A top Miami preacher has sued WPLG-Channel 10, accusing the station of character assassination in two reports aired in May about allegations he ripped off several people.
In his Miami-Dade County Circuit Court defamation filing, New Beginnings Missionary Baptist Church Senior Pastor Eric Readon says he deserves at least $12.5 million for his pain and suffering.
The Miami Gardens preacher’s ire stems from two stories that aired on the ABC affiliate in May about some of his alleged business practices, particularly embarrassing news for someone who fancies himself among the black community’s most prominent leaders.
“Some members of his congregation are now openly questioning his character,” the lawsuit reads.
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WPLG based some of its reporting on accusations against Readon from several lawsuits filed against him, but Readon is hollering “defamation” because WPLG emphasized that he is a pastor instead of blasting Eric Readon the individual.
His lawyer didn’t reply to an email requesting comment.
WPLG News Director Bill Pohovey simply said the station’s stories “speak for themselves.”
The lawsuit points out Readon’s congregation is relatively small and poor, so he does God’s work without pay.
To survive, Readon says, he conducts “business dealings,” according to the lawsuit. He also dabbles in real estate, mostly by buying houses that need fixing through a nonprofit he started and selling or renting them out after they’re renovated.
WPLG’s first report mentioned four acquaintances of Readon’s saying they gave him rent deposits and money for a car, and even to secure the appearance of an unnamed rapper at a party, but that Readon failed to deliver the goods.
He paid back $2,500 each to two would-be tenants only after WPLG started looking into Readon’s dealings.
The second report a couple of weeks later asserted Readon had talked a 70-year-old homeowner into signing the deed of his house over to him, and then sold the house for $380,000 without paying the homeowner.