Supplement Your Income Selling Real Estate_Richard "Mr. Moo" Moore-Selling property that isn’t yours makes big profit and bigger problems
Now you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that most clergy, especially those serving in small communities and smaller parishes do not make the big bucks. Now those of you who think your smart alecks, I don’t want to hear any comments about working 1 hour a week. As one who has served in small communities for 15 years, I have a few great comebacks but I should keep to the subject at hand. Most clergy would feel pretty good to be on par with school teachers for salary based on education and years of service. Most I know would get a nice raise if that was the case and teachers don’t make the big bucks either.
Enter a new career for Rev. Randy Radic of Ripon, California. Rev. Radic had been serving a church in this little town near Modesto for 10 years. Radic’s time in the ministry started out well but then he fell on some tough times. A divorce with children involved can take a toll on finances, even with the best of salaries. Then add a fiancé’ to the financial mix. Radic’s solution: sell real estate. Actually to be more precise, he sold the house that the church owned free and clear and he lived in to himself, thanks to some forged documents.
To make ends meet, he would take out home equity loans on the house he “acquired”. Within a matter of less than 2 years, Radic was so far behind with payments that the company holding the home equity loans, foreclosed. Bankruptcy followed. Radic then sold the house to an investment firm and continued to live in the house. All this time the congregation he was supposed to be serving had no clue that they had lost their parsonage.
None of this fancy paperwork came to light until this past month when it was discovered that Radic had sold another piece of real estate, the church building itself. Now the First Congregational Church of Ripon is the city’s oldest church, built in 1917. Radic was able to sell the church for just over a half a million dollars within the same week that the sale of parsonage came to light. Now it will be Radic that will not see the light as he is jailed on multiple charges in San Joaquin County Jail on $1.5 million dollars bail.
Now what can clergy and congregations learn from this? Congregations should keep an eye on their property and assets. Don’t trust blindly even one who claims to be your shepherd. The shepherd may be dressed to cover up the fact that they are really a wolf in shepherd’s clothes. Clergy – if you need to take a side job, think of substituting at an area school or work at an area hospital as an overnight chaplain but don’t mention real estate to your board at church.
For those clergy, men and women of God who would and could never stoop to that level, be careful. Radic thought he was pretty honest too. But honest clergy can use this example at your annual review. When meeting with your pastoral relations committee, mention to them that you may not be the best pastor in the world but at least you haven’t sold the churches’ real estate. Dare I add, yet?