Port Austin Bible Campus

PO Box 474  •  Port Austin, Michigan, USA 48467-0474  •  989-738-7700  •  pabc@portaustin.net

Letter of November 13, 2007

 

SERVANTS’ NEWS INFO LETTER: SETTLEMENT ACHIEVED!

Dear Fellow-Worker,

Thank you for all of the prayers and e-mails of encouragement. There were simply too many to answer them individually.

On Thursday, November 8th, we arrived at the courthouse well before the 9:00 a.m. trial time with six witnesses ready to testify on our behalf and at least that many more planning to come that afternoon. Terry Williams was there with his attorney, Duane Cubitt, but his main witness, Paul Drieman, did not come—even though the trial had been postponed a week so he could attend.

Rather than begin the trial, the judge asked to see attorney Cubitt and myself in his chambers. He made it very clear right up front that he was anxious to reach a settlement on this issue rather than go to trial. The judge had obviously read the trial briefs and understood the issues at hand:

In the spring of 2004, Norman Edwards, Terry Williams, Paul Drieman and Phil Frankford had agreed to pool their personal resources to form a trust to purchase part of the former Port Austin Air Force Base in order to establish a community for the purpose of educating Sabbatarian young people. All four men were to be trustees of the trust that would own the property. By September of 2004, both Edwards and Williams had each put about $90,000 of their personal funds toward the project, but Frankford and Drieman contributed little. Both Edwards and the seller of the property believed that Drieman and Frankford had deserted the original goals of the project and had tried to turn Williams against Edwards. Edwards arranged for the completion of the trust documents, which named only himself as trustee and let the others know on October 29, 2004. Edwards offered to make Williams a trustee, but he declined.

Since that date, those three refused to talk to Edwards, even though he wrote them numerous letters. When Edwards offered to begin repaying Williams $1400 per month in February of 2005, provided that the issue did not go to court, Williams contacted his attorney. Some negotiation ensued but a suit was filed on October 21, 2005. The pending litigation has caused a great deal of difficulty, as many people deferred involvement with the Port Austin Bible Campus until the legal problems are resolved.

The judge pointed out to Edwards that Williams had put his money into the project on the basis that he would be one of four trustees—not one of two trustees or a non-trustee. On the other hand, it was clear that there was a lot to be desired from some of the people in working toward swift and fair resolution to this very serious matter.

TERMS OF THE SETTLEMENT

After meeting with Cubitt and Edwards together, then separately a couple of times, the key points of a potential settlement emerged. Essentially, Edwards and/or the Trust are to repay Williams $1000 within 60 days and then $44,000 more beginning January 15, 2010 at $850 per month for five years. Williams will have a second mortgage on the property so that if payments are not made, then Williams can foreclose. Williams will remove his possessions from the building within 60 days. Neither admits to any legal wrong-doing and there is no ability to appeal this case or to file a new one on the same issues. The wording of the final order, yet to be signed by the judge, is included at the end of this e-mail.

But in a word, Edwards and Williams legal issues are over—provided Williams moves out on time and Edwards and the Trust make payments on time. Both things are likely to occur.

All I can know is what went through my mind, not the minds of Williams, Frankford and Drieman. God is the ultimate judge of all things. We will leave that in his hands and concentrate on the work that we have to do.

ON WITH PABC

During these last three years, a number of things have been accomplished.

          Numerous aspects of our buildings have been improved.

          The condominium association, to which some of our properties belong, is now functioning well.

          The shared water plant and sewer system are now self-supporting.

          The sales of several non-critical parts of the property have been completed or are in process.

          Our property tax exemption trial has been completed and we are awaiting the results. We fully expect a ruling in our favor.

One of the most important things we have learned from this experience, is the need for clear written agreements defining what is expected from each person who lives here. Beyond that, when things go wrong, it is utterly important to physically go and talk to people with whom we have a disagreement. While that is a difficult thing to do, it is obviously a skill that the New Testament believers possessed. We pray that we do not forget the lessons that we have recently learned.

