A pastor in Bridgeport, Connecticut, who allegedly sold a $1.5 million church and property to himself for just $1 is now facing fire from his congregation, his family and the law after he was charged with first-degree larceny and second-degree forgery Wednesday.
Bishop Franklin L. Fountain, the well-known leader of the Fountain of Youth Cathedral on Madison Avenue in Bridgeport, is accused of forging deed documents to the church that was founded by his father, Bishop Franklin D. Fountain in 1960.
Fountain, who faces more than 20 years in prison if convicted of the charges, was arrested and released after he promised to answer to the charges in court on Wednesday, according to the ctpost. He also referred to the charges as "ridiculous" and promised the situation would be "worked out."
"Isn't this all ridiculous," Fountain, 55, said. "I am the pastor and I deserve respect and I expect that this will all be worked out."
According to the church's website, their founding pastor, Bishop Franklin D. Fountain, gave leadership of the church to his son, Elder Christopher D. Fountain, on November 13, 2004, due to terminal illness. Some nine years later on November 16, 2013, Christopher D. Fountain passed the baton of leadership to Bishop Franklin L. Fountain, his eldest brother.
"By the Grace of God we the Fountain of Youth Church, Inc., continues unto this day, and God is adding to the church such as should be saved. Later in the year 2014, the Fountain of Youth Church, Incorporated underwent a glorious name change to Fountain of Youth Cathedral, Incorporated. The church that is Glowing, Going, and Growing in the Lord!" the church explained.
Police Detective Francis Podpolucha told the ctpost, however, that the complaint against Bishop Franklin L. Fountain came from his own family members — his younger brother, James Fountain, and his uncle, Donald Fountain, who are a part of the church's Board of Directors.
They charge that Bishop Fountain altered the deed documents without appropriate authorization then sold the property to himself. He is currently listed on city property records as the owner of the Pentecostal church.
In his bio shared on the church's website, Bishop Fountain is said to have been in ministry since he was 16 and served for many years under the leadership of his father.
He served the Florida State Diocese of the International Bible Way Church of Jesus Christ as a District Bishop, from 2011 to 2016, and was a member of the General Board of Bishops. He is also slated to be affirmed to the sacred ascension of Apostle in the Lord's church, in the 8th Holy Convocation of Resurrection Ministries International, Inc., on July 15, 2017, according to the church. It is unclear how the current charges will affect that honor.
"Bishop Franklin L. Fountain has achieved many academic scholastic honors, but the greatest of them all was when he received the gift of the Holy Ghost. Bishop has also served our country in the United States Air Force. He has Pastored many and established churches and missions within the United States as well as overseeing foreign ministries, bible schools and conducted revival crusades," the church said of the now controversial pastor.