HARTFORD, Conn. (Legal Newsline) - Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen announced a settlement on Friday with a man who posed as the pastor of a church and transferred the title and property rights of the church property to another church he founded.
As part of the settlement, the title and property rights of transferred church have been returned to the Macedonia Pentecostal Church in Hamden, Conn. The settlement ends a lawsuit filed against Willie E. McKay in 2008, who allegdly posed as the pastor of the church and transferred the title of the property to another church he founded, subsequently mortgaging the property.
"The resolution of this case restores the title and property rights to its rightful owners - the parishioners of Macedonia Pentecostal Church," Jepsen said. "This settlement ensures that the church property will be used as it was intended when it was originally given to the parishioners by the church's founder."
McKay is the grandson of Henry McKay, who founded Macedonia Pentecostal Church in 1963 and who deeded the property at 184 Butler St. to the church in 1965. Macedonia Pentecostal has been in possession of the property and has conducted activities and services there exclusively and regularly since that time.
In 2005, Willie McKay, posing as the pastor of Macedonia Pentecostal, transferred the title of the church property to his own church, Love Temple Church of Christ in Prayer Inc. McKay then used that property to secure a $1.5 million mortgage that resulted in default two years later.
Jepsen sued McKay after church members, unaware that Macedonia Pentecostal Church had been mortgaged without their consent, were told by Willie McKay that the church belonged to Love Temple Church of Christ in Prayer Inc. and they would have to leave. McKay was not the pastor of Macedonia Pentecostal Church, nor was he ever a member of that church.
Connecticut law prohibits property of a religious society or a corporation from being distributed among its members or appropriated by any person for private use. McKay has a number of state and federal fraud convictions but was not charged in this case.
Jepsen acknowledged the cooperation and assistance of the mortgage company, Foundation Capitol Resources Inc., in resolving the matter.