Jericho City of Praise Lawsuit Update

Jericho city of praise scandal

Jericho City of Praise law suit update and Pastor Joel Peebles-City of Praise  Update:

Special thanks to People of Praise  for keeping  The Church Lady Blogs updated on the status of their court case against 6 trustees of the mega church, Jericho City of Praise  and the wonderful things happening at City of Praise under the leadership of Pastor Joel Peebles.  I am especially grateful for the members clearing up for us that the Jericho City of Praise church family  did not split and that it is still considered one church.

In the eyes of the members filing the lawsuit, their battle is to be able to regain entry into their physical church building and re elect and official board of the church. They emphasized that they were being pushed out and  with Joel Peebles being fired, their only recourse was to find another location to worship.

They are quick to note  that the Jericho City of Praise mega church location allegedly now  has less than 100 members atending weekly (smh)

 

CLB family please find the updates below that includes a Maryland Court Judge filing a default judgement against the trustees:

12/11/2012

 

[quote]Good Morning Church Lady,

Enclosed you will find an update on whats been happening with the court cases at the City of Praise Church under Pastor Joel Peebles. Our church still meets at a local school Eleanor Roosevelt Senior High School in Greenbelt, Maryland. We are doing well and souls are being added to the body every week.  The congregation still has two lawsuits in the system against the six employees that have control temporarily. These cases have nothing to do with Pastor Joel these were done by the membership. This is an update on the first case where we have received a default judgement against them.[/quote]

Legal update on Jericho City of Praise Lawsuit !

We have a judgment against the six rogue employees!

The six employees who have taken over the board were never ever voted on by the congregation. They appointed themselves and submitted false documents stating that they were elected by the congregation when no such election ever happened. And to make matters worse when asked to reveal how they are using our tithes and offerings, they have refused to produce a single record. As a non-profit entity in the state of Maryland, they are obligated to be transparent. The congregation is eager to have the court restore the rightful responsibilities of electing its leaders back to the members that built this church with their tithes and offerings.  The members of the City of Praise Church are expectant and eager for the court to require that the unelected board practice transparency by abiding byMaryland state law and federal laws that require all non-profits maintain open and accessible financial records.

Overview of Case CAL12-13537 (Articles case)

· Case was filed by congregation members April 2012 in Circuit Court Upper Marlboro

· Members of the congregation filed this lawsuit basically stating the six were never elected as trustees per Maryland law when the Maryland Church was formed in December 2010.  They abolished Jericho which was incorporated in Washington DC and created a new corporation in Maryland. This was done two (2) months after the death of Apostle Betty Peebles. These employees had no authority to do this.

· The court entered a default judgment against the unelected six as board of trustees in September 2012

· The unelected six tried to have the default judgment vacated in October 2012 and it was denied

· The unelected six filed a motion to have the case specially assigned to Judge Dwight Jackson on September 2012. This is interesting because our case is not associated with Pastor Joel and Elder Meadows case, we already have a ruling against the six by another judge and we are waiting for relief.

· The court held an exparte hearing October 26, 2012 which was immediately postponed pending a ruling on a motion to specially assign the case to judge Jackson.

· The case was specially assigned to Judge Dwight Jackson on October 26

· Attorneys Dennis Whitley and Erika Cole have now taken over the case for the six from Attorney Isaac Marks who was fired

· An exparte hearing was scheduled for 9am on November 30, 2012. The members of the congregation are the only ones at this hearing that have a right to present evidence and the purpose of the hearing is to seek relief now that a judgment has been granted. The relief that the congregation has asked for is that a congregational vote take place to elect a board to comply with Maryland corporate law and that the church be put under a court appointed trustee until the vote takes place (We have submitted a list of possible trustees to the court). Our lawyers filed for a continuance which has been granted.  The new court date is Feb 8 at 9am

Pastor Mike and Dee Dee Freeman Butt Out!!

