DALLAS (CBSNews) — High end shopping sprees, personal car payments and unexplained hotel room rentals.
They are among the allegations made against Dallas Pastor Wade Davis, who’s accused of funneling half a million dollars in church money to his own pocket.
Lifelong church member Erica Williams said the locks were changed on the doors to Munger Avenue Baptist Church when members began wondering why the 123-year-old house of worship was running out of money.
“It was broke, the church was just flat broke,” said member Richard Greagor, who examined finances inside the historically black church last year and says what he found was unimaginable.
“There were liquor purchases an in-town hotel stays and shopping spree at Neiman Marcus and Cadillac repairs it was disheartening,” said Greagor.
Greagor and authorities accuse Pastor Davis of funneling as much as $500,000 to a personal account from a church annuity fund he wasn’t supposed to have access to.
He was indicted last week for felony theft and has been released on a $10,000 bond.
“I think he has lost his way … I think at one point he may been a man of God,” said Erica Williams.
Williams said the depleted fund was meant for repairs to the church and programs to help addicts and the needy.
But a year before his arrest, Davis, who was hired in 1998, denied the allegations in a letter to the congregation saying, “I am not guilty of committing any crime. I have not broken any laws,” wrote W.C. Davis, Senior Pastor.
Members said the pastor then moved into the church and changed the locks to drive away his critics who have been meeting for months at a funeral home while Davis was still preaching here last Sunday (Mar. 26) to a handful of loyal supporters.
But he faces a civil lawsuit from those longtime members who want to drive him from the pulpit so they can return.
“My personal goal is that we get back in this church by Easter this year,” said Williams.