Thursday, November 23, 2017
News Roundup

Lender: Tampa's Without Walls seeks bankruptcy to dodge foreclosure

RECOMMENDED READING


TAMPA — Citing millions in liabilities, Without Walls International Church is seeking bankruptcy protection — a move a major lender asserts in court papers is an attempt to dodge a foreclosure judgment.

The California-based Evangelical Christian Credit Union says the Tampa megachurch owes it $29 million. It calls Without Walls' filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on March 5 a "litigation tactic" to prevent foreclosure on the W Columbus Drive church and also a shuttered church in Polk County.

Without Walls defaulted on its loans before the bankruptcy filing and the credit union began foreclosure proceedings in October 2012, according to the motion filed Monday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

The bankruptcy court has denied the credit union's request to move forward on the foreclosure case, said Michael J. Hooi, an attorney representing the church. Without Walls said in court documents filed Tuesday that the credit union's request was baseless.

Another hearing on the issue is scheduled for April, when the court may schedule a trial if the matter isn't resolved, Hooi said.

Without Walls filed a counterclaim to the foreclosure action in October 2012, alleging that the credit union schemed to prevent the sale of the church by encouraging pastor Randy White's former wife — Paula White — to take sound equipment from Without Walls to another church.

Paula White currently is senior pastor of New Destiny Christian Center in Apopka, near Orlando.

In this week's filing, the credit union said the church's counterclaim was "spurious at best."

The credit union also alleges in court documents that the church pulled out of a deal last year that would have sold its property in Tampa to the Richman Group of Florida for $12.6 million, but that the church "refused to close on that sale at the last second."

The church lists an estimated $10 million to $50 million in both assets and liabilities, according to its petition. A Chapter 11 filing typically lets businesses continue to operate and come up with a plan for paying creditors.

The 12,000-member church was established in 1991. About 4,000 members attend one or more of its three weekly services at the Tampa site, according to the church. White, who resigned as senior pastor in 2009 because of what he called health concerns, returned to Without Walls in July 2012.

Without Walls once boasted 22,000 members and was among the fastest-growing congregations in the country. But half its members left after the Whites' 2007 divorce, and the church also has endured tough media scrutiny, an inquiry into its finances led by U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, and the ongoing foreclosure issue.

Comments
Nikita Kucherov really does admire Patrick Kane

Nikita Kucherov really does admire Patrick Kane

TAMPA — Lightning wing Nikita Kucherov has watched plenty of film on Blackhawks star Patrick Kane.Kucherov marveled how the 2015-16 league MVP uses deception to "hide" from defenders. He noticed how patient Kane was with the puck, how well he passed ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Lightning beats Blackhawks in OT

Lightning beats Blackhawks in OT

TAMPA — The Lightning entered Wednesday’s game against the Blackhawks determined to avoid its first losing streak of the season. And it did in dramatic fashion, with Brayden Point’s power-play goal in overtime lifting it to a 3-2 victory. "A big boun...
Updated: 5 hours ago
SOCom asking rifle makers for single weapon to serve many sniper roles

SOCom asking rifle makers for single weapon to serve many sniper roles

When Ryan Cleckner was an Army Ranger sniper in Afghanistan, he had as many as nine rifles he would use in different situations. But whenever a mission would evolve quickly, he would have to choose which ones to lug onto a helicopter. Even narrowing ...
Updated: 6 hours ago
As rules change, many Florida immigrants face a choice: Do they stay or go?

As rules change, many Florida immigrants face a choice: Do they stay or go?

Lys Isma was born in Haiti, but she’s used to driving in Miami with a license, going to college and living without fear of being deported.The Florida International University biology student has lived in Florida since she was 9 months old. Undocument...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Basketball: USF Bulls bounce back with rout of Howard; FSU, Miami win

TAMPA — Three nights after running out of steam in a loss at Indiana, USF had enough to steamroll Howard of the MEAC.A 17-1 run late in the first half helped the Bulls to a 75-52 win Wednesday before an announced Sun Dome crowd of 2,080. USF (3-2) he...
Updated: 7 hours ago
From USF-UCF, to UF-FSU, to Alabama-Auburn, it’s a busy college football Thanksgiving weekend

From USF-UCF, to UF-FSU, to Alabama-Auburn, it’s a busy college football Thanksgiving weekend

 
Updated: 8 hours ago
Bucs journal: Gerald McCoy says team has not turned the corner yet

Bucs journal: Gerald McCoy says team has not turned the corner yet

TAMPA — The Bucs have some positive momentum with back-to-back wins, but DT Gerald McCoy said it’s too soon to say his 4-6 team has turned a corner."We haven’t turned a corner yet," McCoy said Wednesday, preparing for Sunday’s game at Atlanta. "It’s ...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Across country, small retailers aim for emotional ties big chains may lack

Across country, small retailers aim for emotional ties big chains may lack

Associated PressSome smaller retailers will tug at shoppers’ heartstrings during the holidays, trying to create an emotional experience or connection that a big national chain might not provide.Store owners are going well beyond the usual holiday dec...
Updated: 8 hours ago

Lottery resultsNumbers drawn after 9 p.m. are no longer available by our deadlines. For results, please go to tampabay.com/lottery.Pick 2, 3, 4, 5Wed., Nov. 22, midday:76 001 3688e_SRit36220Wed., Nov. 22, evening:18 535 9156e_SRit57364LottoWed., Nov....
Updated: 8 hours ago

Top Trump staffers failed to file financial reports on their way out the door

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s top aides — including chief of staff Reince Priebus and foreign policy adviser Sebastian Gorka — failed to file legally required financial reports after they were dismissed this summer, according to government re...
Updated: 8 hours ago