Only on 12: Daystar Scandal's Newest Turn? Pastor's Parents Sue Schemers

Published: Oct. 16, 2007 at 9:51 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 17, 2007 at 3:11 AM CDT
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It's the newest development in one of the biggest church scandals in Central Alabama history, a scandal that cost so many people so much money, one word will remind you: Daystar.

Five years after the multi million dollar scam came to light, two of the last people swindled are finally getting justice.

The couple?

Daystar pastor Gary Dopson's parents.

The church itself no longer exists, but the scandal will remain forever.  Most remember the case where con man Steve Cooper and Pastor Gary Dopson convinced Daystar members to invest in an ill-fated real estate deal.

Among the victims are the church pastor's parents, Marion and Minnie Dopson.

Court records show they mortgaged their longtime home for $85,000, then used $32,000 of the proceeds to pay Gary Dopson's personal debts he could not cover.

The remaining $52,000 went to real estate agent Elaine Turner, who not only played a key role in the swindle, she is also Dopson's cousin.

In the suit, the couple says Turner promised to take the money and invest it, and pay off the mortgage herself. She made the first few payments, then stopped.

The Dopsons' suit also named several other key players in the scandal, saying they sold the couple on an Autauga County mobile home development that never existed.

Lawyers for all the parties were ready for trial in Prattville, but late last week, the case settled.

We asked Marion and Minnie Dopson's lawyers for their comment on the case, but they declined.

Those same attorneys would not tell us the terms of the settlement.

But lawyer Bill Roberts said he believes it's one of the last Daystar related lawsuits, and that while he knows of other victims, they have probably given up hope of recovering any money.

Daystar mastermind Steve Cooper remains in an Alabama prison on multiple criminal convictions. He is scheduled for release on April 12, 2033, but he is eligible for parole in 2009.

Corrections officials say Elaine Turner left prison in September 2004. She remains on probation.

Reporter: Chris Holmes