Church Dispute Heads to Court

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A dispute between a Bowling Green church and its builder may have to be settled in court. It appears a resolution in the legal battle between First Christian Church and a Nashville contractor who walked off the job won't happen anytime soon. Church members say they just want this ordeal to end, but workers tell us they're just waiting to see a paycheck.

"I'm extremely frustrated. I feel like I'm suffering the consequences of other people's bad judgement."

Jerry Kieffer is one of several subcontractors who says he hasn't been paid for all of his work at First Christian Church.
Kieffer was employed by a Nashville contractor to renovate the church in January of 2001, a project he says should've taken about six months. But after the contractor walked off the job, it's turned into a frustrating legal battle that he says won't go away.

"Obviously, for a contractor to just walk off the job and quit is a cause, but I also feel the church engaged in some actions that were at the very least, poor judgments, and as a result have caused us lots of headaches."

The church paid the contractor, but when he didn't pay his workers, Kieffer says he felt his only hope of getting the $42,000 he's owed was to go after the church.

"The only steps I really can take. I liened the job for the balance of the money I'm due, mainly because that's the only real asset I can go against."

But Reverend John Wesley says the church has enough problems of its own. First Christian ended up spending more than $200,000 more than planned to fix the mistakes made by the Nashville contractor after he walked off the job.

"On the day he left, we'd had inspection of the front stairs and they were going to have to be completely torn out and redone because they were not built to code."

Both sides say this ordeal has turned into a major mess, and they'll have to wait and see what happens in court. A jury trial is likely to be set in June.