ATLANTA (FOX 5) – To members of his congregation, Bishop Thomas Wessly Weeks is a charismatic, straight-talking preacher whose compelling sermons have garnered him followers across the nation.
Behind the scenes, Weeks had some very big financial troubles. FOX 5 News has learned that those financial troubles preceded the very public assault charges Weeks now faces for allegedly stomping and beating his estranged wife, televangelist Juanita Bynum.
Bishop Weeks and his wife moved to Atlanta from Washington, D.C. in 2006. The power couple was expanding their ministry; they moved into a $2.5 million home and had big dreams for the future, but Weeks left several unpaid creditors behind.
Atlanta police and prosecutors called the attack at the Renaissance Hotel, near the Atlanta airport, vicious. Weeks’ attorney said his client is regretful.
“My client is very sad, very concerned about what has happened, very concerned about the future of his marriage,” said Weeks’ attorney, Ed Garland.
FOX 5 News has learned that Weeks’ financial past includes several civil court judgments against the 40-year-old bishop.
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Court documents show that before moving to Duluth, Georgia, Weeks led a ministry in Washington, D.C. called, Center of Hope Community Development Corporation. Court records reveal a $63,000 judgment against Weeks from copier giant, Xerox Corporation, a $22,000 judgment against Weeks from jewelry store Tiffany and Company, a $13,000 judgment from a credit card company and a $6,000 judgment from Ford Motor Credit. In total, there is more than $100,000 in judgments against Weeks. Three of the creditors say Weeks still has not paid the debt.
When Weeks moved to Duluth in early 2006, family members confirmed that he and his wife, Juanita Bynum began leasing a $2.5 million home with six bedrooms in the St. Marlo golf community in Forsyth County.
Earlier this summer, a court gave the order to serve an eviction notice.
“We were given an order from our magistrate court to serve an eviction at the residence,” said Captain Mike Honiker of the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Department.
Dispossessory documents dated for June 26, 2007 indicate Weeks owed $54,000 in past due rent at the luxury home.
According to the eviction notice issued at the magistrate court in Forsyth County, when deputies went to Weeks’ home to serve the eviction notice, Weeks and all of his furniture was gone.
A source familiar with the housing arrangement told FOX 5 News that after Weeks defaulted on the first contract, he made a payment toward the debt and entered into a new contract agreement to buy the high-end home by April of 2008.