SE Texas Record

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Dispute over ownership of church property results in litigation


By John Suayan | Sep 15, 2018

HOUSTON – A local church and the daughter of one of its late congregants are reportedly at odds over property rights.

New Zion Temple Church Worldwide Fellowship, Inc. brought a lawsuit against Ruth L. Falls on Sept. 12 in the Harris County 151st District Court.

The plaintiff alleges that Falls assumed ownership of the house of worship located at 1601 Ruthven without undergoing the proper channels for property transfer.

Falls’s father, H.W. Falls, purchased the property on which the church stands and transferred it to the complainant’s then-trustees in 1938. The elder Falls died in 1995.

According to court papers, the church conducted an investigation 20 years ago which revealed that the respondent filed a general warranty deed without authorization.

“She never informed the church of this activity and in fact there was never a church vote to take any such action,” the original petition says. “The defendant, nor her mother, ever owned the church building or the property upon which the church stands.”

Court documents further assert that the defendant’s actions “has resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxes on the property which should have never attached to a county, state, and constitutionally protected church property.”

“It is a far cry from what her father envisioned for the church,” the suit says.

Consequently, the plaintiff seeks unspecified monetary damages and a declaratory judgment.

Troy J. Wilson of the law firm Wilson & Associates, PLLC in Stafford.

Harris County 151st District Court Case No. 2018-62183

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