Monday, October 2, 2023 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Church Alleges Heartless Scam ‘for Haiti’

McKINNEY, Texas (CN) - The man who runs Help Build Hope Haiti, a supposed nonprofit he claims will build and give away "5,000 homes to homeless Haitians over the next five years," squandered nearly 90 percent of the money he raised on "expenses," has no homes nor land in Haiti nor even building materials, and raised his money through a string of lies, a church and a builder claim in Collin County Court.

Red Dot Building Systems and Hope Fellowship of the Assemblies of God sued Michael L. Stickler, of Reno, Nev., and his two businesses: Community Renewal Inc. dba Help Build Hope Haiti, and The Vision Group.

The companies "are wholly controlled and operated by Mr. Stickler" and "his actions are indistinguishable from the entities," the plaintiffs say.

The plaintiffs say they each contributed $23,000 to Stickler, who claimed that for $23,000 he could build a house and ship it to Haiti, where he claimed to have "5,000 acres of property."

They say Stickler raised his money through a string of lies:

that he had a "partnership with the Dallas Cowboys" and that "the Cowboys wanted to do a build at Cowboy Stadium with all the players, past and present, the cheerleaders, and staff;"

that "Clear Channel had donated $1 million of advertising to HBHH," a statement that "was plainly false;"

that he "owned or had access to 5,000 acres of property in Haiti;"

that "HBHH purported to have a number of important-sounding sponsors, many [of whom] turned out to avoid affiliation with HBHH altogether;"

that "HBHH would be printing 100,000 brochures and that sponsors would be included in those brochures."

Red Dot, of Athens, Texas, and the Hope Fellowship Church, of Frisco, Texas, say it was all bushwah: that Stickler "did not have access to 5,000 acres of land to develop;" that the only way he could get such land "is if the President of Haiti conveyed the title," which will not happen because Stickler's so-called nonprofit "was not even a registered nongovernmental organization in Haiti."

At a meeting in February, the plaintiffs say, Stickler showed them a "2011 Working Budget" of $2.5 million, of which The Vision Group was to get $1.8 million for "fundraising/marketing." Stickler, of course, also runs the Vision Group.

Six sponsors attended the meeting, each of whom had contributed $23,000. But of the $138,000 they had donated, Stickler had only $17,803.54 remaining: "the $120,196.76 spent had gone to alleged 'expenses,'" according to the complaint.

"When asked how HBHH could pull off the scheduled builds with only $17,803.54 remaining in the coffers, Mr. Stickler indicated that he would attempt to fundraise to cover the rest of the costs," the complaint states.

The sponsors say they found that Stickler "had purchased little, if any, building materials ... with the $138,000, despite contracting to construct multiple residences to ship to Haiti."

The plaintiffs ask the court to disregard Stickler's corporate entities and hold him "personally liable for damages for fraud and the other claims" because Stickler abused the corporate structures to defraud them, and to defraud the other donors.

They seek compensatory and punitive damages for fraud, fraudulent inducement, breach of contract, deceptive trade, unjust enrichment and conversion.

They are represented by Dan Rogers with the Ferguson Law Group of Dallas.

Categories / Uncategorized

Read the Top 8

Sign up for the Top 8, a roundup of the day's top stories delivered directly to your inbox Monday through Friday.