Saturday, June 11, 2011

The ungodly duo of Frank McCourt and Rev. John J. Hunter

Prior to yesterday, I knew almost nothing about Rev. John J. Hunter, senior minister of First African Methodist Episcopal Church of Los Angeles and now clerical champion of Frank McCourt's struggle to persuade Commissioner Bud Selig to approve a $3 billion deal between McCourt and Fox Television.

Hunter doesn't have a household name like his predecessor Rev. Cecil M. Murray, the man credited with growing FAME's congregation from 250 to roughly 18,000 and a tireless voice of pacifism during the Rodney King riots in 1992.

When Hunter took over the helm of the church in 2004, he knew he had some big shoes to fill. So what did he do? He bought new shoes.

An IRS audit in 2008 revealed that the reverend used church credit cards to pay for "at least $122,000 in personal expenses over a three-year period, including jewelry, family vacations, clothing and auto supplies, according to documents and church sources." (Source: LA Times)

Stupid me. And here I thought the role of a spiritual leader was to comfort the sick, feed the poor, cloth the naked and organize bake sales.

Quiz time:

_________________ is basically a wolf disguised as a shepherd who used his organization like an ATM machine.
A. Rev. John J. Hunter
B. Frank McCourt
C. All of the above
But wait, Hunter's sins aren't only financial, allegedly. In a lawsuit filed against Hunter in 2009, a subordinate named Rev. Brenda Lamothe claimed that he pressured her to perform "on-demand sex" as a way to fulfill her church duties.  (Source: LA Weekly)

The following is an excerpt from Lamothe’s statement (courtesy of Mo’Kelly):
The time has now come for John Hunter to tell the truth. To reconcile with God and his congregation. John Hunter has said that I am lying about the things he’s done....I know that John Hunter has a 4-5 inch vertical scar on the right side of his buttocks and hip area.  It is a very clean scar, like fine brown line. I know this because of the abuse I have suffered, and it is the truth.
A mere few minutes on Google turned up quite a bit of dirt on Hunter. What I couldn't find were the results of Lamothe's lawsuit. But given that unsavory facts about Hunter are so readily available on the web, why would McCourt welcome his support? If you're a scoundrel, would you enlist a fellow scoundrel to publicly plead your case? Conversely, Hunter may now have to readdress inquiries into his checkered past as a result of his association with McCourt. Honor among thieves, they say; but don't expect us non-thieves to go along.

McCourt made the same blunder when he hired Steve Soboroff as his mouthpiece. As a guest on KPCC on May 5, an incoherent-sounding Soboroff claimed that MLB's investigation of McCourt's mishandling of the team had a predetermined outcome. You can listen to the full audio here.

It's a cliche, but you got to choose your friends wisely.

Rev. John J. Hunter's biography can be found here.

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