Last Monday, the apartment complex of Ebenezer Baptist Church apparently filed three additional eviction proceedings, only two days before Dem. Senator Raphael Warnock (D-GA) stated no one had been evicted from the property.
“There have not been any evictions, period,” Warnock said during the discussion on Friday.
Only two days before, on Wednesday, Warnock’s church, that owns the Columbia Tower at MLK Village property in downtown Atlanta, attempted to evict three additional people for unpaid rent, according to the Washington Free Beacon. The occupants had not even paid $115 in back rent.
According to the Free Beacon, Warnock’s apartment complex filed three legal procedures against three residents, requesting “possession” of the flats, $250 in court filing costs, and $75 in late penalties. All of the renters evicted by Warnock’s church were only one month late on their rent.
Residents have defended themselves in court by highlighting their landlord’s eviction techniques. “If you don’t make your rent payment by the fifth, you get an eviction letter that week,” one tenant explained. “After the fifth, they won’t accept the payment.”
Two more residents stated that they attempted to pay their rent on or before the due date, but the building refused to accept payment. “I tried to offer the money to pay my rent prior to or on the normal due date, and yet my landlord refused,” they stated.
According to one resident, the landlord locked him out of his unit for one night by changing his lock but did not serve him with a notice to vacate. “Drills locks in the door with no probable cause did not provide the notice to leave,” he said, adding that he was “evicted for overnight by lock changing, incurred hotel bill.”
Previously, it was found that Warnock’s Ebenezer Baptist Church tried to evict eight residents from the apartment complex for as low as $28.55 in back rent. According to financial documents from 2021, the church has more than $1.2 million in liquid assets.
During the pandemic, the residential complex, which serves the “chronically homeless” and individuals with “mental problems,” has been sued a dozen times by renters.
Republican Herschel Walker, Warnock’s Senate opponent, has vowed to pay past-due rentals to prevent “Reverend Warnock from evicting” renters who dwell in the church’s building.
Walker’s campaign spokesperson Will Kiley stated on Tuesday that “Warnock’s church manages Columbia Tower and also as senior pastor,” and that “he is substantially involved with the church’s activities.”
“Warnock is involved in his church enough to receive a salary and a living allowance, but is he not participating in these evictions?” Raphael Warnock needs to “man up, speak the truth, and accept responsibility for his conduct for once,” Kiley added.