JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The founding pastor of Jacksonville's Celebration Church is telling his side of the story as he faces allegations of misconduct.
Stovall Weems is suing the church for defamation as it accused him of manipulating and misdirecting finances.
"They just had control of the narrative for so long before we realized they are trying to destroy us," he said while appearing on the podcast 'Indie Thinker with Reed Uberman.'
Weems is taking aim at the church he founded – disputing claims in an investigative report that he misused funds in which the church says he and his wife benefited.
"What they did was to create a false narrative and secretly meet and secretly planned my ousting," Weems explained.
Weems says that process to remove him as lead pastor started in the summer of 2020 after he says he discovered financial fraud by a church trustee.
Weems told Uberman he believes the church overstepped its authority to oust him. He resigned earlier this year.
"The trustees that were only supposed to approve the annual budget, are now in complete control of the church and then placed me under investigation without every asking me one question," he said.
The church says Weems misused a $1.1 million loan from the Paycheck Protection Program even though he says he was unaware the church applied for it.
The church also served Weems with an eviction notice over a Jacksonville home, which the church says it owns after buying it from a company Weems owned. The church paid $400,000 more than he did a few months prior.
He plans to fight what he calls an unfair attack on his family. "It is my God given responsibility to defend my name," Weems said.
To listen to the complete podcast, click here.