Questions About the Sale of KFUO FM, and How to Get Answers
When the Board of Directors of Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod (or "LCMS") announced the sale of the KFUO FM 99.1 license in 2009 October, they probably anticipated some reaction. But the opposition to the sale, both inside and outside of the "Synod" (as the LCMS is sometimes known), has surprised many. No less than four formal petitions to deny the license transfer have been filed with the FCC by various groups, at least one of which consists of members of the LCMS and its congregations. Others have joined and supported the petitions to deny, and members of the faculty at Concordia Seminary, Saint Louis, have voiced their objections.
Recent controversies within the Church have been roughly along a theological divide between those concerned with preserving the historic doctrine and practice of the church and those who wish to remake the Church for a number of different reasons. But this one is different, and those for and against the sale come from all sides.
Because the actions related to the sale took place in executive sessions, and were later carried out by a committee that was also cloaked in executive session, there is no shortage of speculation about the sale and how it came about, and far too few facts are known. So how can the members of the LCMS, and members of their congregations, find out the details of the sale?
In short, the answer is, most of them can't, but congregations that are members of the LCMS can, at least as the information relates to "financial books and records". Bylaw 1.5.4 of the LCMS states that "The Synod and each of its agencies shall fully disclose their financial books and records to any member congregation of the Synod." Pastors who are members of the LCMS are, notably, omitted in the bylaw, as are members of congregations.
Below is a an attempt at a letter that any parish in the LCMS would be able to address to the Secretary of the LCMS should they want to find out more about the sale. They, and others, are encouraged to do so, with full permission to use this wording if they wish. And, of course, these are not exhaustive and could be improved, so please use the "contact" tab at the top of this page if you have suggestions, improvements, or other questions that might be included.
________ __, 2010
RE: Request for Financial Information Under Bylaw 1.5.4
Dear Reverend _______:
On behalf of ________________________ congregation I am requesting that the following information be provided under Bylaw 1.5.4:
- Copies of all Minutes of the Board of Directors (BOD) of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod for the past five years that reflect any discussion or action by the BOD regarding the potential or actual sale of KFUO-FM including its related license(s) and frequencies. This request includes all Executive Session Minutes.
- Copies of all Minutes of the Commission on Constitutional Matters (CCM) reflecting any discussion or opinion regarding the sale of KFUO-FM.
- Copies of all Minutes of the CCM reflecting any discussion or opinion regarding the rights of members of the Synod to copies of the Minutes of any Board or other agency of the Synod.
- Copies of all reports, statements, or other documents or information from any committee appointed or established by or on behalf of the BOD, and any members of the committee, from the past five years that addresses KFUO-FM.
- Copies of all Minutes of the Board for Communication Services (BCS) of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod for the past five years that reflect any discussion or action by the BCS regarding the potential or actual sale of KFUO-FM. This request includes all Executive Session Minutes.
- Copies of all reports, statements or other documents or information from any committee appointed or established by or on behalf of the BCS, and any members of the Board, from the past five years that addresses KFUO-FM.
- Copies of all documents and all other information reflecting the terms of the sale of KFUO-FM, including all contracts and agreements between the LCMS or any agency of the LCMS and the purchaser of KFUO-FM.
- Copies of all documents and all other information reflecting an interest by any group or entity in the purchase of KFUO-FM during the past five years.
- The names of members of the Board of Directors serving currently or in the past five years who have or will receive compensation or benefit as a result of the sale of KFUO-FM, if any.
- State the amount of compensation or benefit, if any, that any member so identified in #9 and/or any firm or organization with which he or she is associated has or will receive as a result of the sale of KFUO-FM and/or its related license(s) and frequencies .
- All contracts and agreements reflecting payment to any member so identified in #9, and to any firm or organization associated with any member of the board so identified, that is in any way related to the sale of KFUO-FM.
- Copies of all reports, chronologies, or other documents and information reflecting the participation of any member so identified in #9 in the discussions, negotiations, and sale of KFUO-FM, and all documents and other information reflecting the participation of any member so identified as a member of the BOD or any committee of the BOD that relates in any way to the discussions, negotiation, or sale of KFUO-FM.
In connection with these requests for information, we note that Bylaw 1.5.4 requires full financial disclosure. Bylaw 1.5.4(a) includes certain specific exceptions to the requirement of full disclosure. Because the documents reflecting the sale of KFUO-FM have been executed, and these requests are not seeking any information that donors would expect confidential or any information regarding employees, none of the exceptions apply.
If you have any questions regarding our requests, please do not hesitate to contact the undersigned. Thank you very much for your attention to this request.