Thinking Out Loud

June 10, 2009

100 Huntley Street: Canadian Christian Television Hosts Off Air

It’s time to go public with a story that many of us have known for several days but has been almost completely invisible online.

For several weeks, Ron Mainse, president of Crossroads Christian Communications, Inc., and his brother Reynold Mainse, director of missions for Crossroads, have been absent from their daily, flagship program, 100 Huntley Street. The opening credits of the program have been re-edited and longtime on-air staff member Moira Brown and Canadian radio/television broadcaster and author Jim Cantelon have been fronting the daily telecast.

The best explanation seems to be found in this lone media report, which appeared May 21st in the Hamilton Spectator.    (Although The Spectator is owned by The Toronto Star, it appears the story was considered too local to Hamilton to be picked up by the larger daily.)

Driver Mainse StoryClick link above or image for full story

The story identifies the Mainse brothers, sons of Crossroads founder David Mainse, as investing in a project sold by Axcess Automation which the story identifies as a Ponzi scheme, illegal both in Canada and the U.S.

The seller is identified as Gordon Driver.    Gord, as he was known when he lived in Southern Ontario, was the founder of Sounds of Triumph, a non-profit organization that produced Christian concerts and radio programs, one of which was produced for Toronto Teen Challenge.    Offices and studios were located in the now demolished Evangelistic Centre at Yonge and York Mills in Toronto; the same Pentecostal Holiness Church which for several years rented space on Monday nights to a young evangelist named Benny Hinn.

Gord frequently traveled between Toronto and Orange County, California where he was well known to the thriving Christian music community on the west coast.   Bringing back that same enthusiasm to Southern Ontario proved challenging.    A fundraising dinner for a Christian nightclub, The Captain’s Table, ended up losing money, but Gord took his losses with his successes and was never phased by projects that didn’t succeed.

At least not until the summer of 1980.    Freeway Festival ’80, as it was called, was Gord’s most ambitious project ever, involving the massive Niagara Falls (NY) Convention Center, and some of the top names in Christian music.    But by the time the weekend was over, the festival consisted of a few concerts in the parking lot of the Full Gospel Tabernacle in Orchard Park, NY.    With staggering financial losses, Gord packed up his wife and moved permanently to Costa Mesa, CA.

For nearly 30 years, Gord Driver wasn’t seen or heard from.   An attempt by this writer a few years ago to contact his sister, a Vice President of EMI Christian Music Group in Nashville, TN, occurred while she was visiting family in British Columbia.   No calls were returned.  Then, a few months ago, a mutual acquaintance informed me that Gord had moved back to Ontario and was living outside Hamilton.

Thereafter, there was nothing until the Hamilton Spectator story ran a few weeks ago.

The story mentions that Gord had a previous contact with Crossroads, working as a sound engineer there as a teenager.    That’s true.   I know that because I was hired as the original sound technician for the 100 Huntley Street telecast, but several days in, Gord turned up around the studio as a volunteer.   Then suddenly, after only nine broadcasts, I was called into an office and told that after waiting three months for the program to go to air, I was being bumped to assistant sound engineer.   (It was alleged at the time that this followed a large donation to Crossroads by Gord’s mother, but thirty years later, the how or why is not important.)   While that alone would have been enough to ruin a friendship — although I did dissolve a business partnership I had with Gord in a record company — we did travel together to California in the late fall of 1979; proving that I was either very forgiving or extremely naive.

That Gord should so handsomely charm the senior management at Crossroads nearly thirty years later is, at the very least, rather ironic.

While I did not hear the only statement to be issued on the broadcast, I understand its intent was to convey that while there was some issue that the Mainse brothers were sorting out, it did not directly involve the use of Crossroads funds.    I hope that is indeed the case.    However, if they only implicated personal funds, the damage their absence could be doing to the income at Crossroads may be creating unnecessary financial stress for that ministry.    See this article in this blog a few days ago for a rather cryptic assessment of the situation, written prior to this more overt publication of these events.

I say that because of a very brief conversation I had at MissionFest with the people at Living Truth, the broadcast ministry of The Peoples Church, Toronto.   They told me that viewer support is greatly impacted by Sundays that Pastor Charles Price doesn’t appear on the telecast, with the result that they now simply air repeat broadcasts if Price is away preaching in other places, or even if they simply have guest speakers.

While the Mainse brothers certainly have to take personal responsibility for their actions, it would be regrettable if a ministry organization such as Crossroads was impacted by Gord Driver’s high profile transaction with these two men, in a way that even the economic slowdown couldn’t cripple it.

I should also repeat here, since the language of financial stories in the media may be somewhat foreign to some of you, that the Mainse brothers were victims here.   There is no evidence in the Spectator story itself  — beyond Driver’s own claim — that they propagated the investment scheme or sold investments to third parties.

