. Executes a "Poor Man Copyright".

December, 1994 Dottie Snow reports to Sylvia that she took a copy of the manuscript to Trinity Broadcast Network, (TBN) Hendersonville, TN., with a personal note for Jan Crouch.

Jimmi Belknap, a former property manager at TBN's Hendersonville, TN. reported after the lawsuit was settled, that she "was the TBN employee Dottie Snow gave the manuscript to and that she then personally gave it to Jan". She experienced the rigors of a wrongful dismissal lawsuit and came away from the battle devastated.  Her fear of the "power of TBN" prevented her from coming forward before settlement was announced.

From a taped interview.

January 12, 1995 Maxanne Crotts’ appointment book shows a visit to TBN during which she believes another copy of the manuscript is delivered by Dottie Snow.

May 20, 1996 Sylvia records The Omega Syndrome with the US Copyright Office.

September, 1996 Sylvia and Dottie launch an audio book project. Copies of The Omega Syndrome manuscript now include the preliminary cover. This cover does not have Sylvia's name on it. Though her name; Sylvia Smith Fleener, is still on the inside title page. Watch this little slip for a later letter from Terrence Hickey reveals they had advance knowledge of her manuscript (see November 12, 1999 entry) being in their possession.

1996 to 1997 According to Kelly Whitmore, whom Sylvia met in August of 2000, "Beginning sometime in 1996, Paul and Jan Crouch continually review and plan how to use the manuscript she (Jan) was given, for an end-times movie.

August 31, 1997 Paul Crouch announces on the "Praise The Lord" broadcast, his copyright of a story that will become his end-times movie to be produced by TBN. Video Tape of Praise The Lord show including announcement by Paul Crouch that "I have already copyrighted it."

December 7, 1997 We take delivery of 8,000 paperback copies and 1,000 hard cover editions of Sylvia’s novel; The Omega Syndrome.

Jan to May, 1998 Sylvia is on book tour promoting The Omega Syndrome.

August, 1998 Jan Crouch goes back to California after Paul allegedly (Kelly Whitmore tape # 2) shuts down her playhouse in Nashville. We are convinced she took Sylvia’s manuscript with her, talked Paul into letting Matthew do a TBN movie with The Omega Syndrome as the basis. At this time Matthew was still struggling (also from the tape) to find a niche for his career and Jan saw this as a step toward helping Matt become independent. He was, at that time, still calling his mother for HELP with his rent and telephone money.

September 1, 1998 Matthew Crouch is underwritten by TBN, commissioned to write the screenplay for Paul's movie and book, forms Gener8Xion Entertainment, Inc. and hires Barton Green to write a screenplay for the movie.

February 17, 1999 Code Productions, Inc. records a screen play titled AThe Code@ with the US Copyright Office. Writer credits are given to Gener8Xion Entertainment, Inc. as a Awork made for hire@, completed in 1998. Application is signed by Matthew Crouch, President of Code Productions, Inc.

March 8, 1999 Code Productions, Inc. records a mortgage of copyright and security agreement with the US Copyright Office for a motion picture and screenplay by "Stephen Blinn and Hollis Barton (Green)". Title of the work is "The Code". Signature for Code Productions, Inc. is Matthew Crouch, its President.

April 21, 1999 CEO Films, LLC records a mortgage of copyright and security agreement with the US Copyright Office for a motion picture by "Stephen Blinn and Hollis Barton". Title of the work is "The Code".

August and September, 1999 Many TBN promos are aired on their programs, all crediting one or another of the Crouches as writers, producers, etc.

October 16, 1999 Sylvia Fleener and Rebecca Schear go to see The Omega Code while it is showing in Nashville.

October 22, 1999 Sylvia goes again to see The Omega Code with Susi Fullen while it is showing in Nashville. They see Dottie Snow and discuss the movie.

November 1, 1999 Sylvia called TBN, (Trinity Music City) in Nashville, ended up in the voice mail box of a manager named Rene= Brewer. We believe the call stimulated both an internal (at TBN) and personal (Sylvia) investigation, the results of which follow.

