Church Issues

Pastor Fails To Repay Loans From Church Members

11:16 PM PST on Thursday, November 20, 2008
By Jesse Jones/King 5 News

SEATTLE - Pastor Tony Morris is known as a man of God.

"He was a dynamic speaker, seemed to preach the word of God, he seemed to have a real solid message,"  said Emery Tungsvick.

It was a message that brought thousands to his South Seattle New Convenant Christian Center.

"It's amazing how many people have been touched by him,"  said Javon Guiberteaux.

But if Pastor Morris' asks you for a loan, some people say that's when you'll surely need god's help.

Our investigation reveals that Pastor Morris owes hundreds of thousands of dollars to people all over the country.

The bottom line: He took loans on some, promised big returns, and never repaid them.

Pastor Morris is living in a million-dollar, 7,700-square-foot mansion in Renton. He and his wife drive luxury sedans and SUVs.

But when it comes to answering questions about how he paid for those things, Pastor Morris won't talk.

"Who do you trust if you can't trust a man of God?"  said Willie Turner.
Turner was a member of New Covenant Christian Center. In 2005, Pastor Morris asked a favor of the restaurant owner. He needed a short term loan of 10,000.

"He kept promising to pay me in 30 days. In 30 days he didn't pay me so he kept shining me on and shining me on,"  said Turner.

Turner has not been repaid, and neither has Joanne Ryser. In 2005 she loaned the pastor $50,000. It was supposed to be a short term loan.

"We only gave him $20,000 to begin with and then the next weeks he asked for the other $30,000 and we trusted him,"  said Ryser.

But when it came to repayment, the pastor put the Rysers off for a year. He put up property as collateral. But there was a problem.

"I called a title company..and did some title research and realized when we did the promissary note with him..his name or the churches name wasn't even on the property anymore,"  said Ryser.

The Rysers took Pastor Morris to court and won a $79,000 judgment. So far they've only gotten $4,000 back.

"This has been going on for a year. Every week there's another excuse,"  said Brian Heflin.

Heflin, of Pasadena, Calif., says he met Pastor Morris through another "so-called" investor. Heflin loaned Morris $17,000 and when Heflin asked for his money back?

"He" s sent me two different checks, both of them bounced,"  said Heflin.
Pastor Tony Morris

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