Celebration Church founder Stovall Weems starts a website to clear his family’s name.
Stovall Weems, the founder of Celebration Church, wants to clear his family’s name of “slanderous lies that cost us everything.” To do this, he has started a new website to counter the story told by the current leaders of the Jacksonville, Florida, megachurch where he and his wife, Kerri, were kicked out of leadership in 2022 because of abuse allegations, including financial fraud.
Weems wrote on a website called ClearingOurName.com, “In 2022, we were accused of salacious lies that cost us everything: our life’s work, the ministry we built for God’s kingdom, our jobs, our finances, our reputations, and even many of our closest friends.” “The problem is that the things that were said about us and the things that were done to us were both false and illegal.”
Last April, the 12,000-member Celebration Church released an internal report that said Weems and his wife were abusive, mentally ill divas who took advantage of church staff and money until they were forced to quit all their church jobs earlier that month.
Celebration Church leaders are trying to get them to leave a house on Black Hammock Island that they bought as a parsonage. Celebration Church is suing the Weemses to get them out of the million-dollar waterfront parsonage. This is because the Weemses quit all of their jobs at the church in April 2022.
Kerri and Stovall Weems
Stovall (on the right) and Kerri Weems | Instagram photo by Stovall Weems
In court documents, it is said that in December 2021, trustees of Celebration Church looked at the church’s finances and found that the Weemses had made “several large financial transactions” without telling or getting permission from the board.
“Multiple large transfers to new for-profit entities that the Weemses planned to manage in the future” were part of these deals. The motion says that the church paid $1.2 million for a parsonage that Stovall Weems’s company had bought four months earlier for $855,000.
The couple was also accused of doing something wrong when they used $1 million from a Paycheck Protection Program loan to buy TurnCoin, a digital currency that was based on speculation.
In their own lawsuit against the church, the Weemses say that the 22-page internal report made by the Nelson Mullins law firm spread false information about them.
“We all want to move on and leave behind the painful feelings we’ve had, but we can’t heal or make peace without the truth.” Everything must come to light, and the truth must be told. Only then can we get better and get along. “Weems” put something on the site. “Most of all, as a man of God, a husband, and a father, I need to clear my name and restore my wife and children’s honor, so they won’t have to walk around this city with a cloud of shame over their heads.”
Weems, who is still praying and fasting with his family, has put copies of his lawsuits against the church and a review of Celebration Church’s internal report by a former FBI agent, Tom Simon, on his website. Now that he has a license, Simon works as a private investigator in Florida.
Simon said he had never met Weems before he was asked to look over the Mullins report. As of the date of the report, August 12, 2022, he had been paid $4,000 for his work.
“I’ve never been to Celebration Church, and Pastor and Mrs. Weems were strangers to me before this engagement.” “But as someone who has written hundreds of investigative reports, it is clear that the first 12 pages of the Nelson Mullins Report were written to embarrass Pastor and Mrs. Weems by cherry-picking stories to show the couple in the worst light possible,” Simon wrote in his review that focused mostly on six “improper financial transactions” that Weems is said to have done while he was in charge of Celebration Church.
Weems “made decisions that I think were foolish” in some of his dealings with the church, but Simon said that most of what Weems did was within the law and that church leaders were aware of what he was doing as he made these deals. Simon also said that the Nelson Mullins report didn’t give enough background information for people to come to a fair conclusion.
“It’s almost as if the people who wrote the Nelson Mullins Report on the six “improper financial transactions” did it on purpose to leave out all the important information. This seems like an attempt to make Pastor Weems look as bad as possible when it comes to how he runs the church he started with the board he set up. This is why it’s important for any internal investigation to try to figure out what the subject wants (“Simon fought”).
“An interview with a subject is a good way to figure out what decisions were made in the moment, without the benefit of hindsight.” Pastor and Mrs. Weems asked the 15 authors of the Nelson Mullins Report to talk to them over and over again, but the authors refused or forgot to set up a meeting with the pastor and his wife. “He kept going.
Simon said that he is “highly skeptical of TurnCoin as an investment vehicle” because of Weems’s “dumb” decisions.
“Time will tell if it was a good investment or not, but I think he acted in good faith and in the best interest of Celebration Church (and related entities) in each of the “improper financial transactions” described in the Nelson Mullins Report,” he said.
“In conclusion, I don’t think the evidence supports the claim that Pastor Weems broke his fiduciary duties to Celebration Church, committed fraud, unfairly enriched himself at the expense of the church, or didn’t meet the fiduciary duties and standards of care required by the office.”
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