KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP) – The Missouri Baptist Convention's governance of the Missouri Baptist Foundation must be restored, the Missouri Court of Appeals – Western District ruled May 24.
The decision is among an array of court proceedings stemming from actions by breakaway trustees of the foundation, with $150 million in assets, and four other Missouri Baptist Convention entities in 2000-2001.
The appeals court ruling, announced by Chief Judge Alok Ahuja, upholds all facets of an October 2014 judgment by the Circuit Court of Cole County ordering the restoration of foundation governance to MBC-elected trustees.
The foundation appealed the trial decision to the Missouri appeals court, which heard arguments in September 2015 and handed down its decision May 24 to end some 15 years of control by a self-appointed, self-perpetuating trustee board. The foundation may appeal the ruling to the Missouri Supreme Court – its final option after repeated setbacks in the lower courts.
The appeals court, in its ruling, stated that "the Convention has standing to challenge the Foundation's disregard of provisions of its organizational documents which gave the Convention the right to review and approve any amendments."
The court cited a 1994 charter of the 70-year-old Missouri Baptist Foundation defining it as "a charitable corporation" under Missouri statutes "to support the mission of Missouri Baptists by 'developing, managing and distributing financial resources … as the trust service agency of the Missouri Baptist Convention.'"