Oops! New church filings reveal $600K in financial errors

Howard Manly | 10/3/2012, 10:54 a.m.

OneUnited bank has already rejected one plan offered by Charles Street to repay its outstanding loans. That filing asked bankruptcy Judge Frank Bailey to disapprove what OneUnited attorneys have characterized as “sheer chutzpah” — a payment plan of $27,000 a month over the next 30 years.

Based on previous financial statements submitted by Charles Street, OneUnited attorneys remained unconvinced that the church would make such payments. Charles Street attorneys even asserted as much.  

“Our operations,” Charles Street financial documents state, “are dependent on individual donations for substantially all of our revenues, and there is no guarantee that donations made from such sources will remain at levels comparable to present levels or that they will be sufficient to cover all operating and fixed costs.”

 In fact, the church argued, “increased unemployment or other adverse economic conditions in our community might decrease our congregation’s ability to contribute to the church.” According to the proposed Charles Street plan, none of the smaller creditors — the 28 companies owed amounts ranging from $370.18 to $17,790.88 for a total of about $115,000 — would receive any money.

Given the enormous debt the Church was accumulating, it was astounding to learn during recent bankruptcy hearings that Groover testified he had urged his congregation to stop making offerings and weekly donations to avoid having those funds seized by OneUnited in their attempt to collect the outstanding debt.

When asked to explain the reason that his yearly revenue had dropped by nearly 20 percent between 2009 and 2010 from $1.1 million to about $900,000, Groover testified that he had told his members he was concerned that the litigation with OneUnited would allow the bank  “to go after” the church’s assets, including their weekly tithes.