Alleged Church Scam

It began Monday night when Pastor Samuel Merriweather says he received a call from a local husband and wife who were asking for money for a hotel.

We caught up with the couple leaving a local grocery store. They told us that in late January, a mobile home, which they were renting, was heavily damaged when a furnace exploded. Now, with one laid off from work and the other disabled, they say they are in need and are grateful for help they've received from local churches.

It is this help, which Pastor Merriweather says raised many questions after he found out that the couple had been staying at the Baymont Inn for at least six weeks.

"After she told me they had contacted some churches and some pastors and they'd been living in one of the highest hotels in the city at $50 some a night," says Reverend Merriweather.

The couple tells us that many nights churches did pay for their room. However, they say on other nights they or other relatives would pay. We asked them about the accusations. They say they are not true.

The couple later went on to tell us that they do not want anyone to think that they're running a scam, especially not against the church.

Pastor Merriweather says he's not convinced.

"The things that the Lord has made available for them, they're not using them. Like I say, Love's Kitchen has got food. The Salvation Army has a shelter. There are a lot of places they can stay cheaper than 50 some dollars a night!"

The couple told us they had contacted all local agencies for people in need, but mostly for them at least, they say the assistance was not available.

Because no charges have been filed against the couple, authorities say they've officially done nothing wrong. However, the couple tells us that they are now leaving Baymont. As for where they will go, they say that remains unknown.


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