Keeping Matters Private

Our effort to HSLDA to keep this out of the public eye

Mike Farris made a statement after the Cheryl Seelhoff case that Christians do not sue Christians. He went on to say that a Christian has the duty to follow the Scripture in 1 Co. 6. We invited HSLDA to enter into a Christian mediation/binding arbitration process through Peacemaker Ministries. They would only agree to do mediation if there was to be no mention of money. The Scripture is quite clear that when we wrong someone we owe them restitution.

HSLDA had insisted that as long as we threatened them with a suit, they would refuse to talk to us. On February 26, 2008, I sent an email to Mike Farris’s personal email address. In this email I promised that I and my family would not sue HSLDA.

Though the losses we suffered at the hand of HSLDA were several million dollars, we offered to settle all claims for the modest sum of $200,000. This does not begin to cover our losses. However, it would have given me a chance to get my life back on track and be able to once again provide for my family. I am 60 years old and with cancer. Who will hire me? This modest sum would have given me a chance to begin an independent business and pay for an alternative treatment for my cancer.

Having promised not to sue, and offering that I would be willing to settle for $200,000, the following letter is how HSLDA talked to me. HSLDA Board attorney, James Mason writes:

Dear Mr. Smith,

The HSLDA Board met earlier this week. The Board considered your most recent proposal, in which you ask to be paid $200,000, and voted unanimously to decline it.

As I have explained to you in the past, we do not believe that HSLDA has any legal or moral obligation to pay you money damages. We respectfully suggest that the time has come for you to set aside your efforts to obtain a monetary settlement from HSLDA.

We wish you only success in all of your endeavors on behalf of homeschooling in Germany and pray for your health to be restored.

James Mason

I gave HSLDA one last chance to right their treacherous wrongs and to reimburse me for at least a small portion of what they caused me to lose. As I had always told them, I would see to it that my name would be cleared of any wrong doing, especially of having embezzled honest people’s money that they gave to us for our work in Germany. Since HSLDA has no intention of clearing my name, I feel I have no choice but to make my story public. The reason I was hesitant to go public before this time was because I continued to trust that they would do their Christian duty. Having been brought to my knees in desperation I wrote:

May 21, 2008

Dear Jim,

HSLDA has written to me that when the facts are made known, HSLDA will be cleared of any improprieties on their part.

Is it your desire that I publish my story across the net? Is it your desire that I notify the respective state district attorneys of Texas and Virginia, and the IRS, asking them to investigate?

Shall we let the public and the government be the judge of whether or not the facts will exonerate HSLDA of any improprieties? You yourself wrote to me that Mike Farris would travel to Germany to look for a way to return the Smiths to our ministry there. You asked us not to be present at these meetings with the leaders and told us that if the Smiths name came up you have advised Mike to only say that he couldn’t talk about it because HSLDA and the Smiths were in negotiations. The leaders he met with in Germany have written to tell me that Mike told them that the Smiths were suing HSLDA to get rich and that they were no longer needed in Germany. How was this proper and how was this looking for a way to get us back into our ministry there? How was this not deceptive? How was this ethical?

It is my hope and desire that our dispute stay out of the public eye. Now, I will let you decide. Please let me know your intentions by tomorrow. Donate $100,000 to IHRG for Mr. Smith and from my perspective this will settle the matter once and for all. Either that or enter into a Peacemaker mediation/binding arbitration agreement with me. Either way, I would then let dead dogs lie.

Mr. Smith

May 22, 2008

Dear Mr. Smith:

This letter is in response to an e-mail you recently sent to my client, Home School Legal Defense Association, on May 21, 2008. Due to the threatening content of this e-mail, they have asked me to respond to you from this point forward. Please do not communicate with my clients any longer and direct all future communication with HSLDA to me.

HSLDA has consistently and repeatedly denied any moral or legal obligation to pay you money damages and has informed you that it would defend against any civil lawsuit you might file. HSLDA again declines to pay you $100,000 and will not agree to binding arbitration. HSLDA is still willing, however, to engage Peacemakers in an attempt to bring about reconciliation of non-monetary matters through non-binding mediation.

You should be aware that I do not consider your most-recent e-mail to be a legitimate settlement proposal. You threaten to publicly damage HSLDA’s reputation unless they immediately agree to donate $100,000 to International Human Rights Group for your benefit. I consider this to be a threat in violation of Virginia Code § 18.2-59, and constituting a Class 5 felony punishable by up to five years in prison. You may also have violated federal statutes 18 U.S.C. § 873 and 18 U.S.C. § 875(d), both of which are felonies punishable respectively for one and two years in prison. Your behavior may also border on harassment.

By this correspondence, I am making it clear to you that you are no longer to communicate directly with HSLDA or any of its employees regarding this matter. HSLDA is represented by counsel, so any further communications are to be directed to me. If you are interested in engaging in mediation with Peacemakers to resolve any non-monetary concerns you may have, then please contact me and I will make arrangements for a mediation.

Very truly yours,
Francie B. Georges

HSLDA broke the law when they slandered me and caused me to lose my livelihood and retirement. But I trusted them because they publicly proclaimed to be Christians that they would reimburse me for the loss I incurred. I believe that they strung me along to believe that they would reimburse me in whatever fashion, money or a restored ministry, until the statute of limitation for slander had expired so that I could not sue them over this infraction. But if HSLDA broke the federal law by sending us money for the work we were doing in Germany, they need to admit it to us and to others and clear our name. They would need to admit it to the American government and suffer the consequences. As Christians, whether or not they broke a federal law they have a Biblical duty to reimburse us for our loss. At the very least, as Christians they owe us to enter into a mediation/binding arbitration agreement with Peacemaker Ministries.

My position is this. Since HSLDA has acted and lied about us behind our back, they cannot be trusted. It is time to lay everything on the table and allow the truth to speak for itself. Let HSLDA deny any of my account with facts instead of lies behind our back. Let them be men of stature, taking responsibility for their actions. Let them stand publicly accountable to the good and honest families within the homeschool movement. Especially to those who gave of their own precious substance to allow us to help poor families in Germany who were in need. Let them stand publicly accountable to their Christian brothers and sisters. And more importantly, let them stand accountable to the God they profess to proclaim. And finally, let them enter into a Peacemaker Ministries agreement with me. This is their Biblical duty according to 1 Corinthians 6.

This fall, HSLDA has invited the Busekros family to come join them at their annual national leadership conference. HSLDA had paid for Melissa’s attorney, an attorney we had recommended and helped to find the rationale for arguing the case. But I believe what HSLDA is doing here is bringing in the family as a trophy to bolster their image here in America and it appears to raise more money. We were told that HSLDA’s membership plat toed a few years ago. We were told that in order for HSLDA to survive and in order for them to be able to fund their projects, their membership must continue to grow. Since it is not growing, they need to find additional funds elsewhere. Germany appears to have been the successful avenue. So many Americans have German heritage and therefore have a heart for their relatives in the old country. Of course they give money to help these poor German families. But how has paying some attorney fees for German families in front of the courts helped stop the government from pursuing their course to establish and protect its own agenda? It has not and in my opinion cannot.

What HSLDA has done to us and in Germany is a scandal. My wife and I should know. It is we who have been involved in raising awareness of homeschooling in Germany. Google: Mr. Smith Homeschooling. I was known to many in America as the Lafayette of Germany. All of the projects we began, all of the contacts we made, all of the groups we brought together, all of the press support we had, all of the politicians we were winning over – all gone thanks to Mike Farris and HSLDA.

What did the Smiths do to HSLDA to receive such treacherous treatment from its leadership, especially from Mike Farris? What did Dr. Raymond Moore do? What did the PHC professors do? And there are others!

Mike Farris told me and my wife on several occasions a few years ago that it was his goal to become a Supreme Court Justice. Can you imagine such a man to be nominated by the president and then approved by congress? We were told that Mike is no longer welcome on the Hill to meet with Senators. Why? What do they know about Mike? Mike also told us that if we did not remain at the helm of the German homeschool movement, the movement would not do well and would go in a bad direction. He used HSLDA as an example. He told us that since he became less involved with HSLDA due to his involvement in Patrick Henry College, that HSLDA was losing out because Mike Smith and Chris Klicka were taking another course than he had set it on and so he was not happy about that.

The Republican Party, which was in recent years propelled by the Reagan Revolution, is fast falling apart. All the work and support from people like my family is becoming irrelevant. In my opinion, self appointed Republican leaders like Mike Farris has served to destroy the party in order to promote himself. My family was very politically involved in the support of the Party. No more! The Mike Farris’ of the Republican Party has taken care of that.

At one point, I had thought to sue HSLDA for their treacherous actions against us. But the attorneys I approached told me that HSLDA would throw their entire war chest against us in such a suit. HSLDA would not have a choice because if they were to lose the suit their reputation would be so damaged that they would lose many members and supporters. These attorneys said that such a battle would be too costly and that they could not afford it. I would remind them that if HSLDA were to lose that they would then have to pay attorney and court costs. But this could not change their minds. They believed that HSLDA’s power and influence has become so strong that people like James McDonald were guaranteed to lie in a court case brought against HSLDA in order to protect himself from HSLDA’s wrath.

It is time to root out the corruption that has overtaken our conservative movement. Unless we do this, the conservative movement that so many of us committed ourselves to see succeed is over.

In the meantime, my family is devastated. My children only want to come home. But home to what, home to where? They now have no home to come to. I have no job to go to work to. I am trying to once again begin my own business because no one will employ me. I have no future to look forward to. I am in need of cancer treatment. We parents’ hearts are broken. Our children are deeply troubled. I need a home for my family. I have become a desperate and broken man. Not only did HSLDA destroy my livelihood but also after they did, they did not even offer to help me find work.

HSLDA is now trying to scare me with a lawsuit? Threatening me with jail if I go public to clear my name, a man they have brought to desperation, a man with a loving, beautiful, and dedicated wife and 5 beautiful children that have no home to go home to? HSLDA is now arguing that I am only trying to do them harm? What great harm they have done to me and my family and to others! And they want to deny their responsibility? For shame!

After Mike Farris’ underhanded treatment of the PHC professors, he was demoted from President of the college to Chancellor. I was told that Mike is losing it and that he is burned out. It is time for HSLDA’s board to replace him before he does more damage to good people like me and my family, to himself and to the reputation of HSLDA. If in my family’s case HSLDA has broken the law and trashed us in order to cover up, it is now time for them to admit their mistake and make right their wrongs.

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