June 12  UPDATE:  The sentiments expressed in the final paragraph above are increasingly being challenged.    I was simply acting in the spirit of I Cor. 13; that Christian charity means “believing the best;” but the comments I’ve received, both on and off the blog, would suggest that there is more taking place here.   The ministry organization is expected to make more information public on Monday, June 15th.

June 12  UPDATE:  After wrestling with whether to print this or not, I discovered that someone had committed information to the online world the day following our “Once Upon A Time” version.  You can read that story here, and another post by the same writer responding to my own, but on a different blog,  here.




Disclaimer:  This is a blog.  The opinions expressed here are are those of the author and are still waiting be confirmed in other media and/or with the story sources.

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27 Comments

  1. I am so saddened by this story. Whenever I would visit my grandmother in the late 70’s early 80’s in Toronto, she would pack up some blueberriy muffins and take me off to the 100 Huntley STreet studios to take part in the live audience. David Mainse was always so approachable and real.

    I am relieved to see that his sons were victims…yet realize that this will smear the reputation of Crossroads because people do not read all the details…headlines can condemn.

    I trust that this will work out in a way that minimizes the damage to the ministry.

    Comment by Cynthia — June 10, 2009 @ 11:01 pm

  2. Mainse brothers, innocent victims? Okay, but let’s also consider that were it not for the obvious intent of being able to make a quick buck they wouldn’t be where they are right now. By the way, does anyone know where that is???? Because truly innocent victims would be standing up to defend their innocence. Let’s also remember, the Mainse boys were recruiting others to take part in this pot of gold and I would suspect there would have been some incentive for them to do so, do we need to wonder why they didn’t ask any questions?? Please, what Driver did is wrong on all kinds of levels, but let’s not ignore the greed that led others down his garden path.

    Comment by ohplease — June 11, 2009 @ 3:59 pm

    • @ohplease
      Thanks for writing. I think there is a lot of wisdom in what you’re saying here.

      With nobody else going public on this (to date) I had to make a tough decision in deciding to publish this; and part of that decision was to stick with the information that was available through the lone source, The Hamilton Spectator. I will grant you that said information is now 22 days stale.

      So again, I think there’s a lot of wisdom in what you’ve written. Apparently the ministry organization plans to go public with more information early next week.

      Not soon enough.

      Comment by paulthinkingoutloud — June 11, 2009 @ 4:14 pm

  3. The Spec story states “In Driver’s April 23 testimony, he alleged the two Mainse brothers also acted as finders, bringing other investors to Driver.”
    If this is not the case, then the brothers have plenty of reason to stand up and dispute this damaging if not inclusive statement. I’m just tired of people who engage in “shady” get rich quick schemes, don’t ask questions in light of it being “too good to be true” and then cry innocent victim when things don’t go the way they planned. Especially when the individuals are those we place our faith and trust in.

    Comment by ohplease — June 11, 2009 @ 4:51 pm

    • I am — perhaps wrongly — still going to give Ronald and Reynold the benefit of the doubt since the only statement in the story implicating them is coming from Driver himself, albeit supposedly sworn testimony. But as a concession to the reality that is dawning over the past 24 hours, I am going to modify the last paragraph of the post to read,

      “There is no evidence in the Spectator story beyond Driver’s claim that they propagated the scheme…”

      Of course, as the days go on, I realize the likelihood of that may be decreasing.

      Comment by paulthinkingoutloud — June 11, 2009 @ 6:09 pm

    • FIVE MINUTES LATER — I also took out the word “clearly.” The more I think about it, if it was sworn testimony, it doesn’t look good for RM and RM, and there’s nothing the Spec really needed to add at that point. Sad.

      Comment by paulthinkingoutloud — June 11, 2009 @ 6:15 pm

      • Thank you Paul for bringing out the previous information on Gord. It has been years since I have heard from him and people needed to hear about Gord’s former life in ONtario.

        You have brought honesty and provided some food for thought for the leadership of Crossroads. I remember talking with you after your quick trip to California in ’79.

        Comment by KennyC — June 11, 2009 @ 9:48 pm

      • Hey Ken! Long time!

        All I did here was provide a brief thumbnail sketch. Pooling information from a wider variety of people from that era would certainly produce a fuller picture. Whether the Mainse bros. are ‘innocent’ may be another matter, but Gord can be slick, and those who had dealings with him in “the old days” are well aware of that. Still, you hope people change, are changing, and are being changed by God. Like I said on the June 5th piece, if people meet you and say, “You haven’t changed a bit;” if you’re a Christ-follower, that’s actually a bit of an insult.

