TV mega-preacher Creflo Dollar, one of several high-profile ministers being accused of fleecing their flocks to finance their lavish lifestyles, is being sued by a California businessman who says the pastor stole his business idea of charging followers a monthly fee for devotional text messages.
Also named in the lawsuit are Dollar’s son, Jeremy, whom the plaintiff, Devone Lawson, alleges reneged on the deal, pilfered his trade secrets and launched “Word on the Go” three years ago.
The already very-rich Creflo and Jeremy are raking in $50 million a year through the $4.99-per-month subscriptions, which the preacher recently hiked to $5.99, James Evangelista, Lawson’s Atlanta-based attorney, claims.
“The word from the preacher ain’t cheap,” Evangelista said. “Apparently, the Rev. Dollar and the Dollar Ministries do not practice what they preach, unless the prosperity gospel they preach justifies fraud and theft in the attainment of material wealth.” The suit claims breach of agreements and contract, fraud, misrepresentation, interference and misappropriation of trade secrets.
Dollar reportedly has 30,000 congregants at his World Changer Church International in the Atlanta suburb of College Park. He also has another church in New York City and an international TV ministry. The private-jet-owning, Rolls-Royce-driving Dollar is the target of an investigation by Senate Finance Committee member Charles Grassley, who argues that several televangelists have unscrupulously gained wealth by skirting tax laws and soaking their congregations for millions. Grassley has demanded all financial records from Dollar and fellow TV ministers Joyce Meyer, Benny Hinn, Eddie Long, Randy & Paula White and Ken Copeland.