The organization that supposedly funded Columbus’ Christians of Faith Academy now says it never has had any affiliation with the upstart school or its football program.

COF Academy made a splash this summer when it unveiled a high-school football schedule that included Ohio powers such as Huber Heights Wayne, Cleveland St. Ignatius and Lakewood St. Edward, and major out-of-state programs such as North Allegheny in Wexford, Pennsylvania, and IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.

The daunting schedule came as a surprise to many because COF Academy did not exist until this year and is classified through the Ohio Department of Education as a noncharter school not supported by taxes.

Roy Johnson previously told ThisWeek that he is the business-development director for the Richard Allen Group, the financial arm of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, a nationwide organization with millions of members.

He said the church was bankrolling the school, and claimed that he was acting on behalf of one of the church’s chapters.

In early online postings, COF Academy even used 112 Jefferson Ave., the address of the Third Episcopal District Headquarters, the local branch of the AME Church. That same address was used in the school's application to the Ohio Department of Education, according to documents acquired by ThisWeek.

In a statement on its website, however, the Third Episcopal District of the AME Church denies “any affiliation” with COF Academy or the Richard Allen Group, and accuses COF Academy of “seeking donations” and contacting people about “life insurance” under the AME Church’s name.

“If persons come to you seeking donations to COF, please understand that the Third District has not authorized or condoned any person or entity to seek any donations in the name or authority of the Third District,” the statement reads. “If it is your desire to make a donation do so of your own free will with full knowledge that the Third District is not involved in any manner with either the COF or RAG or any of their activities.”

Johnson did not immediately return ThisWeek’s calls or texts for comment on Sept. 18.

Also, a scheduled Sept. 22 game against COF Academy is no longer listed on St. Edward’s schedule. Athletics director Kevin Hickman could not immediately be reached for comment.

Check back with ThisWeekNews.com as this story develops.

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