BOSSIER PARISH, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – A Bossier Parish district judge has ordered the pastor of a local church to turn over records dating back to 2013 after church members filed lawsuits in March requesting the information.

The lawsuits were filed against First Baptist Church of Bossier, senior pastor Dr. Brad Jurkovich, worship pastor Eddie Colvin, and church administrative secretary Lorine Spratt.

Plaintiffs in the lawsuits include Randy Boyett, Gary Cain, Michael B. Cockerham, Ted Hayes, Raymond J. Lasseigne, C.A. “Jackie” Lewis, Mike Pearson, Robert Perry, Wade Rasberry, Steve Robinson, Clinton Scates, Henry W. Smith Jr., Ken Thomas, Mickey Walker and Ronald L. Worley.

The lawsuits came after what petitioners claim was months of trying to get Jurkovich to share financial, personnel, and other church-related records with them and other congregation members.

The plaintiffs maintain that as members of FBC Bossier, they were denied access to church financial records going back as far as 2014. After a number of requests and meetings with Jurkovich, with no results, they hired attorney Allison Jones to help them obtain the records.

Jones sent a letter to the defendants in December making 34 requests for specific information. Jones filed a Writ of Mandamus on March 9 in Bossier District Court after the plaintiffs did not receive the information, asking the Court to order the defendants to turn over church records for review.

In response to the plaintiff’s Writ of Mandamus, Bossier Parish Judge Charles Smith, on March 10, issued an order “directing and compelling” FBC to “immediately permit Plaintiffs to inspect” the church’s corporate records according to Louisiana law.

If the defendants chose not to turn over the records, they were ordered to come to Court on April 14 and explain why.

But on April 7, FBC’s attorney sent a letter to the Court, asking that the April 14 court date be continued until May 17, claiming a meeting was planned with the plaintiffs to discuss the charges. The judge agreed to do so.

The plaintiffs filed a second lawsuit on March 10 against the church and three defendants – a three-page Petition for Declaratory Judgement that outlines how Jurkovich managed to circumvent the church’s original Articles of Incorporation and asks the Court to rescind the 2014 amendments to the 1937 Articles.

The plaintiffs claim that in 2014, Jurkovich illegally amended its 1937 articles of incorporation, giving himself total power over the church, its finances, employees, members, and all other church-related matters, with no oversight.

The suit accuses Jurkovich of spending church funds on unapproved projects, including diverting money designated for the missions to a 2020-formed fundamentalist group, the Conservative Baptist Network, that claims the Southern Baptist Convention is too liberal. Jurkovich is on the steering committee of that group.

Jurkovich joined First Baptist in Bossier in January 2014, replacing Dr. Fred Lowery, who retired after serving as the pastor of FBC for 30 years. The lawsuit claims Jurkovich orchestrated a power play to amend the church’s 77-year-old charter without explaining how those amendments would take away oversight by the church’s board of directors.

According to one of the lawsuits, when Jurkovich came to the church, upwards of 1,500 people attended Sunday services, but today, “a Sunday Service now only sees approximately 250 to 400 in attendance.*”

On May 17, however, Smith ruled that the plaintiffs have standing and can go forward with their lawsuit.

Four days before the May 17 hearing, the defendants filed an answer to the Writ of Mandamus, asking that it be dismissed, meaning the plaintiffs would not be allowed to view the requested information.

Whether the defendants’ answers to the two suits prompted the plaintiffs to file the First Amended Petition for Declaratory Judgement, or it was already in the works is unknown. Regardless, attorneys for the plaintiffs filed a 23-page document on May 16 that expanded the original three-page document.

The amended petition details specific allegations that the defendant misused FBC funds and funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars in church money to outside organizations, friends, and the pastor’s family.

The plaintiffs and the defendants will be back in Bossier Parish District Court on June 21, when the judge will hear their arguments. At the May 17 hearing, Smith gave the plaintiffs until June 15 to file any additional pleadings and gave the defendants until June 17 to file any additional writings.

By then, the plaintiffs should have all the information for the case to go forward. In his May 27 order, Smith wrote, “the defendants have produced 17 of the requested items with 16 in dispute by the parties,” who said the plaintiffs already had the information or that it was beyond the scope of the Louisiana law governing corporate records and reports (RS 12:223).

*First Amended Petition for Declaratory Judgement, page 21, pg. 131-132.