The Tennessee Tea Party and Hobby Lobby (seriously)

In an e-mail sent to supporters, the founders of the Tennessee Tea Party announced they will be stepping down from the group to focus on new projects:

Who would know that at our last rally a stranger would place a business card in Robert’s hand and encourage him to call a phone number? That this stranger believed completely in what Black Robe Regiment was all about? Who would know that the Lord would shut all doors around Robert and I, and at the same time move us into a new and deeper relationship with Him? Who would know that out of all the suffering our family has encountered, that when all the doors finally closed, one enormous door would fling wide open?

That door is Black Robe Regiment, Salt and Light Institute, and Genesis Events. Through the vehicle that is BRR, we have begun a new enterprise that is Salt and Light Institute, a not-for-profit entity that will provide ongoing weekly, monthly, and annual educational course offerings, seminars, and events operated by the founder, Robert Kilmarx, and governed by our board at BRR. Genesis Events is a for-profit event coordinator and management team, owned and operated by me, Tami Kilmarx. We have been offered the management for all these events through these three entities by a very gracious benefactor who has offered up his/their facility near Nashville. This benefactor has been around for a long time and has managed to acquire properties all over the U.S., Europe, Russia, and Australia.

According to a link in the e-mail, these new projects will be located at 612 W. Due West in Madison (the former Nashville Memorial Hospital site), but will not be affiliated with the various Gothard Ministry entities already located there, indicating Gothard's IBLP is not the mysterious benefactor.

So who is?

As they frequently do, property records tell the story.

A subsidiary of PNL — a standard run-of-the-mill vulture investment company — bought the old hospital for $2 million in 2001. Over the next two years, PNL moved some of that property to the state, city and various utilities (not unusual), but in 2003, they sold the main portion for $3.4 million to something called GDT CG1 LLC.

Two years later, GDT quitclaimed — for a grand total of zero dollars — this multi-million tract to the aforementioned IBLP, still the owner of record.

So who — or what — is GDT CG1, a real-estate investor so flush it can simply give away a $3 million-plus piece of property? While its name gives few clues, the LLC did not hide its affiliation in its filing with the Tennessee Secretary of State.

Turns out GDT CG1 is an arm of Hobby Lobby, the scrapbooking and sundry giant. Hobby Lobby is open about supporting various ministries, going so far as to list them on its website. In addition, a Google search shows GDT/Hobby Lobby does this all the time.