There’s a little rule we learned when investigating waste, fraud, and abuse in the federal government.
Follow the money.
Have you ever wondered what Paige Patterson has against Wade Burleson? Have you ever considered that despite Patterson’s homespun rumors that Rev. Burleson is embittered and vengeful, that the opposite may be true? Is it possible that Paige has never gotten over Wade Burleson’s successful effort to displace the Patterson’s money man from a trustee spot on the SBC Annuity Board?
Well, consider the following.
In 1994, Wade Burleson was a member of the SBC Committee on Nominations. That year, the committee was responsible to fill a “local” trustee vacancy on the Annuity Board. At the recommendation of Rev. Burleson, the 1994 SBC Nominations Committee voted to approve Rev. Alton Fannin of Ardmore, OK, to fill the local trustee vacancy on the board.
But that nomination didn’t settle well with some convention power brokers.
So there was a challenge to Fannin’s nomination in the run-up to the 1994 Convention in Orlando, FL. A sub-committee of the 1994 Nominations Committee was empaneled to review the challenge. Rev. Kenneth Barnett of Denver, CO, was the chairman of that subcommittee.
On the Saturday before the annual meeting, Barnett’s subcommittee of seven members voted to overturn the recommendation of Alton Fannin and replace him with Charles Armstrong of Dallas, TX.
On the convention floor, Rev. Burleson moved to amend the committee report to re-nominate Fannin to the Annuity Board of Trustees and block Charles Armstrong’s trusteeship. Speaking against the amendment was Kenneth Barnett.
Burleson’s motion prevailed, and Alton Fannin was elected to the board of trustees for the SBC Annuity Board. He later served on the presidential search committee that recommended O.S. Hawkins to succeed the late Paul Powell.
Well, we all know who Wade Burleson is. And we know who Paige Patterson is. Or at least, we’re learning who Patterson is.
But who is Kenneth Barnett?
For starters, he was the nominee in 1998 to replace Lee Porter as the convention’s registration secretary. He was nominated by Rev. Jerry Spencer of Alabama, who stated that Barnett’s heart beat “in harmony” with Paige Patterson. Despite Barnett’s loss in that election, Spencer was successfully elected the following year as the SBC’s 2nd Vice President. He served in that role in 2000 alongside Paige Patterson, who was convention president.
And who is Charles Armstrong?
Well, for starters, he’s the father of David Armstrong, former comptroller at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, former Vice President of Administrative Services at Truett McConnell University (where current SBC Committee on Committees Chairman Emir Caner serves as president), and current Vice President for Business Services at Bethel College in Indiana.
Armstrong is also the former Southeastern Seminary employee who was responsible for uncovering a questionable financial transaction Patterson made before moving to Fort Worth.
But there’s more.
Charles Armstrong is a Certified Public Accountant living in Dallas, TX.
He’s also the personal accountant for Paige and Dorothy Patterson, and the Treasurer of their non-profit organization, the Patmos Evangelistic Association, which is headquartered on the campus of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth. As we reported in 2007, the Patmos Evangelistic Association has an interesting financial history with some questionable expenditures.
So here’s something to think about:
Paige Patterson may have wanted his personal accountant on the SBC Annuity Board. Wade Burleson successfully prevented his election to that board in 1994, despite the efforts of Kenneth Barnett — whose “heart beats” with Patterson’s — to get Armstrong elected.
So maybe, just maybe, Burleson got on the wrong side of Paige a long time ago.
And maybe, just maybe, Paige doesn’t like it when somebody messes in his sandbox.
In any event, the only way to replace nominees to SBC entities is by a motion from the floor to amend, one-by-one, the slate of nominees presented by the Committee on Nominations.
Wade Burleson has done it before.
Could he do it again?
Enjoy this clip from the 1994 Southern Baptist Convention: