HOUSTON (CN) – A prominent black Republican pastor who received a “faith award” at a Glenn Beck rally fraudulently transferred his church-owned home to his wife to duck a $75,000 judgment, an accounting firm claims in court.
MacFarlane and Associates sued Pleasant Grove Missionary Baptist Church, its longtime pastor C.L. Jackson and his wife, Bettie Jackson, in Harris County Court.
“In the last few years, Pastor Jackson has become a nationally recognized public figure,” the complaint states. “In 2010, the Houston Chronicle described Pastor Jackson as a ‘prominent black pastor and civil rights leader who attended Martin Luther King Jr.’s legendary ‘I Have a Dream’ speech 48 years ago.’
“In the same article, the Houston Chronicle reported that Pastor Jackson has been involved with the Republican Party in Texas since 2002.
“Pastor Jackson’s ties to the Republican Party were awarded in 2010 when he attended Glenn Beck’s Restoring Honor Rally on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. and received the ‘Badge of Merit (Faith’) award.
“During his acceptance speech, Pastor Jackson described the event’s organizer as ‘servant of God, son of God, Glenn Beck.’ Pastor Jackson also compared the ministry of Jesus to the work of Glenn Beck and his followers.”
A year later, Jackson appeared alongside Gov. Rick Perry at Perry’s prayer rally in Houston, where many speculated that Perry would announce his candidacy for the president.
“Although the Texas governor did not announce his candidacy on that day, as he stood on the stage he thanked Pastor Jackson, ‘I want to especially thank C.L. Jackson, who’s standing here with me and a great man of God,'” the complaint states. “Rick Perry further claimed that he had prayed with Pastor Jackson in the past and that Pastor Jackson had supported him for years. ‘And pastor, we stood in your church one day and got on our knees in a moment of powerful prayer and I just thank you … for being here with me,’ remarked Perry.
“Later in the speech, the Governor even referred to Pastor Jackson as ‘Brother C.L.
“While being publicly heralded as a ‘great man of God’ and being rewarded for his faith, Pastor Jackson’s church was far from following the Scriptures.
“The Bible in Romans 13:7 teaches ‘Pay to all what is owed to them …;’ however, in 2010, when Pastor Jackson was standing in front of the Lincoln Memorial accepting a faith award from Glenn Beck, his church was wrongfully refusing to pay for accounting services provided by plaintiff MacFarlane and Associates, P.C.” (Ellipses in complaint.)
The accounting firm claims after more than a year of trying to collect from Pleasant Grove, it had no choice but to sue “just a few days before Pastor Jackson accepted his award from Glenn Beck.”
When the case went to trial this year, Pleasant Grove’s attorneys claimed MacFarlane overbilled for its services, MacFarlane says.
“Defendant Pleasant Grove even hired an expert to testify at trial in its defense; however, in a surprising twist, when the expert took the witness stand, he admitted that plaintiff’s MacFarlane’s hourly rates were within the reasonable range of accountants in Houston and that the amount of time charged for the work performed was reasonable and appropriate,” the complaint states.
MacFarlane says the court awarded it more than $75,000 in a judgment against the church. But it says church refused to pay, forcing the accountants to conduct post-judgment discovery.
“As part of its post-judgment discovery, plaintiff MacFarlane uncovered that on January 11, 2012, immediately after the court announced that defendant Pleasant Grove would legally owe plaintiff MacFarlane an amount in excess of $75,000, Sheldon Jackson left the courtroom and called his father, Pastor Jackson to inform him of the impending judgment,” the complaint states. “This call spurred Pastor Jackson into action.
“Within days after the court pronounced its decision against defendant Pleasant Grove and before plaintiff MacFarlane could have its judgment signed by the court, defendants began a concerted effort to fraudulently block plaintiff MacFarlane’s future collection efforts,” the complaint states.
“On January 20, 2010 defendants fraudulently transferred Pastor Jackson’s home from church ownership to the sole ownership of defendant Bettie J. Jackson.”
MacFarlane seeks damages for fraudulent transfer and conspiracy.
It is represented Scott Alford, with Bush & Ramirez, of Houston.