“Mom, that was such a great birthday present!” ~~Natasha Epstein
Vision Forum’s widely advertised Open House on Saturday, April 21, 2007, promised lots of excitement and fun. With exclusive book signings, clearance specials, and workshops planned, this event portended a large turnout. Complete with refreshments and decorations and cops, it was a gala event.
Wait a minute! Did I say “cops?” What were the cops doing at a Vision Forum Open House? The last time we went to one of their Open Houses, there were several hundred people in attendance, but I don’t remember seeing any cops. In fact, I’ve attended many Vision Forum events and I don’t recall ever seeing any cops.
Oh, well, let’s get on with our coverage of this grand event. It seems that things were a little slow ’round about mid-afternoon. Vision Forum announced on their web site and their email list that Doug would be doing a book signing from 2:00 PM to 4:30 PM. Anyone who wanted to meet Doug should have had no trouble doing so between those hours. Then the excitement suddenly began to pick up. In fact, for Doug Phillips, things suddenly got very exciting. Exciting as in heart-pumping, adrenaline-rush “Oh no! What do I do?” exciting. They say that a man’s true character is best shown when the veneer of his superficial exterior is suddenly stripped away by an event that catches him totally off-guard. That’s exactly what happened to Doug last Saturday.
The significant thing that I want my readers to see from this story is the fact that not only is Doug Phillips a deceiver, and that he told a whopper of a lie, Doug Phillips has created an entire culture of institutionalized deception within Vision Forum. Not only did perpetrate a deception last Saturday at the Vision Forum offices in front of multiple witnesses, including his own wife, he orchestrated the broader deception by instructing his staff that were present to lie for him, too. They all knew that he was on the premises, but they deceived someone who came there looking for him with “He’s not here.” Like the “honorable” people that Doug has trained them to be, they were only too eager to assist with Doug’s duplicity.
The following is the story of two people who were in attendance Saturday afternoon with Doug Phillips, ever so briefly, prior to being escorted off the premises. The one was a legal process server. The other is my daughter, Natasha. At the request of the process server and his company, I have blurred their names on the official notarized legal affidavit.
This entire incident took place on Natasha’s birthday. She called to tell me that Doug had given her one of the best birthday presents she’d ever received. Natasha now wants to reciprocate Doug’s thoughtfulness by including her personal testimony in this article.
Process Server: “Location is a business, Vision Forum. I first arrived at 3:07 PM. It appears they were having an open-house style function to develop more business. A man wearing a yellow Polo-style shirt greeted me as I entered the main entrance. The man appeared to me to be a security person. I mentioned I had a delivery for Mr. Phillips and he directed me to a young man named Peter [Last Name Unknown]. When I told Peter I had a personal delivery for Mr. Phillips, I was escorted down a few stairs into a warehouse-looking storage area. A table was positioned sideways in front of where I stood. There, I met Joshua Wean, CFO for Vision Forum, Inc., standing with three ladies. He stated he could sign for anything being delivered. At this point I informed him I was a process server and needed to deliver to Doug Phillips personally. I was escorted by Peter and Joshua into an office, apparently so as not to disturb the function and to discuss the situation privately. A person dressed in a Hollywood Park Police Officer uniform also stood inside the office door as we spoke. Joshua insisted he was able to sign for all company business. I informed him that what I have is addressed to Doug Phillips, not Vision Forum, therefore, as a process server I could not and did not feel comfortable leaving the package with him, since I did not know the contents of the documents being delivered. I then stated, “All I need to do is hand Mr. Phillips the letter and depart. Mr. Phillips won’t have to sign for anything.” Joshua and Peter wanted to know what the letter was about. I stated that it had something to do with a dispute over a movie or video, but that I didn’t know the specific details since I hadn’t read the letter. (I had put the letter it into an envelope and sealed it, before making the delivery.) At this point, Joshua discussed scheduling the delivery for Sunday or Monday. I said it would be illegal for me to deliver the documents on Sunday; however, I would make a call to get permission for Monday. I made the call and was told the package needed to be delivered that day because Doug Phillips was supposed to be there. I asked if Doug was on the premises and Joshua stated “Doug was scheduled to leave at 2:00 PM for another engagement”. By this time it was already approximately 3:15 PM, well past the time that Joshua told me that Doug was scheduled to leave. However, I was suspicious about this, since I had been specifically instructed that my best time to catch Doug Phillips at the event would be between 2:00 and 4:30 PM. It was because of that information that I arrived at 3:07 PM, to make sure that I would make an attempt during the time specified in my instructions. Joshua then made a phone call. Based upon the content of the conversation, it appeared to me that he was talking to Doug Phillips. Joshua asked him, “Are you still here?” After a few moments while Joshua listened, a response was relayed through Joshua, who asked, “Where are the documents from?” I informed them that I didn’t know for sure, but I could open the letter in front of everyone to determine where it was from if that would be agreeable to Mr. Phillips. (I made this offer with the understanding that the person on the phone was Doug Phillips, and that he was giving his permission for me to open and read the document). It was relayed through Joshua that I should open and read the letter to find out who it was from. I opened the letter and said it was from Joe Taylor at Mt. Blanco Fossil Museum. After a few “OKs” and “That’s what I needed,” Joshua hung up the phone. Joshua then stated “Mr. Phillips is not here.” He also said Doug Phillips would not be accepting anything from Joe Taylor and that all documents needed to be directed to their attorney. Joshua looked up and gave me the info for the attorney on a sticky yellow note. Don Hart, 7389 FM 3405 Liberty Hill, TX 78642. I shook hands with Joshua and Peter, thanked them, departed and called my superiors.”
