Rev. Groover steps down as Boston school committee chairman

Howard Manly | 1/10/2013, 9:26 a.m.

The OneUnited construction loan became due on June 1, 2008, and despite a total of five extensions, the church was unable to satisfy its debt by Sept. 1, 2009. A year later, on Aug. 17, 2010, OneUnited then sued in Suffolk Superior Court for breach of contract.

Also named in the suit was Charles Street AME’s co-signer, the First Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal Church based in Philadelphia. At the time, the First District, based in Philadelphia, claimed it had $65 million in cash and nearly $500 million in assets.

Charles Street had also borrowed another $1.1 million, separate from the $3.6 million construction loan. That loan is also in default.

To forestall the pending foreclosure of its property by OneUnited Bank, Charles Street filed for bankruptcy in March in a move to keep the church o perating as it has for nearly the last two centuries.

Although Groover publicly denied any delinquency, the church was late on 43 of its 56 payments and missed its final two payments, according to court records. That “pattern of delinquency,” OneUnited stated at the time, triggered 17 notices of intent to foreclose and forced Charles Street to pay about $17,000 in late fees.

In addition to OneUnited, Charles Street owes about $630,000 to Thomas Construction Company, the Dorchester firm hired to build its proposed Roxbury Renaissance Center; another $450,000 is owed to Tremont Credit Union for a loan to repair the church’s roof.

Under oath during bankruptcy proceedings, Groover admitted that “mistakes were made.”

To replace Groover on the school committee, the board selected on Monday Michael O’Neill, a life insurance executive who has served on the panel for four years, as its new chairman.

O’Neill, 52, a Charlestown resident and the committee’s vice chairman for the past year, was selected on a unanimous vote of the seven-member board.

Alfreda Harris, who has served on the committee for the last 20 years, was elected as the new vice chairwoman.