Following is an excerpt of a letter/testimony of a recent bookkeeper of Calvary Chapel Visalia. It was given to me to present to Chuck Smith (then living) in our attempts to deal with the Bob Grenier and Calvary Chapel Visalia situation inside the Calvary Chapel System.
The letter is also included in the evidence attachments in our defense of Bob Grenier’s lawsuit against me.
I am being sued for defamation and I am innocent. I told the truth as I know it and believe it…truths communicated to me by credible sources who are in a position to know these issues…and corroborated by other credible sources.
“Dear Pastor Chuck Smith:
Before I begin with my testimony regarding what I have personally seen, heard, and experienced in regards to Bob Grenier, I would like to give a little background about my family and myself. In January of 2007, we attended our first mission’s conference at Murrieta Hot Springs since our home church (Calvary Chapel San Luis Obispo) encouraged us to go since we had expressed a desire to serve as missionaries to the country of Ukraine. It was there at the conference that God changed our lives forever. We heard George Markey speak and were eager to learn from him, so we hung on his ever word; knowing that he was the pioneer of sorts to go out to Ukraine with his whole family and leave everything in order to serve the Lord in that country and to see the people there come to know Jesus. He planted the first Calvary Chapel in Ukraine. Upon speaking with George after the conference, he encouraged us to go where the Lord was calling us to go. Soon after, we met Phil Metzger who encouraged us to come for their missions training program in order to prepare for a life as missionaries in Ukraine. The next month, we were able to leave everything that we knew here to attend the 1 to 2 semesters Missions Training Program with the intention upon going to serve in Ukraine as missionaries. God brought our dreams to pass and we served faithfully in Ukraine for almost 3 years. We returned back to stay here in California in March 2010 due to my health problems and also to care for my husband’s aging parents.
I worked for Calvary Chapel Visalia as their bookkeeper from the end of July 2010 until August 2011. Upon my taking this position as bookkeeper, the previous administrator, Kevin Mizner, was well aware (as was Pastor Bob) of my health problems and my need to be evaluated and treated. During my time there, I was aware that Pastor Bob and Gayle were having problems with all but one of their sons and that accusations had been made against them. At the time, we decided it best that we let them handle what we thought to be their own family issues and would give them the benefit of the doubt that they were indeed telling the truth in regards to what had happened. I had read some of the things that written on the blog and couldn’t believe that my Pastor and his wife would be guilty of such things. We still chose to stand by them and believe them, as we had no reason not to.
During my time as a bookkeeper I had a strong conviction that my job was given to me by the Lord and I took that responsibility very seriously. The Lord’s money is something that should be taken seriously because people give these tithes and are giving them unto the Lord. That being said, I believe God’s money should also be handled correctly and wisely.
There are several things that I found to be an inappropriate/illegal use of funds during my time there. Whether this is right or wrong in the eyes of the law, I never found it appropriate, ethical, or biblically correct for our Pastor to charge every penny of his fuel to the church credit card. I realize that the church card is under his name personally, but he had made the choice at some point before me to utilize this card strictly for church expenses. But, there were many times that he would take his youngest son, Robert Jr., to U2 concerts (this is just one example), and their family would take trips together that were not ministry, all of which was paid for on the church credit card. Pastor Bob has always proudly and regularly boasted from the pulpit that he was in debt to no one and was proud that the Lord has allowed him to be debt free. Pastor Bob allowed the church to pay for all of his fuel costs whether they were ministry related or not. He also never once produced a receipt for anything that he ever charged on the card, even though the church’s accountant had told me that they could be audited for not doing so.
I did not appreciate the way he would treat me when he asked me to do certain things that were contrary to normal accounting procedures, as the church’s accountant had instructed me. For instance, he had purchased something on the church card in which he quickly produced a check as reimbursement for the credit card charge. He had then asked that I apply the payment immediately to the church card. When I tried to explain that I could deposit his check, but that the payment for the charge in question should not be paid until the statement appeared, he became very angry with me and would not let me speak as I was trying to explain to him the simple accounting practice of a debit and a credit. He kept shushing me and would not allow me to explain. I tried to tell him that I could deposit his reimbursement into the account that I would expense it from, but he would not let me explain anything. I felt very frustrated and confused when I came in to work the next day and had an email notice from the Visa card telling me that a payment to that account had posted for said amount of his reimbursement check. He had asked DiDi, his daughter–in-law, to pay the credit card for that amount behind my back. At that point, being that it was at the end of my two-week notice, I gave up trying to help and/or explain just how to handle credit card statements and payments.
Also, on a consistent basis, Pastor Bob would charge high dollar charges ($1000.00 or more) to the church card and claim each time that it was a mistake on his or Gayle’s part and the money would be paid back right away. It wasn’t until he and his younger son, Robert Jr., took a personal trip to Italy with the church’s Visa flight miles, that I realized that these charges were probably not an accident at all. I just didn’t think that was an appropriate way to disperse flight miles, especially when everyone in the office is under the impression that those flight miles were to be used to fund missionary trips.
Another mishandling of money (actually, it is illegal) is that the salary for Susie Dowds is being paid to Susie, with the understanding that the money being paid to her, is to cover the salary for both her and her husband, Greg Dowds. The reason for this is to prevent his payments for some sort of disability from being cut. I discovered this as I was inputting the church budget into Quick Books because on the budget for Susie’s salary, it includes her husbands name as well. The money that she is paid is extremely disproportionate to the amount of work she does compared to other employees.
The church has also been committing insurance fraud for quite sometime now in regards to Pastor Bob’s daughter in law being insured, along with his son and grand daughter. Even though DiDi is salaried as the Children’s Director, she is listed in the payroll system as part time. On average, she works no more than 16 hours a week. And that is on a busy week when there is an event. She receives full benefits working very part time. Also, she took over as the bookkeeper. This is not wise as it leaves the door open for financial mishandling of God’s money. “