Like a shark that smells blood in the water. Pastors Mike and Dee Dee Freeman have allegedly been waiting to make their move.  They are alleged to be the architects behind this whole church takeover attempt, with the goal of having the six employees give/sell the ministry to them. The six employees allowed Mike and Dee Dee Freeman to have the FICWFM regional conference at OUR church building in September 2012.  This event was planned well in advance of the Court of Special Appeals decision and took place a few days after the positive decision was handed down.   Pastor Joel, our board and congregation could have stopped the FICWFM conference but since Apostle Fred Price would be in attendance it was thought that if the Freeman’s would listen to anyone it would be Apostle Fred Price.  Apparently he has outgrown Fred Price.  These actions have offended the congregation whose years of tithes, offerings and hard work have built this ministry and its assets. This is a classic hostile takeover attempt.  First, get control of the board that holds the deed then have them sell/give the ministry to you.  The court of special appeals decision reversed the earlier decision made by Judge Dwight Jackson.  Consequently the six employees are no longer considered the legal board of trustees and do not hold the deed to the church.

Mike and Dee Dee Freeman’s actions are out-of-order.  We the membership have a default judgment against the six self-appointed employees.  A Default judgment is a binding judgment in favor of either party based on some failure to take action by the other party.  Default judgments arise in circumstances whereby one party to a suit has failed to perform a court-ordered action, and subsequently that failure has not only prevented the issue from being presented before the court but also results in the court settling the legal dispute in favor of the compliant party.

The original congregation is intact, alive and thriving under the leadership of Pastor Joel Peebles and our Board of Trustees led by Chairman William Meadows (chairman for the past 40 years.) The City of Praise church is NOT a new church.  Apostle Betty said during a service before she died that she was going to change the name of the church to the “City of Praise.”  After she died Pastor Joel and the board of trustees changed the name and showed the congregation the video of the service where she made the proclamation.  The church has been called “City of Praise” well before our leaders and other members were excommunicated. We are awaiting relief from the court which the judgment entitles us to. We have asked for a congregational vote to elect our board of trustees and that our church be put under a trustee until the vote occurs.  We have given the court a list of trustees that are acceptable to us. There are at best about 100 members left worshipping at Jericho, including a few elders and ministers. The church is financially solvent and is not dependent on tithes and offerings to maintain its solvency. No outside interference is warranted.  The congregation has not and will not ask Mike and Dee Dee Freeman for help.  On the contrary we ask that they butt out.

It is alleged that Mike and Dee Dee Freeman are planning on using OUR church again for their New Years Eve service. He told his congregation at the FICWFM regional conference in September that they will be back at Jericho on New Year’s Eve.  Again this is offensive to the congregation whose many years of tithes, offerings and hard work have built this ministry and its assets.   Why is Mike Freeman so interested in what happens to us in court?  There are pictures of him leaving the court-house minutes after the six employees and their lawyer exited the building when Pastor Joel won a case in the spring shortly before he was fired.

Jericho City of Praise and Spirit of Faith

He was also allegedly seen going in the judge’s chambers. One question begs to be answered:  Why would Mike and Dee Dee plan a New Year’s eve program at our church when he knew that the special court of appeals had rendered a positive decision on our behalf and that we had a court date on November 30th for an ex parte hearing with a default judgment against these employees? The bible says in 1 Thess 5:22 “Abstain from ALL appearance of evil.”

If Mike Freeman follows his modus operandi, when he is ready to make his move, look for him to address his congregation crying ugly face crocodile tears being consoled by DEE DEE and his family. He will say something like he didn’t want to get involved but they asked him to help save the ministry. And he will only get involved to help sure up this ministry and build it back up and he is doing it as a favor because he loved Apostle Betty and held her in such high regard. LOL. He did not even offer a word at her funeral, they left early and they did not attend the burial.

These people don’t understand that they are fighting God and he always wins.  People of Praise this fight is not ours. We must forgive, show love and stay in prayer.  Ephesians 6:11-12 (KJV) Put on the whole armor of God that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

We must keep praying fot this congregation CLB family. For more detail information regarding this sad saga, please visit peopleofpraisemd.com

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