Church Files BK in Evangelical Christian Foreclosure Case
Without Walls International Church has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in an ongoing foreclosure dispute with the $1 billion Evangelical Christian Credit Union.
The Tampa, Fla.-based mega church filed on March 5 owing $29 million to Evangelical Christian, according to local media reports. The church had defaulted on its loans prior to the bankruptcy filing. The U.S. Bankruptcy Court denied the credit union’s Dec. 31, 2013 request to move forward on a foreclosure case that began in October 2012.
An immediate comment was not available from Evangelical Christian in Brea, Calif. Michael Hooi, an attorney representing the church, told the Tampa Bay Times another hearing is scheduled for April when the court may schedule a trial to address any unresolved matters.
In its bankruptcy petition, Without Walls said it had an estimated $10 million to $50 million in liabilities and assets.
Without Walls initially went into foreclosure in 2008 owing Evangelical Christian $13.9 million, which was due in September 2012. In 2009, the credit union approved a mortgage modification for the church.
Without Walls filed a complaint in October 2012 against Evangelical Christian seeking more than $23.8 million with claims that the credit union acted inappropriately towards the church's founder, Randy White, by allowing his ex-wife, Paula White, to take more than $2 million worth of video and music equipment from the church to use for her own ministry, Paula White was hired as a senior pastor at another Florida church.
Without Walls had previously said Evangelical Christian allegedly made false statements about the church in order to thwart a deal initiated by Randy White to sell the property.
In the summer of 2013, Without Walls was up for sale for $14.75 million, according to real estate filings. The property, which has 63 acres and houses the 9,600-seat church, was initially bought in 2005 for $8 million.