Leaders of the First AME Church Say Lawsuit by Former Church Employee is "Nonsense" and Voice Support for Their Pastor

Thu Nov 5, 2009 11:40am EST

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LOS ANGELES--(Business Wire)--
The leadership of First AME Church of Los Angeles closed ranks behind Senior
Pastor Dr. John J. Hunter today, praising him as a dedicated leader whose
conduct has been above reproach since he came to the Church five years ago. 

"Pastor John has our full support," said Church Trustee Constance Fortune,
describing a lawsuit filed against him by former church employee, Brenda
Lamothe, as meritless and unbelievable. "Pastor John has been a blessing to our
Church and to the community and we stand with him, not only in his ministry, but
also in the legal action we are taking against Ms. Lamothe." 

The Board of Stewards announced Wednesday that the Church, Senior Pastor Hunter
and Mrs. Denise Hunter, President and COO of the FAME Corporations, had filed
suit against Ms. Lamothe, alleging conversion of the Hunter`s personal property,
infliction of emotional distress, intentional interference with the Hunter`s
relationship with the Church and conspiracy. 

The attorney for the Hunters and the church, Robert W. Brockman, Jr., said Ms.
Lamothe`s allegations of sexual harassment are untrue and will be proven so in
court. He said Dr. Hunter did not have an inappropriate relationship with Ms.
Lamothe at any time, and added that Church leaders suspect that Ms. Lamothe is
seeking monetary gain in an unlawful manner. 

"Brenda Lamothe`s claims are implausible nonsense," Mrs. Fortune said. "To those
of us who know her and have worked with her for years, the allegations in her
lawsuit ring hollow and do not square with the facts. We see this lawsuit as
nothing more than an attempt to smear the pastor, damage his relationship with
the Church and damage our Church`s relationship with this community and the

The Board of Stewards said Wednesday that the church and the Hunters filed their
lawsuit against Ms. Lamothe after her attorney produced what he termed "love
letters" sent to Ms. Lamothe by Dr. Hunter and threatened to file suit and go to
the media unless Ms. Lamothe was paid a monetary settlement. 

"Both Dr. and Mrs. Hunter immediately recognized these notes as their own
personal communications they had shared with each other as husband and wife and
that apparently had been taken unlawfully," Mrs. Fortune said. "We felt we had
to file suit to put a stop to this malicious attack on the church and on the
Hunter`s relationship with the church." 

Mrs. Fortune continued: "Ms. Lamothe`s lawsuit claims Pastor John fired her on
June 2, 2009. But we have her resignation letter dated Sept. 10, 2008 thanking
him and describing him as a blessing to her life and career." 

She pointed out the lawsuit`s allegation that Pastor Hunter told Ms. Lamothe
that he was a "prophet" exposes the suit`s lack of credibility. 

"Ms. Lamothe was an ordained minister in this Church and she knows our Methodist
doctrines and theology do not recognize our pastors as modern day prophets,"
said Mrs. Fortune. 

Mrs. Fortune said church leaders who have known Ms. Lamothe for more than a
decade see her allegations as irrational. 

"She was well known and had many friends in this church for years before Pastor
John came here," Mrs. Fortune said. "Pastor John was the newcomer. It is
unbelievable that she didn`t turn to those she had known and trusted for years
if there was something wrong." 

Mrs. Fortune continued: "We`re being asked to believe that instead of telling
her friends she was being mistreated by a new pastor that none of us knew, she
kept quiet for years. Then she resigns in a letter that praises the Church and
the pastor. And now more than a year later she hires a lawyer to quietly demand
we pay her money or she`ll go to the press." 

She added Ms. Lamothe`s claims that Dr. Hunter gave her jewelry are meaningless.

"Pastor John routinely brings jewelry as gifts for church executives and
ministers when he returns from his trips," Mrs. Fortune said. "If she has
jewelry that he gave her, it would be a surprise to no one."

Tony Knight or Holly Baird
Sitrick And Company
Or 818-903-3049 

Copyright Business Wire 2009