A couple weeks ago, I went out to a small, nondescript town near the coast of Maine.
My destination was the small village of Oldham, just south of New Hampshire.
Oldham is a town of about a dozen people, about 25 miles west of New England’s biggest city, Boston.
I was heading out to the beach for the weekend, but the sun was setting.
As I stood at the gate, I spotted a couple of men walking in the neighborhood.
They were clearly in their 20s and 30s.
They had long, dark hair.
They looked like they were in their early 30s, and their clothes were the same colors as the men in the photo.
The two men, they were wearing bright blue jackets.
The photo of them was taken two weeks ago.
They didn’t look like they’d been out in the field.
They appeared to be hanging out at a picnic table.
Their shirts were still on.
The man in the jacket was smiling.
I couldn’t believe it.
I didn’t know the men.
I hadn’t been out for about two weeks.
But I knew they were my friends.
A week later, they would be in court.
The case was about how the town was using a local church’s $2.50 donation to pay for a $4,000 house repair.
The repair was supposed to be done by a local contractor, but a state investigation had found that the church had used church funds to pay the contractor and then failed to report the work as church-related expenses to the state.
The state said that the $2,500 was used for the church’s own purposes, and the town had paid the contractor to do the work.
The town of Oldamans didn’t have to worry about a lawsuit, because the church said it wouldn’t be paying for the repair.
What happened next is not entirely clear.
But what’s clear is that, by the time the case was resolved, I’d already spent nearly a year reporting on it, and I was getting some very angry emails.
One of them said that I was “a disgrace to our town.”
Another said, “This is not your town.”
When I emailed the town about the case, the mayor told me that “I hope you can put your heads together and get your facts straight.”
And then he went on to say that the people of Oldbury are angry at the town and the church for “using our taxpayers’ money to do a church-sponsored home repair.”
The story of the church and the $500 was not a new one.
But the case that I reported was different.
It had happened a decade earlier, and it had been a local story that the town didn’t want me to cover.
But it was not my story.
As it turns out, Oldham and the New Hampshire state attorney general’s office had decided that the two men were using church funds and that they were using the money to pay themselves.
They’d used it for a church house-repair project, not to pay an individual for their services.
As a result, Oldbury could not collect $2 million from the church, and had to settle for a payment of $2 from the state of Maine to cover the $4.5 million.
And the court ruled that the settlement was “not a violation of Newbury’s tax laws.”
That’s a tough case for a lot of reasons, but it has to do with the way that money is distributed.
If you have a church that is a tax-exempt organization, and you use church funds for repairs, it is a legal gray area.
But if you’re not a tax exempt organization, like the church in Oldham was, and your funds are used for repairs and church activities, then it’s a gray area, too.
In the case of Oldhold, the case centered on a specific contract between the church that runs Oldham’s library and the library that runs the church.
The library has the contract, and all of the information that is used by the church is contained in that contract.
But as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, the church gets to keep some of the money.
So, for example, the library will keep a portion of the $1.5 billion that it raises from its members every year, while it also gets to spend that money on various church activities.
In order to qualify as a church, it needs to be a 501 (c)(4).
But a lot can happen before that can happen.
For example, if you don’t have a contract, the amount of money that you can collect can be limited.
And if you decide to settle, the court will determine what the amount is, and whether it’s appropriate to collect that money.
In this case, that $2 was $2 per person.
The court also determined that there was no legal difference between using church money for repairs at a church’s house and a church building.
The church had the contract.