Anonymous Musings about Funny Kilns Finances

The Lewis Legacy-Issue 75, Winter 1998 The C. S. Lewis Foundation for Truth in Publishing

“I suspect that Doug Gresham knows very little about the finances of The Kilns, even though he supports Stan Mattson’s C. S. Lewis Foundation (at least to the extent of making appearances on their behalf). In fact, I wonder if any of those who support the foundation know much about the finances of The Kilns, other than its Board of Directors (and if they’re a hand-picked board, as are so many, they may not delve into such things in detail). “What has disturbed me most about The Kilns is that Bob Cording took out a large mortgage on the property at closing [in late 1984], to give himself operating capital, rather than using all of the money he had raised by selling shares to pay cash for the property. (The selling price was, as I recall, 92,000 sterling, which was about $108,000 at that time, when the pound had reached an all-time low. And because the mortgage was with an Oxford bank in pounds sterling, his monthly mortgage payment in dollars went up rapidly each month as the pound continued to go up.)

“I do not have the precise figures for subsequent increases in the mortgage that he negotiated, nor of further increases that Stan negotiated when he took over the property, but I calculated some years ago, when I had the figures at hand, that by then a total of more than $200,000 had been spent on the house (down payment, interest, and maintenance), without anything yet having been done to restore it.

“Since then, Stan has apparently borrowed against the house to meet Foundation expenses, for in one of his recent letters he was pleading for $200,000. just to pay off the mortgage! In addition, he listed other huge expenses for which he was requesting contributions, associated with the restoration process.

“In short, these people have, in my opinion, wasted huge sums in mortgage interest on a property that could have been purchased in the first instance without a mortgage, yet have never made clear to their supporters how much has thus been spent. I would be very interested to see a detailed, year-by-year financial accounting for The Kilns since 1985, but unless some major donor requests it, I’ll be surprised if Stan would ever release the figures.”

For 13 years the Lewis Foundation has been collecting rent and soliciting large donations. Where has all the money gone?