"So What About the Money?: A Conversation Among Friends"
First posted last year.
"That's all?! Only 350,000 dollars?!" gasped an exasperated friend.
"Yep, $350,000," responded another friend.
"You mean Marie offered to settle the litigation against Southwest
Baptist University for only $350,000? Three hundred and fifty
thousand ... American dollars, right?" the friend repeated slowly.
"Marie even lowered it to $348,000. Her lawyers offered to settle
it without any charge except to recover their expenses ... so that
would have left Marie less than $300,000."
"Only 300,000? That's not nearly enough!" interjected a third friend.
"I agree. That might be enough to pay off some
of the medical debts
and pay for treatment for a year or so, but good medical care is
expensive and most of this is not covered by Medicare or insurance
and has to be paid out-of-pocket ..."
"... and Marie is permanently disabled and will need care for the rest
of her life. She would still need enough money for relocation to a safe
living situation. And, how would she pay for future bills and living
expenses ... never mind future medical expenses of at least $100,000
or more a year!"
"I know ... I know. Before Marie's mother died, she pleaded with Marie
not to accept such a nominal offer."
"Yes, Marie's mother said that $300,000 wouldn't even come close
to paying for all those life-long expenses, and then Marie would be
left without any means of support."
"That's a ridiculously low amount. Why would Marie agree to make
such an offer even after her mother warned her?"
At the time, Marie thought that she still might be able to recover some
of the whole use of her hands and legs if she got treatment right away
"Wait a second: 'at the time?' What time? When did Marie make
"In October of 1992 -- a couple weeks after the break-in."
"1992?! The year of our Lord nineteen and ninety two ... you mean,
wait, I'm counting ... five, six, seven ... EIGHT years ago?"
"Yes. You see, Marie's mother was so ill, that Marie didn't tell her
about the break-in for several years -- so Marie's mother never knew
how severely ill Marie really was. But, in fact, Marie was so badly
injured after the break-in and assault that many of us -- including her
doctors -- didn't think she would survive for much longer."
"Good thing SBU had the Sheriff's Department to 'protect' them from
disabled people, huh?"
"Right ... And to 'protect' SBU from anyone who filed a civil or criminal
complaint against them."
"Well ... that's just ... just ... that whole business is corrupt and immoral
"... Yes, we know. But, at the time, Marie had no choice. She was
forced to make a written offer to the SBU attorneys of $350,000 to
settle all claims of injury from the pesticide poisonings."
"So, the $350,000 offer was actually an emergency attempt to protect
what was left of Marie's health and life from further assault and injury?"
"And even then SBU's attorneys said, 'No' to that offer?!,"
"Absolutely. But they did make a counter offer of $200,000 and
later $250,000 ... which would have left about $200,000 for Marie."
"Those tightwad cheapskates."
"But $200,000 isn't even close to enough to pay for full treatment
and any kind of recovery! Couldn't SBU have come up with the extra
$100,000 by themselves so that Marie could at least have some kind
of fighting chance of recovery?"
"I know. They have money to build their football stadiums and tennis
complexes, to repave the entrance driveway and parking lots, to pay
for the six figure salaries of the administration, or to purchase a new
luxury 'President's house' from former President Roy Blunt ..."
"... but ... there was no money to settle this properly?"
"These are the same people that spent almost a million dollars on
digging Centennial Lake ... "
"Yeah, I remember Centennial Lake ... Didn't President Dr. James
Sells and the Board of Trustees start that?"
"Yes, I believe that was another of Dr. Sell's
"It was supposed to be a recreational lake, but it basically ended up
as a big swampy hole in the ground that leaked ..."
"They had to fill it back in during the 1980s because it wouldn't even
hold water. By the time it was over, SBU and the Missouri Baptist
Convention did put almost a million dollars into that hole-in-the-ground."
"I think Marie is worth more than a lake ... or a leaky, muddy hole in
the ground. "
"Yeah, If they cared so much about a big mud puddle, that they would
even go into debt for it ..."
"... Yes, couldn't they have worked something out for a student?"
"Well ... I don't think SBU could be accused of being Good Samaritans
in this situation."
Get real! They acted more like the
who waylayed and beat the traveller and left him in the ditch to die!"
"Yes, but the money part of the offer wasn't the only problem
with the negotiations. "
"After seeing SBU's attorneys operate for the last few years, somehow
I'm not surprised to hear that."
"Very true. But, Marie believed that if she could have gotten immediate
treatment with the funds from the settlement, she still might eventually
recover enough to be able to work and earn a living of some kind ... "
"I think that she might have been a bit too optimistic on that point ..."
"Well, maybe so, but -- at that time -- she thought that if she ever
recovered enough to work, she would still need a college degree in
order to get some decent job ... "
"Well, manual labor certainly wasn't an option for her any longer ... "
"True. She also knew that because of her disability it would be much
more difficult to transfer to another university ..."
