Members of Zion Baptist Church in Philadelphia File Lawsuit Against Church Officials Over Finances

Anita Chappell, a member of Zion Baptist Church, in front of the church on Feb. 5, 2015. She is against the $18 million development plan that has divided the congregation. ( ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / Staff Photographer )
Anita Chappell, a member of Zion Baptist Church, in front of the church on Feb. 5, 2015. She is against the $18 million development plan that has divided the congregation. ( ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / Staff Photographer )

Members of Zion Baptist Church filed suit Thursday against the church officers in the latest salvo of a long battle that has pitted member against member in the North Philadelphia church best known for the legacy of a former pastor, the Rev. Leon Sullivan.

The 51-page lawsuit, filed in Common Pleas Court, alleges that the church treasurer, the clerk, and the chairmen of the trustee and deacons boards, along with other board members, have not been good stewards of the church’s assets.

And, the suit says, when the pastor, the Rev. Carl Prince, questioned the handling of finances, the group ran an improper vote and got him fired last summer.

“Unfortunately, what I see is going down, the assets are not being protected by the board of trustees,” said Anita Chappell, 82, the lead plaintiff and a supporter of the ousted pastor.

Heading the board of trustees is Germantown attorney Ronald J. Harper, the lead defendant. Harper has served on the trustee board for more than 20 years, Chappell said.

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Source: Philadelphia Inquirer | JANE M. VON BERGEN

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