November 3, 1999 A notice of name change (from "The Code" to "The Omega Code") is filed in the copyright office by Loeb and Loeb.

Our investigation reveals this name change notice arrived via Fed-ex on the 2nd and (we speculate here) was probably triggered by TBN=s internal investigation and attempt to find some proof of their "rights" to the screenplay... Oops, wrong name on the movie.

ALSO

November 3, 1999 Rene= Brewer called Sylvia back in response to the voice mail message left on the 1st. Discussion centers on the similarity of the movie and Sylvia=s book. Sylvia is told someone will be in touch.

November 8, 1999 Rene’ Brewer, now a station manager with TBN, pens an inter-office memo to Terrance Hickey in which she explains a little about the phone call from Sylvia. She got the date (5th) of the call wrong, so we suspect she "backed into the memo" as an afterthought or at some instruction. Sylvia never accused Jan of wrong doing in any conversations she had with any of the TBN personnel.

November 12, 1999 Date of first letter from Terrence Hickey, vice president of administration for TBN, The Omega Code is Aan original work retained by TBN Productions, Inc. and Gener8Xion Entertainment, Inc" Letter is addressed to Sylvia Smith Fleener, a name she had not used in 10 years, certainly not given in the one conversation with Rene Brewer (TBN). But that name is on the 1996 manuscript and copyright as well.

ENTER HERE THE ARRIVAL AND PROPERTY INSPECTION OF THE LENHART INTERESTS IN THE HOPE MANOR PROPERTY IN UNION, WEST VIRGINIA. They are from Whittier and Corona, CA, the same places the Crouches had the beginnings of their California businesses. Jan Crouch is still a registered property owner in Corona.

December 19, 1999 Lenhart-Ousley site visit to Hope Manor with the broker Shelli O’Rourke. 

"What do you do?" In response Sylvia said "I’m a writer." "What have you written?" "An end-times novel, The Omega Syndrome." Sylvia went on to tell Ousley about the possibility of her bringing suit against TBN over The Omega Code.

January 1, 2000 (only eleven days after the site visit) Fleeners receive by facsimile, a written offer for the property. 

January 13, 2000 Sylvia calls (2nd) TBN in Nashville again, run around again, gets a call back from a Terese Carbone of the (sic) Los Angeles office. They promptly (same date) write the second letter, Terrence Hickey again, denying any infringement and assuring Sylvia that "those involved....have certified they created this original work". This letter is addressed simply to Sylvia Fleener.

January 17, 2000 Sylvia calls (3rd time) TBN, California this time, the receptionist will not connect her to Hickey or anyone else.  Only says "she has been told that if Sylvia calls back to tell her to call the TBN attorney; Colby May", and is hung up on.

February 22, 2000 DATE OF FLEENER CLOSING WITH LENHART on HOPE MANOR. She used funds secured by a bank loan funded by First Citizen’s Bank of White Sulphur Springs, WV. The closing, in the law offices of attorney William D. Goodwin in Lewisburg, was not attended by the buyer nor any representative except a lending bank representative, Candace Sharp, from the Marlington, WV Branch.

April 11, 2000 DATE OF MINISTRY CLOSING WITH LENHART on 9.454 ACRES.

THE SAGA of correspondence between attorneys Ford (Lenhart) and Via (Fleener). One of the letters from Ford to Via indicate Lenhart has suffered $235,000.00 (remember this amount as it will come into play a little later with John Casoria) in damages as a result of Sylvia’s actions. Maybe Lenhart would drop the threat of litigation if the Ministry would deed to her the balance of the acreage.

.July 11, 2000 Sylvia files suit against TBN, et al, for copyright infringement of her novel.

August 1-14, 2000 Sylvia is deposed in Los Angeles, CA.

