First AME pastor defends bankruptcy filing for FAME Corp

Los Angeles Wave Staff | 5/16/2024, 6 p.m.
In response to the recent financial decisions, Pastor Robert Shaw from First AME Church in Los Angeles has issued a …

In response to the recent financial decisions, Pastor Robert Shaw from First AME Church in Los Angeles has issued a statement in defense of the church’s choice to file for bankruptcy protection for three of its entities: Fame Assistance Corporation, Fame Housing Corporation, and FAME/Good Shepherd Center Housing Development as of May 1.

The move comes in the wake of severe financial difficulties attributed to what has been described as mismanagement and unfair business practices by the church’s leadership following the Rev. Cecil Murray’s tenure. Pastor Shaw disclosed that problematic transactions and the misallocation of assets by the previous administration had left the church in a precarious financial state, necessitating the filing to stave off further fiscal damage.

“The last thing I wanted these entities to do was file for bankruptcy protection, but the three involved FAME corporations had assets that were encumbered or otherwise transferred to other parties under questionable circumstances, creating an untenable financial situation for the church,” Pastor Shaw said in a statement released by the church. “The perceived mismanagement and unfair business practices in the administration that came after Rev. Murray sparked a chain of events that led the three involved Fame entities to where they are now. That status forced us to move quickly to avoid additional damage.”

According to one board member, “This has been a nightmare of epic proportions, I’m really disappointed with our current situation but my faith in God is unshaken!

The situation also casts a shadow over the legacy of one of Los Angeles’ most storied churches, with members expressing disappointment and heartbreak over the alleged mismanagement by former leaders. The financial turmoil follows unsuccessful efforts by Shaw’s predecessor, Pastor J. Edgar Boyd, to rectify the church’s finances and reclaim assets, underscoring the depth of the crisis inherited by the current leadership.

The bankruptcy filings threaten the continuity of critical community services ranging from transportation to housing assistance. Despite the challenges, Pastor Shaw reassures that efforts are underway to maintain service delivery without interruption.

“In the face of these setbacks, our determination is to move forward,” Pastor Shaw said. “Fueled by faith we embrace and include the community as our own to serve.”