Teen Mania International setup a conference call for Ron Luce to explain why the ministry is in foreclosure and what their future plans are. The call lasted about an hour and can be heard here:
financial troubles. He takes zero responsibility for these
problems accept in the vague “I’m a leader so the buck stops here” kind of way. Instead he lays the blame on external factors he could not control. He
begins by blaming Teen Mania’s financial problems on the following:
- Economy since 2008
- Fewer teenagers in this generation
- Local electric co-op rates are too high
- Campus is too expensive, costing $1 million per
year to run. He said that the more they built up the campus, the more it costs
to run. (One thinks they might have thought of that before and he never states he
should have done things differently.)
think that finances are being used in unscrupulous ways or whatever. I don’t
know any ministry that runs any tighter budget than what we do.
the bank. Appraised value is higher than the note. $15 million
campus, it would still be too expensive to stay (over $1 million per year in
campus and that renting is actually better than owning. I was surprised that
Ron actually seemed to talk badly about the campus – like it was a pointless
expense. He chalks it up to a “new season” of ministry. I guess God doesn’t have a lot of forethought leading them into debt like that? Or maybe God doesn’t mind leaving the bank with the bill. Ron also tried to justify going into foreclosure because the bank has made a lot of money off them in interest.
In addition to renting property in the future, they also plan to rent
the equipment for ATFs from now on. Is that because the ATF equipment was part
of the collateral for their note? Quite possibly. Ron made a lot of vague
promises with very little to back them up. He said that the ministry would do
even more ATFs with less resources, but gave no plan outlining how that’s possible. Could that be because there is no actual plan?
In fact, no actual concrete plans were
given throughout the call for anything – the move to Dallas, the “new” ministry focus, etc. This shows that Teen Mania move isn’t
motivated by actual vision and forethought, but as a reaction to their
foreclosure. Otherwise, they would be able to tell us what they are doing in
called me in August of 2012. I was upset that Ron misrepresented that phone
call. Listeners were left with the impression that things between us were rosy
and that I quit blogging because of his phone call. Neither of those are true.
- It was very polite and cordial
- He did apologize to me and ask to hear my story
- He did admit that things on the website were
true and that Teen Mania had changed because of it (though he forgot to say
that was basically forced by negative press and that he had employed his former Marketing director in an attempt to quash the truth of this site and that he and Dave scorned everyone in this community).
- He did extend an invitation for others to
- I did not “tell him how I became bitter.” The
fact that he would even use that language shows that doesn’t even understand ANYTHING
about my position or what the recovering alumni community is all about. It is a complete disregard of the essence of the issue, again pinning the blame on the victims. If I
did mention anything about my emotional state, I’m sure it was that I was
absolutely heartbroken, devastated and confused.
- I did not tell him that I was permanently
quitting the blog. In fact, I remember telling him that I would keep my eye on
him and he chuckled at that. By that time, I was already blogging less
frequently and considering if it was time to finish.
- He implied that a lot of the problems with the
HA were the fault of David Hasz. I.E. According to my notes he said, “I was
unaware of – for example – integrity check of walking on the grass.” He also said
he didn’t like the constant environment of policing and confrontation.
- When I asked him about the debacle with the
Board of Directors, he was stone cold silent. Then he told me that he knew nothing about the promised investigation and threw former Board Member MarkLewandowski under the bus.
Unfortunately, this is the only phone call I’ve had with
Teen Mania that was not recorded (as I was caught quite off guard, as you can
imagine.) However, I’ve referenced my notes of the phone call to refresh my
memory. There was nothing about the phone call that was truly genuine in any way and it did
nothing to change my views of Ron Luce or Teen Mania, especially considering
that he put the blame on everyone else but himself (Dave Hasz, Board of