        I’ll contact you off-the-blog, okay?

        Comment by paulthinkingoutloud — June 11, 2009 @ 10:10 pm

  4. There will undoubtedly be more added here from people who knew Driver back in the day. I would be surprised if anyone surfaced singing his praises. Can we all take a moment and pray for the children? He has kids from both marriages, some old enough to really be affected by this, and badly hurt emotionally. They have all been raised to love Jesus and this will get them through, but we need to keep them in our prayers. I will venture to state that I highly doubt his current wife had any idea as to his escapades as well. And, as stated earlier in the blog, he is slick and surely has her convinced he has done nothing wrong.

    Comment by ohplease — June 12, 2009 @ 9:33 am

  5. Hi Paul,
    I only became aware of the situation through another ‘chat group that I am part of.” I have never met Ron or Ren, nor Mr.Driver. I am saddened at what has transpired and can only imagine what this is doing tom thier parents and families.
    The situation became the focus of our midweek Bible study. More specifically, the question was raised, “With thier background, integrity and wall of prayer surroundig them, how could this possibly happen? How could two godly, prayer practicing men of God be duped?” Well, the answer is longer than the question.
    The end of the night we concluded with the truth that, “There but for the grace of God go you and I”
    I prayer that rather than pointing fingers, and tryig to rationalize ‘stupid” behavior, that Christians will take time to contemplate thier own walk with God and prayer for themselves. Ron and Ren as brothers in Christ, and for their families who are the ‘collateral damage’ in all this.

    Comment by ralph juthman — June 13, 2009 @ 7:06 am

  6. When Jim Bakker or Todd Bentley were exposed as liar, thieves and frauds most evangelical Christians refused to believe what they were reading!

    I had asked my friends in the RCMP and the Minister of Revenue Canada to investigate David Mainse and 100 Huntley Street of Burlington, Ontario for being a typical Pentecostal family owned and run ministry,

    ACCORDING TO MY VERY RELIABLE SOURCES AFTER BEING INVESTIGATED BY THE RCMP AND FBI THE MAINSE BROTHERS ALONG WITH THEIR WIVES ARE GOING TO BE CHARGED FOR THEIR CRIMES for being part of a Ponzi scheme for which Dan Strader was sentence for forty five years in jail. Not Innocent” http://www.a2zbookdepot.com/xxcrxxoxxoks.pdf or http://crooksaog.tripod.com/

    And 100 Huntley’s Circle Square ranch in Brampton is in deep trouble with Revenue Canada and will have to pay them $1.5 million dollars!

    IT’S NOT A COINCIDENCE THAT PETER YOUNGREN OF ST CATHERINES WHO KNOWS A LOT OF WHAT GOES ON BOUGHT HIS OWN NATIONAL CHRISTIAN TELEVISION STATION RECENTLY

    No one should be surprised at the demise of David Mainse and his sons who had built a selfish empire based on nepotism and greed and were quite a respecter of persons. Their downfall and exposure was coming and was to be expected as God doesn’t love thieves, hypocrites or money changers in his house. (Not Innocent”

    http://www.a2zbookdepot.com/xxcrxxoxxoks.pdf

    Christian television network denied tax break

    http://www.wcnc.com/news/local/stories/wcnc-061809-al-christian_network.712374.html?npc)#

    Cal Bombay, the brother of Pastor Ken Bombay, one of my former pastors in Montreal with whom we had a blow up over a corporate executive Joe Kass, was deceived and taken for millions of dollars. He raised money from the 100 Huntley supporters to buy supposed slaves in Ethiopia and wrote a book about but the money went instead to buy guns for the civil war!

    The other two senior people at 100 Huntley Street who could be seen on television often were very greedy and lovers of money and I fought with one of them for supporting rapists liars and thieves.

    Couldn’t have happened to a nicer group. These ‘religious’ quacks are always asking for handouts (like Benny Hinn) who line their own pockets and in reality throw pennies at charities they set up themselves. Enough of these spewers of intolerance, if you want to do some good in the world go some time in a food bank or helping in a shelter etc – don’t give money to the likes of these tv evangelists!
    Posted by Rev. Dr. Gilliatt | June 8, 2009, 10:27 am

    Comment by Walter — June 24, 2009 @ 9:36 am

    • “Not Innocent” is quite a document. I can’t take the time right now to skim all of it. I’ve been offline all day, but I’m posting this now pending some additional input. I say that because you’ve got some information on here which is new to all of us — the part about Circle Square Ranch for example.

      Comment by paulthinkingoutloud — June 24, 2009 @ 4:51 pm

    • Wow, you’re clearly revelling in their shame.

