The pastor of the Fountain of Youth Cathedral won the hearts of his congregation — then stole their church, police said.
Bishop Franklin L. Fountain may eventually have to answer to a higher authority but in the meantime he will face a Superior Court judge.
Fountain is charged with first-degree larceny and second-degree forgery after police said he forged deed documents and sold the Madison Avenue church to himself for $1.
City property records show Fountain is now the owner of the church and property valued at $1.5 million.
“Isn’t this all ridiculous,” Fountain, 55, said Wednesday after being released on a promise to appear in court. “I am the pastor and I deserve respect and I expect that this will all be worked out.”
He could face more than 20 years in prison if convicted of the charges. His lawyer, Erroll Skyers, said he is anxiously waiting to see the police report before commenting.
Police Detective Francis Podpolucha said they had received a complaint from the church’s Board of Directors, Fountain’s younger brother James Fountain and his uncle Donald Fountain that without authorization from the board, Bishop Fountain had altered the deed documents and sold the church at 324 Madison Ave. to himself.
Franklin L. Fountain took over as pastor of the church, which was founded in 1960, from his father, Franklin D. Fountain who died in 2005.
On its website the church, which is Pentecostal and is associated with the Resurrection Ministries International, touts strong youth and outreach programs.
SOURCE: Connecticut Post – Daniel Tepfer