Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Church pulls out of financial nosedive

TAMPA — Four months ago, the future of Without Walls seemed in peril because of financial troubles, but this week the church rebounded from foreclosure proceedings.

Church leaders signed a new loan with its California lender Monday, senior pastor Randy White said.

"I'm very, very delighted," White said. "It was a great victory for our church and for our people that we don't have that pressure under us like we did have before."

The California-based Evangelical Christian Credit Union filed foreclosure proceedings against Without Walls in November after it said the church defaulted on a $1 million loan. White disputed that claim, saying the church was always current on its payments.

The pastor said talks broke down in the fall over loan modification agreements presented by the credit union that included provisions forbidding the church from filing for bankruptcy. Without Walls leaders also would have been required to relinquish ownership of the church's intellectual property.

Without Walls officials refused to accept the loan modifications and soon found themselves facing foreclosure.

The credit union, which holds the mortgages on the church's Grady Avenue property and on its Lakeland branch, called in loans on both sites. Without Walls has four loans, and owes $13 million on its Tampa property and $12.5 million on the Lakeland site, church officials have said.

In November, White accused the credit union of unfair lending practices and surmised that the company was moving to foreclose because it wanted to sell the church's property for a profit. Credit union officials denied that claim, saying they were not interested in real estate sales and had negotiated fairly with Without Walls for months before taking legal action.

Now, White said he was likely wrong about the credit union's motives because the credit union did not approach a developer who was trying to buy Without Walls' Tampa property.

Officials at the credit union could not be reached for comment late Wednesday.

Under the terms of the new agreement, White said, the church would retain the rights to its intellectual property, which includes books and recordings.

The deal also converts the loan payments on the church's Tampa property to interest-only loans. For those loans, the church would pay about $59,000 a month, the church's chief financial officer Debbie Pullen said. Monthly mortgage payments on the Lakeland property will remain at nearly $70,000 a month. Full payment on the loans on both sites come due in July 2010.

White said the new deal gives the church time to prepare to refinance or to sell some of its assets, including its Grady Avenue headquarters. White said he continues to entertain offers for the site, most recently from medical professionals.

If the property were sold, the Tampa congregation would either merge with its sister church in Lakeland or build a new sanctuary in Tampa debt free, White said.

For the battle-scarred pastor, who has in the last two years seen church attendance drop rapidly, gone through a divorce with his wife and lost one of his daughters to brain cancer, the new loans represent another chance.

"It's very exciting," he said. "Lord knows our church has been through a lot in 18 months. … It kind of gives everybody a sigh of relief. We can now focus on what we're called to do."

Sherri Day can be reached at or (813) 226-3405.

Church pulls out of financial nosedive 03/04/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 4, 2009 11:48pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Manahattan Casino choice causes political headache for Kriseman


    ST. PETERSBURG — Days before the mayoral primary, Mayor Rick Kriseman's decision to let a Floribbean restaurant open in Midtown's historic Manhattan Casino has caused political angst within the voting bloc he can least afford to lose: the black community.

    Last week Mayor Rick Kriseman chose a Floribbean restaurant concept to fill Midtown's historic Manhattan Casino. But that decision, made days before next week's mayoral primary, has turned into a political headache for the mayor. Many residents want to see the building's next tenant better reflect its cultural significance in the black community. [JAMES BORCHUCK   |   Times]
  2. Bucs talk social issues, protests at team meeting


    TAMPA — Each time Dirk Koetter walks through the door of his office at One Buc Place, he passes by the only jersey framed on his wall.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans (13) wears custom cleats to represent Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE) as part of the NFL???‚??„?s "My Cause, My Cleats Campaign" before the start of a football game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, Calif., on Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016.
  3. UPS relocates express operations from St. Pete-Clearwater to TIA


    TAMPA — United Parcel Service Inc. is switching airports for its express air operations. Beginning in October, UPS will relocate from St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport to Tampa International Airport.

    Beginning in October, UPS will move from St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport to Tampa International Airport. [Associated Press file photo]

  4. St. Petersburg man shot in arm during home invasion robbery


    ST. PETERSBURG — One man was arrested on charges he shot another man in the arm while attempting to rob a home in what St. Petersburg police are calling a drug-related incident.

    John Alam, 25, faces charges of home invasion robbery, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and possession of a firearm by a felon after deputies said he tried to rob a home Wednesday morning and ended up shooting someone. [Courtesy of Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]
  5. Bob Buckhorn, a mayor who knows what he wants, surveys constituents on what they want


    TAMPA — Focus has not been a problem — or really, even a question — during the six-plus years that Mayor Bob Buckhorn has been in office.

    Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn keeps a digital countdown clock in his office showing the days, hours. minutes and seconds until he is term-limited out of office on April 1, 2019. As of Wednesday, he had 584 days to go. [City of Tampa]