Pastor Files Suit Against Wealthy Mega-Church Alleging Online Defamation and Wrongful Termination for Whistleblowing on Church Fraud and Embezzlement
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES, September 21, 2023 /EINPresswire.com/ — Pastor Dan Burgoyne has filed a lawsuit against Rolling Hills Covenant Church, an evangelical denomination in the wealthy and exclusive Palos Verdes enclave, alleging he was subjected to defamation, wrongful termination, and retaliation, for blowing the whistle on numerous church illegalities, including fraud, embezzlement and serious financial mis- and malfeasance.
According to the complaint, Pastor Burgoyne was employed by Rolling Hills Covenant Church for a year and a half and was credited as a savior of the church in crisis. Under Pastor Burgoyne’s devoted leadership, the church experienced a spiritual resurgence, with substantially increased attendance and donations.
The complaint alleges that Burgoyne reported grave abnormalities within the church’s operations and finances, such as: (1) knowingly false financial statements; (2) self-dealing and conflicts of interest; (3) the intentional misuse of millions in “restricted funds” in violation of IRS regulations; (4) embezzlement and fraud coverup; ; (5) an attempt to sell a Church property to a friend for nearly $5,000,000.00 under market value; and (6) the brushing aside of numerous severe financial, labor and compliance issues.
Instead of addressing these serious issues, Burgoyne alleges that the Elders who make up the Church Board rallied against him, not only to avoid scrutiny and legal liability, but to avoid the exposure of their involvement in activity that violated the law and their duties of loyalty and fiduciary responsibility to the Congregation. But this was not their only alleged subterfuge. It is alleged that the Elders also conspired to implement a power grab when they modified the Church Constitution without following proper protocol and planned to sever ties with the greater evangelical denomination in order to cement their positions in the Church and rid themselves of a denomination that embraces the empowerment of female leaders and Black Lives Matter and Social Justice – issues they abhorred.
The lawsuit alleges that the Elders in question care about power, stature, and money, above the loyal Congregation, who appear to be a means to an end. The lawsuit further alleges that through deceptive (and unconstitutional) chicanery, 10-men (i.e., the Board of Elders) worked to seize control of $100,000,000 in assets and ~$10,000,000 in annual tithe/estate donations, making themselves answerable to no-one.
Incensed by Pastors Burgoyne’s complaints and growing influence within the church – and seeing him as an imminent threat – the lawsuit alleges that the Elders then embarked on a sinful campaign to scapegoat the Church’s beloved Pastor for their own longstanding misdeeds. To force Pastor Burgoyne from Rolling Hills Covenant Church, it is alleged that the Elders demanded that he submit to their authority and atone to the Congregation for the Elder’s own misdeeds. When Burgoyne refused, the Elders worked to poison the Congregation against Burgoyne by defaming him during Sunday Service and on their website see to further tarnish his reputation before the world, calling him dishonest, rebellious, and a poor leader.
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