The strange saga of the United Methodist Church’s $20 million and Surgeon General Nominee James Holsinger, by Rev. Andrew J. Weaver, Ph.D. and Lawrence H. McGaughey, Esq.
[…] Dr. James W. Holsinger, President George W. Bush’s nominee for Surgeon General has been a controversial figure in the United Methodist Church (UMC) for decades (Berkowitz, 2007; Clarkson, 2007). He was elected through the efforts of a well-organized group of activists (Swecker, 2005), along with two other conservatives, to the church’s Judicial Council (“supreme court”) in May, 2000, which gave the Council a rightwing majority (MFSA Plumbline, 2004). Holsinger has been the President (“chief justice”) of the Judicial Council since 2004. During the years that Holsinger has been on the Council, a number of unprecedented and divisive rulings have been made (Astle, 2007; Matthews, 2005).
While Holsinger has been on the UMC’s Judicial Council, he also served on the board of trustees of the Good Samaritan Foundation (GSF) from July 2000 and chaired the trustees starting in 2003. The UMC and the GSF were engaged in a long and costly lawsuit beginning in May 2000. Two former members of the Judicial Council who worked with Holsinger from 2000-2004, Sally C. Askew, Esq., and Sally B. Geis, Ph.D., stated that Holsinger never mentioned being party to a lawsuit against the UMC, nor did he at any time address possible conflicts of interest involved in being a member of the UMC’s “supreme court” while engaged in significant litigation against the UMC (Personal communication, 2007a).
The litigation involved the sale in 1995 of a 330 bed UMC hospital in Lexington, Kentucky, to a for-profit corporation and the disposition of the $20 million realized from the sale (Commonwealth of Kentucky Court of Appeals, 2005). The hospital’s trustees refused to hand over the proceeds to the rightful owners, the Kentucky Annual Conference (KAC) of the UMC (Mistler and Guilfoyle, 2006). Instead, the self-appointed trustees placed the $20 million into a fund under their sole control in an undisclosed location. […]
According to court records, the foundation’s trustees refused to tell the KAC what happened to the $20 million from the sale of the UMC hospital for nearly five years (Commonwealth of Kentucky Court of Appeals, 2005). From the time of the sale of the property in July of 1995 until the KAC filed suit against the GSF on May 18, 2000, the foundation’s trustees “refused to give an accounting of the proceeds from the sale to the Kentucky Annual Conference” (Mistler and Guilfoyle, 2006). In fact, as late as June of 2006 the lay and clergy members of the KAC felt compelled to pass a resolution formally seeking necessary “[i]nformation on assets, income earned, tax issues…investment practices, conflicts of interest, and other information” from the foundation (Ward, 2006a). […]
I am so not surprised that Bush has nominated someone, who appears to be yet another shady character, to such an important office as Surgeon General.
And just in case you don’t know, this is also a man who seems to be strongly anti-gay.