The man pictured above is Pastor John Hunter of The First AME Church of Los Angeles (a/k/a “FAME” church). FAME is one of the “it” churches in the LA area – a place where the well-known go to be seen worship. Pastor John even allowed Flavor Fav to bring his “reality show” coon show to FAME a few years ago. Now, allowing a buffoonish minstrel to parade a group of “women” into his church for a reality hoe show is grounds enough to qualify Pastor John for pulpit pimpdom – particularly since VH1 likely left a generous “love offering”. Nevertheless, it appears as though other activities may just push Pastor John into the ranks with Fast Eddie Long, TD Fakes, and the others:
LA Times – 11/30/08
The pastor of the First African Methodist Episcopal Church, one of the oldest and most prominent black congregations in Los Angeles, used church credit cards to pay for at least $122,000 in personal expenses over a three-year period, including jewelry, family vacations, clothing and auto supplies, according to documents and church sources.
The spending came to light during the course of an independent audit and Internal Revenue Service investigation into the financial affairs of the pastor, John J. Hunter; his wife, Denise Brown Hunter; and the church, according to people connected with the church, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they feared retaliation.
Fear of retaliation? Do I smell church mafia with a hint of pimpdom? Nah…
Earlier this year, field officials in the Los Angeles office of the IRS’ criminal division issued summonses to two banks and a charge card company to testify and produce financial records involving Hunter and the church, documents obtained by The Times show. IRS officials would not respond to questions about the status of their investigation.
In an interview Saturday, Hunter, 51, said he has signed an agreement to repay the church, though he would not confirm the amount owed or the details of the payment plan. He also denied any criminal wrongdoing and said he was working with tax authorities to repay his back taxes.
OK, so why does PJ admit that he had to “repay the church”? I thought the “mand of gawd” was allowed to plunder the treasury…God does want him to be blessed, right? So why “repay” for what is rightfully his…right?
“Some things were probably inappropriately charged to the church credit card, but all of these issues have been resolved,” Brown Dillon said. “The church is not going to suffer any losses.”
Now I’m starting to get some clarity. The issue “has been resolved” because no one wants the “mand of gawd” to “curse them” for calling him on the carpet for stealing (that’s the legal term for taking something that does not belong to you). So what was “inappropriately charged”? Wait for it…wait for it…
Hunter’s financial issues have alienated some church members, who say they were dismayed by reports of what they viewed as lavish spending at a time of great economic need in the community.
Between January 2005 and January 2008, Hunter’s spending included more than $6,000 on clothes, $3,000 on auto supplies, more than $2,000 on jewelry, $1,000 on bicycles and more than $10,000 on personal purchases during church-sponsored trips to India and China, according to documents obtained by The Times.
Imagine that – another mega church pastor spending lavishly while the community around his church club crumbles. Truth be told, the amount spent of clothing, auto supplies and jewelry isn’t that much to spend over a 3 year period. That said, the man already gets a very comfortable “salary” (plus extras) from the congregation, so why use church credit cards to buy personal items?
Because he can, that’s why.
And let’s not forget that PJ “opted out” of paying federal taxes (without telling the Feds, mind you), so he’s on the hook with the government too.
The LA Times did an update on the story earlier today:
LA Times – 12/1/08
The pastor of First African Methodist Episcopal Church in Los Angeles apologized to his congregants Sunday for any embarrassment caused by disclosures that he had used church credit cards for sizable personal expenses and had failed to pay federal taxes for several years.
Pastor John J. Hunter, 51, used church credit cards to pay for at least $122,000 in personal expenses, including family vacations, clothes, jewelry, bikes and auto supplies, The Times reported Sunday. He and church finance officials said he had signed an agreement to repay the money and instituted stricter accounting policies, such as spending guidelines and more frequent audits, to guard against future problems.
Hunter also told The Times that he is working with federal tax officials to repay back taxes, penalties and interest amassed over 17 years, which have resulted in federal tax liens of more than $309,000 against himself and his wife, Denise Brown Hunter. He explained that he had legally opted out of the Social Security system several years ago, as ministers are allowed to do, but that the IRS had no record of it and assessed the taxes.
At least he admitted it, right? Well it’s easier to “admit” to something when the Feds have your…um…unmentionables in a vice – and there are NO alternatives.
OK, so here’s the bottom line. John Hunter has no business leading a church right now. He has proven that he can’t handle his personal affairs (his taxes) and he used church property (credit cards) for personal purchases for 3 years! Lets remember what Paul said about the qualifications for church elders:
1 Timothy 3:1-7 (New American Standard Bible)
4 He must be one who (J)manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity
5 (but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of (K)the church of God?),
So is John Hunter a pimp? I don’t know.
I’ve never heard him preach or teach, but it appears as though he’s slipping into pimpistry. At best the AME denominational leadership should sit him down, counsel him, and rehabilitate him for service to their membership.
Wishful thinking, considering that the AME church is also the home of Jamal Bryant – the Pimp of Baltimore…and we already know how he runs amok with no supervision or oversight.
Oh well, a man can dream…