Hot Document readers will remember the public apology rendered by the Rev. Ted Haggard, founder and pastor of Colorado Springs’ New Life Church, after a sex scandal forced him to resign from the church and as president of the National Association of Evangelicals. (Haggard got caught having a sexual relationship with, and buying methamphetamines from, a male prostitute.) Later, after secular counseling, Pastor Ted wrote some of his former parishioners a ”personal and private e-mail” (promptly leaked to KRDO, an ABC affiliate in Colorado Springs) to explain that he was no longer gay and that he planned to become a psychologist. Now Haggard’s rehabilitation is raising some new, very bizarre questions.
Four months ago the Haggard family moved to Arizona, and last week, Haggard informed KRDO of his newest life decision: to minister to “the homeless, those coming out of prison, recovering alcoholics, drug addicts, prostitutes, and other broken people” at the Phoenix Dream Center halfway house, where the Haggard family will also live. Haggard and his wife, Gayle, now members of Phoenix First Assembly (the “church with a heart”), are also enrolled as full-time students at the University of Phoenix. Minus his $138,000 salary, and with the depressed real estate market preventing the sale of his $700,000 house, Haggard will have trouble making ends meet. So, Haggard asked KRDO reporter Tak Landrock (see below) to help him line up “people who can give a one-time gift or make a commitment to help support us monthly for two years.”
Here comes the weird part.
Haggard wrote Landrock that supporters can mail checks directly to the Haggard family at their Scottsdale, Ariz., address, but that if contributors wish to make their donations tax deductible, as they very likely will, they can make out their checks to something called Families With a Mission and write on the check that it is designated for the Haggard family. Ninety percent of these funds will then be forwarded to Haggard, while the remaining 10 percent will cover Family With a Mission’s “administrative costs.”
What the hell sort of charity is Families With a Mission? According to online records for the Colorado secretary of state, an organization bearing that name and the same address supplied below by Haggard was dissolved voluntarily in February of this year. No permanent Web link to the record for Families With a Mission is available from the secretary of state’s Web site, but you can look it up here; click on “business center.” You can also find it reprinted here on the Web site for the Stranger, a Seattle-based alternative newspaper, whose editor, Dan Savage, broke the story with help from a Stranger reader named David Coffman.
Wait, there’s more. Savage and Coffman verified that the name and address of the man identified by Colorado’s secretary of state as “registered agent” for Families With a Mission match the name and address of a man named Paul Huberty, who is listed online as … a sex offender!
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