Sunday, January 29, 2012

This is a long one, but I think you will be rewarded by reading it.  Sometimes what seems like the worst thing in the world that could happen to--turns out to be a very good thing.  I have had this told to me by quadriplegics and men serving life without parole for the same reason.  Without that bad thing happening to them, they would never have found Christ and peace.  This is my story.  If you send me an email, I will give you the actual names of the people involved because it is all true.   Back in 1976 while living in Los Angeles, I helped form Mobile Medical Industries, a mobile doctor's office, lab, and x-ray unit using gutted Winnebagos.  I became partners with two guys who at the time were the corporate attorneys for Caesar's Palace and holdings in Vegas.  They ran around with a bunch of guys who rode in black limos and had names that all ended in vowels.  I put in $30,000 and they put in $250,000.  The deal was that we would go to facilities (mental, alcohol, juvenile detention, etc.) who by law had to have physicals on every patient every year, but since almost all of them were on MediCal (MedicAid), no local docs wanted to see them.  I would get them to sign an exclusive contract and once a year or more often if necessary we would roll into the facility and spend a day or two doing all the physicals.  The docs loved it: a forty hour week, no on call, and nothing serious usually.  If something serious happened, I had deals with local hospitals.  We started with one unit and by 1978, we had five units (radio connected) covering five counties.  We were grossing over $6,000 per day per unit.  I had always been told since it was my idea that we would go non-profit.  Never have attorneys for partners.  I was Vice-President and a member of the board and was making very good money, but in December of 1978, they fired me, kicked me off the board, and set the par value of my shares of stock (I bought in at $5,000 a share) at $1.00 per share--six bucks.  All completely legal of course.  Then they offered me a $20,000 severance check if I would sign that I would never sue them.  I took the check (you know me, I spent more than I made and was in debt) and the back of the check was covered with legalese.  One of the partners took me to the bank to watch me sign and witness my endorsement.  I never heard from them again.  It was one of the worst Christmases of my life.  A few months later I graduated with my Master's in English from Cal Poly and then that summer of 1981, moved to Arkansas to do a Ph.D. in English.  Here's where it gets really interesting.  Late in September, 1981, I was teaching at the U of A, and a federal marshall appeared in the doorway of my class.  In front of the class, he gave me a subpoena to go back to L.A. and testify against my former partners.  He had airline tickets, a hotel reservation, and spending money that he gave me right then.  I called the U.S. attorney in L.A. to find out what was going on.  It seemed my partners had been double billing for x-rays, lab tests, doing something funky with the medications, and laundering money.  I laughed and asked her if now was the time to talk about witness protection and she said yes.  I hung up and went nuts.  Went home and told Karen and she went nuts.  I was not a Christian at this time or even going to church.  My next door neighbor was a criminal attorney who agreed to call the U.S. attorney on my behalf.  We worked out that I would only testify if I was needed to put the nail in their coffin (and mine).  I sweated blood for three weeks waiting to hear.  Then one day at home, the U.S. marshall showed up to take back the airline tickets, hotel reservation, and spending money.  The bad guys had copped a plea and there would be no trial.  They were disbarred and had to serve six years in a federal penitentiary.  If they hadn't fired me, I would have been right there with them.  Talk about losing your job as being one of the best things that ever happened in your life.  Who knew?  Well, I should have, but it was a thrill to have the money and fly to Vegas on the Caesar's jet every now and then.  Hardly worth it, they were just using my integrity and contacts in the mental health field to get everything set up.  Once it was, they didn't need me anymore, thank God.  God only works in mysterious ways from our perspective, not His.   Over twenty years later, I still don't laugh about it, but I wouldn't be here if I hadn't kept insisting on going non-profit.  Dodged a howitzer shell that time.  Makes diabetes look a little pale in comparison, eh?  Praise God for His taking care of me while I was still running from Him, but it wasn't long before I turned around and found Him waiting to hold me in His arms.

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