The New Mount Olive Baptist Church has chosen to honor its long-time pastor, Dr. Mack King Carter, by naming a Fort Lauderdale street after him. A noble gesture, considering the $3,500 fee, and an especially bold leap of faith when one considers the church's having already invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees to defend Carter against allegations by the church's former trustees that he took more than his share of the church proceeds.
In December 2007, I wrote this feature article about Carter's battle with the former trustees. I phoned Attorney Willie Jones today expecting to learn how the case concluded. On the contrary, it's still open, and will be marking its third anniversary in August, with no end in sight. Carter, who had previously said he'd retire in June, now says he will retire as pastor in September.
The trustees sued Carter after he suspended the church board, a move that prevented trustees from taking a closer look at the church's finances. Carter and his allies then reorganized the church structure. The dismissed trustees claim they were replaced by those who are uncritical of Carter.
"Even if we found a million dollars had been misappropriated, it's my belief that the current membership of the board would not do anything about it," says Jones. "The case will probably continue until there's some new leadership -- people who see the wrong of (Carter's) ways and do something about it."