Mishandled Ministry Grants Discovered

March 27, 2015 | GNJ News

Grants from the General Board of Discipleship (GBOD) that were destined for various ministry projects among the United Methodist Church’s Korean, Asian American and Pacific Islander Ministries were mishandled by a former staffer during 2006-2010 and some of the funds were used for purposes other than stated in the grant applications.

The misused funds were discovered during a routine audit and a subsequent forensic audit. Findings of the audits were turned over to the Davidson County District Attorney General’s office in Nashville, Tennessee, for disposition who recommended restitution as an appropriate resolution.

In an agreement reached with the board of directors, Sungnam Choi, who served at that time as director of Korean, Asian American and Pacific Islander Ministries at GBOD, now known as Discipleship Ministries, has acknowledged that during his employment certain funds, which were meant to support various ministry projects, were mishandled by him and diverted from the ministries for which they were designated. Fund applications were altered to conceal his actions.

Choi has agreed to make restitution for the lost funds in the amount of $37,000.

“People who give to the Church need to be confident that their donations are used for the purposes given and managed with utmost care. Mr. Choi has acknowledged his wrongdoing and agreed to restore the $37,000 in question,” said Bishop Elaine Stanovsky of the Mountain Sky Episcopal area, who serves as president of the Discipleship Ministries Board of Directors. “The restitution of the lost funds settles this matter, and Discipleship Ministries is not pursuing further legal action,” Bishop Stanovsky said.

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