August 28, 2000 Sylvia meets Kelly Whitmore who recognizes the manuscript and states she will testify that she carried a like manuscript around for Jan Crouch for two years and was in several meetings with Jan and Paul as they decided what to do with Jan=s desire to make an end-times movie based on AThe Omega Syndrome@. Testimony includes remembered conversations in which Paul stated he did not like the name. It would have to be "changed to something with more snap to the title".

For the next 2 months Sylvia stays in Nashville talking to everyone she can find about the Crouches and their operations at Hendersonville, TN.

November 6, 2000 Barton Green is deposed in Los Angeles, crux of his testimony is he only "did as instructed". Said Paul calls all the shots, even at Gener8Xion

December 1, 2000 Daniel Quisenberry departs Kirtland-Packard law firm (1900 Avenue of the Stars, Suite 2600) for Nevers, Palazzo, etc. Takes Sylvia’s case with him to the new firm.

We later find out that a TBN company, TBN Properties, Inc., is located two floors above Kirtland-Packard at 1900 Avenue of the Stars, Suite 2700).

January 15-16, 2001 Jan Crouch is deposed in Nashville. Colby N. May, Esq. is present, just observes, no questions. Some strange goings on as Jan gets emotional when shown The Omega Syndrome manuscript (See page 310 on the 15th). After a hasty recess (the court reporter did get her emotional outburst) John Casoria cut her off mid-sentence.  They left the room for twenty minutes.  After that recess the testimony of Jan Crouch became she "didn’t know" or "didn’t understand the question", etc. Five pages of corrections and modifications accompanied the return of her review of her deposition, under her signature.

January 17-18, 2001 Kelly Whitmore is deposed in Nashville. Testimony includes accounts of the Crouches’ intention to use The Omega Syndrome as the basis of a movie. She is treated very badly by TBN attorneys. The questions begin to pry into personal problems and solicit answers to immorality issues with the Crouches.

January 23, 2001 Lenhart files West Virginia Lawsuit, for fraud and misrepresentation; claims Fleeners are liars, etc.

March 20 to 23 Sylvia (2nd deposition) and Bill Fleener are deposed in Nashville, TN. Colby N. May, representing TBN is present, just observes, no questions.

March 20, 2001 Notice of West Virginia Lawsuit is served by John Casoria, Crouch personal attorney. Casoria is later overheard talking on his cellular phone to someone. The comment overheard was "Don’t put the $235,000.00 (this amount was named in a correspondance between Ford [Lenhart attorney] and Via [Fleener attorney]) in because when you prevail, that’s all the court may give you." He realized he was overheard and said "I’ll have to get back to you on that, I’ll call you later this afternoon.

"ENTER Andrew Altholz, sole practice attorney, begins putting pressure on Fleeners for "full fee" due the Kirtland-Packard law firm. He uses an address in Santa Monica in all his correspondance, though is later found to be a sublet tenant of Kirtland-Packard on Avenue of the Stars. and only one floor removed from the office of the registered agent for TBN Properties, Inc., threatens to bring suit against Fleeners if they do not immediately pay Kirtland & Packard the "full fee" for their services, "which they are entitled to since we "fired" them.

April 11, 2001 Motion for Default Judgment entered by Lenhart attorney, 21 days after suit was served in Nashville, TN. According to Rule 55, of West Virginia Rules of Civil Procedure, 30 days must be allowed when service is out of home state. No dollar amount for damages is included in the Motion or subsequent Amended Motion.

April 16, 2001 Fleeners are served an Amended Claim, that drops some issues and adds others, more emphasis on "Sylvia is a liar". Plaintiff does nothing more to pursue this lawsuit for the next several months.

April 17, 2001 Fleeners file Bona Fide Defense papers with the West Virginia Court.

April 27, 2001 Stephen Blinn is deposed in Los Angeles.

June 5, 2001 Dotty Snow is deposed in Nashville.

June 6, 2001 Deanne Cavaness, a former construction manager at Hendersonville and confidant of Kelly Whitmore, is deposed in Nashville.

June 7, 2001 Paul F. Crouch, is individually deposed in Nashville.

