Carol Ostrow Jun. 23, 2015, 12:38pm


A Beaumont church filed a lawsuit against three individuals on grounds of alleged property conversion in 2013.

New Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, an unincorporated church acting through trustee Joe Lewis, filed a complaint against Houston residents Cecil Phillips, Andrew Watkins and Rodney Thomas in Jefferson County District Court on June 11, claiming fraud in a June 2013 attempt to convey the church property to a business entity.

The complaint claims that the defendants tried to transfer ownership of the real property occupied by the plaintiff, located at 1817 Sabine Pass Ave. in Beaumont, to an entity called Iamsavednow Fellowship, presumed to be owned by Thomas.

According to the suit, the purported deed fails to convey anything and is out of compliance with Texas Property Code.

The grievance also states that on or about May 31, Thomas attempted to extort money from the plaintiff by trying to sell it its own property; and that none of the defendants have the authority to act on behalf of the church.

The plaintiff alleges that the filing of the deed for record compromised its title and needs to be removed by court order. Alleging slander of title, conspiracy, and fraud, New Friendship requests declaratory relief and asks the court to void the deed in question to establish the church as true and lawful owner of the property.

The plaintiff seeks up to $100,000 in compensation for actual and exemplary damages, pre- and post-judgment interest, attorney’s fees, expenses, and costs. The plaintiff is represented by Mel Shelander of Beaumont.

Jefferson County District Court Case A-197231

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