A lawsuit against Mark Driscoll, former pastor of Mars Hill Church, alleges that Driscoll and other church leaders ran the church like an organized crime syndicate.
The Daily Beast reports that Driscoll and church leaders are being accused of misappropriating church donations. Before Mars Hill Church closed in December 2014, it was taking in $30 million annually.
The lawsuit says that Driscoll and general manager and then-executive elder John Sutton Turner defrauded Mars Hill churchgoers Brian and Connie Jacobsen and Ryan and Arica Kildea, along with thousands of others who gave to the church.
Driscoll and Turner allegedly would tell donaters that the funds the church was collecting were for one purpose such as overseas missions, but then actually use the collected funds for a different purpose, primarily to expand Mars Hill.
Driscoll and Turner are being accused of misappropriating the $90,000 donated by the Jacobsens from 2008 to 2014 and the $2,700 donated by the Kildeas from 2011 to 2013.
“Driscoll and Turner engaged in a pattern of racketeering activity so deeply embedded, pervasive and continuous, that it was effectively institutionalized as a business practice, thereby corrupting the very mission Plaintiffs and other donors believed they were supporting,” said the plaintiff’s lawyer, Brian Fahling, in an emailed statement.
Driscoll has also been involved in other scandals, including being accused of abuse of power in the church, misogyny, homophobia, and plagiarism.
Driscoll reportedly used $210,000 from Mars Hill to buy a place for his book Real Marriage on the New York Times’ best-seller list.
The Daily Beast sent an email to Driscoll requesting a comment on the case. Driscoll has not responded.
He is currently living in Phoenix and starting a new church.
Publication date: March 1, 2016