Straightening his tie, Tom entered the law offices of Wilson & Halton. He had survived meetings like this one in his career, and it wasn't that long ago. Saying a quick prayer he walked up to the receptionist.
As he sat down at the table in the conference room, Tom studied Mr. Wilson and his assistant. "You asked for this meeting, Mr. Wilson, what would you like to discuss?"
"We are concerned by some photos that you included in your packet."
"Which photo concerns you, sir? There were several in the envelope."
"All of the photos concern me. I want the photos destroyed."
"That is beyond my power, Mr. Wilson. As I stated in the letter, these are copies of the originals. I do not have access to the originals. The copies were sent to me from an unidentified source."
"If you expect any co-operation from this office, you will identify the source and have the originals and files turned into me."
"Frankly, I don't need your co-operation. I will simply call the IRS and become a tax informant. At least I have the courage to tell you to your face what I intend to do. I know the photos will raise questions about Quest's use of cash donations, and how Quest has abused its fiscal responsibilities to the IRS. I know Mrs. Serino is the corporate officer who should be interrogated by the IRS and not her lawyers."
Picking up his papers Tom began closing his briefcase as if he intended to leave. Mr. Wilson held up his hand. "Why did you come here today?"
Tom looked him in the eye. "Tell Serino to back off and leave Whispering Palms alone. He's harassed us for over five years. If another letter comes from the county or state, I will personally go to the IRS and turn in these photos. And, I have no control over the photographer as to what he intends to do with the originals. That is your problem, but I guarantee what I will do with my copies if Serino continues down this path. Whispering Palms is my home and I intend to keep it that way. If he even speaks about us at his revival meeting on the 28th, I will be at the IRS on the 29th."
Locking his briefcase, Tom stood up and nodded to Mr. Wilson, "Good day, sir." He turned on his heel and left the room hoping he had made the right impression.
Shirley was waiting for him downstairs in the lobby. He smiled as she stood to greet him. "At least we got our message delivered" he said. "Now we wait."
Marti was also waiting to hear from Mr. Bradley. She knew he would take a day or two so she focused on developing the second segment to her story about Florida TV evangelists. Her research showed that some of these ministers did better inspiring a mass audience, and others really wanted the intimate relationships found in a congregation. That was her angle for this follow-up story.
As she was running on the beach that evening at sunset, her cell phone pulsed at her side. Stopping to catch her breath, she saw the number on her screen and knew it was Greenville. She answered the phone quickly standing still to quiet her racing pulse.
"Hello, Marti. Is this a good time to talk?" asked Steven Bradley.
"Sure," Marti replied.
"My wife and I have talked about our meeting and we've decided we will help gather evidence on Quest as long as the church is not involved. It gives us an opportunity to build a college fund for the kids. Send me a summary of your evidence and I will work to add details as well as the new evidence we discussed."
"Should I use the email on your business card?" Marti asked.
"No, use my personal one. I will email it to you tonight."
"Thanks, Mr. Bradley. I believe you are doing the right thing for your family and church."
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