Deacons want preacher kept out
Members of the flock promise to walk out if Mollaire returns
And an audit is being conducted on all church financial records so the deacons and church members will know exactly what debts the church incurred during the period that Mollaire was pastor.
Four deacons of the church, Warren LeBeauf, Edward Murray, Percy Wilson, Irving Pierre, Sr., along with church member Tyrone Cooper, were in attendance at the meeting with the attorney.
"We are asking the court to respect the leaders and members of this great church and uphold the decision to have Rev. Mollaire removed as pastor," Kurt Garcia, the church's attorney, said. "The issues raised by Rev. Mollaire are purely religious matters and have no place in the courtroom."
Garcia says that Mollaire will still be allowed to be a member of the church, but he won't be able to preach or perform any type of pastoral duties. He will also no longer receive any payments.
"Members started leaving the church more and more," Wilson, a member and deacon of the church, said. "We started out with 200 people in the congregation and now we're down to about 80."
Wilson says members that left the church didn't want Mollaire as pastor and the church wants the members to come back.
"Right now, there is a $1.5 million dollar loan that is due for the new church that we rebuilt after Katrina," he said. "The church is still being constructed."
Walter Willard, Mollaire's attorney, says that he kept his congregation and associate pastors and ministers informed about the loan every step of the way.
"The deacons were with Rev. Mollaire when he got that loan," he said. "All of their names are on it."
Garcia says the audit so far shows that Mollaire used money collected from church members to help fund his private non-profit organization, Mount Zion of Ama Louisiana Development Corporation.
"This shouldn't have been done because it's a conflict of interest," Garcia said. "We don't know what else we'll find until the audit is complete."
Willard says the non-profit doesn't belong to Mollaire. Documents obtained from the Louisiana Secretary of State Commercial Division office lists the owner of the non-profit organization as Norman Singleton.
In the meantime the church will continue to rely on four associate ministers to lead the church until someone new gets appointed.
"The new church is 95 percent complete and should be finished by the end of the month from what the contractors have told us," Pierre said. "We will find someone with the leadership qualities we're looking for and hopefully the members we lost because of Rev. Mollaire will return."
Pierre says that no one will attempt to disrupt Mollaire's sermon if he does decide to come back before the case is settled in court, but the members will all get up and quietly exit the church.
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