Our need now is to communicate our goals and plans to as wide an audience as possible so that we fulfill our goal of building a Christian community with an emphasis on educating Sabbatarian young people. The need is still great. I continue to read about and hear about young people who are struggling to get started in life. Many find a place to go to school. Many find jobs. But most lack friends of similar religious belief and end up departing from the biblical teaching of their youth, many departing from any form of Christianity. Others struggle to maintain their beliefs, but marry someone with completely different beliefs. Maintaining close Christian friends of like mind can make all the difference.

My experience has shown me that it will not be difficult to bring Sabbatarian young people to a community where they will be able to have friends and a lot of interesting things to do together. We have facilities for basketball, volleyball, baseball, racquet ball, tennis, hockey and bowling (with a little maintenance) right here. We also have good facilities to play and record music. We have the ability to teach a variety of computer skills. We have Bible studies that take on the big issues of life. We can offer young people money-saving practical experience such as learning to cook or taking care of their own vehicles.

CApABLE, dedicated People needed

But we need mentors and teachers in place before we can bring young people here. That was the main issue raised by the young people who were here a couple of years ago:—we were too busy with legal and facilities issues to give them the time that they needed. The kind of people we need are those who have been successful in life, both spiritually and physically, who are willing and able to sacrifice some of their ongoing physical prosperity to come and help many others learn to achieve that same kind of physical and spiritual success.

            "But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal" (Matt 6:20).

We are in communication with some families and individuals who want to move here now. However, most of them are struggling with trials and disabilities of their own. They are eager and willing to help to the extent that they are able, but they are also in need of some help themselves. However, we know that with a sufficient number of skilled leaders, mentors and workers, we can all work together as a Christian community.

Before we have a large group of people move here, we need to fix the roofs on two or three of our buildings and put a heating system into the dormitories. (Presently, we are using electric space heaters there.) We are almost a year behind on our $5000 per month payments to Eternal Life Bible Institute, from whom we purchased this property. They have been very patient with us because they want us to succeed. The ministry's operating expenses, which provide for utilities, buildings and grounds maintenance, interest expense, maintenance and essential living supplies average $4000 per month. But offerings have averaged $3500 per month during the same period. The resources of the Edwards' and a few other supporters are now exhausted, so we hope that others will "stand in the gap".

We presently intend to produce a small brochure explaining the concepts behind the Port Austin Bible Campus and bring it to a wide Sabbatarian audience: Church of God groups, Church of God Seventh Day groups, Messianic Jewish groups, Seventh Day Baptists and others. We hope to make our facilities available to these groups for low-cost camps and retreats next summer.

We would like to invite anyone who is interested in helping us with these plans to come and visit during the upcoming Thanksgiving holidays. We realize that this will not be practical for most of you, but for a few, it might. Some are already planning to come. Please call or e-mail if you do, so you can be assured a room on campus.

If you would like to help in some way, but cannot come to the Thanksgiving meeting, please e-mail or write to us.

We intend to produce another issue of Servants' News as soon as possible, and hope to keep publishing it every two months.

After three long and difficult years, we now feel more determined than ever to make this ministry a reality and a blessing to others. Please pray for us, and help in some way if the Eternal is leading you to do so.

May the Eternal bless you all.

--Norman Scott Edwards
Servants' News
Port Austin Bible Campus
PO Box 474, Port Austin, Michigan 48467-0474
e-mail: PABC@portaustin.net  tel:989-738-7700

 

_____________________________________________________

Text of Settlement judgment as approved by the parties;
soon to be signed by the judge, follows below:

_____________________________________________________

 

STATE OF MICHIGAN

IN THE CIRCUIT COURT FOR THE COUNTY OF HURON

TERRY MONTE WILLIAMS, Plaintiff

vs.        File No. 05 002931 CB
            05 003021 CB

NORMAN SCOTT EDWARDS, Individually and as Trustee of Port Austin Sabbatarian Church Community Sacred Purpose Trust, and PORT AUSTIN SABBATARIAN CHURCH COMMUNITY SACRED PURPOSE TRUST, Jointly and Severally,

