JEFFERSON CITY – The Dec. 31 judgment against the Missouri Baptist Foundation (MBF) has been stayed pending an appeal to the Missouri Court of Appeals in Kansas City. The stay order was entered on Jan. 24, by Senior Judge Byron Kinder, who has been specially assigned to the case after Judge Daniel Green recused himself.
The judgment as written by former judge Paul Wilson would have required the Foundation on Jan. 30 to surrender control to trustees elected by the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC). Since the Foundation broke away from MBC in 2001, its board has been comprised of self-electing trustees. The self-perpetuating board will now remain in control of the corporation during the appeal to the Kansas City appellate court.
Judge Kinder was appointed to the case following the recusal last week of a newly elected judge, Daniel Green. On Jan. 18, Green voluntarily issued an order recusing himself, stating that “his impartiality might reasonably be questioned in that he was raised in Memorial Baptist Church in Columbia and his parents still attend said church.” Green said that he did not believe that he was, in fact, biased toward either side, but he wanted to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest.
On Jan. 21, the presiding judge of Cole County, Patricia Joyce, appointed retired Senior Judge Byron Kinder to the MBC cases and set a hearing for Jan. 24 at 1 pm, to hear the Foundation’s motion to stay the prior judgment of Judge Paul Wilson. Wilson was defeated by Green in the election for circuit judge on Nov. 2. Wilson’s term ended on Dec. 31, and he filed his order in favor of MBC on his last day in office.
On Jan. 6, MBF attorneys filed a motion to amend Wilson’s judgment, asking Wilson’s successor to modify the Dec. 31 judgment to allow the self-perpetuating board to remain in control during the appeal.
MBC filed a reply brief on Jan. 21, advising the new trial judge that there was no just cause to delay the appeal, or to delay the transfer of control of the MBF board to the MBC elected trustees.
Also on Jan. 20, attorneys for the Baptist Home filed a motion joining in the arguments of the Foundation. Kinder deleted references to the Home so that the appeal may focus on the Foundation. Motions dealing with the remaining defendants, Baptist Home and Missouri Baptist University, may be filed in the near future, according to attorneys for the MBC. Those motions would also be handled by Kinder.
Kinder was elected as Cole County judge in 1972, and he served a total of five terms before retiring in 2002. Since retirement, he has served as a senior judge, handling cases on special assignment from the presiding judge. All the other judges on the Cole County bench have been previously disqualified from handling the Baptist cases for various reasons.