BULL STREET - The art of the Con

International Christian Relief

One would certainly think that any charity with this kind of moniker had to be doing all the right things. At the head of the Charity was a fire and brimstone preacher by the name of Carl McIntire. In the early 1970s when McIntire was ruling the roost, he had somehow gloomed onto a national religious radio show that seemed to be playing to every right-wing, gun touting, red neck in the country. While many of his followers and his radio network may not have been aware of it at the time, Carl had been formally defrocked by the Presbyterian high command and held no religious credentials whatsoever.

This temporary setback  seemed not to matter to McIntire’s or his congregation in Collingswood, New Jersey at all. He renamed his pulpit the Bible Christian Church and set up a college to educate the young people in his flock next door. It soon came to New Jersey’s educational authorities that nothing much of benefit was being taught there and a lot of harm was coming to the young people who were being immersed in gunk of the worst kind. State officials withdraw whatever accreditation the college had and attempted on numerous occasions to have the supposed institution of higher learning banned from the state. McIntire along with his staff of lawyers fought the state tooth and nail until another problem erupted from a different front.

Apparently, McIntire’s church had been part of the American Council of Christian Churches until it had strayed. Furthermore, there was a substantial amount of money that had been given to the Bible Christian Church in its former incarnation that had not properly been accounted for. Moreover, it seemed to be the American Council’s contention that McIntire had diverted both the funds belonging to the Council and those belonging to his own church to a resort complex that was being constructed in close proximity to Cape Kennedy, Florida.

However, that wasn’t the only place that money was going. It turned out that the International Christian Relief  which was a sister organization to Bible Christian Church was sending the charity money that they collected from their own parishioners along with funds from tens of thousands of radio converts to the Republic of Biafra. It turns out that the Ibo children and their parents were starving in that country because of the horrendous war with neighboring Nigeria that was being fought there. Unless money for food could be filtered into the country immediately, McIntire, reported that the loss of human life would be catastrophic. If nothing else, McIntire was a great media performer and had his listeners in tears.

The money began pouring in by the bucketful and McIntire, true to his word sent the funds of his benefactors directly to Africa. However, it seems his heart may not have been where he had said it was. Instead of going to food for the Ibo’s in Biafra, it went to the Nigerians that were massacring them. However, in spite of McIntire’s constant haranguing for more money for this mystical cause, the war was just about over before the big money even arrived.

It turns out that the United States Government had just banned any products that contained cyclamates, which were believed to contain cancer causing agents, from sale in this country. McIntire, seeing an opportunity went to the two largest producers of the cyclamate infested products, Carnation Co. and Bristol-Myers and told them of the wonderful work his church was doing. He carefully explained that while their products were going to rot in the American warehouse that they were stored in, they could be donated to his Charity, International Christian Relief and they could deduct the value of everything that they were, in the alternative going to have bury or sink. Moreover, while his Church had literally nothing left of its good name, they were still an acceptable charity and they would write the companies a nice letter confirming their receipt of this product on their stationary.

The goods were delivered to the warehouse that McIntire had indicated and the church now had $24 million dollars at retail of materials that were more likely than not to cause cancer on their hands. They were not concerned about the fact that anyone ingesting the stuff could eventually get cancer, they were concerned now in how to turn the $24 million minus warehousing costs into a tidy profit. The Church in its wisdom contacted their friends in the Nigerian Army and told them about the wondrous products that they had obtained from blue chip American manufactures. The church would supply the entire load for $3.1 million dollars. The Nigerian Army would be getting what was mostly sarcoma laced diet milkshakes (Carnation Slender and Metrical) for about 15 cents on the dollar. 

However, the warehouse expense, which was a tidy $250,000, had to be dealt with before the atomic milkshakes could be shipped. However, the church and their affiliates dealt with that matter in their usual precision-like fashion. An Official of American Express was approached about loaning the money for the warehouse payment against the Nigerian Army’s purchase order. The American Express Official determined after less than careful consideration that merchandise condemned by the United States Government was hardly deemed to be satisfactory collateral by American Express, however, perhaps if church officials could sweeten the pot a bit and come with some additional collateral, any additional collateral,[172] it would probably work. The American Express official was quietly paid for his efforts and some phony stock was literally rented from the mob and the deal went through.

Of course, the American Express official had made the loan knowing full well the announcement that had previously been made by the Securities and Exchange Commission that AFCA was one of the companies that had been placed on a black list by the American Government because of the fact that securities were being sold to Americans in spite of the fact that they had violated American laws by not having them registered. It shows you that a little sweetener can go along way when Ibo children are starving to death in Africa. Gold Bless those folks at American Express. 

When American Express were not promptly repaid their loan plus the substantial interest they had charged they order the collateral liquidated. When that turned out to be impossible, they fired their employee and called the cops. “Police descended from everywhere - Canada, London, Switzerland, Interpol, and the SEC.”[173] All of the players had disappeared after the Nigerian check was cashed. American Express was stiffed for a good part of their money when nobody in the police or anywhere else could find a thing in the world about AFCA. McIntire, on the few occasions that he is seen in public will no longer talk about anything, forget about religion or starving Ibos. The Nigerian Army downed their milkshakes and years later have begun to pay for the experience. It would seem that good time was had by all.



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