The Brooklyn preacher, who made headlines in 2022 after getting robbed during Sunday service, is back in the news after being sued for deed theft.
The complaint alleges the minister not only created a “fraudulent deed” that said he owned the property but had it filed in the Office of the City Register of the city of New York, where his mentor Eric Adams serves as mayor.
A lawsuit obtained by Atlanta Black Star and filed in a Brooklyn Supreme Court alleges Bishop Lamor Whitehead falsified documents that said he was the owner of a church building whose congregation he evicted earlier in the year. The complaint was filed on Friday, April 28, and named the pastor and Leaders of Tomorrow International Ministries Inc. as defendants.
At the core of the lawsuit is the 5904 Foster Avenue Trust, an estate plan set up in New York City for a property owned by brother and sister Lydia Moses and Michael Moses. This trust is the official owner of all of the “right, title and interest in the real property located at 5904 Foster Avenue Brooklyn, NY.”
After the property went into foreclosure, due to taxes, the trust, headed by the Moses siblings, paid $1.9 million “to receive the Referee’s Deed conveying the property to the Trust dated February 28, 2022, and recorded on March 28, 2022.”
Whitehead expressed interest in securing the property but did not have all of the money needed to assume full ownership.
Though the preacher and self-proclaimed real estate guru lacked the full financing to acquire the property, the trust agreed to give him authority to act in two matters related to the property — believing the funding would be met, the complaint says.
The Moses trust created an addendum that authorized Whitehead to “commence a legal proceeding seeking the lawful removal of the occupants of the property,” and “apply for financing to purchase the property.”
At no time, according to the complaint, did Moses resign as the trustee, or give up any authority and power in that capacity.
However, in April 2023, a few months after being federally indicted for fraud, extortion, and false statements connected to other church people and real estate deals, Whitehead created a fake deed and attempted to register the property in his name, the complaint says.
“On or about April 25, 2023, a deed dated April 19, 2023, was recorded in the Office of the City Register of the City of New York (hereinafter, “the fraudulent deed”),” the complaint says.
“The fraudulent deed was fraudulently executed by Defendant Whitehead as Trustee of the 5904 Foster Avenue Trust.”
Michael Moses is now seeking $3.5 million in damages from Whitehead and his church. He, as the rightful owner and trustee, is asking for the city to void Whitehead’s deed and future dealings regarding the property.
He is also asking for the court to award him any costs, expenses, disbursements, attorneys’ fees, and interest connected to the lawsuit — and any other relief it deems appropriate.
Whitehead says the lawsuit is baseless.
“That’s a frivolous lawsuit. That’s it,” he said in a statement on the claim to The City.
Controversy has seemed to plague Whitehead over the last year. In July, while preaching during service, video footage shows he was robbed of $1 million worth of jewelry.
Months later, a federal lawsuit was filed alleging he swindled one of his congregants’ life savings, promising her he would fix her credit and help her buy a new house. He is also accused of trying to make a local businessman give him a $500,000 loan in exchange for “favorable actions” from people he knew working in top spots in New York City’s political system.
The DOJ also accuses Whitehead of falsifying bank records to help him get money to pay for his New Jersey mansion, far away from the storefront church he pastors in Brooklyn.
The controversy connected to Moses’ lawsuit deals with the church congregation he evicted from the property, Glory of God Global Ministry.
The pastor of the church, Joseph Williams, says he was shocked when the ministry was kicked out of the building they had been renting since 2014.
As a result, they had to find a new space to rent and halt their food pantry, which fed about 200 people from the community.
However, in December 2022, the church sued Whitehead, claiming he illegally evicted them.
Sandra Roper, a civil court judge, ruled in the church’s favor and issued an order for the building to be opened again for the Glory of God Global Ministry to use. The Ministry was allowed to go back into the space in January 2023 but was not able to open service with members until April 2023. Part of the hold-up is the damage caused by Whitehead when he took over and threw a lot of the church’s belongings into dumpsters.
Williams was sure to document how the space was destroyed and submitted it to the courts. Now, Williams and his church have joined others and are suing Whitehead. The complaint, which was filed at the end of April, is for $5 million in damages.