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Focus of this Blog

James Michael McDonald, V and his wife Stacy purchased and operated Homeschooling Today Magazine unsuccessfully for a number of years before its resale. During that time, the venture turned out to be far from profitable, and the McDonalds have not been honest about how they established themselves in the homeschooling community, how they operated their business, or even about their personal lives.

Certainly no one rejoices in the drawing of attention to these matters, they must be noted in order to stop the deception. This movement of patriocentricity promotes false doctrine by perpetuating lies, profiteering off of the trust of earnest Christians who believe the shaming messages promoted by the movement. The end should never justify the means, and the Christian homeschoolers that support the McDonalds have the right to know the truth. This blog hopes to draw attention to the behaviors of the McDonalds, particularly those concerning the period of time during which the McDonalds owned and operated Homeschooling Today Magazine.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Payday Arrives and James Cannot Pay

When payday arrived on January 15, 2006, James told me that he did not have the money to pay me. There was no forewarning of this, so I was totally shocked especially since he had told me that I could expect to receive $4,000 a month to begin with. Being told that he did not have the money to pay me, I believed that he and his operations were in financial difficulty. I asked James to meet with me in my home office. In this meeting and with my family present James offered to pay me $5,000 for the month of January from a donation check which someone had pledged to donate to his ministry.

He kept telling me that he was waiting for the check to arrive in the mail so that he could pay me. In a February 14 email he said: "I gave your family $5,000 from our ministry account to cover this month's (January) needs, while I have only been able to cover half my salary."

Since I was the Director of Operations, I needed to take a close look at why James was in financial trouble. I asked his bookkeeper if the accounts of his three businesses were kept separated or if they were entangled with each other. I asked to see the books. Surely the money trail would provide the answer and enable us to make some adjustments and get everything back on track. I was never given the opportunity to see the books but was told to "go back and sell!" James was short and told me that nobody would get paid if I didn't sell. Of course I believed that James was irritated often because of the pressure he was under.

On one occasion, when James was backing out of his parking spot at the Tea Shop where he spent much of his time, he accidentally backed into my car, tearing off half of the back bumper. He apologized for this and asked if he could pay for it. I told him that it was an old car so just forget it. I was just relieved that no one had been hurt. He said that it was a good thing that he believed in predestination because this was predestined to happen — whatever that meant.

I saw very soon that the magazine could be a moneymaker and a good opportunity for me and my wife to finance our ministry in Yugoslavia. I could see raising it out of the little niche it was presently in — generally Presbyterian — into a much broader market. Since we were well known, this would have been in my opinion an easy undertaking.

Though I was not given opportunity to look into the books, and having watched James go about his business, I believed that the root of the whole problem was that James was not a good businessman (to which he admitted in front of his wife, me and my wife, and two men from James church in a meeting a few months later). I believed that if given the chance I could grow this magazine out of the little corner it was in and make it a great success.

James had already told me even before I began my job that he would eventually like to sell Homeschooling Today magazine and go full time into the church ministry (James was a Pastor and had begun a small church – what I believed at the time, as he was neither a pastor in good standing and likely not a pastor at all). Along with believing that James was in financial trouble, knowing this also encouraged me to begin talks with James to take over the magazine. In early February I began to discuss with James taking ownership of the magazine.

The old car I had purchased for $500 had given up less than two-months after I had purchased it. My family was now in dire need of another car. I asked James if he would co-sign. He told me that he couldn't do that but that he had a friend who owned a car lot in town and he would contact him. If he ever contacted his friend I never heard about it. I told James that since he would not cosign I needed an employment contract to show to the car dealer who might be willing to sell me a car if I could present him with an employment contract. He told me he was working on a contract but that it wasn't ready yet.

I couldn't understand why James was having difficulty working up a contract for me. It certainly wasn't my intention to irritate him by asking too often for this contact that he had promised to me upon my arrival to begin work. Though I couldn't understand why, especially since I was selling at such a high rate, James was obviously irritated with me.