The plot thickens concerning the Idaho Baptists who were caught in Haiti trying to sneak some children out of the country (about whom I’ve blogged several times already). First, we hear (from the New York Times) that their leader, Laura Silsby, is no stranger to law enforcement, not in Idaho anyway (WebCite cached article):

The leader of the group of Americans charged on Thursday with abducting children in Haiti is an Idaho businesswoman with a complicated financial history that involves complaints from employees over unpaid wages, state liens on a company bank account and lawsuits in small claims court.

The leader, Laura Silsby, defaulted last July on the mortgage on a house in an unfinished subdivision here in Meridian, a suburb of Boise, according to the Ada County Tax Assessor’s Office. Yet in November, Ms. Silsby registered a new nonprofit, the New Life Children’s Refuge, at the address of the house, which she bought in 2008 for $358,000. …

Ms. Silsby and her business, Personal Shopper, which provides shopping services for Internet customers, have faced multiple legal claims.

According to state records and officials, Personal Shopper has been named 14 times in complaints from employees over unpaid wages. Among the reasons cited by the employees for having not been paid were “no money for payroll” and “fully investor funded and investors have been hit hard by the economy.”

Employees won nine of the cases, forcing Personal Shopper to pay nearly $31,000 in wages and $4,000 in fines. The Idaho Department of Labor initially put liens on a company bank account to get the money.

Nevertheless, despite her questionable business history, Ms Silsby has some very loyal and very religious supporters:

Clint Henry, pastor of Central Valley Baptist Church in Meridian, where five of the Americans charged in Haiti attend services, said Ms. Silsby had attended his church for about two years.

“You wouldn’t find any finer Christian people than these people,” Mr. Henry said in an interview earlier this week.

Uh, OK, pastor. Whatever you say.

In addition to this, it appears that Ms Silsby’s nine followers are no longer fans of hers, as the New York Times (again!) is reporting (WebCite cached article):

Divisions emerged within the group of 10 Americans jailed in Haiti on child abduction charges, with eight of them signing a note over the weekend saying that they had been misled by Laura Silsby, the leader of the group.

“Laura wants to control,” said the scribbled note handed to a producer for NBC News. “We believe lying. We’re afraid.”

The infighting came amid a shakeup in the legal representation of the Americans, who have been charged with trying to remove 33 Haitian children from the country without government permission. …

The note signed by the group, which is affiliated with a Baptist church in Twin Falls, Idaho, made clear that they were emotionally distraught and divided. “We fear for our lives here in Haiti,” said the letter, which was signed by everyone except Ms. Silsby and Charisa Coulter, Ms. Silsby’s former nanny and co-founder of the group.

“We only came as volunteers,” the note went on. “We had NOTHING to do with any documents and have been lied to.”

It’s too bad it took being jailed in Haiti before they figured out Ms Silsby is not to be trusted.

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