            Defendants

----------------------------------------------/

Attorneys for Plaintiff
CUBITT & CUBITT
BY: E. Duane Cubitt PI2373
186 E. Huron Avenue
Bad Axe, Michigan 48413
(989) 269 9903

 

Norman Scott Edwards, Defendant
Appearing In Pro Per
PO Box 553
Port Austin, MI 48467
(989) 738 7774

JUDGMENT

At a session of said Court held in the County Building in the City of Bad Axe in said County on the __ day of November, 2007

Present: THE HONORABLE M. RICHARD KNOBLOCK, Circuit Judge

This matter having been regularly scheduled for trial on November 8, 2007, at 9:00 a.m. and the parties, with the assistance of the Court, having met and agreed to the entry of a Judgment containing specified terms including a provision that there is no finding of wrongdoing by either Plaintiff or Defendants and the Court being fully advised in the premises,

IT IS ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that the Plaintiff shall recover from the Defendant, Norman Scott Edwards, individually and as Trustee of the Port Austin Sabbatarian Church Community Sacred Purpose Trust and the Port Austin Sabbatarian Church Community Sacred Purpose Trust, jointly and severally, the sum of $45,000.00 payable $1,000.00 within 60 days of entry of this Judgment, with the balance of $44,000.00 due commencing two years from entry of this Judgment payable in monthly payments amortized over five years at 6% per annum, which sum is $850.65 per month; that interest on said $44,000.00 shall commence two years from entry of Judgment and the first monthly installment payment shall be due on January 15, 2010; that all payments due under this Judgment are to be made to Cubitt & Cubitt Trust, 186 E. Huron Avenue, Bad Axe, Michigan 48413.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that should Defendant not timely make the installment payments required in this Judgment, then the balance due on said Judgment at the time of default shall become immediately due and payable.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED AND ADJDUGED that Plaintiff is hereby granted a mortgage against the real property of Defendant Trust as described on Exhibit A attached hereto; that said mortgage shall be a second mortgage to the mortgage granted by Defendant Trust to Eternal Life Bible Institute, a MN non-profit corporation on or about May 26, 2006, and recorded in Liber 1161, page 656, Huron County Records; a default in the installment payments required under this Judgment shall be considered a default in the mortgage granted herein and upon default, Plaintiff may foreclose said mortgage as provided by Michigan law.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that the claimed lien of Plaintiff in a document titled Real Property Lien Notice recorded on or about December 1, 2004, in Liber 1084, page 470, Huron County Records is hereby released.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that there is no admission by either party of any wrongdoing in their agreement to amicably to resolve the issues in the within cause and all claims and counter claims in this cause not provided for in this Judgment are hereby dismissed with prejudice. It is further the intent of this Judgment for the parties hereto to waive any claims or causes of action either might have against the other as of the date of entry of the Judgment, whether or not plead in this cause of action.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that the plaintiff, Williams, and the Defendant, Edwards, acknowledge and agree that Homer Kizer has not, is not, and will not be authorized by Terry Monte Williams to speak or write on behalf of Plaintiff, Williams.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that Plaintiff, Williams, shall vacate the premises he occupies on property titled in the name of Defendant Trust within 60 days of entry of this Judgment.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that no costs are awarded to either party.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that this Judgment resolves the last pending claim in this action and closes the above entitled cause.

 

M. RICHARD KNOBLOCK,
Circuit Judge

Dated: November __, 2007

 

STIPUALTED AND AGREED TO
AS TO BOTH FORM AND CONTENT:

 

CUBITT & CUBITT Attorneys for Plaintiff

____________________________
BY: E. Duane Cubitt P12373

 

____________________________
Norman Scott Edwards, Defendant
Appearing In Pro Per
Individually and as Trustee of Port Austin
Sabbatarian Church
Community Sacred
Purpose Trust, and Port Austin
Sabbatarian Church
Community Sacred
Purpose Trust