Three Angels Broadcasting Network Drops Lawsuit
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Reputation of Three Angels Broadcasting Network Restored, Lawsuit Dropped
October 23, 2008 - West Frankfort, Illinois – Dr. Walter Thompson, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Three Angels Broadcasting Network (3ABN), announced today that the Board has instructed its attorneys to seek dismissal of its lawsuit against Robert Pickle and Gailon Arthur Joy, which has been pending in Massachusetts Federal Court since April, 2007.
The Board made the difficult decision to file a lawsuit after first applying biblical principles on conflict resolution. The suit came only after 3ABN tried to persuade Mr. Pickle and Mr. Joy to shut down websites they owned and operated which were being used to spread disparaging statements about 3ABN, and its founder and past president, Danny Shelton.
The Board originally authorized the lawsuit in order to protect 3ABN’s name from being hijacked by those who would use it to attract 3ABN supporters to their website, and then burden them with messages of despair and distrust, instead of hope and faith.
The Board took forceful steps because it felt that protecting the organization’s good name was necessary to the fulfillment of 3ABN’s mission of broadcasting the everlasting gospel to the world as it is described in the three angels’ messages of Revelation 14 and 18.
The lawsuit, entitled, “Three Angels Broadcasting Network, Inc. and Danny Lee Shelton vs. Gailon Arthur Joy and Robert Pickle,” alleges that Mr. Joy and Mr. Pickle violated federal trademark laws by owning and operating web sites that contained the “3ABN” name, which they used to publish false accusations about 3ABN and Mr. Shelton. However, on August 14, 2007, Mr. Joy filed for personal bankruptcy in the Massachusetts bankruptcy courts. The websites that 3ABN alleged were in violation of trademark laws were among Mr. Joy’s assets. On February 12, 2008, 3ABN bought them from the bankruptcy trustee for a nominal sum. The web sites were then immediately shut down, which achieved one of the major goals of the lawsuit.
The Board felt that the other major objective of the lawsuit, that of assuring the public that 3ABN’s financial and administrative conduct was proper, has also been achieved outside of the lawsuit. Although 3ABN and Danny Shelton have always used the services of outside accounting firms to make sure that their tax returns and other filings are accurate and in full compliance with the laws, the Internal Revenue Service conducted a thorough review of 3ABN and Mr. Shelton which included a review of their financial records for the audit period, 2000 to 2006.
The investigation took more than a year, and in July 2008, 3ABN’s attorneys related that the IRS investigation had ended. After reviewing over 100,000 pages of financial records, and interviewing numerous witnesses, the investigation simply ended without requesting 3ABN or Mr. Shelton to change their tax returns in any way, or to pay additional taxes.
The Board views this IRS action as a vindication of its position that both 3ABN and Danny Shelton fully complied with tax laws. Had the IRS found any violations it would have, at the very least, ordered them to file corrected returns. Instead, there was no finding that 3ABN, or Mr. Shelton, had committed any wrongful act.
The Board had hoped for a letter from the IRS indicating that 3ABN and Mr. Shelton were in full compliance with the law, but the attorneys informed us that the IRS does not issue such letters, no matter what their investigation shows.
Similarly, Mr. Pickle and Mr. Joy had made allegations that certain 3ABN employees in the wills and trusts department had been mistreated. These allegations were investigated by California state authorities, as well as the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. 3ABN was notified by its attorneys in March 2008 that the claims had been dismissed for insufficient evidence. Once again, the governmental agencies charged with enforcing the law looked into the allegations, and determined there was no evidence that any law had been violated.
Last week, the Board reviewed figures showing that 3ABN’s donation levels have returned to the level they enjoyed before the attack on its reputation began. They believe this shows that the public’s confidence in 3ABN has been restored. When the Board concluded that 3ABN’s reputation was no longer being significantly harmed by the Defendants’ activities, they decided that continuation of the lawsuit could not achieve more than what had already been achieved by other means. The Board then promptly voted to direct its attorneys to dismiss the lawsuit.
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