By Bob Allen
Southern Baptist Convention President Ronnie Floyd has turned down an Arkansas couple’s request that he appoint a special committee to investigate whether LifeWay Christian Resources trustees acted improperly in the 2013 sale of Glorieta Conference Center for $1.
In an open letter July 21, Kirk Tompkins, who with his wife, Susie, sued in federal court seeking damages for lost value of their vacation home built on Glorieta property with a lease voided by the sale, asked Floyd, pastor of Cross Church in Northwest Arkansas, to bring the issue before messengers to the 2016 SBC annual meeting.
“I prayerfully ask you, Dr. Floyd, as president of SBC, will you bring the Glorieta issue before SBC 2016 annual meeting for discussion, appoint a study committee and audit the LifeWay sale of Glorieta, then ask for a vote by the messengers to require LifeWay to pay Glorieta home and lodge owners fair value for their assets?” Tompkins wrote. “All court filings are publically available for the study committee.”
Tompkins said in an email July 31 that he received a reply.
“The president of the Southern Baptist Convention has neither the duty nor the authority to initiate an investigation or an additional audit of one of our entities,” Floyd’s response said in part. “That authority lies in the board of trustees the messengers elected. I respect the trustees’ collective wisdom and have every confidence that these trustees have handled this matter ‘decently and in order.’”
Tompkins filed a $12.3 million lawsuit in 2013 alleging misconduct by LifeWay Christian Resources, the Southern Baptist Convention and the SBC Executive Committee in the transfer of the 2,400-acre retreat near Santa Fe, N.M., opened by Southern Baptists in 1952 to a newly formed corporation called Glorieta 2.0.
A federal judge dismissed the case in March, but the couple is appealing that ruling to the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.