Valley woman accuses pastor of not returning $4,100

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By Jim Carr By Jim Carr

APACHE JUNCTION, Ariz. - Veronica DiLena moved her mobile home to a new lot in Apache Junction four months ago.

Before then, it was in this community less than a block away, where moving her home was quite a job.

“You have to put axles on it. Plumbing, sewer, A/C,” she said.

To help with the move, Veronica says she hired a man named Gerald Brenner after seeing his ads on Craigslist.

“He had a list of mobile homes he was selling,” Veronica said. “And he said oh, I move them too.”
Veronica says she felt comfortable dealing with Gerald Brenner.

And why not?

After all, he's a pastor for the Cost of Discipleship Church.

“We figured a pastor, he owns a church, this and that. You know, how dishonest can a pastor be?” she wondered.

So, Veronica paid Pastor Brenner $4,100 in advance for the move which was scheduled for late May.

But two days before the big day, Veronica says her moving plans began to fall apart.

“He never followed through. He's just like, oh, that's not the date I told you, that's not the date we said and I was like, excuse me?” she said.

Veronica says Pastor Brenner never did move her mobile home.

So, she filed a lawsuit in justice court and despite Brenner's written response stating he is “totally prepared to return the $4,100” he hasn't returned a dime. 

“He's given us every story that you can possibly think of and then contradicts himself and says I never told you that,” Veronica said.

3 On Your Side looked into Pastor Brenner and discovered he's in trouble with the state.

In fact, the agency that regulates mobile homes sales issued him a cease and desist order telling him to stop acting as a ‘dealer or installer of mobile homes without being licensed.'

Pastor Brenner eventually agreed to sit down with 3 On Your Side where he told us he was unaware he needed a license to sell mobile homes.

He showed us a license application he says he plans to submit soon.

“This is it right here, and so now we're going to be able to sell everywhere,” he said.

As for the $4,100 Pastor Brenner took, well he says he simply misunderstood the move date and intended on paying her back all along, but didn't when she decided to sue him.

“I want to go to court,” he said. “I want to clear my name. My desire for that has been unchanged.”

However, after 3 On Your Side got involved, Pastor Brenner came up with $800 of the $4,100 Veronica paid him.

He says he also intends on repaying the rest very soon.

“It's sickening,” Veronica said. “It makes me not want to trust anybody that has anything to do with the church.”

Veronica did finally get her home moved by a licensed company.

But Pastor Brenner tells us he will pay her back in full.

We'll let you know what happens.

UPDATE:

April 23, 2012
Veronica says she still has not received any additional payment from Pastor Brenner.