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Lawsuit Accuses NAMB President Kevin Ezell of Lying to Get Higher Price on Home

By Liz Lykins
kevin ezell real estate home NAMB
Kevin Ezell serves as president of the North American Mission Board. (Photo: NAMB)

A Georgia couple is accusing Kevin Ezell, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s North American Mission Board (NAMB), of lying to get a higher price on a real estate sale, according to a recent lawsuit.

Filed in the Fulton County Superior Court in Georgia this September, the suit alleges that Kevin Ezell, his wife, and other real estate agents lied and misrepresented facts to David and Velena Berny. The Bernys bought Ezell’s former home in 2019 but paid a higher purchase price due to the lies, the suit states.

Ezell denied the charges in the lawsuit in a motion to dismiss filed in the court in October. The document said the suit’s claims are fraud and conspiracy that have come from the “out of left field department.”

Initially, the buyer’s agent said the basement was not included in the purchase price of Ezell’s home, but cost an additional $100,000, the suit said.

Later, Ezell’s agent, Michael Stevens, reportedly claimed the builder finished the basement before closing, but that the Ezells had paid for most of the basement after closing.

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NAMB real estate
Offices of the North American Mission Board in Alpharetta, Ga. (Courtesy image)

The buyers’ agent then claimed that the Ezells paid for half of the basement before closing and half after closing, the suit said.

In an attempt to resolve the matter, the buyers spoke directly to Ezell, who reportedly claimed he had paid “well over half the cost to finish the basement after closing.”

By mispresenting when the basement was paid for and how much it cost, Ezell was able to get the buyers to “pay a higher purchase price for the property” the lawsuit said. Additionally, the suit said Ezell acted in “bad faith,” was “stubbornly litigious,” and caused “unnecessary time, trouble, and expense” to the Bernys.

The suit alleges that the plaintiffs were damaged by Ezell’s lie in an “amount to be proven at trial.”

While the Bernys alleged that the Ezells misrepresented the cost of the house, the Ezells’ motion said that the “sellers have no duty to educate the plaintiffs, as buyers, on what the property may or may not be worth.”

Wood North American MIssion Board NAMB hunt
NAMB logo

The Roys Report (TRR) reached out to NAMB Spokesperson Mike Ebert for comment on the suit. No response was received by press time.  

Ezell recently made headlines over another lawsuit involving Will McRaney, former executive director of the Baptist Convention of Maryland and Delaware.

The former director alleges that NAMB and Ezell defamed McRaney by demanding the state convention fire him or lose $1 million in funding, the Baptist News Global reported. McRaney said they also demanded that other Baptist groups refrain from hiring McRaney for consulting or speaking engagements.

McRaney said he was targeted because he refused to go along with changes Ezell has pioneered in NAMB’s national church-planting strategy, according to the news publication.

A U.S. district court judge dismissed the suit this August, claiming lack of subject matter jurisdiction. However, McRaney is petitioning the case to the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. More than 60 people have signed a brief supporting the appeal, including a former president of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee, Baptist News Global reported.

The NAMB works to mobilize Southern Baptist churches “for their next step in missions in North America,” according to the NAMB website. “With a heart for pastors and a passion for the gospel,” Ezell has served as president of NAMB since 2010, the website said.

The website added that Ezell has planted more than 10,000 churches during his tenure, with these church plants being responsible for nearly 10 percent of all baptisms in the Southern Baptist Convention.

Prior to joining NAMB, Ezell worked as a senior pastor of churches in Texas, Illinois, and Kentucky.

Freelance journalist Liz Lykins writes for WORLD Magazine, Christianity Today, Ministry Watch, and other publications.

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8 Responses

  1. Isn’t this exactly what the former president is doing? These thing filter down, from “locker room talk” (which incidentally was the exact day I left his fold), to lying on real estate forms, to rape and rape allegations. When your leader, the one you think is “anointed by God” does these things, that makes it perfectly okay for everyone to do them. And this leaves a world in chaos. Julie, I never miss your podcast, and love what you are doing. I am a graduate of Moody, but this was when I was young and bright-eyed and bushy tailed and believed everything everyone told me. I’m now 73 and I admit, a bit jaded. When I look back on my 3 years there I wonder at things I saw, but ignored – because our leaders were always right. And we trusted them.

    1. We should maintain a healthy skepticism of all human beings. We are flawed. As a follower of Christ and an attorney, the subject of this article has little to do with the former President. Additionally, you should be just as skeptical of flawed reports and reporters.

  2. Evangelicals have forever given up the moral high ground with their own constant lying and their worship of a lying conman.

  3. I’m someone who thinks KE probably used NAMB and CP dollars to get revenge on a former employee. Not good at all. But, I read the complaint in this case and thought it was pretty thin. The buyer’s standard to not offer more than 5% of the sellers purchase price is an unusual way yo make an offer. If someone owned a home for a longtime it’s going to be over that percentage. Most of us look at the asking price and recent sales comps for the area.

    1. Dan, I have no idea what the buyer was or was not thinking or the situation that gave rise to the alleged 5% figure, but others have shared with me evidence that the buyers were both workers in the financial world, including taxes.

      1. Thanks Will. Don’t know you personally, but I am so sorry things happened to you the way they did. Best of luck in everything.

        1. Thank you Dan. If you or your friend has information to share that demonstrate how Ezell treats even staff, you or they can contact me and I can put them in contact with credible people who will handle the info well.

  4. “The website added that Ezell has planted more than 10,000 churches during his tenure, with these church plants being responsible for nearly 10 percent of all baptisms in the Southern Baptist Convention”

    This is Mt Everest sized hubris. Ezell may have been president of NAMB since 2010 but he was in an office job, not working as a church planter. Even if those under him in NAMB started reproducing house churches across North America (which I don’t think they have- prove me wrong) he still would not have been involved. Claiming credit for what others has done is the height of pride. From which we are warned is a long fall.

    Further, a whole segment of NAMB “church plants” are nothing more than young pastors taking over old/dying churches and replacing the entire aging congregation with young families transferring in from other churches. Happened in two locations in my metropolitan area in the past ten years. Not to mention independent churches joining the SBC so they can get discounts on seminary tuition. Been there, seen that. Again, no church real planting going on, just numbers inflation.

    Did Ezell lie about his house value to get more money? No idea. But he and SBC are clearly lying about his involvement in church planting across America.

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