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The Beginning of the End for 3ABN Under Danny Shelton?: Report from the ASI Convention

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Please note that 3ABN Board chairman Walt Thompson has given his characteristic reply: "full of factual inaccuracies ... no comment."

-------- Original Message --------
From:  AToday
Subject:  August 7, 2007
Date:  Wed, 08 Aug 2007 10:03:29 +1000


BREAKING NEWS: Special Report

The Beginning of the End for 3ABN Under Danny Shelton?: Report from the ASI Convention
Ervin Taylor, Executive Editor, (August 7, 2007)

Reports have been received by Adventist Today from credible, first-hand sources that include individuals privy to discussions going on inside the Three Angels Broadcasting Network (3ABN) organization and those who attended the just-concluded (August 1-5) Adventist-Laymen's Services and Industries (ASI) Convention in Louisville, Kentucky.

These reports indicate that considerable confusion existed among 3ABN staff concerning the merger talks between 3ABN and Amazing Facts. Many 3ABN employees had been led to believe that there would be a "big announcement" during the ASI convention and were very surprised when it was announced by Doug Batchelor, the president/speaker of Amazing Facts, that the merger would not occur. As reported earlier, the initiative to call off the talks was taken by Batchelor, not 3ABN. Apparently a principal reason was the continuing financial, organizational, and possibly legal problems at 3ABN.

One interpretation of these events by a well-informed observer was that Batchelor concluded that any union could only be consummated after Mr. Danny Shelton, the current 3ABN president, "retired" and a non-controversial replacement, perhaps someone with a business background who had the confidence of major donors and church authorities, was brought in as acting CEO.

Consistent with this interpretation were reports that Shelton was "nearly invisible" at the ASI meetings, and was not brought on stage during ASI programs. Rumors circulated, meanwhile, that Shelton was actually no longer actively "in charge" of the 3ABN booth and its activities, and that staff was making most of the day-to-day, hour-to-hour decisions. A source close to Shelton said that Shelton is considering the possibility of "retirement."

Don Schneider, president of the North American Division, who has reportedly expressed deep concerns that 3ABN not "fail," was seen on more than one occasion in earnest conversation on the ASI pavilion floor with Garwin McNeilus, a wealthy, influential Adventist businessman, whose daughter-in-law had just been elected to the ASI presidency for a two year term. McNeilus reportedly favors a merger between 3ABN and the Amazing Facts organizations. He is on the Mission Board of ASI, though not of 3ABN, but has been viewed as a strong backer of 3ABN. Sources indicated that it was highly likely that McNeilus and Schneider were discussing how to address 3ABN's current needs, in essence, to "save 3ABN."

3ABN in recent months has acknowledged a steep downturn in donations and serious cash flow concerns, even as it presses a lawsuit against two individuals who have made serious charges of corruption against 3ABN's current administration and have voiced concerns that these administrative practices and conduct are ruining 3ABN. Many observers believe that the charges made by the two individuals are, in most respects, substantially true.

Adventist Today contacted Dr. Walter Thompson, chairman of the 3ABN Board, in an effort to obtain further details of the recent downturn in donations to 3ABN. Dr. Thompson stated that he had forwarded the Adventist Today communication to the attorneys handling the 3ABN lawsuit and could not comment immediately. In a subsequent communication, Dr. Thompson stated "The article you sent for my review is full of factual inaccuracies concerning the proposed merger between Three Angels Broadcasting and Amazing Facts. Given your insistence on publishing this article today or tomorrow, I simply do not have enough time to respond to the many errors and untrue statements it contains. 3ABN therefore has no comment on the article in question." Adventist Today appreciates this response of Dr. Thompson.

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