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Submitted by Comments:
Name: Reversal of Trial
From: Appeal Successful
2010-MO-014 - Allaby v. R.G. Stair

THIS OPINION HAS NO PRECEDENTIAL VALUE. IT SHOULD NOT BE CITED OR RELIED ON AS PRECEDENT IN ANY PROCEEDING EXCEPT AS PROVIDED BY RULE 268(d)(2), SCACR.

THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA
In The Supreme Court

Glendon Allaby, Kathryn Allaby, Cora Pfund, Eric Pfund, Greg Lindsey, Larry Hartley, Michael Duval, Kathleen Duval, Pearl Butler, Timothy Butler, and Kevin Nevin, Respondents,

v.

R.G. Stair and Faith Cathedral Fellowship, Inc., a/k/a Overcomer Ministries, Appellants.

Appeal from Colleton County
J. Ernest Kinard, Jr., Circuit Court Judge
Howard P. King, Circuit Court Judge
D. Garrison Hill, Circuit Court Judge

Memorandum Opinion No. 2010-MO-014
Heard April 7, 2010 Filed May 17, 2010

REVERSED

Deborah Harrison Sheffield, of Columbia, and Mathias Genard Chaplin, of Columbia, for Appellants.

Bert G. Utsey, III, of Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Ellzroth & Detrick, of Walterboro, David W. Whittington and Brad Allen Oliver, both of Knight Law Firm, of Summerville, for Respondents.

PER CURIAM: This appeal presents the following question: May a church member maintain a direct, personal action for the recovery of unrestricted funds donated to his or her church based on a claim that the funds were expended for a non-religious purpose? The answer is no. Once unrestricted funds are donated to a church, the funds belong to the church.

Respondents' donations through the years were unrestricted gifts. Once donated to the church, the gift was complete. See Baptist Found. for Christian Educ. v. Baptist Coll. at Charleston, 282 S.C. 53, 58-59, 317 S.E.2d 453, 457 (Ct. App. 1984) ("If a donor intends to confer on another ownership of his property, and if he proceeds so far as to do it, then the gift is complete. . . . Mere improvidence is not sufficient to invalidate a donation." (citations omitted). As reprehensible as R.G. Stair's misconduct (financial and otherwise) may be,[1] an individual church member may not maintain an action to personally recover unrestricted funds he or she donated to the church. While we understand Respondents' challenges to R.G. Stair's use of donated church funds for personal expenses, an action for the recovery of the misspent funds, if any, lies with the church, not the individual church members who donated the funds. Here, notwithstanding R.G. Stair's admitted misconduct, the church as a body has elected to take no action. See Bowen v. Green, 275 S.C. 431, 435, 272 S.E.2d 433, 435 (1980) ("It is not for this court, to dictate procedure for the church to follow. It is the function of this court, however, in these circumstances, to assure that the church itself has spoken. If it has, this court inquires no further. If it has not, this court may restore the status quo to enable the church to act.". In this case, the church has spoken.

Furthermore, were we to consider the merits of this dispute, we would veer close to crossing a line prohibited by the Constitution, for it would require this Court to examine what qualifies as a "religious purpose." See Serbian Eastern Orthodox Diocese v. Milivojevich, 426 U.S. 696, 722-23 (1976) (holding the First Amendment gives religious organizations the freedom to decide for themselves, free from state interference, matters of church government, faith, and doctrine). Respondents have not asserted that R.G. Stair misrepresented his or Faith Cathedral Fellowship's identity to Respondents. Rather, Respondents have challenged certain expenditures made by R.G. Stair as "non-Christian" and "non-religious." Compare Molko v. Holy Spirit Assn., 762 P.2d 46 (Cal. 1988) (holding the Constitution did not bar an action against the church for fraud where a member alleged the church fraudulently induced him, through misrepresentation and concealment of identity, to join the church and to give a monetary gift).

We reverse the trial court judgments in favor of Respondents.

REVERSED.

TOAL, C.J., PLEICONES, BEATTY, KITTREDGE and HEARN, JJ., concur.

[1] There are many allegations concerning R.G. Stair's "non-religious" expenditure of church funds. For example, R.G. Stair spent over $100,000 of church funds to defend criminal charges arising from his many instances of sexual misconduct with church members, including minors.

