Evangelical Christian Wins Troubled Church Bid
At an auction Tuesday, Evangelical Christian Credit Union’s $2 million bid was accepted on a Florida church that had been plagued with financial woes for several years.
The $1 billion credit union in Brea, Calif., bid on the North Lakeland, Fla.-based Without Walls Central, according to local reports.
Without Walls Central is owned by the Tampa, Fla.-based Without Walls International Church, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection March 5 owing $29 million to Evangelical Christian.
Without Walls International 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.
As of June, Without Walls International owed vendor Lakeland Electric more than $5,200 and accrued nearly $30,000 in code enforcement fines from the city of Lakeland. In its bankruptcy petition, the mega church said it had an estimated $10 million to $50 million in liabilities.
Without Walls International initially went into foreclosure with Evangelical Christian in 2008. In 2009, the credit union approved a mortgage modification for the church.
In October 2012, Without Walls International filed a complaint against Evangelical Christian seeking more than $23.8 million with claims that the credit union acted inappropriately toward 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 International 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.
A comment from Evangelical Christian was not immediately available.