Donor files lawsuit to recoup donations made to nonprofit

An Orlando, Florida, business is facing a lawsuit filed by an area businessman. Nonprofit ministry World Hope Inc. was recently sued by the business man for the return of $117,000 that he donated over the course of several years. Also named as a defendant in the lawsuit is the pastor who runs the ministry.

The Orlando businessman said he donated the money to support two chicken farms that were slated to be developed in Kenya. Instead, he claims that some of that money was diverted into the pastor’s bank account. That money was then allegedly used to pay the pastor’s bills, including money owed to the Internal Revenue Service. The lawsuit came about after the businessman asked his accountant to look into how the money he donated was spent.

When confronted by the businessman, the pastor acknowledged that there were issues in the way that donations to the ministry were handled. In addition to donations being used in ways other than what the donor intended, the chicken farms were in the name of the pastor, not the ministry. The pastor also claimed that none of these things were done to deliberately mislead or defraud the donor and were the result of accounting problems that have since been rectified.

These acknowledgements were not enough for the donor. Accordingly he filed the lawsuit. It is unclear whether he is seeking anything other than the return of the money he donated.

Any Orlando area business, even a nonprofit, can run into legal disputes such as this one. Because of the complexities surrounding these types of lawsuits it is likely that both sides are working with lawyers who handle business litigation.

Source: Orlando Sentinel, "Orlando businessman sues pastor, wants $117K in donations back," Jeff Kunerth, Nov. 3, 2013