Indianapolis church sues JP Morgan Chase over trust funds

(file photo)
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The little church on the Circle, as Eli Lilly called it, has filed suit in federal court against JP Morgan Chase.

Christ Church Cathedral claims Chase mismanaged the trust funds left to the church by Lilly, meant to ensure they would be able to maintain their place in the community.

Currently, those funds total $31 million. Christ Church says that number should be around $44 million. The church says JP Morgan Chase purchased 177 different investment products - most from itself.

The situation has now prompted a cutback at the church and some layoffs.

"This was the last resort. We tried to resolve through other means," said Rev. Stephen Carlsen in a Wednesday afternoon press conference.

Christ Church was founded in 1837 and remains a downtown staple to this day. Lilly even authored a book about the church entitled, "The Little Church on the Circle."

"These funds were left by Eli Lilly so his church, the church he was baptized in and was buried, remain on the Circle and do outreach ministry."

Lilly actually left three trusts to ensure the church's future, but bank consolidations put JP Morgan Chase in charge of two of those.

"It is our belief that if these trusts had been managed properly, the value of the trust would be $13 million higher," said attorney Linda Pence.

"We have people come into the church from all walks of life. It's not uncommon to have community leaders praying in the same pew as a homeless person," Rev. Carlsen said.

No word from JP Morgan Chase, but the bank did resign as trustee last November.