Creflo Dollar sued over devotional text messages

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution/June 24, 2009

A California businessman sued the Rev. Creflo Dollar, his son Jeremy Dollar and his businesses Wednesday, saying the high-profile preacher misappropriated a business idea they developed together to text devotional messages to followers for $4.99 a month.

Dollar and his son reneged on the deal, took the businessman's trade secrets and started the "Word on the Go" texting service in 2006, the suit by Devone Lawson of Marina del Rey claims. They are making $50 million a year through subscriptions, Lawson claims.

James Evangelista, Lawson's Atlanta attorney from the Page Perry law firm, said Dollar also bumped up the price to $5.99 a month.

"The word from the preacher ain't cheap," Evangelista said.

Dollar could not be reached when a reporter called his World Changers Church International in College Park.

The suit, filed in Los Angeles County, claims breach of agreements and contract, fraud, misrepresentation, interference and misappropriation of trade secrets.

"Apparently, the Rev. Dollar and the Dollar Ministries do not practice what they preach, unless the prosperity gospel they preach justifies fraud and theft in the attainment of material wealth," Evangelista said.

Dollar, who claims 30,000 congregants in Atlanta, has a second church in New York City and an international TV ministry.

He preaches a controversial message that says God rewards faith with physical health, material blessings and success.

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