There aren't many things that will drag me out of my flu-fouled sickbed to putter around on the blog.
One, however, is the alleged evildoing of a supposedly slimy Bible-believin' preacher. Another is the latest freak show from the Gret Stet.
So when you put those two things together . . . cough, cough . . . sniffle . . . moan . . . here I am.
And there be Bishop Ricky Sinclair of Miracle Place Church, headquartered in Baker, La. According to the Louisiana inspector general's office, one of Sinclair's biggest miracles was in getting money out of the federal government on nefarious grounds.
OK, so that's not so big a miracle. It's common, as a matter of fact.
Here we go. . . . According to the Louisiana inspector general's office, one of Sinclair's biggest miracles was in almost getting away with not disclosing his criminal record on documents when he applied to the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals to run a halfway house.
Hang on. That's not a miracle, either. We're talking about bureaucracy, and we're talking about Louisiana. The miracle is that somebody noticed.
This guy and his church are running short enough on miracles that they might be in Dutch with the Federal Trade Commission, too.
FROM THE (Baton Rouge) Advocate this morning:
The report by the office of state Inspector General Stephen B. Street Jr. said Bishop Ricky Sinclair of Miracle Place Church also used people — ordered by the courts to attend a church-affiliated halfway house — to perform work clearing land and building a new home for Sinclair, his wife and family.I HAVEN'T lived in the Gret Stet since Ricky Sinclair still was a two-bit drug dealer, yet I knew the guy is an ex-con. And, according to the story, all his tracts tout that the guy's an ex-con.
In a prepared statement sent via e-mail, Sinclair denied any wrongdoing.
“I have read the Inspector General’s report, and the accusations against me are simply not true,” he said. “Miracle Place and Ricky Sinclair have been serving the people of this area for over 20 years, and we will continue to serve them to fulfill the mission of Jesus Christ.”
Street said Sinclair’s fraudulent activities date to Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and continued after Hurricane Gustav in 2008.
“You’re not talking about questionable claims here,” Street said.
“You’re talking about blatant, fabricated and deliberate fraud — from scratch in many cases, where they just made things up.”
He said it was “particularly reprehensible” that the fraud was committed against the backdrop of two natural disasters.
Street said the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Louisiana State Police and the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Office of the Inspector General assisted with the investigation.
The findings have been referred to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for possible criminal prosecution, he said.
The report alleges that Sinclair collected $121,281 from FEMA for labor costs for operating his church as a shelter during Hurricane Katrina but spent only $39,950 paying workers. He kept the remaining $81,331, the report says.
HECK, even Pat Robertson told the entire backslidden world, via his 700 Club TV show, that Bishop Sinclair did time for dealing dope. Yet the Gret Stet of Loosiana couldn't figure out a thing until the inspector general noted that Sinclair and some associates "failed to disclose past criminal convictions, as required, when they applied to the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals to operate the halfway house program."
Some would call Sinclair a moron for that one. I'd merely say that he was just (so far, allegedly) implementing the first half of "be ye therefore wise as serpents." In other words, you have to know what you can get away with.
In the Gret Stet, that would be a considerable amount. The "and as harmless as doves" population ain't what it should be.
Louisiana: It's where self-government goes to eat well, clog its arteries and die of a heart attack.