Talk of First Family facing foreclosure began in January with the megachurch owing more than $14 million on its mortgage to Regions Bank. Word that the church was losing its home base along with everything in the church came Sunday, with its final service at its current location taking place September 11. The church's board of elders said in a statement that "after exhausting every option with Regions Bank, we have no alternative."
But church leaders vowed to "rebuild."
Thomas reported that the church will "re-launch" under a new name, New Day Church Kansas City, on September 18 at Olathe East High School.
The story gets into the salaries of Johnston and his family. They are jaw-dropping if accurate.
In February, Regions Bank asked a Johnson County District Court judge to appoint a receiver pending completion of the mortgage foreclosure proceeding. Among the reasons the bank cited for putting the church under a receiver were the salaries of Johnston and several of his family members.
The court filing put Johnston’s annual salary as of August 2010 at $400,000; his son, Jeremy, at $210,000; and son-in-law Christian Newsome at $180,000. Johnston’s wife, Christie, made $60,000, the document said, and his daughters, Danielle Newsome and Jenilee Johnston, earned $40,000 and $25,000.
Through its attorney, the church said in February the salary figures were inaccurate. “There are only three members of the Johnston family on the church payroll — Jerry, Jeremy and Danielle Newsome,” the attorney wrote in an e-mail to The Kansas City Star. “The annual gross salaries for those three employees total $316,800.”
A later motion the church filed said salaries “have been cut drastically in recent months.”
For more on Johnston and First Family, check out former Pitch editor C.J. Janovy's firsthand experience in her 2005 feature, "Open Wide."