Godly Church or a School of Mammon?
HOUSTON (CN) - A defunct Christian college is soliciting donations with false claims the school is affiliated with the Church of God and will reopen, the National Association of the Church of God claims in court.
The National Association of the Church of God sued Bay Ridge Christian College's trustees and it president Stanford Simmons in Harris County Court.
Bay Ridge Christian College was founded in Mississippi in 1953 by Dr. James Horace Germany to train African-American students as Church of God ministers.
After he was beaten by white supremacists in Mississippi, Germany moved the school to a campus outside the small farming community of Kendleton, Texas, near the San Bernard River.
The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board gave the school authority to grant degrees from 1965 to 1992, according to the complaint.
But the school subsequently "lost its accreditation and authority to grant degrees" and closed, the plaintiffs claim.
"BRCC alleges in public filings that it is now in the process of transitioning into a two-year liberal arts college focusing on the educational needs of young men, particularly men of color," the complaint states.
It adds: "BRCC continues to actively solicit contributions for the support of a non-operating entity, which now only and solely benefits its President Stanford Simmons, with no reasonable expectation of recovery or restoration as a functioning accredited college in the future."
The school's revenue dropped from $90,000 in 2010 to $48,000 in 2012, the plaintiffs claim, citing the school's tax records.
The National Association of the Church of God says the college "was created to be and was always intended to be a NACOG affiliated organization" and the organization financed construction of its campus
When the college closed, however, it "lost or repudiated all ties" to the NACOG, the association claims.
But that didn't stop the school's trustees from claiming it's still affiliated with the Church of God, to drum up donations, the plaintiffs claim.
"Despite those representations made, the defendants knew there existed no possibility of restoration of the operations of BRCC and that such contributions were for the sole and exclusive benefit of payment of the sole employee Stanford Simon's excessive compensation package," the complaint states.
The National Association of the Church of God and its co-plaintiffs seek damages for fraud.
They also want a receiver appointed to manage the school's assets until the lawsuit is resolved.
They are represented by David Showalter of Richmond, Texas.
Showalter told Courthouse News the individual plaintiffs "are folks who contributed and/or helped through sweat equity to support the college over many, many years."
The phone number listed for the school on collegeview.com is no longer in service.