- Associated Press - Thursday, November 26, 2015

PONTIAC, Mich. (AP) - A lawsuit was filed by a couple against their former church in suburban Detroit, its reverend and other officials over money they say was donated for a fellowship hall that never was built.

Eugene Rogers and Jeanette Campbell Rogers want a return of the $41,000 given as restricted funds to Pontiac’s St. John Methodist Church, The Detroit News reported (https://detne.ws/1Xt7o1I ).

Their civil lawsuit was filed this week in Oakland County Circuit Court. It seeks triple damages under Michigan law.

“The funds, donated over a period of years, were intended to build a fellowship hall but that never happened and they want their money back,” their attorney, Cyril Hall, told the newspaper. “We aren’t saying anyone embezzled it. We just don’t know where the funds are and my clients want it back.”

Eugene Rogers, a former chair of the church’s board of trustees, said that under church policy and bylaws, a person may seek restricted asset money back if it’s used for purposes outside of why it was donated.

But the Rev. Lester Magnum, who is named in the suit, said a “fund still exists but not for a specific construction purpose.”

“This is about how he interprets what the fund was for - he seems to think it was for an extension of a separate building but no one ever said anything like that,” Magnum said. “There was no plan or anything written like that. It was not a fund for just something outside the church. It was intended for use inside. It’s like he wants to take his ball and bat and go home.”

The church is northwest of Detroit and has about 125 members.

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Information from: The Detroit News, https://detnews.com/

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