Natasha: “The process server came and went, and then a friend and I showed up and walked in the doors around 4:15 PM. The first people we saw were the Ringers. I spotted Doug right behind them signing a book. I only saw one other family in attendance. The Ringers kept staring at me and whispering, and right after that, Doug looked my way and immediately bolted into his office. Some guy I didn’t recognize followed him. Beall peeked around the corner and saw me and whipped out her cell and started talking on it while she looked at me a couple times. This all happened within 2 minutes of my walking in the door. As soon as that all happened I called the process server’s boss while I was still standing by the front door and she said the process server was going to call me. So I moved and browsed around and Peter Bradrick came and said hello to my friend and me. The process server called at that time and I told him that Doug was in the building but he was hiding and I gave him a description. He showed up a few minutes later and two little girls at the front door asked him to fill out some sheet to enter in a drawing, and then I showed him what Doug looked like in a video that they had playing on a TV in the lobby and he took description notes.”
Process Server: “Around 4:00 PM I received a call from my superiors, directing me to return to Vision Forum and meet with a young lady, last name of Epstein. I was told that Ms. Epstein knew for certain that Doug is at the function now and she could point him out to me. When I arrived at 4:15 PM, I met Miss Epstein inside the foyer entrance. She said that Doug Phillips had spotted her, recognized her, and immediately ducked inside the office to the right. Miss Epstein also said she was seen by Doug’s wife and would probably be asked to depart at any minute. Miss Epstein pointed to a video playing on the lobby TV. She said it was Doug, so I studied the video for a few moments.”
Natasha: “We stood there for about two minutes when Josh Wean and three other Vision Forum employees came over and Josh said that this was private property and was going to have to ask us to leave.”
Process Server: “Just as I was about to fully enter the main area, another man dressed in a yellow Polo-style shirt (security?) approached us, said that this was private property and that we would have to leave. As instructed, Miss Epstein and I quickly left the building.”
Natasha: “So we exited the building and I turned around as I was walking out the door and said, ‘Nice seeing you again, Josh.’”
Process Server: “Once outside, Peter, the man who asked us to leave, and another man stood in front of the doors as if preventing entry back into Vision Forum. I spoke to Miss Epstein and told her the parking lot was also considered private property and that we should leave before anything else happened.”
Natasha: “Then we walked over to the process server’s car and talked about it and he said there was nothing he could do at the the moment because private property trumped what he was doing and that maybe he could have someone else come over and give it to him now that he had a description and all. Peter Bradrick and two others stood outside this whole time watching us and waiting for us to leave, so then we got in our cars to leave.”
Process Server: “As I was driving away, Peter flagged me down to ask why I came back for a second time. I said someone had identified Doug Phillips at the function, after I had departed the first time, and was told they would identify him to me so that I could make the delivery. Peter asked who hired me to which I could not give him the answer since I did not know. I showed him the top portion of the letter addressed with Joe Taylor’s contact information. Peter then asked for my business card, which I gave him; then I drove away.”
The process server’s boss appreciated Natasha’s assistance in verifying that Doug was indeed on the premises, and visually identifying Mr. Phillips for the process server, since both the VF employees and Doug Phillips lied about him not being there.
According to the Texas Rules of Civil Process, a process server has every right and reason to be on a property to do the job they are appointed to do. As a lawyer, Doug knows that. Doug also knows that a process server is an “officer of the court.” Doug orchestrated a deception on an officer of the court.
What I don’t understand is why he was asking the process server to leave, based on the private property trump card, when he was supposedly conducting a business function that was open to the public.
With all Doug’s talk last week about Christian men needing to be armed, I wonder why he was so afraid of a 20 year old young lady that he felt the need to run and hide in his office when Natasha arrived. What also doesn’t make sense is why he would run away and lie, and have his employees lie for him, over a letter from Joe Taylor. Joe isn’t even suing Doug. But this kind of avoidance is SOP for Doug.
Doug’s deceptive actions, and the deceptive example he sets for his employees, should really make people wonder whether anything he says can be trusted.