ministry staff have been accused of stealing a "devotional" text
message business concept that the ministry then marketed to his
television audience, according to three law firms representing a
California businessman in a lawsuit filed in California state court.
Devone Lawson, of Marina del Rey, Calif., alleges that the World
Changers ministry and its employees worked with Lawson's company, The
Giant Killers, for more than a year on the business venture before the
ministry violated a non-disclosure agreement and formed another
company controlled by Rev. Dollar's son, Jeremy, to launch the text
message service in 2006. After Lawson discovered the theft, and
attempted to resolve the matter amicably, he was told by the ministry
to just "sue us."
The lawsuit alleges that in 2004, well before the explosion of SMS
text messaging and subscription daily text message services, Lawson
and his company developed a business idea to create an SMS text
messaging service that would enable subscribing members of various
church congregations to receive daily devotional or inspirational SMS
text messages from the church organization or church leaders
According to the lawsuit, the ministry's "Word on the Go" text
messaging service, which was launched in late 2006, was Lawson's
proprietary business idea. The service sends paid subscribers daily
devotional text messages from Rev. Dollar and is believed to generate
in excess of US$50 million per year in revenue to the ministry.
Quentin Williams, of The Butler Lappert Williams Firm PC, noted, "Our
clients allegations against Rev. Dollar and the other defendants are
very disturbing, especially since Rev. Dollar controls one of the most
successful and lucrative television ministries in the world. Mr.
Lawson put his trust in the defendants, but as we allege, they stole
his ingenious and lucrative business idea."
The allegations include breach of non-disclosure agreement, fraud,
unjust enrichment, civil conspiracy, breach of contract, and
misappropriation of trade secrets.
The case is "The Giant Killers, Inc., and Devone Lawson v. Rev Creflo
A. Dollar, et al.," (Case No. BC 416392 in the Superior Court of the
State of California for the County of Los Angeles).