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SEC Filed Federal Lawsuit Against Messiah Lutheran Church

Messiah Lutheran Church must repay hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal government payments, despite the church's claim that it did nothing wrong. (Source: CBS News Chicago)

A Joliet church must repay hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal government donations, even though the church claims it has done nothing wrong.

Messiah Lutheran Church (Source: CBS Chicago)

Messiah Lutheran Church is a Collapsing Church

Shardaa Gray of CBS 2 investigated and met with the pastor to discuss the financial load that could lead to the church collapsing. Outside Messiah Lutheran Church in Joliet, there is a conspicuous message: Save Messiah.   “We have four fundamental values. “One of those is not losing our church,” Pastor Kurt Hoover explained. “We want to maintain the unity of our church family.” We want to praise God. We want to continue our community service.”

Despite doing nothing illegal, the church must pay the federal government thousands of dollars. Failure to pay the money will almost certainly compel them to sell the building. “That’s very, very disturbing, and people are angry about it,” said Brian Wielbik, board president of Messiah Lutheran Church. “People here are also perplexed as to how that could happen, but it has.”

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Messiah Lutheran Church  has to pay $300,000 to SEC

In 2019, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged a company with engaging in deceptive operations. As part of that process, the SEC has the authority to seize everything the firm owns, as well as go after any other areas where they have provided money and seize that money. The SEC’s receiver filed a federal lawsuit against the church in January 2021, seeking the return of more than $780,000 in donations paid by the local business to Messiah over ten years.

Some of such contributions were made in 2010. “Losing our church would be very scary,” Hoover added. Messiah Lutheran Church is racing against the clock because it must pay the SEC $300,000 by November 15. A court ordered the church to pay $487,000 in three months on August 25. “We were able to pay $187,000 right away,” explained Hoover. “That was in our reserves.” We need to raise $300,000 by November 15; if we don’t, a penalty of $100,000 is added to the amount.”

If the church does not pay up, it may lose its building after more than 120 years in the neighborhood. The crew is now requesting donations from the community. On Thursday, the church hopes to hold an informative gathering to inform community members about their battle.

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