June 8, 2001 Paul F. Crouch, representing Trinity Christian Center of Santa Ana is deposed in Nashville. Most of the questions involve his understanding of the contracts, the money, how he runs the business, Board of Directors, loans to TBN Films to make the movie, other spinoff entities, etc. Significant quote is "All the money goes in one pot, separate accounting is not done." For a 501-C-3 that is a little loose.

Subsequent investigation of prior testimony in a separate matter (Ward’s lawsuit against TBN) has considerable testimony and statements from auditors that this is not the case. "Every penney is tracked and always allocated as donor intends."

June 15, 2001 Copyright Lawsuit court imposed mandatory settlement conference blows up in Los Angeles.

June 25, 2001 Matthew Crouch is deposed in Los Angeles. Is he ever clueless? He either doesn’t know or convincingly pretends ignorance to all questions about the business, the money, the contracts, etc., the only things he kinda answers are questions regarding ‘writing or production’.

July 11, 2001 Mark N. Troobnick attorney, under cover as an individual (common letter, used his home address) launches formal queries into Fleener's ministry and license.  TBN obviously gave the order for this action and used the ploy to aggravate and distract, further indicating their involvement in the  West Virginia lawsuit. Troobnick is later found to be a TBN crony and close associate (same law firm) of Colby N. May, also has very close ties to the American Center for Law & Justice, partially funded by TBN, Jay Seculow’s organization of which Colby May is the Washington, D.C. director.

August 6, 2001 Letter from TBN (Coate) with an offer to settle universally for $100 thousand.

August 14, 2001 Andrew Altholz, pushes the Kirland-Packard fee matter toward arbitration. The pressure to collect this "full fee" really heats up as the K-P folks must know how confident the defense is and how small the offers to settle are, no doubt informed by TBN attorneys.

November 5, 2001 Letter from TBN (Coate) with an offer to settle just his group (Gener8Xion, Matt Crouch, the writers) for $150 thousand.

November 13, 2001 Letter from TBN (Casoria) with an offer to settle universally for $400 thousand.

November 14, 2001 Arbitration in the Kirtland-Packard matter. Arbitrator rules the law firm is entitled to full fee and Fleener will pay the cost of arbitration, including all legal fees. Daniel Quisenberry agrees to represent Sylvia Fleener in this arbitration, She did not realize he would personally collect 1/3 of the arbitration settlement.  Arbitration goes badly for Fleeners, awarded "full fee" to Kirtland-Packard and assess all arbitration costs against Sylvia Fleener.

December 17, 2001 Settlement negotiations and details of the Kirtland-Packard arbitration matter are concluded, documents executed.

December 19, 2001 In a letter, Coate breaches the confidentiality clauses of the agreement by revealing details of the settlement to Kirtland-Packard, including terms of settlement and dollar amount agreed. Promises them they will get their money before Sylvia Fleener gets hers.

Casoria orchestrates payment to Kirtland-Packard, Quisenberry gets his 1/3 of this, and now begins pressuring Sylvia to settle with TBN.

December 30,2001 Settlement is reached.

January 10, 2002 Sylvia gets the first payment against the settlement, with a breakdown of how funds came to Casoria. TCCSA is self-insured so donor money paid the bulk of the settlement and legal expenses.  TBN, Matthew, Jan nor Paul never paid one red cent out of their personal pocket for expenses or settlement.

February, 2002 Word reaches Sylvia via Rebecca Schear that the "TBN insiders" are talking about the settlement and that it cost TBN $20 Million.

A trash run at Gener8Xion’s California office discovers a Matthew Crouch letter in which he asserts "TBN made 10's of millions in unreported profits from the Omega Code and that the venture’s backers were thrilled."

Chronology of events in the West Virginia lawsuit is an ongoing matter, the emphasis continues to be "Sylvia is a liar".

Case was finally negotiated to settle in an unusal manner. The Fleener's insurance company, for $85,000.00 bought a dismissal from Lenhart, with prejudice, including a statement that she (Lenhart) knew she had no case