Attorney General Sues Man Who Posed As Pastor To Hijack Church Property

WESTHAVEN,CT - Attorney General Richard Blumenthal today announced a lawsuit against a man who fraudulently posed as pastor of a Hamden church, transferred the church property title to his own church and then took out a $1.15 million mortgage on the property that ultimately defaulted.

Blumenthal's lawsuit names Willie E. McKay of West Haven, Love Temple Church of Christ in Prayer, Inc. of West Haven, and Foundation Capital Resources, Inc. of Georgia. While not accused of wrongdoing, Foundation Capital is named because of their legal interest in the property as mortgage holder.

"This imposter pastor has literally attempted a church hijacking," Blumenthal said. "With unconscionable and unprecedented gall, Willie McKay posed as pastor of Macedonia church and fraudulently transferred ownership of the church's property to his own church's name, enabling him to borrow more than a million dollars for his own purposes.

"My office will fight vigorously in court to restore title and interest in Macedonia's property to its own members."

Macedonia was founded in 1963 by Henry McKay, Willie E. McKay's grandfather, who gifted Macedonia's current property at 184 Butler St. to the church in 1965.

Macedonia has been in possession of the property and conducted services and activities there regularly and exclusively since 1965. Willie McKay is not Macedonia's pastor, nor has he been a member of the church in his adult life.

On Dec. 9, 2005, Willie McKay - claiming to be pastor and acting on behalf of Macedonia - executed a quit-claim deed that transferred Macedonia's property title to the Love Temple, a West Haven church that Willie McKay co-founded.

The fraudulent transfer was done without the knowledge or authorization of Macedonia's pastor, membership or any other governing authority of Macedonia.

After the illegal transfer, Willie McKay pledged Macedonia's property as part of the collateral to obtain a $1.15 million mortgage loan from Foundation Capital Resources in order to borrow adequate funds to purchase Love Temple's two adjoining properties at 73-75 Fresh Meadow Road, West Haven.

In addition to Love Temple, Willie McKay also claims to direct religious services at the same West Haven location for a separate religious corporation called Love Tabernacle Church, Inc. that he incorporated in 1996. He is also principal of a for-profit business operated at the West Haven property, called LTC Productions, Inc.

Two years after Willie McKay obtained the mortgage on Macedonia's property, in September 2007, the loan defaulted and Foundation Capital Resources filed a foreclosure action.

Macedonia church officials reported the matter to Blumenthal's office after Willie McKay and others disrupted church services at Macedonia, during which time McKay erroneously claimed that his grandfather left the church to him and that church members would have to leave.

Blumenthal's lawsuit seeks a court order declaring the illegal land transfer and mortgage null and void. He has also asked the court to declare that the title and interest in the Butler Street property remain exclusively with Macedonia.

State law prohibits property of a religious society or corporation from being distributed among its members, or appropriated by any person for private use.

Blumenthal has also filed a lis pendens on the land records for Macedonia's Hamden property to inform the public that the fraudulent property title is in dispute. See, CTAG.