"Yes, it would be a challenge to transfer -- in her senior year, no less --
to another university when she was still trying to relearn so many skills
and manage a newly-acquired disability."
"Right ... So, as part of a settlement agreement, Marie made the mistake
of asking that SBU allow her to finish her university degree -- through
correspondence or in-home study."
"Well, considering that they were the ones who permanently disabled
her, that was the least they should do ..."
"But ... the SBU attorneys went ballistic, denied Marie's request,
declined to discuss the matter any further, and then completely shut
down any further negations."
"Wait, you mean SBU didn't want Marie to finish her degree?"
"Not a chance. Not even when they learned
that her father 's last wish
was for Marie to finish her degree. When Marie asked if they would
help her to honor that request, SBU refused."
"They denied her father's last request? Are you saying ... that this
student told this Christian university that her Dad's last wish before
he died was that his daughter finish her schooling ... and these people
still wouldn't allow her to finish?"
"Shame on them! After disabling her in the first place, they really
didn't want her to even finish school? Isn't SBU a member of the
Christian Coalition? Haven't they ever heard of ... integrity, or
honor, or family values?"
"I guess not, because even though Marie had only a few classes left
to finish her degree, the SBU attorneys and the administration would
not even consider it. In fact, they laughed at the idea."
"They laughed at her? That's sick. What's their problem?"
"Well, their problem was -- and still is -- that they were afraid.
SBU's corporate attorney, Gary Lynch, and others in the administration
and faculty were avid -- you could say vicious -- about discrediting
Marie and getting rid of her because they didn't want her to talk
or finish the litigation."
"Talk? You mean, they didn't want her to talk about the pesticides
and all the cover up and unethical and illegal misconduct?"
"Yes, that ... and other things. They were afraid of all the legal and
political fallout for SBU and others if this all got out or went to court."
"Ahh ... I see, the attorneys were afraid that they would be found out
and would be in jeopardy of losing a lucrative retainer with SBU,
or maybe even losing their law licenses -- to say nothing of having to
answer a lot of uncomfortable questions or of having to face criminal
"Yeah, and the rest of the faculty and administration were afraid that
their misconduct would be discovered and have to be dealt with openly
if Marie stayed to finish her schooling."
"Yes ... but what SBU didn't know was that when Marie made the
offer in October 1992, she hadn't even seen most of the depositions.
At first, she did not even realize the full extent of unethical and
criminal conduct by SBU and Campbell .... "
"So, Marie wasn't even aware of much of these illegal goings-on by
SBU and their ... associates?"
"No, not at first. And, frankly, even when she did discover elements
of the corruption, Marie wasn't even interested in all that."
"Ah, but, of course, SBU and its associates assumed that Marie operated
in the same manner that they did. They assumed that Marie would press
her advantage and seek revenge if she received a settlement, correct?"
"Right ... But to reassure them, Marie authorized her attorney to ask
that -- for the good of everyone involved -- SBU's attorney, Gary Lynch,
make arrangements to come to speak to her personally in her home."
"I bet he was too much of a coward to come to see her face to face."
"I don't know if he is a coward, but, no, Mr. Lynch never did make an
"When that effort failed, Marie had her attorney send a letter to SBU's
attorney explaining that she still 'cared about' SBU and describing
how important it was to Marie that she finish her degree. To be accurate,
Marie had actually said that she still 'loved' SBU, but her attorney
translated that as 'cared about.'"
"Hold on, you mean ... Marie said that she still 'loved' -- or even just
'cared about' -- these ... people even after they committed all these
cruelties and crimes against her?"
"Yes, Marie still loved ... and forgave ... them. She just wanted to
obtain enough the funds for her treatment and finish her degree.
SBU, though, just wanted Marie gone ... and gone for good."
"Are you saying that they wanted her dead?"
"Well, they didn't exactly do much to keep her alive, healthy, and
stress-free, now did they?"
"It seems fairly obvious that after the negotiations soured, and it looked
as though Marie would continue with the litigation, that SBU would
have preferred Marie dead ... or at least (if SBU had gotten away
with their plans) as incapacitated as possible."
"They did seem to go the extra mile in their bullying and hostility
toward her, didn't they?"
"Yeah! Extra mile or two ... or ten!"
"That's why they fought so hard to slander and deny her any
medical or financial assistance."
"It's like one of the SBU boosters said, 'If Marie died, there would
not be any lawsuit.'"
"I will say it again. This whole business has been thoroughly illegal
and immoral and..."
"I don't think THAT ever bothers SBU. They act as though they are
above the law ... because they are 'Christians.'"
"Christians are not above the law. They are called to a Higher Law."
