National Lutheran News

LCMS FOUNDATION HIT WITH LAWSUIT

A class-action lawsuit was filed September 30 in St. Louis County (Missouri) Circuit Court against the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) Foundation, several past and current employees, and one of its former securities brokers as a result of the $40 million investment loss suffered by the Foundation in 1998.

The plaintiffs are 15 individuals who identify themselves as “trust grantors, trust income or remainder beneficiaries, depositors and other persons” with interests in assets held in Foundation fixed-income portfolios. Defendants are the Foundation; its former president, Dr. Norman Sell; Senior Vice President Wayne Price; Fred Sticht, former manager of the fixed-income portfolio; and Vining Sparks, a Memphis, Tennessee-based investment company.

The plaintiffs are seeking unspecified actual damages, punitive damages, legal fees and “a complete accounting of activity conducted by the Foundation.” They also want the court to declare the suit a proper class action and the plaintiffs as representatives of the class, others with similar interests.

Current Foundation President Mark Stuenkel said that the Foundation was served with the suit on October 5, although he did not comment on its allegations. He did say, however, “We will pursue a defense.” Said Stuenkel, “The assets held in trust on behalf of the many wonderful donors in the church are protected from this lawsuit.” He added, “This could take two to four years to resolve.” — LCMS News

The complete version of this story appears in the December print edition of Metro Lutheran.