The Del Ray United Methodist Church in Alexandria filed suit against its former minister and his wife yesterday in Alexandria Circuit Court, charging that they stole or planned to steal $200,000 in church funds.
Jack C. Grizzard, who resigned as minister of the church on May 31 after officials began investigating the church's finances, was to be brought from Georgia to the Alexandria City Jail last night, police said.
Grizzard was arrested in Rome, Ga., after an Alexandria grand jury indicted him Oct. 1 on a charge of forging and passing a $220 check on one of the church accounts, police said. Both charges are felonies, each carrying a maximum 10-year prison sentence upon conviction.
The church's board of directors, which filed the civil suit, is seeking $300,000 in compensatory damages and an additional $300,000 in punitive damages from the couple.
"Hopefully, we won't have to go to trial with this," Lonnie Rich, the attorney for the board and a member of the church, said yesterday. "It's sensitive and hurtful to a lot of church members, particularly the members who were close to him."
Circuit Court Judge Albert H. Grenadier issued a temporary injunction freezing all of Grizzard's assets yesterday. On Oct. 24, when the former minister is scheduled to meet with the Commonwealth's Attorney, the judge will decide whether to continue the injunction or allow Grizzard to draw on his church pension fund and other holdings, Rich said.
Betty Grizzard, who also worked at the church, acting as a secretary and handling nonfinancial matters, is still in Georgia, according to Chris Beatley, the church's cocounsel. He said he will ask the Commonwealth's Attorney's office to summon her for the civil action.
The church, at 100 East Windsor Ave., has about 800 members.