Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Stinks Like A Con Game Church

Investigation Finds Alleged Phony Church DarkSide in Full Swing
by ABC News NightLine

Teens at a Dallas youth dance club run by an Internet-ordained minister say it has made a positive impact on their lives and helped them stay off drugs, even though drug dealers do get in.

In an investigation by ABC affiliate WFAA, teens were interviewed outside a club formerly known as DarkSide that the city has sued to shut down.

The after-hours club is now called Fenix Project and it attracts around 500 teens nearly every weekend from Dallas, Wylie and other North Texas cities.

"I would consider a lot of people here my family," a teen named Brittany told WFAA. "I don't live with my parents. All the people I have met here are people who have helped me in the outside world. They all take care of me."

Owner Glenn Hudson says he helps youth and those who are disadvantaged, but Dallas officials suggest his ministry is more like a church of swing than of God.

The city attorney's office has slapped Hudson with a lawsuit for allegedly running two phony churches -- The Playground and the DarkSide. It says one was a club for swingers with condoms and porn stars, and the other a rave dance hall venue where hard-core drugs were sold to teens.

It alleges both operations are "positively pure fraud" and wants them shut down, according to Melissa Miles, assistant city attorney.

"They wrapped themselves in a religious organization," she said.

Hudson, who does not face criminal charges, only the civil lawsuit intended to halt his activities, told city officials that he was ordained with Universal Life Church and said his work is legitimate.

Owners say the club is an outreach ministry, trying to steer young people in the right direction.

This week, WFAA camera crews were not allowed inside the club, but they found teens dressed in everything from pajamas to barely-there bikinis. Some were even changing into revealing outfits in the parking lot and said the club has no dress code.

"We can't normally wear this in public," said one club-goer. "This place gives us the opportunity to wear whatever we want," said another.

The teens said they go to dance and hang out with friends and had lied to their parents about where they were going.

An investigation by Dallas Police undercover agents alleges that drugs are used at the club.

"There might be drugs because people bring them in," club patron Cali Williams told WFAA. "But if they get caught, their stuff gets taken."

"We caught a lot of people doing drugs," said former employee Alex Leal. "We caught a lot of people selling drugs."

WFAA camera crews witnessed one search outside the club where managers found a bag of hallucinogenic mushrooms. Police were called.

Attempts by to find Hudson were unsuccessful, and even city officials said they had a difficult time locating the itinerant minister. His lawyer, Jonathan Bailey, did not return calls from

After getting complaints that Hudson was running unlicensed sex and drug clubs under the "guise of religion," the city hired the Dallas Police Department's Vice Unit to conduct undercover surveillance at both businesses.

At the Dark Side, detectives found a rave dance club. Youth as young as 14 and 15 were present and able to buy an assortment of illegal drugs: ketamine, morphine, marijuana, hallucinogenic mushrooms and pure ecstasy, known as "mollies," the lawsuit alleges.

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