Shareholder vs. Stakeholder Government

While listening to Sioux Falls Central District City Council Candidate Emmett Reistroffer speak yesterday (for well over an hour) he brought up a recent candidate forum he was at with Councilor Brekke where she brought up the concept of Shareholder vs. Stakeholder government. He sang the praises of the simple concept. I found it intriguing, as she further described it today on FORUM.

I will confess I haven’t had a phone conversation or email exchange with Janet in months (she is fantastic to talk to about strategic planning and is probably one of the most intelligent city councilors we have ever had) and I had NO idea she was pitching this idea for her campaign.

It’s very simple, in local governments you have two kinds, the Stakeholder and the Shareholder. If you look up the definitions it is clear;

Shareholder; an owner of shares in a company.

Stakeholder; a person with an interest or concern in something, especially a business.

Brekke insists that our form of government in Sioux Falls has turned into a Stakeholder government where the money elite control the levers of power. She of course envisions a Shareholder government that includes all the citizens working with our elected leaders to make change and progress.

Brekke logically comes to the conclusion that open and transparent government eliminates the stakeholders and empowers the shareholders.


I have accused the Rubber Stampers on the council and the mayor’s administration of having a war on transparency, and now it is clear what the end game is, eliminating shareholder government.

Which brings us to a candidate running for the other At-Large position, Rich Merkouris.


We must first define what the good pastor stands for;

Prosperity theology (sometimes referred to as the prosperity gospel, the health and wealth gospel, the gospel of success, or seed faith)[A] is a religious belief among some Protestant Christians that financial blessing and physical well-being are always the will of God for them, and that faith, positive speech, and donations to religious causes will increase one’s material wealth.

Don’t believe me? As the current pastor of his church and the president of Kingdom Capital, Rich draws salaries well over 6 figures a year. If he starts drawing a 3rd salary on city council, Rich could be pulling well over a $250K a year.

Besides the fact that I don’t think it is ethical for a pastor and a leader of a religious non-profit charity organization to run or serve in a governmental role, especially since they have controlled money from taxpayers for rental assistance it is clear who Mr. Merkouris serves and it is NOT the shareholders.

I have often loved these bible verses, and I sometimes wonder if Rich has ever read them;

Matthew 22:15-22 Then the Pharisees went and plotted how to entangle him in his words. And they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are true and teach the way of God truthfully, and you do not care about anyone’s opinion, for you are not swayed by appearances. Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why put me to the test, you hypocrites? Show me the coin for the tax.” And they brought him a denarius. And Jesus said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said, “Caesar’s.” Then he said to them, “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” When they heard it, they marveled. And they left him and went away.

It seems that Rich wants to entangle the wealth of God’s kingdom with the wealth of Caesar’s kingdom in his rise to power;

Matthew 19:24 And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

I understand it when a realtor, a doctor or an insurance salesman wants to run for city council and further their financial opportunities, where I get weary is when a supposed man of God who makes 6 figures a year wants to do it.

Former City Councilor Dr. Kermit Staggers said to me once, “I am very suspicious of politicians that run for office who wear their religion on their sleeves.”

Me too.


#1 Fear & Laothing in Sioux Falls on 03.06.22 at 2:23 pm

They don’t worry about the “Kingdom of God” actually, because Taupeville is heaven to them. With Limitless Male, a chislic heaven, Orange Theory, and a Silverstar, what else would a guy need?…. There’s even a nice Walmart without campers and a soon-to-be McDonalds as well.

#2 Blasphemo on 03.06.22 at 2:31 pm

TRUTH ! Looking forward to your sharing his latest updated campaign finance disclosure docs.

#3 Rich Merkouris on 03.06.22 at 2:33 pm

Hi Scott,
Thank you for continuing to be passionate about local politics. I also sent you a Facebook message as well. Anyone is welcome to reach out if they want to see verification as well.

You are more than welcome to come view my families’ tax returns to clear the record. Please feel free to reach out to me at my email or Facebook. I have never had a six figure income. Nor will I be drawing six figures in 2022 even if elected to the Council.

I have no objections to criticism about policy or vision for the city. Accusations about me being a prosperity gospel preacher are not grounded in any fact. You are more than welcome to listen to any of my teaching to see if they reflect prosperity theology.

