Televangelist Ernest Angley, 95, has been ordered by a federal court in Ohio to pay back wages to employees of his Cathedral Buffet. U.S. District Judge Benita Pearson finally handed down a $388,000 judgment against Angley for damages & unpaid wages on Wednesday, March 29 months after a trial that took place in October and November 2016. The U.S. Department of Labor submitted the lawsuit on behalf of Angley’s employees in 2015.
Employees testified that Angley pressured them into volunteering lengthy hours working at his buffet. The workers were proven to be vital to the operations of Angley’s for-profit restaurant when they carried out responsibilities like “cleaning, bussing tables, stocking the buffet, chopping vegetables, and operating the cash registers,” Judge Pearson wrote in her opinion. The televangelist extorted free services from his worker/church members to save on restaurant expenditures with religious abuse by telling them their labor was a “service to God” and that refusing to help him with various tasks, including recruiting others to help, was akin to them failing God.
The restaurant also was exposed for keeping inaccurate employment records as they inappropriately labeled the workers volunteers. Angley and his attorney tried to convince the judge that the restaurant was for religious purposes and was, therefore, protected by the First Amendment. Judge Pearson wasn’t buying it. Two workers even claimed that they still had to pay taxes on their paychecks despite the fact Angley coerced them and others to return those paychecks back to him because of the restaurant’s financial hardships.
Angley’s attorney said he feels confident the televangelist and his partners will mount a winning appeal to Pearson’s decision.
Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth. James 5:4
Source: Eric Heisig, Televangelist Ernest Angley ordered to pay $388,000 for using unpaid labor at Cuyahoga Falls buffet, Cleveland.com, March 29, 2017.