An Arkansas couple is seeking to revive their dismissed lawsuit challenging the sale of Glorieta Conference Center in an amended complaint claiming new evidence and “better knowledge of federal court procedure.”
Kirk and Susie Tompkins, residents of Little Rock, Ark., filed new papers May 16 in U.S. District Court of New Mexico accusing LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention of fraud, denial of constitutional due process, unconscionable contract, breach of fiduciary duty and extortion.
The couple seeks $800,000 in consequential, compensatory and punitive damages they claim as a result of losing a lease to property on which their four-bedroom vacation home was located when LifeWay sold the encampment in 2013 for $1.
The Tompkinses were among 63 individuals, families and entities that owned homes on land they were leasing at the time of the sale. They turned down an offer to sell the residence for just under $85,000. They claim the home is worth at least $283,000.
Kirk Tompkins represented the couple without aid of a lawyer in a lawsuit originally filed in 2013. A federal judge dismissed the case in 2015, saying the couple did not meet the burden of making a legal claim.
A spokesperson for the Southern Baptist Convention publishing house remained confident that LifeWay will prevail in the renewed lawsuit.
“The courts have ruled twice against the plaintiff on his concerns,” said Carol Pipes, LifeWay’s director of corporate communications. “We have high levels of confidence they will continue to do so.”
New evidence includes online records in a Santa Fe County assessor’s office database listing LifeWay as current owner of more than 2,000 acres at Glorieta as recently as March 2017. Tompkins now alleges the purported sale of the entire property was fabricated to drive down the price of his home.
Tompkins also claims that LifeWay is responsible for environmental concerns currently dogging the new owners of Glorieta and may have hidden knowledge of potential health hazards to him and the other families who owned homes on the property.