A black person praying in a church. © Christy Thompson – Fotolia.com
With a half million dollar debt looming over them, one of the oldest and most prominent black congregations in Los Angeles is suing their ex-pastor John J. Hunter.
Oldest black church in Los Angeles sues former pastor
A civil lawsuit filed by the First African Methodist Episcopal Church this week against Hunter, his wife and a select of number of church leaders accuses them of “holding dictatorial control over [the church} for their own personal gain — both financially and for self-aggrandizement.”
Hunter has rejected the claims that he took advantage of his position and said the church approved his $239,000 salary and perks.
“My life, my ministry has been characterized by those attacking me,” Hunter told the Los Angeles Times. “To be then characterized as some looter and somebody who’s been greedy … nothing can be further from the truth.”
And this isn’t the first time Hunter has been under fire by the church.
In 2009, Hunter was sued for sexual harassment for pressuring a subordinate for on-demand sex as “God’s will.” The case was eventually settled out of court for an undisclosed amount.
Additionally, in 2008, Hunter was also investigated by the IRS for $300,000 in back taxes and for “using First AME’s credit cards for $122,000 in personal expenditures on items including suits, jewelry, vacations and auto supplies,” according to the Times.