A Republican candidate for Jefferson County Circuit Clerk says he will remain in the race despite a recent court ruling against him in a church dispute over money.
A jury ruled against Phillip Brown, who was sued by the Sandusky Church of Christ and its pastor James Willcutt. They say Brown moved money from a church bank account without authorization.
Brown, who faces Democrat Jacqueline Smith in the November midterms, was ordered to pay $230,000. That’s the amount the church pastor says he removed from the church’s account.
A lawyer in the Alabama Secretary of State’s office said because the case was civil and not criminal, the ruling does not disqualify Brown from running for political office.
Brown, a church trustee when the dispute started five years ago, says he moved the funds to prevent the pastor from spending the church’s money at will.
“No money was taken at all,” Brown says. “The money is back. The pastor was angry and came after me.”
Attempts to reach a spokesman for the church were unsuccessful.
The Sandusky Church of Christ is a small congregation in west Jefferson County. Brown says he has left that church and worships with a congregation in Bessemer.