Grace Cathedral accused of swindling a mentally ill woman
Grace Cathedral, a megachurch in Ohio run by money-grubbing televangelist 96-year-old Ernest Angley, above, has become mired in a yet another scandal.
Back in May of this year, we reported that a federal judge ordered Angley to pay more than $388,000 (£299,000) in damages and back wages to a group of employees forced to work at the Cathedral Buffet as unpaid volunteers.
Now the church is being sued for having swindled a mentally-ill woman who was coerced into handing the church a cheque for $340,000 ( (£254,000).
According to this report, Bridget Pollard, 76, is mentally ill and has dementia. She is now under the care of the Cook County public guardian, who is fighting to reclaim her life-savings.
Pollard lived by herself since her husband died in 2015. The childless woman lived in terrible conditions and blocked relatives’ efforts to help her, Pollard’s niece Bridget Johnson said
Her niece revealed that Pollard emptied out her late husband’s state pension, and it wasn’t long before she handed the cheque over to Angley’s outfit.
Dawn Lawkowski-Keller of the Public Guardian’s Office said:
She was basically stalked by church to give money. The literature talks about how you’ll go to heaven if you give this money.
The Public Guardian’s office is now suing the church for every cent taken.
According to her niece, Pollard hadn’t been to the church in many years and visited only a handful of times, once for her baptism. She stayed connected through a singer at the church, Corliss Whitney, who is named in the Public Guardian lawsuit.
Miss Whitney became her power of attorney. She tried to petition to become her guardian, which is very unusual. She never once tried to remove her from that bad situation.
A doctor diagnosed Pollard with bipolar disorder and found she lacks the capacity to make sound decisions and is unable to make personal or financial decisions.
Pollard now lives in a nursing home in Rogers Park. Her home is no longer considered safe.
Her niece said:
I’m very sad for my aunt, that she spent all these years she thought she had a good friend, and a church she believed in, and this was all done in the name of God.
The Public Guardian’s office has frozen some of the church’s assets as it tries to get Pollard’s money back.
A church attorney declined comment; CBS Chicago left numerous messages seeking comment from Whitney.
And there was even a murder at the church.
According to Wiki, in 1999, Shane Partin, a 27-year-old former staff member at Cathedral Buffet, stabbed and killed a volunteer, 15 year-old Cassandra Blondheim.
Blondheim had previously complained to buffet management about Partin’s romantic advances. Partin was fired, but was later allowed to return as a volunteer. Partin was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison.
Angley’s ministry paid $100,000 in a settlement to Blondheim’s family.