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  • jeyebolt2003 jeyebolt2003 Dec 9, 2012 5:04 PM Flag

    Don't you just Love California? web

    Is this one of your non union friends?
    Los Angeles

    As the pastor of the oldest black church in Los Angeles, the Rev. John J. Hunter earned a generous salary, lived in a $2-million home and drove a Mercedes-Benz paid for by the church. His wife earned $147,000 a year running nonprofit organizations connected to the 19,000-member congregation.

    But over the last few years, the hilltop church has fallen into debt.

    The First African Methodist Episcopal Church owes nearly $500,000 to creditors. Some vendors say they have not been paid in more than a year.

    The financial woes have sparked an ugly battle for control of the church and its nonprofit corporations.

    A civil lawsuit filed by the church this week accuses the former pastor, his wife and a small "cabal" of church leaders of "holding dictatorial control over (the church) … for their own personal gain — both financially and for self-aggrandizement."

    The bishop who oversees AME churches in the western United States abruptly transferred Hunter to a church in San Francisco in late October. But that church took the rare step of rejecting Hunter. On the day he was supposed to deliver his first sermon, church members physically blocked him from taking the pulpit.

    Now Hunter is fighting to regain his position as pastor at First African Methodist Episcopal. He continues to live in the posh Encino home that the church pays for while the new pastor, the Rev. J. Edgar Boyd, lives in a hotel and is not receiving a salary. Hunter's wife, Denise, is also refusing to relinquish control of the church's nonprofit organizations, according to the lawsuit.

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