Below is an update on the first of two court cases brought on behalf of the City of Praise Church membership (also known as members of the Jericho City of Praise church in exile).
Legal update on the first congregational law suit:
We have a judgment against the six rogue employees!
The six employees who have taken over the board were never ever voted on by the congregation. They appointed themselves and submitted false documents stating that they were elected by the congregation when no such election ever happened. And to make matters worse when asked to reveal how they are using our tithes and offerings, they have refused to produce a single record. As a non-profit entity in the state of Maryland, they are obligated to be transparent. The congregation is eager to have the court restore the rightful responsibilities of electing its leaders back to the members that built this church with their tithes and offerings. The members of the City of Praise Church are expectant and eager for the court to require that the unelected board practice transparency by abiding by Maryland state law and federal laws that require all non-profits maintain open and accessible financial records.
Overview of Case CAL12-13537 (Articles case)
· Case was filed by congregation members April 2012 in Circuit Court Upper Marlboro
· Members of the congregation filed this lawsuit basically stating the six were never elected as trustees per Maryland law when the Maryland Church was formed in December 2010. They abolished Jericho which was incorporated in Washington DC and created a new corporation in Maryland. This was done two (2) months after the death of Apostle Betty Peebles. These employees had no authority to do this.
· The court entered a default judgment against the unelected six as board of trustees in September 2012
· The unelected six tried to have the default judgment vacated in October 2012 and it was denied
· The unelected six filed a motion to have the case specially assigned to Judge Dwight Jackson on September 2012. This is interesting because our case is not associated with Pastor Joel and Elder Meadows case, we already have a ruling against the six by another judge and we are waiting for relief.
· The court held an exparte hearing October 26, 2012 which was immediately postponed pending a ruling on a motion to specially assign the case to judge Jackson.
· The case was specially assigned to Judge Dwight Jackson on October 26
· Attorneys Dennis Whitley and Erika Cole have now taken over the case for the six from Attorney Isaac Marks who was fired
· An exparte hearing was scheduled for 9am on November 30, 2012. The members of the congregation are the only ones at this hearing that have a right to present evidence and the purpose of the hearing is to seek relief now that a judgment has been granted. The relief that the congregation has asked for is that a congregational vote take place to elect a board to comply with Maryland corporate law and that the church be put under a court appointed trustee until the vote takes place (We have submitted a list of possible trustees to the court). Our lawyers filed for a continuance which has been granted. The new court date is Feb 8 at 9am
These people don’t understand that they are fighting God and he always wins. People of Praise this fight is not ours. We must forgive, show love and stay in prayer. Ephesians 6:11-12 (KJV) Put on the whole armor of God that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.