Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) is in a tight race with Herschel Walker to hold onto his Senate seat in Georgia.
Democrats make much of the fact that Warnock is a pastor and he’s come out in the past condemning evicting people during the pandemic.
“Unemployment benefits have expired, rent is due today, and many Georgia families are at risk of eviction in the middle of a pandemic,” Sen. Raphael Warnock (D., Ga.) wrote in a tweet in August 2020, charging that by failing to act, his political opponents were “clearly only concerned with serving their own interests.”
Sounds very sympathetic, right?
What politicians say is rarely who they truly are. But Warnock just had a bombshell report drop on him.
Warnock is the senior pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church. The Church not only gives him a salary but also gives him a $7,417-a-month housing allowance. $7,417 for housing a month? Where does he live? Beverly Hills in a house made of gold? Or is that meant to juice his salary a bit?
But when you think about how much they are shelling out for him for housing and then look at what the Church is doing regarding the low-income tenants to whom they are renting, it feels like night and day apart from those principles that Warnock was espousing.
The church is the 99 percent owner of the Columbia Tower at MLK Village in downtown Atlanta, according to documents obtained by the Washington Free Beacon, which describe the building as a home for the “chronically homeless” and those with “mental disabilities.”
A dozen eviction lawsuits were filed against Columbia Tower residents over the course of the coronavirus pandemic, the first one in February 2020 and, most recently, in September 2022. The total sum of past-due rent cited in the lawsuits is just $4,900, a figure that could have been covered by one of Warnock’s monthly housing stipends from the church.
The lawsuits were filed by Ebenezer Baptist Church’s business partner, Columbia Residential, the 1 percent owner of the building, which manages its day-to-day operations. The revelations threaten to undermine Warnock’s efforts to cast himself as an ally of struggling Georgians working to meet rent in the face of pandemic-era challenges.
One person they were trying to evict owed just $28.55.
The Free Beacon noted that the Church is not desperate for money because they had cash at the end of 2021 of $1.2 million.
Some of the tenants didn’t know the Church owned the building and were getting eviction notices for very low amounts and less than one month late. One of the tenants, Phillip White, who is a 69-year-old Vietnam veteran got an eviction notice for owing $192. “They treat me like a piece of shit. They’re not compassionate at all,” he said. The average owed by the people who got notices over the past two years during the pandemic was just $125.
At the time that was going on, Warnock was attacking his Republican opponent saying that she wasn’t protecting Georgia families because she wasn’t in favor of an eviction moratorium.
Meanwhile, the Columbia Residential founder donated $14,000 to Warnock’s 2020 Senate campaign and the building has gotten $15 million in federal and state funding because of being involved in housing the homeless. They also got $5 million in COVID funds to renovate the building in August.
The building also received $1.5 million in federal and state low-income housing credits in 2005, as well as a $2 million grant in 2007 from the Atlanta Development Authority to rehabilitate 39 of the 96 units in the building. That’s in addition to $6.6 million in HomeFlex rental assistance since 2015. HomeFlex is an Atlanta program designed to secure affordable housing units for low-income families in the city.
Because it’s owned by the Church, they also pay almost no property taxes, paying just $77.77 in property tax over seven years, according to the tax records.
One of the residents said that they “need help” and called this information bout the Church “disheartening” and “horrifying.”
The resident, who asked not to be identified, citing a fear of retaliation, said she was served an eviction lawsuit after submitting her rent just a day late. “I put in the wrong card number. The money was in the bank but it didn’t go through. The next day I rectified the situation, but they still served papers,” the resident said, adding that she ultimately paid more than $300 in court fees–a figure equivalent to about two months of rent–to make the situation go away.
“It was devastating and surprising. I know they have the ability to be patient with me and let me pay my rent. And it was paid,” the resident said. “I asked for patience, but I was totally ignored.”
Ebenezer Baptist Church owns the building through a network of shell organizations connected to the Ebenezer Building Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charity that delegates all management duties to the church and identifies Warnock as its principal officer in its IRS Form 990 filings.
— Andrew Kerr (@AndrewKerrNC) October 11, 2022
Ding, ding, ding.
The Free Beacon also raises whether this shell company arrangement is trying to hide true ownership from the IRS. The Church owns the building through a shell corporation — the MLK Corporation. But they share the same address as the Ebenezer Building Foundation and the same officers. Then the front corporation that filed the lawsuits and runs the day-to-day management is Columbia Residential.
Bottom line? Democrats are big hypocrites and this is who they are. Chances that the liberal media picks this up and runs with it? Probably not likely, despite the importance of the information.
But it did get noticed by Herschel Walker, who has been facing his own issues. He had a generous response, offering to pay for the people who the Church was trying to evict.
I have never known a preacher that likes abortion even after birth, won’t pay his child support and evicts poor people to the street. I will pay the $4500 in past due rents listed in this news article to keep @ReverendWarnock from evicting these people. https://t.co/IqSBIWUnLU
— Herschel Walker (@HerschelWalker) October 11, 2022