Were they using spyware to bug and disrupt the campaign for senator? Divine Fury. Chapter 50

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A VG Serial: Divine Fury

Chapter 50

“OKAY,” ENZO LEE began.  “You know I’ve been covering the Harper campaign and some questions have come up about you and Soldiers of Christ Ministry.”

“I know you’ve been talking to Bud Walters in Salinas,” said Rev. Jimmy Burgess.  “Bud called me.  Said you were asking questions about me and him…something about crop-dusting.  Bud’s been a good friend to our ministry.  A good Christian.  A good friend to me, personally.”

“I said, ‘Don’t worry, Bud.  Take a deep breath.  We’ll look into this.  We’ll take care of it,’” continued Burgess.  “Frankly, I didn’t know what he was talking about.  Jus’ didn’t want the ol’ boy to lose it on the phone, you know.  Had to talk him down a bit.”

“Okay,” said Lee.  “I see.

“Let me tell you a different story now,” the reporter continued.  “It starts with a young guy, 26-years-old.  He’s in love with a girl living for a while in Australia.  So, three times a week he goes into work – a hospital in San Francisco – and uses their office phone line to call her.  They talk…catch up.

“With the time difference, he’s going in at 2 or 3 in the morning,” Lee said.  “So, he goes in one early morning.  It’s on a Sunday.  While he’s in there, he sees somebody messing around with the computers in the office.  Turns out what he’s stumbled over is a spying operation, someone installing something, spyware basically, to bug the Andrew Harper campaign.  Keep track of everything going on inside it.”

Lee made sure to watch Burgess’ face when he mentioned spying on the Harper campaign.  The televangelist sat up straighter and furrowed his forehead at the mention.  He didn’t bother to hide his reaction.

“Of course, this guy doesn’t know anything about spying and the Harper campaign.  Maybe he doesn’t know anything wrong is going on,” Lee continued.  “It doesn’t matter.  A couple of minutes after he leaves the medical center he’s shot and killed.”

“My God,” said Burgess.  He was sitting bolt upright now, completely focused on what Lee was saying.  “He’s killed?  Did this really happen?”

“It did,” said Lee.  “I helped scatter the kid’s ashes myself.”

“Oh, no.  Oh, no.  I’m very sorry,” said Burgess.

Lee shrugged.

“You and a lot of other people,” said the reporter.  “I’ve spoken to the person who was planting the spyware – the guy the kid saw messing with the computers that morning.  He’s in police custody right now.  And he seems to believe that you and your church were involved in this.  That’s what he was told by the person who hired him.”

Burgess was shaking his head emphatically,

“No,” he said.  “I do not know anything about this.  With God as my witness.  And that is not something I would ever say loosely.”

“So, do you know who Dirk Renstrom is – I think he uses the nickname ‘the Terminator’ – and whether Soldiers of Christ Ministry paid him anything?”

“No,” said Burgess. “I don’t know anything about that.”

“Have you heard of La Vista Security, a company that Renstrom may own?”

Burgess shook his head.

“How about the spying operation targeting the Harper campaign?” Lee continued.  “Or any attempts to interfere with the campaign?”

“No. I know nothing about that.”

“Do you know who Lonnie Carter is and anything about payments to him to say he was molested by Andrew Harper?”  Lee asked.

“No.  Again.  I know absolutely nothing about anything like that.”

Lee paused.  He looked through his notes.  He’d hit the main questions.  He knew Burgess’ response would be the same for any other details he ran by him.  He could follow up later with a call if he needed.

“Okay…Jimmy…Reverend Burgess,” said Lee. “I guess that covers it.  All I have to say is…well…you seem like a sincere guy.  And your name and the name of your church keep turning up in this mess.  You might want to figure out why that is.  I mean, there’s a hell of a lot of smoke here.  Might be getting hot enough to catch your church on fire.  Just a word of advice.”

Burgess had his hands clasped together in prayer fashion with his chin resting on the fingers.  He had a contemplative expression on his face.

“Would you give me a list of all those names you just mentioned?  he asked.  “I will ask some others and see what they know.”

Lee wrote down the names on a blank page in his notebook, ripped it out and handed it to Burgess.  At the bottom, Lee had included his own name and telephone number.  When Lee got up to leave and they shook hands, he noticed Burgess seemed restless and preoccupied.  Worry had replaced his original bonhomie.

As soon as the door to the dressing room closed, Burgess pulled out his cell phone and dialed the bookkeeper at Soldiers of Christ Ministry.  He read the list of names and asked her to see whether the church had paid any money to them.

Then, Burgess called Daggart and got him in his car enroute to George Chapman’s campaign headquarters in downtown Los Angeles.

“We’ve got trouble,” Burgess told him.

 

Chapters of the serial are published Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.

You can learn more about Divine Fury on Amazon.

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