Saturday, August 11, 2012

F'closing Bank Accused Of Booting Church Prematurely, Changes Locks w/o Title; Lack Of Sprinklers Leads To Loss Of School Operator's License, Default

In Sunrise, Florida, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports:

  • The clock is ticking for 300 parishioners at the United Pentecostal Church in Sunrise. With the church in foreclosure limbo, Pastor G. Oliver Barnes says a banker arrived Tuesday morning without warning to change the locks. TD Bank has given Barnes and his flock two weeks to clear out, the pastor said.

    "We need more time – at least a few months," Barnes said. "We are at our wit's end." It turns out the bankers failed to change one of the locks, so Barnes plans to hold Sunday services at the church, perhaps for the last time.

    The bank won the church at a foreclosure sale on July 18, but had not yet taken title to the property when it changed the locks, Barnes says. The bank failed to give Barnes the required 10 days to object to the sale.

    "That's a no-no," said real estate attorney Gary Singer, who is not representing the church. "You need to follow the [legal] steps" in the foreclosure process.

    Edward Cochran, vice president of TD Bank in Boca Raton, referred questions to attorney Jon Swergold. Swergold could not be reached for comment Friday despite phone calls and emails.

    Barnes' attorney has requested an emergency hearing, but one has not yet been granted by the court.
  • The church paid $5.7 million for the property, a former temple at 7100 W. Oakland Park Blvd.

    Barnes said the church fell on hard times in 2009 after losing its charter school. The school brought in $20,000 a month – helping the church makes its $34,500 mortgage payment, Barnes said. The school lost its license after being cited by Sunrise officials for operating without fire sprinklers.

    With the church struggling to make its payments, Barnes said he asked the bank to let the church refinance its loan. The request was denied, he said.

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