Rich Merkouris

#4 "Woodstock" on 03.06.22 at 2:37 pm

“‘Laothing’?”…. “Is that when you hate Laos?”…. “What about Taos?”…. “I once had friends who used to ski in Taos”…. “Then an avalanche came along and buried them”… “They still haven’t been found”…. #PoorLittleBirds

#5 scott on 03.06.22 at 3:05 pm

could paster rick state why he feels janet brekke needs to be replaced on the council?

#6 l3wis on 03.06.22 at 3:07 pm

Fair enough Rich, but I like my conversations to be in the open. If you search what you are paid to be the President of KC you will see it is 6 figures. If this is not true, please provide my readers the link to what you are making as president of the group and the pastor of your church. Hey, I get it, the internets are not always right, but if you could provide the tax filings of your personal earnings, I will post them. Also, I do believe you preach prosperity gospel. That is MY personal opinion and you can certainly deny it.

#7 D@ily Spin on 03.06.22 at 3:09 pm

It’s fascist Strong Arm Charter. Stakeholder, shareholder, or any other excuse doesn’t fly.
Perhaps a religious leader would expose the sinful corruption. There seems no way to reinstall democracy. God is worth a try.

#8 Further Fear & Loathing on 03.06.22 at 3:30 pm

“Prosperity gospel?”…. Isn’t that tricky if you are truly worried about the money changers out there?

Now, a pastor’s income can be tricky as well. Don’t forget about the free turkeys and hams for the holidays, that their parishioners give them. And what about the housing allowance or benefit, too (1099?)? Isn’t that under a separate income line and not a part of “wages”? I bet Pastor Joel even has a clothing allowance. I know there used to be a dealer here in town who made sure all of the Priests drove around in new Buicks as well…. And is this one of those churches where the ushers lock the sanctuary’s doors while the pastor is speaking? #DordtDomination #OrIsThatDenomiation?

#9 anominous on 03.06.22 at 4:14 pm

Oooh! Kingdon Capital gave a $100,000 grant to the Dawson Mcallister Association:,201198064/

#10 The Guy From Guernsey on 03.06.22 at 4:40 pm


Sure as hell wouldn’t join the money-changers at their tables in the temple.

#11 "Woodstock" on 03.06.22 at 8:05 pm

“Now, ‘money-changers’, is that anything like a fee harvest credit card company?”…. “Or, how about developing which encompasses palatial downtown developments, but little or no construction in the area of affordable (accessible?) middle class homes?”….

#12 Fearing the Fuhrer & More on 03.06.22 at 8:07 pm

Be careful, Al Capone used to give to charity, too. #JustSayin

#13 The Guy From Guernsey on 03.06.22 at 11:02 pm

Salaries, employee compensation and fringe benefits (for two employees!!!) soak up 22-27% of annual contributions and grants totaling hundreds of thousand dollars to Kingdom Capital Fund.
Annual employee compensation as an administrative expense is a whopping 42-46% of the money dispersed on an annual basis by Kingdom Capital Fund as grants and other payments (this without even considering other overhead expenses to be included in administrative expense).

Pastor Rich Merkouris claims that his teachings do not reflect prosperity theology. While that MAY be true, his practices certainly smack of a very prosperous theology.

#14 rufusx on 03.07.22 at 8:43 am

As you ponder this phrase “Then the Pharisees went and plotted how to entangle him in his words.”, it will serve you well to consider that Paul (nee Saul the Pharisee) is the author of half of the New Testament on which so called “Christianity” s based.

#15 Sick of Fearing on 03.07.22 at 9:13 am

Could one say that building the Ark was prosperity theology? You know, like a Bunker Ramp, but with purpose. Or, was that just pure survivor mode?

And what did the Nicaea Council say about prosperity theology? Because I am having trouble finding this doctrine within the Bible.

Or, is prosperity theology like doublespeak, but with a religious twist, which makes it more acceptable? Because it actually sounds to me like a blank check like: “Just men are sinners”….

Was Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker’s waterpark an example of prosperity theology? But didn’t that go down the tube in more ways than one?…. But then again, I have had religious moments at Wild Water West.

#16 My Mistake Mike on 03.07.22 at 1:27 pm

Kingdom Capital. The Dutch Mafia has their fingerprints all over it.

