CHICAGO (CBS) — A Chicago pastor has been accused of trying to steal another man’s family home when the man came to him for help. Harold Tidwell said Pastor Fred McDonald Jr. conned him into signing over the deed to a house his aunt left him.
A faded photo shows a young Harold Tidwell outside the house at a family reunion.
“My aunt is leaving the property to me, 100 percent,” Tidwell said. “I just lost it, because I didn’t know what I was doing.”
Tidwell literally gave the house away to a man of God, Pastor Fred McDonald Jr.
Tidwell said he did not understand the “direction to convey” he signed, transferring the deed for the house to McDonald.
McDonald wanted to buy the house, and he convinced Tidwell to give him the deed to use as collateral to borrow $33,000 to complete the deal.
“That sounded very good,” Tidwell said.
Once he got his hands on the deed, McDonald put a “For Sale” sign in the window, and put the house on the market for $79,000.
Tidwell said when he tried to get his deed back, McDonald “was very abrupt.”
“He hung up the phone, and I haven’t been able to get back to him since,” he said.
Rev. Tyrone Handy called McDonald a “shyster.” Handy got a judgment against McDonald for $7,600. In 2012, Handy was pastor of Build Up Community church. He said he hired McDonald to repair leaks in the roof.
“The quality of work was ridiculous,” he said. “We had multiple leaks in the church.”
Handy said he trusted McDonald “because he was a man of God.”
That man of God has four complaints filed against him from the Illinois Attorney General’s office; and a list of civil lawsuits, including one from Beverly Greene, who evicted McDonald from his church when he failed to pay $6,500 in rent.
McDonald wasn’t home when CBS 2 stopped by. The woman who answered the door defended him.
When told Tidwell accused McDonald of swindling him, the woman said, “he doesn’t do stuff like that.”
McDonald’s attorney called shortly after CBS 2 visited his home, saying it was all a misunderstanding, and McDonald would return the deed. Tidwell said he also received a text message from McDonald, confirming that promise.
“I don’t feel like I want to trust any more pastors and maybe not even religion from now on,” Tidwell said.
Once the deed is back in his hands, Tidwell said he plans to put the house on the market.