"No offense, but does SBU know that? They seem to disregard any concept
"That's what I am saying! They whimper and whine that all is right with
the world because even though they are sinners, they are forgiven sinners ..."
"Right ... Forgiven and free from all their crimes, wrongdoings, and
injury to others ..."
"... but the rest of us are left to try to pick up the pieces of our lives while
they move on to new victims ... I mean ... victory in Jesus."
"Well, I am glad that they didn't get victory in one regard: I am glad that
they didn't get away with killing Marie ... or at least not yet anyway."
"Yeah, for the time being. But, Marie still needs funds ..."
"I agree, she still needs enough funds for her treatment and living
expenses. She won't make the same mistake again, though. She has
definitely learned her lesson. She will not ask SBU or the Missouri
Baptist Convention to help her finish her degree."
"So much for a Christian education, huh?"
"Now, Marie just wants to live . She just wants to escape these people
... even if it means leaving the country."
"I don't blame her. I would never trust my children -- or anyone else's
children -- in these people's hands."
"Yes, I would have to agree. A Baptist University that fights to keep medical
treatment -- and even food and energy assistance -- from one of their
own students in order to save money and to cover up their own misconduct
and crimes ... ? That certainly doesn't sound like a very 'Christ-centered'
institution to me!"
"But, that's the problem. In their own eyes, they are justified, don't you see?
To them, Marie was a 'problem student' that got in their way and caused
a disruption to 'The SBU Family'..."
"...You make them sound like a crime family -- like the Christian Mafia
or something ..."
"Well ... If it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, and ..."
"That's what I mean. In their eyes, they have a right to retaliate against
Marie. They are protecting 'The SBU Family.' What are a few lies,
some slander, a bit of bullying, a little crime, maybe a murder or two ... "
"Right ... As far as SBU is concerned, it's that simple: end of witness,
end of lawsuit, end of hassle, end of story ..."
"Christian excellence in action ..."
"... Onward, for the Kingdom!"
"Please ... Isn't that just a a bit harsh?"
"But ... These people are dangerous! To them, whatever they chose
to do is right. They act as though they are exempt from all these earthly
trivialities of legal, moral, honorable, ethical, or responsible conduct.
Integrity is for less enlightened Christians -- not for them."
"Yes, I know. You two may be right. That's why I wonder if they will
ever leave Marie alone -- even if some agreement is reached."
"Well, they have left her alone -- as in, abandoned her -- for years.
But ... will they ever leave her be? Will she ever be safe from them?"
"... or, will they still feel that she is a threat and try to hunt her down
no matter of what she does. She shouldn't have to require bodyguards
for the rest of her life!"
"There are some very disturbing aspects to the SBU philosophy and culture.
Something akin to: 'Do what we say, or we will hurt you. And, dead students
tell no tales.'"
"These people are such mean, greedy, little ... dogs."
"Well, I don't know if I would say that. Kind of insulting to the dogs, don't
"Alright, sorry. They're not dogs ... they're wolves."
"Marie said that these people were dangerous dogs ... "
"Now I would hardly believe Marie said that!"
"Well, she didn't exactly say that. She said that they are like dangerous,
mad dogs ... like snarling, rabid dogs ... and that, in their madness,
they are being slowly consumed by themselves and devoured by their
own pain and confusion."
"Sounds like something Marie would say."
"Does she still say that she 'cares about' them and 'loves' them -- even
if they are like snarling, rabid dogs?"
"I asked her that. Marie is a remarkable person. She said, 'Yes, I still
care about them and love them.' She feels that because they are suffering --
even if they brought the affliction on themselves -- that they are all the
more to be prayed for, nurtured, forgiven, and loved."
"You're kidding! So, I guess she wouldn't mind returning to SBU then, huh?"
"I asked her that, too. She answered that she didn't think that it was wise
to climb into the pen with mad, rabid dogs ... for fear the disease would
spread, and she, too, would suffer the same fate."
"I wouldn't climb in there with them either. Who wouldn't be afraid of
snarling, mad dogs?"
"I think that she is afraid of them ... for a number of reasons. I know I am.
I don't think that any amount of reassurance or talk of Christian 'love' will
mend this situation. It has gone on far too long and cost Marie and others
"I don't think it is so much a matter of fear ... as much as it is a matter
of trust. How can you trust a snarling, rabid dog ... even if it were
once your favorite pet and companion?"
"Well, there are very good reasons not to trust SBU -- primarily, because
they haven't been trustworthy!"
"I am not sure that any of us will ever trust SBU again. They will have
to work long and hard to earn our trust."
"Maybe so, but I think that the best that can be done is for everyone to
resolve the situation as prudently and quickly as possible ... and then
for Marie and SBU to part company."
"I think that's true. It is definitely time let sleeping dogs lie."
The above is a excerpt from
"So What About the Money?: A Conversation Among Friends"
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