“It’s hard to raise money for someone’s failure,” concedes J. Allan Petersen, founder of the well-known Christian ministry Family Concern. Yet that is exactly what Petersen has been doing over the last four months, and with a fair degree of success.

Petersen said he felt a strong calling from God to organize “The Second Mile” campaign, an effort to aid people who cumulatively lost millions of dollars in a failed investment more than a decade ago. The bad investment was a nursing facility for the aged known as Life Center (CT, Sept. 10, 1976, p. 65).

A Failed Dream

The nursing home was the dream of Charles Blair, pastor of the 6,000-member Calvary Temple in Denver. But Life Center and two related entities (Blair’s church and his foundation) filed for bankruptcy in 1974. Investors recovered a small portion of their losses when the nursing home property was sold. But as of last year, some 1,100 people had yet to recover a total of more than $6 million in losses. Some of these were elderly men and women who had put all their savings into Life Center.

Blair was convicted in 1976 of 17 counts of securities fraud. In a brochure prepared for The Second Mile campaign, he acknowledges his mistakes: “As President of the corporation, I was ultimately responsible for its failure.” In the past, Blair has conceded that methods used to promote the sale of Life Center securities were the methods “of the world.” (In one instance, a Life Center salesman got a widow’s life insurance settlement within 24 hours of her husband’s death.)

Blair was not sent to prison because a judge believed a jail term would limit his opportunity to reimburse creditors. Various suits have ...

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