#17 anominous on 03.07.22 at 4:29 pm

#18 Very Stable Genius on 03.07.22 at 6:14 pm

Okay, so I heard Rich Merkouris’s new radio ad today. In it, he makes mention of how 48% of the students in our city receive school lunch assistance and how we need to address this issue. His answer to this problem in his ad is to make sure we continue our growth to hopefully, I guess, grow out of this problem. But it’s our current growth planning, which Merkouris doesn’t seem to have a problem with and wants to continue, which is the real problem here and why 48% of our school students receive lunch assistance in this city. Our current growth planning has created a tale of two cities, which explains the 48% and until Merkouris is willing to recognize this, then he is a part of the problem and its continuance and not the answer to it in my estimation.

( and Woodstock adds: “His he a pastor or a reverend?”… “I mean has he just read the Bible, or has he read it also in Greek, Latin, and Hebrew as well?”…. )

#19 Fear Not! on 03.07.22 at 6:16 pm

Based on anominous’s comment, what’s Rich’s position on camping with his family on weekends?

#20 990 reader on 03.08.22 at 7:21 am

If Merkouris is legit, why doesn’t he release all of his current different 990s? he has so many organizations it is hard to keep track of them. His 2019 990 form shows he got 11% of the revenues. Let’s see his Empower and other skims off the top for the 2019-2021 years.

How can a candidate running for public office think he can use his church’s funds to advertise and then send out $25 or $50 gift cards. There are laws against buying votes or even the appearance of doing it.

Rich has the appropriate name, Rich. I can bet his story has a lot of dreams of Riches..

#21 Very Stable Genius on 03.08.22 at 9:05 am

How about the free Subaru ads for “Rich” too, where that dealer makes mention of the “Richy” gift cards? Are the costs of those ads going to show-up on “Richy’s” campaign finance statement as well?

( and Woodstock adds: “‘Richy’?”….. “You mean like my hero: Papa Richy?”…. (“Actually, there is only one ‘Papa Richy’ and he is my hero, but I am also very jealous of him, I must say”…)

#22 Ask Not! on 03.08.22 at 9:17 am

I see a pattern here. First, there were free First Premier ads for Jensen, and now, free Subaru ads for Merkouris. That said, I still don’t think we live in a corporate state. No, we are a truly free people………. In case you were wondering, however, that latter part was pure sarcasm…

#23 "Woodstock" on 03.08.22 at 9:34 am

“What?”…. “We’re going to have two fundamentalists on the city council?”…. “This is worse than having some Trumpsters elected to the school board”…. “Maybe we shouldn’t have advertised the city election after all”….

#24 scott on 03.08.22 at 10:31 am

i’m voting for brekke, but i thought the schulte ad’s were in reference to embrace passing out cash.

#25 l3wis on 03.08.22 at 7:10 pm

It seems Rich is quite the Righteous Gemstone;

#26 The Guy From Guernsey on 03.09.22 at 8:57 am

“To feed the hungry in our City, we need to continue our growth.”

With this campaign ad, I guess Merkouris suggests that the application* of the scripture lesson in which Jesus feeds the multitudes with limited provision of bread and fish is:
“Must. Get. Bigger. Baskets.”

* In with this before Merkouris tries to harvest that which he perceives as low-hanging fruit with a reply explaining how he pretends to interpret this scripture lesson in his business activities errr, ah, …. ministry.
The way in which the gospel of “the multiplication of bread and fish as gifts from God” is represented by Kingdom Capital Fund, [paraphrased] “you grow a crop of corn on a section of your ground with inputs provided by the gifts of the Lord; the Lord will, through Kingdom Capital Fund, multiply that gift.”;
“you donate carpet to construction of units in the real estate development which has been a gift from the Lord, the Lord will, through Kingdom Capital Fund, multiply your gift”).


#27 The Guy From Guernsey on 03.09.22 at 8:59 am

Churches involved in city government involved in real estate deals.

I mean, what could possibly go wrong?

#28 Ask Not! on 03.09.22 at 9:30 pm


You might be right. As the old lady used to say on SNL: “Never mind”.

#29 anominous on 03.11.22 at 1:51 pm

#24 yeah that schulte ad was about embrace church, not this guy.

#30 Southern Exposure on 03.11.22 at 4:44 pm

The “money changers” have become shareholders.

#31 Erica on 03.14.22 at 1:56 am

Fear & Loathing, not sure if anyone has told you, but you are free to live ANYWHERE in Sioux Falls. Even “tauperville” as you constantly mention (even under several names) out of so weird jealously. There are plenty of people at all income levels living in Southern Sioux Falls.. just like all over the rest of the city. Your obsession is downright bizarre.