This is what Pastor Dennis Reid wrote to ABC Action News about a situation we reported on yesterday , where the Nugent family said Trinity Clearwater was withholding trust funds from Ireland, a girl who lost both feet in a lawnmower accident.
"I am saddened that the Nugent family has chosen to attack myself and the church that has done so much to support them.
In Mid-May, the Nugents created, without any input from Trinity, two trusts. The first trust is a special needs trust to support Ireland. The second trust is a family trust that has been created to assist the needs of the Nugent family excluding Ireland. I received a copy of these two trusts documents on Wednesday, June 5th.
"Because we were not included in the creation of these two trust, we had several legal questions. To help answer these questions, I participated in conference call with their attorney, also on June 5th. At the conclusion of that call, I called a special meeting of our session to vote on dispersing the funds per the families request for Sunday, June 9th.
"Our session, however, had additional questions and asked if they could read the trust documents before voting to fully fund the trusts. They did vote, however, to partially fund the family trust in order that any immediate needs of the Nugents could be addressed.
"The Ireland Trust already had money in it from other fund raisers, insuring that Ireland's immediate needs were being taken care of while we did our homework.
"To suggest that this is about power or control of the Nugents or the money given is simply ludicrous. Like it or not, the church is legally liable to fund these trusts according to donor intent, not the Nugent's wishes. We need to be able to look people in the eye and tell them, if you gave to Ireland, then your money went to the Ireland Nugent Trust. If you gave to the family, then your money went to them.
"Here is what I can tell you: every penny given has been sitting in a separate account and will be, at the appropriate time (if it has not already been done) given to the Nugents. Many members of Trinity Presbyterian Church have worked countless hours in support of the Nugent family. It is so sad that their family chose to slander us and tarnish so much good work that will go to help Ireland and the Nugent family in the future."
Dr. Dennis Reid