Yo Quiero My Money Back

Former Taco Bell owner and Baptist Foundation ex-director files lawsuit against BFA

"During this visit, Foundation staff members used the favorable introduction and recommendations made by Bass and Agee as a springboard to promote the Foundation's investments, Christian integrity and good work," Kimsey's suit says.

The lawsuit says Bass and Agee had been "alerted" in 1998 by New Times articles that four CPAs and an attorney working for the foundation had resigned because they felt BFA was misleading investors.

Kimsey alleges Bass and Agee failed to alert the Kimseys to any possible financial problems, and instead "enthusiastically painted word pictures of the Foundation as a financially stable organization with a long history of good works and integrity."

Mark Lang

Kimsey, through his attorney Richard Himelrick, declined to be interviewed for this story.

Bass did not respond to a request for an interview.

Agee says Kimsey's claims against him are false.

He says he never told Kimsey where to invest his personal funds or his church's money. He says he left the investing up to Kimsey. Agee himself had entrusted his personal retirement savings with BFA, and says he had no idea the Foundation was financially troubled.

"To be named in this thing is really upsetting," says Agee.

Investors are waiting for BFA to announce whether it will file for bankruptcy. BFA promised the Corporation Commission it would come up with some sort of a plan to repay investors in the fall.

Lowell Pepper, 73, a retired engineer and Sun City resident who invested "six figures" with BFA, says the wait is trying.

"I'm disappointed and angry about what this has done to the quality of my life," the World War II veteran says. "It's damaging my emotions. I'm preoccupied with thoughts about BFA. . . ."

Pepper says he took a consulting job earlier in the summer. The job entailed long hours and hard work, he says, and he deposited his money with BFA on July 19, shortly before the accounts were frozen.

"Now some SOB swindled me out of that," he says.

"I am 73 years old and I don't know if I've got one year left or 10. . . . I wake up in the middle of the night and BFA comes into my mind. . . . Anybody who's worked all their life and lived frugally to accumulate the money to retire on only to have someone come in and take a big portion of it -- it's got to bother you. . . . I will think of it as long as I live."

To see an archive of the previously published "MoneyChangers" series, visit the New Times Web site at http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/1998/121098/baptist.html

Contact Terry Greene Sterling at 602-229-8437, or online at tgreene@newtimes.com

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