Hillsong Church Faces Two New Lawsuits Over “Immoral, Oppressive, and Unscrupulous” Behavior


The beleaguered Hillsong Church is facing a whole new set of internal issues this week after two real estate lawsuits were filed against them over an alleged failure to pay rent during the pandemic and building a structurally unsound apartment complex.

The Connecticut branch of the Australia-based celebrity megachurch is currently being sued for failing to pay over $100,000 in rent, theft of venue property, and “immoral, oppressive, and unscrupulous” actions by the Wall Street Theater Company, the owners of the building where Hillsong holds its weekly religious services. According to the filing, the church signed a new contract with the theater in February 2020, agreeing to pay a little under $6,000 a week for use of the venue. By May, because of the pandemic and lack of in-person services, Hillsong decided to invoke the 120-day termination clause in its contract, but then allegedly never paid the remaining $100,899.25 balance in order to terminate it. The theater also claims that Hillsong “removed electronic equipment belonging” to the theater in December and has not returned it.

A source told the New York Post, “Hillsong just ghosted the theater. When the theater sent them a bill, they responded saying they were a small not-for-profit and couldn’t pay it, and that they didn’t owe it anyways because of the pandemic.” The source added, “It wasn’t even a little bit of, ‘Let’s try to work it out.’ It was just, ‘Go fuck yourself and, oh, go fuck yourself.’ Hillsong, as a tenant, was always about the last nickel, which is fine, contracts are contracts, but when the shoe was on the other foot, suddenly they were a small church. It was quite sad, really.”

Hillsong is also simultaneously facing a separate $20 million case in its home country over a different real estate venture. The church is being sued by almost 300 apartment owners who claim that Hillsong and the construction company it hired to build the Rosebery housing complex did so in a structurally unsound fashion, according to the New York Post. The filing in the New South Wales Supreme Court names Sydney Christian Life Centre, a developer and part of the property arm of the church, alleging that they “breached their duties of care in causing or permitting the defective work.” In 2019, structural engineers allegedly found that the building’s windows and balconies were not up to code and the plaintiffs’ lawyer told The Daily Telegraph that residents were prevented from inspecting the property before buying their units, which originally cost between $440,000 and $945,000. Hillsong has already filed a counterclaim in response to this suit against Icon Construction Australia, the construction firm that built the units, with lawyers on behalf of Sydney Christian Life Centre calling them the real “wrongdoers.”

Hillsong did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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