The historic Charles Street AME Church's lender argued in court today that the Roxbury congregation can't avoid foreclosure by filing bankruptcy because it's just an arm of the cash-rich African Methodist Episcopal movement.
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"Whose property is it anyway?" lawyer Lawrence Edelman, who represents Boston-based OneUnited Bank, asked in a hearing before U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Frank Bailey. "Very clearly, the beneficial interest in held by the greater church -- the African Methodist Episcopal Church."
The 194-year-old Charles Street congregation filed Chapter 11 in March to prevent OneUnited from seizing the church through a foreclosure auction.
Charles Street missed a $1.1 million "balloon" mortgage payment on the building in December, but has been locked in legal disputes with the bank over loans for years.
The church has proposed repaying the $1.1 million over the next three decades as part of a bankruptcy restructuring.
But OneUnited has asked Bailey to throw out the case because it believes the church is just a unit of the AME movement's First District, which the bank claims has millions in assets.
SOURCE: Boston Herald