Evangelist-turned-CEO now ‘a vagabond’ as mining dreams evaporate
Len Lindstrom went from globetrotting evangelist to mining executive to broke
Former Televangelist Len Lindstrom says his hopes of gold mining riches in Liberia are looking bleak right now.
“I am absolutely flat busted,” Lindstrom told CBC’s iTeam. “I’m a vagabond… with no money, no credit card, no drivers licence, no vehicle, no office building, no house, no boat, no nothing. And not even my own bed to sleep in. So everything— gone.”
This is not at all how Lindstrom expected his life to turn out.
Lindstrom dreamt of being millionaire
In his early years, Lindstrom was a logger in British Columbia with big dreams of becoming a millionaire.
One episode of his television show, 'Miracles for You', featured a biography of the preacher, which he narrated.
During the program, Lindstrom said, “I worked hard in the logging and construction industries and soon had my own company. I was determined to be a millionaire before I was thirty.”
In addition to his financial ambitions, the young man in his early 20's also had a penchant for hallucinogenics.
“That was the era of the psychedelics and yellow sunshine and stuff. So the first time I did acid I took 25 hits of yellow sunshine,” Lindstrom said.
He said he “had a philosophy of live hard drive fast die young leave a good looking corpse.”
Lindstrom becomes a preacher
After a year of bible school, he started preaching at a little church in Kelowna, BC. But it didn’t take long before he was travelling across Canada and around the world preaching at crusades.
Lindstrom offered an intriguing opportunity
Lindstrom said he got the idea to start a gold mine while preaching in Liberia back in 2004. He said some powerful people approached him with a compelling offer.
“Many of the people in the upper echelons of government said ‘Len would you consider coming back and helping us revitalize the mineral sector?’”
Lindstrom said even though he had no experience in the mining industry, he wasn’t a complete greenhorn.
He had done some gold panning as a child and he had hunting buddies who were in the mining industry.
In addition, he points out that he wrote a book about gold mining when he was an evangelist called Gold Fever.
On his TV program Lindstrom described it as “one of the most inspiring tales of vision you could ever read.”
Lindstrom starts gold mining company
He and his son decided to explore for gold in Liberia, so they acquired the mineral rights to 21,000 square kilometres of land in the country.
Then they set up shop back in Kelowna and started looking for investors.
Lindstrom said he got to work after raising more than $18 million.
“We had over 300 people working for us. We had top geologists in from the states. We had some of the best lawyers in Vancouver out of three very large firms looking after different aspects of it,” Lindstrom explained.
“So we were running a very serious business."
Problems emerge with Lindstrom’s venture
Subsequently, he took the government to court over the issue.
Lindstrom said he has lived in Liberia for the past three and a half years, away from his family, pursuing this action.
While he was there, the 63-year-old channelled his frustrations into a new passion; working out at the local gym.
In addition, he channelled his energy into writing a book called 'Corruption 101: Liberia Style', which criticized the Liberian government for the way it handled his company.
The book became a sensation across the country and provoked strong reaction from government officials.
“They said Len Lindstrom is an international criminal. He is a crook. He is a fraudster. He is a shyster and an embezzler. They they said he is a pathological liar. He is a wolf in sheep's clothing. He is a false prophet,” Lindstrom explained.
Lindstrom said all of those claims are false.
“It proves that the Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy illegally cancelled our licenses. It shows how they caused the problems that ensued for Liberty,” Lindstrom said.
But he still doesn’t have his land back, so now he’s threatening to take the Liberian government to the International Court of Justice.
A costly venture for Lindstrom
Lindstrom is back in Canada now and he said he is “flat busted.”
His business is out of money and has been dissolved. His house has been foreclosed on and recently, the former evangelist learned his wife is divorcing him.
“There’s a sense of sobriety where you realize how much this battle has really cost in terms of time, expense, losses and literally being wiped,” Lindstrom explained.
But Lindstrom said despite all the troubles, he still believes in miracles.
“Looking forward to the payday that’s coming and by God’s grace it’s going to be a good one.”