Steve Lee, Pastor of Peter’s Rock Missionary Baptist Church of Detroit, claimed to partner with a local charity in order to take advantage of the needy. The Detroit charity, THAW, was established to help struggling community members keep their heat going during the winter months.
In an ad on Facebook, local citizen, Jacqueline Privett found contact information that led her to Pastor Lee. The ad said that the program would significantly cut down the amount of her utility fees. Privett decided to reach out to the pastor for help with her DTE bills.
“I asked him if it was okay if I came to his office and he said ‘yeah you can come to my office but I’m kinda on the run right now, so if you want to meet me somewhere else that’s more convenient that’d be fine’,” she said.
Lee requested that Privett meet him at a gas station in southwest Detroit where she says he arrived driving his new Camaro. Privett delivered a $150 money order to him. Though Privett’s power was not initially disconnected, the statement she received in the following month was a cause for concern.
“He changed my account from my name to the First Metro Property Leasing or something like that,” she said.
Along with the adjustment of the name, Privett received a warning that her electricity would be shut off. When she attempted to correct the issue, DTE would not speak with her directly because her name was no longer listed on the bill.
Others have reported misconduct from Pastor Lee’s financial handlings. Another citizen claims that she gave him $300 and also had her name replaced on the statements she received. Her electricity was only temporarily maintained.
Rob Wolchek is an investigative reporter based at the Detroit news station WJBK-TV Fox 2 News. On March 18, Pastor Lee made Wolchek’s famous “Wall of Shame” segment.
“According to his 2010 Bankruptcy, Pastor Lee owed over $300,000 in debts, including over $600 to DTE. He has five kids by four mothers and owes them thousands in back child support,” reported Wolchek.
After several failed attempts to find a good number and address, Wolchek found Pastor Lee leaving his church. When approached, Lee got into his muscle car and sped off. Later, the pastor deleted his Facebook account and contacted the news reporter saying that he would schedule an interview.
The day of the scheduled interview, Wolchek was contacted by Lee’s attorney, Steve Scharg, who canceled the meeting.
“He [Lee] loves his congregation and maintains his innocence,” Scharg said.