Friday, February 5, 2010

LAPD is conducting a criminal investigation of Second Baptist Church

Another one of our big, historic, prestigious, and influential Black churches is in trouble with the law. Second Baptist Church. It pains me to have to report this, but what has happened and is happening at the 125-year-old Second Baptist Church — the first African-American Baptist Church in Southern California — is news, albeit, bad news, and I am compelled to tell it because “telling it” — warts and all — is my raison d’etre.

Here it is: The LAPD is conducting a criminal investigation of Second Baptist Church into the probable embezzlement of at least $750,000 from its credit union and the church is party to a lawsuit filed in federal court pursuant to the demise of its credit union and the disappearance of the credit union’s money.
Detective Don Watkins of the Newton Division’s Burglary Unit (which handles all property crimes) said the SBC Credit Union became defunct and inactive last year and “my job is to find out what happened to the money,” he said. “This is a criminal investigation and I am following the money, as I must determine who took it. So far, it looks like about $750,000 is missing, but that figure could go higher.”
I asked the detective who he thinks took the money. “I’m not at a point yet in which I am ready to point fingers and name names, but I will get there,” Watkins said. The detective also said a lawsuit with respect to the missing money was filed in civil court, but at a hearing in October the lawsuit was sent out of civil court and re-filed in federal court, where a hearing has been scheduled for later this month.
My intelligence report notes the names of several people allegedly involved in this problem, but, like Watkins, I will decline to mention them until I see those, or other names, written in court documents. At that point, the venerable Second Baptist will come out of Soulvine and join St. Paul Baptist, Double Rock Baptist, First AME, Ward AME and Brookins AME on the front page.

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