      Comment by Jesse — October 28, 2010 @ 5:13 pm

  7. Christian Week, Canada’s national Christian newspaper has weighed in on this:

    http://www.christianweek.org/stories.php?id=574

    Comment by paulthinkingoutloud — June 24, 2009 @ 5:26 pm

  8. […] also a report today from CanadianChristianity.com.  This is all a full month after you read it here and here (sort of) and everywhere here in the blogosphere.    Today’s publishing flurry […]

    Pingback by Random Items « Thinking Out Loud — July 2, 2009 @ 8:10 pm

  9. Servant James,

    Thanks for your very, very long reply. I agreed with everything you said about not worshiping pastors and leaders.

    But in the end, I could not approve your comment. You didn’t know when to stop and began ranting about doctrinal issues not related to this topic.

    In future, if you want to get your comments posted on blogs, keep them short, and keep them on topic.

    Comment by paulthinkingoutloud — July 11, 2009 @ 8:13 am

  10. […] The man who’s Ponzi scheme defrauded investors out of $14.1 million and nearly brought down the whole Crossroads Christian Television (100 Huntley Street) empire in the process has agreed to “turn over his ‘ ill-gotten gains’ and pay a penalty” according to a December 14th story in the Hamilton Spectator.     But the deal with the Security Exchange Commision (SEC) in the U.S. does not grant immunity from criminal charges.   Original story here. […]

    Pingback by And Now You Know The Rest of the Story « Thinking Out Loud — January 4, 2010 @ 5:47 pm

  11. […] blog, Bene Diction Blogs On (BDBO) because of my personal history with the individual behind the Ponzi scheme that affected several of the staff at Crossroads Christian […]

    Pingback by Confronting Todd Bentley « Thinking Out Loud — February 16, 2010 @ 2:08 am

  12. […] blog, Bene Diction Blogs On (BDBO) because of my personal history with the individual behind the Ponzi scheme that affected several of the staff at Crossroads Christian […]

    Pingback by Confronting Todd Bentley « Christianity — February 16, 2010 @ 1:58 pm

  13. […] Driver, the name now known to many of you for the Ponzi scheme involving the hosts of 100 Huntley Street, Canada’s daily Christian television talk show, was about to be married, and people from […]

    Pingback by My Day With Tiger Woods and Benny Hinn « Thinking Out Loud — February 20, 2010 @ 6:44 am

  14. […] Driver, the name now known to many of you for the Ponzi scheme involving the hosts of 100 Huntley Street, Canada’s daily Christian television talk show, was about to be married, and people from […]

    Pingback by My Day With Tiger Woods and Benny Hinn « Christianity — February 20, 2010 @ 1:41 pm

  15. Note to Bethany,

    Do you seriously think that posting a comment, here, on this blog, to a June 2009 news story is the way to offer your services to Crossroads as an employee?

    I didn’t post the comment.

    Comment by paulthinkingoutloud — September 29, 2010 @ 2:43 pm

  16. […] carefully put a disclaimer into his post where names were named. Mr. Mainse,  Paul Wilkinson of Thinking Out Loud is a careful and compassionate man – if there are ‘lies’, then have the courtesy […]

    Pingback by David Mainse of Crossroads slams blogs – the blogs are always lies | Bene Diction Blogs On — January 6, 2011 @ 12:34 pm

  17. I met David Mainse several years ago when he was ministring in Calgary. I have a high regard for his family. It’s too bad that a majority of television ministers live like royal dukes off of their supporters and tarnish the reputations of legitiment ministries such as 100 Huntly Street. Perhaps we will see the time coming when all the phonies are cast off television for good. Thank you.

    Comment by Glenn Dickson — February 6, 2011 @ 9:31 pm

  18. I worked with Crossroads at thier pavilion at Expo 86 in Vancouver. David would came through several times and pray for us and with us (workers). I owe a tremendous amount of gratitude toward those men and women who made the Pavilion Of Promise. Many lives where change for the Kingdom of God through that ministry…..mine certainly was.

    Many thanks to Crossroads and my prays for God’s wisdom for its leaders.

    Comment by Franky Nortelwits — January 9, 2012 @ 1:26 am

    • I am a bit saddened hearing about this story! But remember no man is perfect…
      we all have sinned and come short of God’s glory. Let’s keep them in our prayers! Amen! Amen!

      M. Williams.

      Mildred Williams.

      Comment by Mildred Williams — May 2, 2013 @ 8:41 pm

  19. This is an older story and so I’m going to close comments on it now because search engines are not particularly discerning. Ronald Mainse returned to active host duties at Crossroads, while Reynold now has a successful photography business.

    Comment by paulthinkingoutloud — May 2, 2013 @ 8:59 pm


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