*When David Lee Richardson wrote a book that essentially implied tithing is a rip-off, I guess he didn’t think the consequences all the way through. Especially since the church he held a leadership position in, was none other than the Dallas, Texas mega-church, The Potter’s House, founded by public figure Bishop T.D. Jakes. Now, after being stripped of his title and told that he and his family are no longer welcome at the church, Richardson has filed a lawsuit.
The church has a congregational attendance rate of 17,000 and is home to familiar names like Sheryl Brady, Joby Brady, and Mark Jeffries.
Richardson’s book, “Sunday Morning Stickup: What Your Pastor Doesn’t Want You To Know About Tithes,” – yep, that’s the title, is a self-published work.
Richardson took to Collin County Court on Jan. 27 in order to sue The Potter’s House. He claims that his book, published in March of 2013, made no specific references to The Potter’s House or any of the church officials.
Richardson, who says he held a position of leadership at the church and primarily attended the north campus in Parker, says he was summoned to a meeting with two of the church pastors after posting the cover of his manuscript on his Facebook page.
“Plaintiff was advised that he was being asked to resign as a leader in the church and was officially stripped of his ordination license which he held for more than 20 years,” the court complaint stated.
“Defendant Pastor Brady expressed to plaintiff that she had no respect for him due to him writing the book. She went on to express that she makes no promises that she would read the book and she also expressed that leadership’s decision was based on the cover.
“Plaintiff was advised that defendant, Sheryl Brady, had spoken with T.D. Jakes prior to the meeting and was asked if she could strip plaintiff of his license and T.D. Jakes told her ‘yes.’”
Though Richardson’s membership to The Potter’s House was not revoked, he was not allowed to hold a leadership position, and could only attend under certain conditions.
“Jeffries told plaintiff that if plaintiff continued to attend church at The Potter’s House North, plaintiff would have to sit in the back if plaintiff sat in the middle section of the sanctuary,” the complaint stated. “Jeffries also pointed out a pillar to plaintiff and let plaintiff know that if plaintiff sat on the right side of the sanctuary, plaintiff would have to sit ten rows behind the indicated pillar.”
Richardson claims that on one occasion, on Jan. 27, 2013, he and his children were physically escorted out of the service by four police officers. The incident was a source of embarrassment and grief for him and his children.
“Once outside, plaintiff was told that earlier in the week the decision had been made to revoke his membership and he was no longer welcome at the church and if he returned he would be arrested for criminal trespass,” the document read.
Richardson is seeking punitive damages for negligence, conspiracy, aiding and abetting, assault, battery, defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress.