Hall of Shame: Borrowing Bob, the mooching minister

An Auburn Hills pastor says he inherited a fortune and he's banking on that claim to borrow money from people. But if he has millions, why does he need the cash?

Meet the newest member of the Hall of Shame: Bob Gray - pastor, politician and piece of work.

He claims he hit the jackpot when one his parishioners passed and left him everything, to the tune of $6 million.

The 59-year-old has run for political office multiple times and lost but that doesn't land him in the Hall of Shame. However, offering to gladly pay you Tuesday for a few thousand dollars today, does.

He says he's a pastor and a teacher and claims he has a trust account worth about $5 million. The problem solvers team tracked him down and found little teaching or preaching being done. Instead, he was sitting in his truck and talking on the phone all day. So what was he doing?

Kenny thinks he knows.

In March, Kenny says he got a call out of the blue from Bob Gray begging him for a loan.

"He pulls his Bible out and says how God's going to repay you and how good comes back to those who help others," Kenny said.

Kenny met with Gray through a friend. That friend, Tom, owns a lawnmower business Kenny frequents and urged him to loan Gray money, Kenny said.

Kenny said Tom told him Gray was inheriting a million dollar trust and needed a seven to ten day loan. When he offered to triple or quadruple his money, Kenny wasn't buying and said it sounded too good to be true. It didn't end there.

"Then he showed me paperwork of this trust he inherited."

There is, in fact, a will from a guy named Edward Bechtelheimer, Jr. which says: "I give and bequeath my entire estate to Robert A. Gray. I do so with the knowledge that my siblings will object."

Bechtelheimer died in 2008 and, according to Oakland County court filings submitted by Gray, he left more than $2.2 million in various bank accounts.
 
In addition, Bechtelheimer inherited his dad's estate when he died in 1999. That's now Gray's, too. The elder Bechtelheimer's court filings saying that estate's got more than $5  million in various banks.

So why is Bob Gray needing to borrow money?

Kenny said he only got excuses for his questions and never saw his money again. He said it was all a clever ruse and even found some background on Gray. In 1988, he was convicted of fraud in Texas. He said if he would have known that, he never would have loaned him the cash.

But Kenny's story isn't all there is.

Bob Layton is a former pastor. Ten years ago, he and Gray got into a dispute about Lighthouse Baptist Church in Commerce Township. The church is no longer there but they remember him. They also remember a member of the church Bob took under his wing: Ed Bechtelheimer, Jr. who had just inherited his dad's estate.

Layton said once Ed and Gray met, they were friends, at first, but Gray then took him for every dime he was worth. After meeting, Ed started withdrawing large amounts of money from the estate. That caught the attention of the court-appointed personal representative to the estate, Kathleen Ryan.

In 2002 Ryan, now a probate judge wrote that she was concerned Ed was being taken advantage of by Gray. That warning went unheard by Ed and he disregarded his family and left everything to Gray.

Does the money exist? The probate court does not verify if the money is there but they rely on personal representative. In this case, that's Bob Gray.

The most recent filing says "cash in bank" was more than $5 million with accrued interest of $2,755. At 2% interest on $5 million, that number should be $200,000.

Ed's siblings say Bob told Ed he would take care of them before Ed died. But they've never seen a dime and say they don't even know how much money there was because 100% was signed over to Gray.

Ed's sister, Freda, says Bob even borrowed $20,000 from her. Now, that money would come in handy: she and some of her siblings are living on disability.

Bob's attorney issued this statement to the Problem Solvers: "As an attorney, I say the money is there. The money will be available in about a week."

Remember Tom? The guy who connected Bob Gray to Kenny? He believes in him but his wife thinks otherwise.

"He's the scum of the earth," she said.

Mary Beth believes he has tricked her family out of tens of thousands of dollars.

When confronted and asked about the money he was borrowing, Bob Gray offered a 'no comment' and said people are going to get their money back.

His lawyer said the money is tied up at the moment but there is no record in court of that. His attorney would not explain why.


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