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Tim Ballard alleged that a key figure at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints was instrumental — albeit covertly— in Operational Underground Railroad’s running. President Melvin Russell Ballard, the leader in question, was said to have also backed Tim’s private business dealings. According to witnesses in a wrapped-up investigation, Tim’s involvement was supposedly meant to draw larger numbers into practicing the Mormon faith.
The Mormon Church asserted that Tim, who coincidentally bears the same last name as president Melvin despite no biological relation, was an old acquaintance. However, a spokesperson told Vice News that he’d “betrayed their friendship, through the unauthorized use of President Ballard’s name for Tim Ballard’s personal advantage and activity regarded as morally unacceptable.”
Speaking to a crowd in Boston, Tim responded to the accusations made against him. “President Ballard is like a grandfather to me,” he said to reporters. “He came to me in … 2012 … 2011, and he told me that he appreciates all the things I’m doing and he wants to help me do it. Never in my life … never have I used his name to raise money [or] to make some business deal.” The negative publicity he was receiving, he added, was taking a toll on his family’s well-being.