Starkville church sues sanctuary contractor

August 13, 2018 10:00:57 AM

Alex Holloway -


Second Baptist Church of Starkville is seeking damages against TCM Companies, LLC in a in a lawsuit filed against the contractor for failing to properly construct the church's new sanctuary. 


The suit, filed in Oktibbeha County Circuit Court, contends TCM Companies, of Long Beach, was "negligent" in its work, which is described as "defective" several times throughout the initial complaint. 


In fact, the building was never actually completed and the church must file for a new building permit to restart construction. 


Second Baptist entered into a contract with TCM to design and build the sanctuary in May 2013, according to documents filed with the complaint. In July 2015, Second Baptist executed a change order to reduce the scope of the sanctuary project.  


TCM began work on the project in August of that year, according to the lawsuit, which continued through November.  


However, the complaint accuses TCM of failing to perform adequate work on the project. The complaint claims the company failed to properly construct the new sanctuary's foundation and "defectively constructed" the drainage for the project. 


"As just one example, TCM caused sudden damage to the project and the contiguous areas surrounding the site after effectively removing and replacing unsuitable soils, defectively compacting the soil, defectively completing the foundation work compaction of the building pad, defectively installing unsuitable formwork, and defectively installing unsuitable plumbing, all of which led to the direct and consequential damages incurred by Second Baptist," the complaint says. 


Donald Crowther, TCM's owner, is facing criminal charges of fraud, which are still pending in Oktibbeha County Circuit Court. Crowther's next court date is scheduled for Oct. 15, according to the circuit clerk's office. 


Second Baptist is seeking compensatory damages, punitive damages, court costs and attorney fees, pre- and post-judgment interests and any further relief the court finds proper in the case. 


Jackson attorney Dorsey Carson could not be reached for comment by press time. No attorney has yet filed a notice of appearance to represent TCM. 




A problematic project 


The sanctuary project has been a source of major contention for years for Second Baptist and has the pitted the pastor, deacons and trustees against each other in a bitter feud in circuit court. 


The project ground to a halt in December 2015, when the church's trustees sued Pastor Joseph Stone, Deacon Terry Miller and Crowther in an effort to recover more than $400,000 from the failed construction project. The trustees contend Stone and the church deacons paid the money to Crowther without proper board authorization. 


That civil case has lingered for years in Oktibbeha County Circuit Court, with no major movement since Circuit Judge Jim Kitchens in February declined to hold the pastor and deacons in contempt of court. 


Last fall, the church had to clear the construction site after receiving notification from the city of Starkville that the work site, which had sat abandoned since late 2015, was no longer an active work site. The church has since cleared the site.