The path that led to the archdiocese's serious move to "suppress" the group is disputed. Archdiocese officials said Brown resigned voluntarily after it raised issues with the way the group was being run. Brown claims she was forced out and escorted off the group's property by authorities.To religious scholars, the dispute typifies the fragile relationships between the mainline church and offshoot groups that take it in uncomfortable directions...
...Intercessors' 2008 tax return, filed last November, shows the group had almost $4 million in revenue, mostly from its retreats and conferences, and nearly $1.9 million in expenses. Its net assets at the end of 2008 was listed as more than $6 million.
Online records kept by the Douglas County property assessor show the Intercessors owns at least 86 acres in Ponca Hills that have been acquired piecemeal over the years. The records show the group bought or otherwise acquired at least $3.3 million in property since 1993. A few of the smaller properties near the main compound were recently put up for sale....
It appears Intercessors' recent attempt to expand its mission may have led to its fall from grace. Archdiocese spokesman Timothy McNeil says Brown met with Archbishop George J. Lucas when he was appointed last year to discuss the Intercessors' future. Lucas ordered a review of the group, which the archdiocese has said revealed poor leadership, poor financial decisions, disunity within the group and "use of intimidation tactics to secure obedience from members," among other things.
McNeil says Lucas told Brown in September that in order for the group to move forward, it would need new leadership, restructuring and a financial audit. That's when she resigned, McNeil says, but characterized Brown's departure as voluntary and meant to allow Lucas to make needed reforms.
Brown contends in her online letters that she was forced out and was ordered by sheriff's deputies to leave the Intercessors compound for a time.
Soon after her departure, the Intercessors civic board seized financial documents and computers and refused several opportunities to meet with Lucas, McNeil says.
"That was the downward spiral," he says.
McNeil says the Intercessors board showed little regard for the 50 or so members at the compound who were penniless and in need of food and clothes, so the archdiocese took them in.