JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The previous pastors of one in all Jacksonville’s largest church buildings settled a lawsuit with First Residents Financial institution over a $713,123 debt they and their companies owed.
The financial institution filed the go well with towards Stovall and Kerri Weems in Might 2022. Its courtroom submitting on the time stated the “defendants have failed, uncared for and refused to pay” the plaintiff.
Every social gathering reached an “amicable settlement with every social gathering bearing their very own charges and prices” and the financial institution filed a courtroom movement in December 2022 to dismiss the case. It’s formally closed within the Duval County Clerk of Court docket system.
First Residents Financial institution & Belief filed the go well with towards the Weemses and their companies — Honey Lake Farms Inc., Weems Group LLC and Northstream Administration LLC.
PREVIOUS STORY: Former Celebration Church pastors sued over $716,123 debt
Celebration Church was not concerned within the financial institution lawsuit.
Defamation & eviction instances
There are nonetheless two open instances within the courtroom system involving Celebration Church and the Weemses.
Stovall and Kerri Weems, who based the church in 1998, filed a defamation go well with towards the church in 2022 after it employed a regulation agency to conduct an inner investigation and publicly launched the findings. The Weemses stated the church trustees staged a “nefarious coup” to push them out and the investigative report included false allegations of fraud and monetary misconduct.
The investigative report accuses Stovall Weems of misusing authorities PPP cash, which was designed for COVID-19 reduction. Weems has repeatedly denied that allegation and has inspired a monetary audit.
The report additionally outlines allegations of “narcissistic habits” and religious and emotional abuse of church workers.
There’s been a back-and-forth within the courtroom system over that defamation go well with, and a courtroom listening to is scheduled for Jan. 24. The church’s attorneys have requested the choose to dismiss the case, saying the courtroom lacks jurisdiction over ecclesiastical issues. The Weemses requested the courtroom for a jury trial.
The second open case involving Celebration Church and the Weemses pertains to the house the place they reside. The church has been attempting to evict the previous pastors as a result of they’re not affiliated with Celebration.
The Weemses argue the house was a part of a compensation and retirement package deal they usually shouldn’t have to go away.
Celebration Church filed a movement on Jan. 2 to compel the Weemses to look for his or her depositions within the eviction case.
It stated twice already, the Weemses have “prevented their observed depositions on the eves of these depositions.” The courtroom submitting additionally stated the Weemses’ attorneys have “refused to reply” to the repeated request for brand spanking new deposition dates.
A courtroom listening to on the eviction case is scheduled for Jan. 23.
Stovall Weems Ministries
Stovall Weems was suspended from Celebration Church months earlier than his official resignation in April 2022. Since then, he’s launched Stovall Weems Ministries.
Weems wrote in his new ministry’s publication that some individuals have requested why they’re continuing by way of the courts to resolve this dispute.
“One cause is straightforward: our adversaries attacked us publicly by falsely accusing us of violating secular legal guidelines and may due to this fact should reply publicly for the results of their actions. This isn’t a easy dispute between believers that ordinarily could be resolved as envisioned in 1 Corinthians 6,” the publication reads. “One would assume that after posting such critical accusations about us on it’s (sic) web site, Celebration Church could be desperate to again them up publicly as nicely. Nevertheless, it doesn’t need the reality examined within the mild and, regardless of casting the primary stone, is preventing in courtroom to maintain the reality hidden behind the secrecy of ecclesiastical arbitration. Hopefully, you may see why we imagine this authorized maneuvering is unfair and unjust.”
Celebration Church has been below the management of senior pastor Tim Timberlake since September 2021.
The church launched this assertion to the News4JAX I-TEAM in March 2022:
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