2000-2010 South Carolina Judicial Department
 
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Submitted by Comments:
Name: Tim Butler
found this, but again, we haven't heard from our lawyers yet.

http://www.sccourts.org/opinions/displayUnPubOpinion.cfm?caseNo=2010-MO-014
 
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Submitted by Comments:
Name: Tim Butler
From: Our Lawyer
We haven't heard a thing yet as to a verdict from the SC supreme court.
 
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Submitted by Comments:
Name: Bro mike
From: New Court Case
If our Lawyer is planning a new court case I would like to be informed.

There were so few details presented that gives a clear picture of the strategy used at the farm.

Mental, physical and financial abuse should and is part of of the United States Amendments that are there to bring freedom and equality based on right and wrong rules for all people with no special treatment for those with more money.

No person should be permitted to bury dead bodies without notifying officials or pose as a Church leader who sexually uses his congregation without someone to watch over and protect the innocent. Then proceed to screw the families daughters who gave all of their money to live there while the leader deliberately does these vile things to drive out those who are displeased.

Bringing more families and repeating the same pattern and hide behind the U.S. Supreme Court?

I wouldn't be surprised.

No God fearing soul who was lied to about their money being returned to them could stay at a place where the leader claims 501c3 church status while continuing to practice sexapades right in front of the entire group without remorse.

And ralph knows it.

Any thinking person knows it.

Where are the thinking minds in South Carolina?


 
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Submitted by Comments:
Name: Bro mike
From: Verdict
To answer the question put to us:

"What are we going to do now with ralph winning the appeal???"

I will have to say that not much will change in that we will be warning in an even greater way that not only will ralph continue his pattern of abuse daily but also that the state of South Carolina is the covering for which ralph is able to hide behind the laws, so that ralph may justify any action he exercises on his land in the name of the 5th amendment.

In fact South Carolina can not protect anyone's rights whatsoever on ralphs farm and ralph can do whatever he pleases right in the face of the South Carolina justice Dept.

The Grand jury voted against this sex farm money laundry system and now will the judges protect ralph and keep him in place to continue these clearly unscrupulous deeds of abusing the masses of people unaware of ralph's motives????

You mean South Carolina is protecting ralph?? Well maybe ralph was right when he said that the people down town are on his side after all???

I am not at all shocked at this prospect.

Will ralph now be permitted to attack the exfollowers and make them all pay him damages???

Maybe South Carolina can not help those of us who are not a 501c3 only ralph????

Come on South Carolina you can do better than this.

Time will tell.
 
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Submitted by Comments:
Name: Mike Rowland
From: Kansas
Can anyone from our side who is in the lawsuit against stair confirm this anonymous remark?

So far for the last several years now hardly anyone of us in the suit against stair has known what is actually going on behind the scenes.

Has anyone received an official notification that they will not be getting their money returned to them (From Our Lawyer)???????

Thank You and God Bless.
 
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Submitted by Comments:
Name: Gaston
From: South Carolina
They ruled in favor of the Overcomer
 
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Submitted by Comments:
Name: Bro Mike
From: Verdict
Someone let THE NET TEAM know what verdict the appeals court has reached when you are contacted by our lawyer.

Thanks
 
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Submitted by Comments:
Name: Thomas Belford
If I lived on land that was adjacent to Ralph's farm. I would love for someone to come to my area and buy my property from me so I could get out of that area. And I am sure if any of the land comes available Ralph will direct his next victim to buy and give it to him. And not being part of his sex farm I would back him up to sell it for me.

Ralph is known for greasing the palms of those in power. And even bragged about how he could have everyone on his farm vote for who ever he wants if they ever decide to vote for someone. He has toyed with the thought of the corruption of selling votes up town and using his church games in doing so.

Now why is he allowed to go tax-free while he plays church?

Ralph runs his mouth in the dinning hall saying things like this all the time to keep us thinking everyone in power in his county are his friends and on his side and would back him up if anyone ever went to the authorizes to try to expose him ever came about. He has said a couple of you brothers could and may have him removed someday.

He knows he was doing evil himself and called us peanut brains for not seeing it until now. Now he calls us evil for exposing his evil ways of playing church for gain.
 
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Submitted by Comments:
Name: Thomas Belford
Yes Bro Mike and we all know who sent those post at the overcomer who don't want to see the truth or their "STRONG DELUSION"
 
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