On November 30, just a few days from now, I’ll surrender to the federal prison in Hazelton to begin serving a 28-month prison term. As a 71-year-old man, this isn’t the life I expect at this stage.
But as God teaches us, we must accept all the blessings he gives us, even the blessing to learn new lessons through adversity. We can always grow stronger by working to bring value to the lives of others.
As I prepare my curriculum with these daily journal entries that will lead me up to the day of my surrender, I turn to leaders and experiences that inspired me. I’m a devout Chaldean Catholic who reads the Bible daily, I pray with my rosary daily, regardless of where I am. For example, this morning I read from Proverbs 16:3:
“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.”
This verse emphasizes the importance of dedicating our actions and endeavors to the Lord. By committing our plans, goals, and aspirations to God, we acknowledge His sovereignty and seek His guidance and blessing. The key takeaway here is that when we involve God in our endeavors and trust in His divine wisdom, He will guide and establish our plans for success. It reminds us of the significance of faith and surrendering to a higher power, recognizing that our own efforts alone are not enough.
In practical terms, this lesson encourages us to pray, seek God’s will, and align our actions with His purpose. It teaches us to rely on divine guidance and trust that God will work alongside us to bring about favorable outcomes. It’s a reminder that we don’t have to carry the weight of our plans and ambitions alone but can find strength and direction through our faith and relationship with God.
Taking time to reflect opens up our minds and allows us to revisit moments that have shaped our journey. For example, In the early ’90s, I had the incredible opportunity to meet with Mr. William Clay Ford, an experience that left a lasting impact on me. This meeting came about because of a remarkable opportunity – the chance to take over the lease of the Silverdome, a massive stadium in Pontiac, Michigan.
The reason behind this meeting was simple but profound: Mr. Ford’s team had decided to move their operations from the Silverdome to downtown Detroit. Myself and a group of international investors saw this as a chance to transform the Silverdome into something extraordinary – a world-class World Trade Center encompassing commerce, retail, hotels, international conventions, and a renowned international Expo. This ambitious project had the potential to employ more than five thousand people and put Michigan on both the national and international maps.
With the backing of giants like General Motors, Ford Motors, and Chrysler Corporation, we were poised for greatness. In addition, the Four Seasons Hotel and Harrods of London expressed their keen interest in being part of this groundbreaking development. Governor John Engler and Brooks Patterson also offered their endorsements. We held numerous meetings and conducted comprehensive walkthroughs of the Silverdome, including the unforgettable experience of standing on its roof.
For two years, we engaged with every city council member, past and present city of Pontiac mayors, and various decision-makers. This venture took us on countless domestic and international journeys, even leading to meetings with officials from the Trump administration. We exchanged letters with Donald Trump himself regarding the project’s potential. Additionally, we discussed the prospect of building a casino on the property.
We submitted five offers, ranging from $45 million to the final offer presented on my behalf by Steve Garden, the President of Signature and Associates. These efforts spanned four years and substantial financial investments. However, to our disappointment, all our offers were rejected. It was a stark reminder that, at times, the system doesn’t always work with you; instead, it may work against you.
As I reflect on this chapter of my life, I am reminded that regardless of how hard we work, we may face setbacks and disappointments. Still, the lessons we learn along the way will prove invaluable. Challenges may arise, but the perseverance to make a positive impact never wavers. Our efforts may not always yield the desired results, but the journey itself is a testament to our commitment and determination.
I anticipate that while I serve my time in prison, I’ll work exceptionally hard. Yet regardless of how hard I work, I know that some matters will stretch beyond my ability to control. I must persevere and live an example. Still, as I learned in my daily readings of Proverbs today, I must: “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.”