Hillsong Church is currently facing lawsuits in several of its locations as the Australia-based megachurch continues to come under fire following several scandals in recent months.
According to the New York Post, The Wall Street Theater Company, who partnered with Hillsong’s Connecticut branch in holding its weekly services, is suing the church for over $100,000. The lawsuit, filed on Jan. 20, alleges Hillsong failed to pay rent, stole venue property, and carried out “immoral, oppressive and unscrupulous” actions.
Last February, Hillsong Connecticut signed a new contract agreeing to pay the theater just under $6,000 a week to use the property for its Sunday services. On May 11, however, the church Hillsong requested to invoke the agreement’s 120-day termination clause and cancel the contract in light of the pandemic, to which the theater agreed. But the complaint alleged that Hillsong never paid the $100,899.25 balance that was required by the clause.
The theater also claimed that Hillsong “removed electronic equipment” belonging to the venue on Dec. 18 and has since refused to return the property.
One anonymous source with knowledge of the matter told the Post that Hillsong “just ghosted the theater.”
“When the theater sent them a bill, they responded saying they were a small not-for-profit and couldn’t pay it, and that they didn’t owe it anyways because of the pandemic,” the source claimed.
According to Connecticut’s official state website, there are no moratoriums on commercial rent payment throughout the payment.
The source noted that Hillsong did not bother resolving the issue amicably.
“It wasn’t even a little bit of, ‘Let’s try to work it out. It was just, ‘Go f–k yourself and, oh, go f–k yourself,’” the source continued. “Hillsong, as a tenant, was always about the last nickel, which is fine, contracts are contracts, but when the shoe was on the other foot, suddenly they were a small church. It was quite sad, really.”
Dale Smith, whose company ran Hillsong Connecticut’s venue security, described the church as being like “a business” and “real robotic” rather than a church after working the doors for two years.
“Even the ones on the payroll seemed to be fighting, positioning in order to climb that ladder which, in my opinion, is not what a church is supposed to be,” Smith added.
Hillsong, who’s originally based out of Australia, is also facing a separate lawsuit for $20 million by owners of nearly 300 apartments who are claiming that the megachurch and the construction firm it hired to build their housing complex in Rosebery, Australia, failed to properly build the houses.
One unnamed owner told the Daily Telegraph, that the defective housing would make it difficult to sell the apartments, in which homeowners bought between $440,000 and $945,000 per unit.
In response to the suit, Hillsong filed a counterclaim alleging the construction firm, Icon Construction Australia, was the real “wrongdoer”.
As Christian Headlines reported last week, ex Hillsong members from its Los Angeles and New York locations accused its leaders for living luxurious lifestyles off its congregants’ tithes.
Photo courtesy: Hillsong Church Facebook
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer. He is also the co-hosts of the For Your Soul podcast, which seeks to equip the church with biblical truth and sound doctrine. Visit his blog Blessed Are The Forgiven.