For decades, Reverend Lou Sheldon, founder of the Washington, D.C.-based Traditional Values Coalition (TVC), has angrily fought progressives, gays, immigrants and feminists on the national political stage through a fear mongering direct mail operation that likely landed tens of millions of dollars in his bank accounts.
Sheldon, an 84-year-old Anaheim resident, now is in all-out war with a relatively new bitter enemy: his equally bigoted daughter, Andrea Lafferty, who assumed control over TVC in early 2017 when her father semi-retired from the organization.
His accusations against her include fraud, misrepresentation, breach of contract, nonpayment of wages and financial elder abuse.
According to the reverend’s 14-page lawsuit filed in Orange County Superior Court, Lafferty has used TVC for personal transactions; [promoted] fraud, self-dealing, wrongdoing and injustice; committed nepotism; paid unreasonable compensation; and engaged in fraudulent direct mail schemes targeted to seniors to contribute to TVC front groups called Christian Senior Association and Coalition to Guarantee Social Security.
It’s an ugly laundry list one could have easily made against Sheldon himself, but the reverend has gone further in his courthouse accusations, claiming his daughter has also made TVC “insolvent; stole his six-bedroom, five-bathroom, $1.9 million Washington, D.C., home near the U.S. Capitol; tricked him into giving and then refused to pay more than $300,000 in loans he gave the organization to prop it up; and secretly conspired to remove him from the board after he demanded a financial audit in late 2017.
Under Lafferty’s leadership, the TVC mission has changed to “unethical and dishonest,” Sheldon’s lawsuit claims.
It continued, “Lafferty’s motivation in removing Rev. Sheldon was multifaceted but centered around fraudulent financial schemes against [him].”
Lawyers for Lafferty and TVC are denying “each and every allegation,” adding that the reverend “has failed to act reasonably to mitigate his claimed loses, if any,” and he “has failed to act reasonably to avoid the consequences of the claimed wrongs.”
This month, the reverend’s son, Steve Sheldon, an Orange County corporate lobbyist, sided with his father in court papers. He included copies of emails between himself and TVC officials pressing them for money as well as accountings of the group’s books. He also, perhaps inadvertently, included an email from one of his sister’s lawyers that called him “unscrupulous” and “a schmuck,” according to court records.
Regardless of who has run TVC, it’s always raised eyebrows.
For example, in June 1998, I revealed for OC Weekly, in “The Abortion Doctor Who Funds Pro-Life Republicans,” how ultra-conservative, self-hailed anti-abortion Southern California politicians buddied with and took contributions from Dr. Edward Allred, then the owner of 21 abortion clinics as well as a horse racing track. Allred may have been the most prolific abortion doctor in the nation at the time.
That story also helped expose the financial coziness between Sheldon’s self-declared anti-gambling TVC, which lobbied for pro-gambling legislation in California that Allred wanted passed.
Two years later in my “Lou Sheldon’s Nightmare,” I covered the reverend’s anti-gay marriage campaign where he claimed “all men” are beasts with homosexual tendencies that require official government deterrence from same-sex activities.
To prove his point, Sheldon told a college law school audience in Costa Mesa, “You know, there’s an old adage saying, ‘Monkey see, monkey do.’”
Sheldon says TVC was created “to promote public welfare and education in all aspects of federal, state and local legislation, and action affecting Biblical and moral questions confronting society.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center has named TVC a “hate group” for years.
In the reverend’s current lawsuit against his daughter, a pre-trial hearing has been scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 24.
CNN-featured investigative reporter R. Scott Moxley has won Journalist of the Year honors at the Los Angeles Press Club; been named Distinguished Journalist of the Year by the LA Society of Professional Journalists; obtained one of the last exclusive prison interviews with Charles Manson disciple Susan Atkins; won inclusion in Jeffrey Toobin’s The Best American Crime Reporting for his coverage of a white supremacist’s senseless murder of a beloved Vietnamese refugee; launched multi-year probes that resulted in the FBI arrests and convictions of the top three ranking members of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department; and gained praise from New York Times Magazine writers for his “herculean job” exposing entrenched Southern California law enforcement corruption.