Controversial Pastor’s Church Files for Bankruptcy

A controversial pastor from Tampa, who is known nationally for his ties to the African-American Baptist organization, has led his church to bankruptcy.

According to the Tampa Tribune, Rev. Henry Lyons’ church, the New Salem Missionary Baptist Church of Tampa, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy to prevent its foreclosure.  According to the Tribune, Fifth Third Bank claims that it loaned the church $1.1 million in 2007, but the church has missed payments and defaulted on its loan. From the Tribune:

Lyons had run the National Baptist Convention USA for five years in the 1990s but was forced out in disgrace amid ugly allegations that he had stolen from the convention and had a marital affair. He wrongly spent church money to finance a lavish lifestyle that included a $700,000 waterfront home and a Rolls-Royce.

He eventually spent nearly five years in prison and was released in 2003.

Earlier this year, we told you how church bankruptcies are becoming more common.

A story done by the Orlando Sentinel last year reported that during the 1990s and early 2000s, church construction and expansion more than tripled, going from $2.8 billion in 1993 to $8.6 billion in 2003. However, when the economy started to collapse last decade, many church members began to donate less. Churches have since struggled to pay for the costs of their growth, according to the Sentinel, and from January 2010 to January 2011 an estimated 100 churches filed for bankruptcy.

Much like it has done for Lyons’ church, a bankruptcy puts an end to a foreclosure for any individual. It should also be noted that a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows you to discharge unsecured debt like medical bills and credit card debt, which can help you save money to make past due mortgage payments.

If you have questions regarding bankruptcy, talk to our attorney. If your financial situation is a problem, contact our Washington DC and Maryland bankruptcy lawyer now for a free consultation.

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