The megachurch founded by televangelist Ernest Angley is being sued by the public guardian of a woman with dementia who gave the church hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Bridget Pollard, who lives in the Chicago area, wrote a check for $340,000 to Grace Cathedral, the Akron-area church established by Angley, WBBM-TV in Chicago reported.
Pollard, 76, was widowed in 2015. Her relatives say she is mentally ill and has dementia, and she is now under the care of the Cook County Public Guardian’s Office.
“She was basically stalked by the church to give money,” Dawn Lawkowski-Keller with the public guardian’s office told the television station. “The literature talks about how you’ll go to heaven if you give this money.”
A niece told the station that Pollard visited the church only a handful of times but became connected with a singer at the church, Corliss Whitney. Whitney gained power of attorney for Pollard, and then tried to become Pollard’s legal guardian.
Pollard was living in a filthy home cluttered with hoarded items, her niece said, and was unable to care for herself when the check was written. Since coming under the care of the public guardian, Pollard has been moved to a nursing home.
″(Whitney) never once tried to remove (Pollard) from that bad situation,” Lawkowski-Keller told WBBM. Whitney is named in the lawsuit filed by the public guardian’s office.
Some of Grace Cathedral’s assets have been frozen as the guardian’s office seeks to get Pollard’s money back.
A church attorney declined comment to the station; WBBM could not reach Whitney for comment.
This is not the first time Angley’s church has faced controversy. In April, Grace Cathedral abruptly closed its restaurant after a federal judge ordered the church to pay $388,000 to a group of employees, finding that members were urged to volunteer at the buffet as unpaid workers in violation of the law.
Three years earlier, the Akron Beacon Journal reported that Angley urged some of his male congregants to have vasectomies, and that Angley examined men’s genitals before and after surgery.
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