#20 Winepress not Stolen

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Lady: I’m here for one purpose and one purpose only. This is what I have to say. Timothy Williams did not, did not steal Winepress. There’s been this rumor going around for years saying that he stole Winepress. It’s not true. In fact, it’s absurd.

Timothy’s integrity was unbelievable. He had published some books through Winepress, quite a few. I don’t remember the exact numbers, 7 or 8, something like that. And he took all those books except for one he did keep gossip in the gospel in print, all the others he took out of print. He wanted there to be no appearance at all that maybe his books would get priority or he was going to take advantage of some specials or anything. Was like nope, all of his books out of print. It was just amazing his integrity. And of course, it’s just something I have just observed in his life.
I mean I would have to say in all my years and my 70+ years, I’ve met a lot of men in my life and I have never met a man that is holy and righteous as Timothy. I’ve known him for 20 years and I’ve seen the cross just work the cross of Christ just work the purity in his life. It’s just amazing, but you might be wondering well hey, what’s Winepress? Who’s Timothy William and who am I? Well, I’m going to get into all that. I’m going to tell you that and a lot more.

First let’s start with Winepress. What was Winepress and I am saying was because it’s no longer in existence. But Winepress was an incredible company. It was a Christian self-publishing company. I never work in the publishing industry before and I would just, I love working for this company. I love this company so much but what they did is, there’s so many authors, people that they’ve written books. They’ve written very excellent books, well-written, inspiring, good messages, and everything. But traditional publishers, they won’t take them because they want the big-name sellers. They want to make sure, hey, if we sign this this book, this author up, we can sell a million copies.

Well, they don’t know the smaller authors, so this provided an opportunity for these authors to get their message out and have a quality product. From 2003 until 2015, I was the accounting manager there. So, this story is from the perspective, well of the accounting department because that’s the department that I know. Now when I first came to work for Winepress that was back in 2003, I started in the accounting department and the operation was kind of shady. As I was exploring things, I found out that they had not one QuickBooks file not two QuickBooks filed but three. I mean sometimes companies will have like a second set of books, but they had three sets of books. And of course, then, I found out that payroll taxes hadn’t been paid. Money had been deducted from the employees’ paychecks but it was never sent into the IRS.
So, that’s a red flag and there were other things too that were going on. But just those two, I mean, should be red flag enough that if you wanted to work in an upright company, a legal operation that you would run, run far from there. So, you’re probably asking, well, hey, why did you stay? If you saw these things that were going on with the company, I mean, why didn’t you leave? Well, I’ll tell you why I didn’t leave and it’s one reason, Timothy Williams.

The owner of the company, I’m not going to identify her name. I’ll just call her Jezebel for this interview but she had hired him. He was actually the pastor of the church that we attended. She had hired him to come over and look over the operation, and advise her and counsel her. And he was going to turn this into a respectable business. Jezebel at the time, she wanted that to happen. She wanted to change her way. She wanted to run things according to the rules, follow standard accounting principles and so I stayed at Winepress.

Mid Point

So, you might be wondering, okay well, who is this Timothy Williams? Well, for one thing at the time he was the pastor of the church that I attended and actually Jezebel attended that church there that’s where I met her. And we were actually roommates, we were roommates for about 8 years and he came in. She had him counsel her on running the business and it was incredible, just so amazing to how he transformed that business from a shady, unorganized operation to, well, really, they ended up being the number one best-selling, number one self-publishing company in the industry. And it was just, like I said, it was amazing to see.

Jezebel loved it too, because she was kind of the face of the company, and she liked going to conferences and speaking and giving classes and meeting with authors and stuff like that. But now, she had an operation behind her that was reliable and actually, she could produce the quality product that she was promising authors. So, for her, this was so great for her and she didn’t really like the day-to-day operations. So, especially didn’t really like the accounting department. In fact, we butted heads quite a bit on, what is standard accounting practices, she’d come to me and want to, well, I need clothes need some new clothes, to go to this conference, so I need company money. It’s like, no. A new wardrobe is not a business expense. But anyway, she wanted to change things around and so she did agree to go by the rules.

Well, as time went on, Timothy actually took on more and more of the responsibility at Winepress. He was always call in if there was a difficult situation. And about the year 2006, Jezebel asked if he would buy the company. It was kind of an interesting time for him, because he had been a pastor of the church, I think I mentioned before but he had retired the previous year. So, he did have some free time some extra time. But was this what he wanted to do? Well, it wasn’t what he wanted to do and he bode at the idea. He’s a pastor he’s not businessman. This is not really his line of work at all, but then, at the same time, he was asking, well, I don’t want to do this but is this what God is working?

His wife, Carla, encouraged him to take this on, because she really thought that what this company needs is a pastor’s heart. Not businessman but a pastor’s heart. So, eventually, he did agree that he would buy the company, but he had one condition, just one. And what that was is that Jezebel wanted to do this 100% and she wasn’t going to look back. That was his only condition that if that was met, he would go ahead and move forward with it, and so she agreed. Yes, that is what I want.

So, we started changing over the operations. I set up accounts for him, new accounts for him with the IRS, the state of Washington, got all that paperwork in order. Jezebel hired an outside CPA who specialized in evaluating businesses and coming up with the fair market value for a sales price. And actually, he flew in from, I think it was California, flew in from California, stayed at Jezebel’s house while he was here and spent three days at Winepress Publishing you know just going over the books. He would be telling me, oh I need this report, this report. He was interviewing department heads in the company, touring the company just to observe how the operation went and meeting some of the employees and everything.
Now Timothy wasn’t a part of this evaluation at all. I mean he was an outside consultant, so the CPA didn’t even really ask about him or want to know any more about him. He was just what is going on, just it mainly in the accounting department he wanted. So anyway, he left and mail back his report. Everything was in order and we were all excited. The employees, we knew what was happening. Jezebel started announcing this in the media. There was an article in one of the magazines and she started speaking about it publicly. So, it was just gangbuster is moving ahead, moving ahead.

Until one day, when Timothy was at work, Jezebel walked past this door and just kind of mumbled under her breast, and I don’t know if I really want to sell Winepress. Well, as soon as he heard that, red flags and he went into action. I got a call right away. Okay, put a hold on transferring on the sale of the company. Didn’t know why at the time or anything, I just go, okay, well, this project’s on hold for now. I focus on something else. But he just said, he just, nope. This was not going to happen. Well, a couple days later, I did find out about it. Jezebel and I were called into a meeting with the executive director and he told her at that time, he said, Timothy is not going to buy the company. And at first, Jezebel’s like, she didn’t really believe it. She goes, ‘Well, yeah, he is. No, we’ve got everything in place. No, this is going to happen’. She didn’t really believe what he was saying and so he said again, ‘No, he is not going to buy the company. It’s final. He’s not going to change his mind.’

Well, when she realized that he meant it, she became hysterical and she just started sobbing and going, ‘he has to, he has to’. She just kept saying that over and over again, because I mean, she knew without him, this company did not have a promising future at all, and she just like would not stop. I mean, and I finally spoke up, I mean I’ve been sitting there really stunned with the whole thing that I was hearing. And I go, ‘Jezebel, he’s not going to buy it.’ So, at that point the sale was off it did not go through and Timothy made it clear at that point that he would never attempt to buy the company again. That was just dead. That if Jezebel ever did want to sell the company again, that maybe the church, Sound Doctrine Church where we went to church, they could buy the company. And in that way, it could be really a part of everybody, a part of the church. That was really the end of it.

End


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