CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Attorneys for a South Carolina church are asking a judge to dismiss a lawsuit that seeks an accounting of millions of dollars in donations that poured in after nine black parishioners were shot and killed in an attack that police say was motivated by racism.
Attorneys for Emanuel AME deny that the church hasn’t been forthcoming with donation information, according to a report Thursday by the Post and Courier of Charleston (http://bit.ly/1Ot8yW0 ).
Arthur Hurd’s wife, Cynthia, was one of the nine killed in the June 17 shooting. His attorney, Mullins McLeod, sued the church in October on behalf of her estate, seeking to keep the money from being dispersed until the families’ attorneys can be sure it is going where it was intended.
Hurd has said that shortly after the shooting, he saw women in the church open letters addressed to victims’ families and remove large amounts of cash and checks.
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However, the church’s answer filed several weeks ago contends the plaintiff cannot show church officials violated their fiduciary duty and asks a judge to dismiss the lawsuit.
Attorneys for both sides had said in October they reached an agreement outside of court that the church must provide documents related to the donations, data it provided to its accounting firm and documents that firm produces. The agreement applied only to money the church placed into its Moving Forward Campaign fund.
Last month, the church said it would donate about $1.5 million of the $3.4 million given after the shooting to an organization that collected money for the victims. Charleston’s Hope Fund has raised close to $3 million for the families of those killed and the five survivors.
Nine black members of the church were killed last June during a Bible study group. A white man, Dylann Roof, has been charged with murder in state court and numerous other counts, including hate crimes, in federal court.
Roof was arrested a day after the shootings when a motorist spotted his Confederate license plate. Images on a website created in Roof’s name months before the attacks show him posing with the Confederate flag and burning and desecrating the U.S. flag. He also poses at Confederate museums, former slave plantations and slave graves.
Information from: The Post and Courier, http://www.postandcourier.com