Dr. Donald J. Davenport, the bankrupt California real estate developer who is believed to owe millions of dollars to Seventh-day Adventist Church units and members, took the Fifth Amendment and refused to answer any questions about his finances at a Los Angeles meeting with his creditors last week.
At the court-supervised meeting attended by more than 100 creditors or their representatives, Davenport, who relied on his membership in the close-knit church to build his financial empire, declined in sworn testimony to answer any questions touching on his assets.
The same day as the meeting, Davenport, who is under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission, moved in court to amend his original bankruptcy pleading, filed July 22, from his original petition for a court-directed reorganization of his holdings to a declaration of complete bankruptcy. The court denied the motion at that time, without foreclosing such a change at a future date.
Davenport's refusal to answer questions poses problems for his creditors, since the surgeon-turned-developer has not yet filed the court-required full listing of creditors and the amounts owed each. One of the most critical questions for some of the creditors is the extent to which the loans they made and for which they hold mortgages are secured by unencumbered real property.
Last week's court-supervised meeting of the creditors has been continued to Sept. 25.
The church, meanwhile, has said that its own audit indicated Davenport owes units of the denomination a total of$17,873,424 in loans, plus a total of$3,137,313 in accrued interest.
According to Lance L. Butler, treasurer of the General Conference,, five of the church's local conferences or regional unions have loans outstanding that were over $1 million.
Locally, the Columbia Union Association is owed $334,611 and the Potomac Conference Association, $45,000, according to the audit.