Money Missing From First Christian Church - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

12/28/06

Money Missing From First Christian Church

The members of First Christian Church in Savannah want to know who took the money and why and they're going to court to find out.

Some church members are suing the church after discovering there was $37,000 missing from the church's pre-school account. That was just the beginning of the problems.

It all started about a year ago when Gloria and Chad Grizzle along with some other church members noticed money missing from First Christians Church's pre-school account, but they didn't suspect foul play until recently. "You'll see a personal checking account it was deposited into," said Chad Grizzle.

The Grizzles said the accounts belong to two of the church's elders. After investigating further they found even more money missing, $180,000 more, taken from various church accounts.  "We feel like the elders of the church should have been looking over the money and they should be responsible and accountable for the money being gone," said Gloria Grizzle.

Church members gathered evidence and turned it over to police and in the meantime they are suing the church elders for failing to secure the church's cash. "There are us plaintiffs who have seen the checks, and know something has happened and then there are the elders of the church who let this go on," said Gloria Grizzle.

At a special meeting Wednesday night, members voted to allow the pre-school to separate itself from the church. That way the school can protect itself and get its accounts in order and get back to the business of teaching.  "In order for the pre-school to set itself straight needs to be a single entity with in itself and parents agree with us," said Gloria Grizzle.

That eases the minds of parents like Julie Bird whose 3-year-old goes to the pre-school. "It's alarming because it's a lot of money that could have went towards renovations, and I don't know if it's sitting in someone bank account," said Bird.

Outside Wednesday nights meeting church administrators were trying to ease the minds of members by handing fliers that state," Neither First Christian Church nor its board has any plans or desire to close or relocate our preschool."  The letter goes on to say that "the church is not in bankruptcy or even near bankruptcy."

But Gloria and Chad Grizzle said the letter is not enough to make them happy. They want the elders gone and are taking their case to court.  "We are trying to show the people who are running the church are not capable of running the church," said Gloria Grizzle.

The accountant is going over the paper trail to see exactly when and how the money disappeared. WTOC tried talking to some of the church's administrators, but they had no comment. The Preliminary hearing will be held in superior court will be on February 20th.

Reported by: Brooke Kelley, bkelley@wtoc.com

 

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