Carter Tabernacle CME Church in Orlando City Files Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

by San Antonio Attorney

Carter Tabernacle CME Church has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in September.  The filing of the oldest black church is Orlando comes as it hits a hundred-year mark.

The church’s decision to file was mainly due to an impending $5.5 million foreclosure on its property and building, which is located in South Cottage Hill Road.

In a statement made by the church’s bankruptcy lawyer, Ryan Davis, he said the Carter Tabernacle is working to come up with a mutual resolution with its lender and expects a speedy departure from Chapter 11.

Court documents show that the financial issues of the church can be traced in its $3.5 million mortgage loan from Wachovia Bank in 2001.  The church has repaid $3 million on the mortgage debt but penalties and interests have also compounded.

When the bank closed, American First Federal picked up the mortgage and eventually foreclosed on Carter Tabernacle in 2014.  The building was constructed in 1976.

The origin of the church can be traced back in the Callahan area where some black families coming from Florida, the Caribbean and the South founded the first black community in Orlando City.

In its defense from the foreclosure case, the lawyers of the church accused the mortgage lenders of trying to elevate the rates on the borrowed amount, which can be considered as criminal usury.  However, a circuit judge eventually decided in favor of AFF saying that the lender had only jacked up the interest and fees for 72 days, because of an accounting mistake, and that the error had been corrected by the lender.

The judgment was entered on August 23, and a foreclosure sale was scheduled on Sept.  28.  But the church was able to avoid the impending sale by filing for bankruptcy protection.

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