An unconfirmed rumor has been circulating among political operatives that senior Democrat party officials are actively conspiring to thwart Council President Darius Pridgen’s ambitions on the Mayor’s office. Operatives working at the behest of chairman Jeremy Zellner have been pushing law enforcement officials to investigate political activities of True Bethel Baptist Church, Pridgen’s tax exempt ministry.
Entities that receive a 501(c)3 tax exempt status are prohibited from engaging in political activities or commingling funds for political purposes. If an entity engages in outright political activity, the entity’s tax exempt status could be revoked. Criminal charges are possible if non-profit money was being regularly and intentionally used to support political activities, though those allegations have not been formally made.
The rumor suggests that an operative has been recording the past two Sunday services at True Bethel’s East Ferry location and will be doing so in the future in response to complaints from congregants that the pastor has used his pulpit to rile congregants for self serving political purposes. It is unclear whether the operative who is recording the services is a political staffer or a law enforcement official. The source could not elaborate.