Earlier this week, I wrote about the bombshell report that dropped about the church for which Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) works — the Ebenezer Baptist Church.
The Church pays Warnock a $7,417 monthly housing allowance, in addition to a salary. Yet the Church owns a building where they have been trying to evict tenants, even during the pandemic, as Warnock spoke out against eviction during the pandemic. The Church owns the Ebenezer Building Foundation which has identified Warnock as its principal officer on its Form 990s and says that it delegates the management duties of the Foundation to the Church.
Many of the people were being evicted for small amounts of money. The total sum owed for the dozen lawsuits filed during the pandemic was $4,900, which could have been covered by just one month of Warnock’s housing allowance. Warnock’s opponent, Herschel Walker offered to pay the rent for anyone still being evicted.
But in addition to the screaming hypocrisy in all this, there were other legal questions about what was going on here.
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Now Georgia has just launched an investigation.
The Georgia Secretary of State Office’s Securities and Charities Division on Wednesday sent a letter to Ebenezer Building Foundation demanding that the charity explain why it is operating in the state without an active registration. The Ebenezer Building Foundation has reported in each of its Form 990 tax returns filed with the IRS since 2011 that it is registered to operate as a charity in Georgia. But the Georgia Securities and Charities Division told the Free Beacon that Warnock’s charity is not registered with state authorities. [….]
“The Division’s records indicate that Ebenezer Building Foundation … is not registered as a charitable organization with the State of Georgia,” an attorney with the Georgia Securities and Charities Division wrote in the letter to Kenneth Palmer, a member of the Ebenezer Baptist Church Board of Trustees.
The letter warned Palmer, who also serves as the chairman of Ebenezer Building Foundation, that soliciting charitable contributions and operating a charitable organization in Georgia without an active registration or an applicable exemption are violations of state law and will subject the charity to administrative penalties.
Georgia has given the Foundation until Nov. 2 to prove they are somehow exempt and not in violation.
That’s not all. On top of that, a watchdog group has filed a complaint with the IRS, demanding an audit for concealing the ownership by the Church of the building, the Columbia Tower at MLK Village.
“It is abundantly clear that Ebenezer Building Foundation, Inc., has violated one or more IRS laws and regulations regarding the operation of a nonprofit charity,” the National Legal and Policy Center charged in the complaint. “The IRS must conduct a full investigation and audit of the Foundation’s finances and transactions and assess appropriate civil and criminal penalties, and revoking their tax-exempt status if warranted. The public interest demands it.”
Among the alleged issues highlighted in the complaint is Ebenezer Building Foundation’s failure to report in its Form 990s that it holds a 99 percent stake in Columbia Tower through a shell company called MLK Village Corporation, which shares the same address as the church and the charity and is led by the same three officers as the charity.
“The Foundation failed to disclose MLK Village Corp as a related organization since it has had the same three registered officers since 2018,” the watchdog group said in its complaint. “In that case, they are considered a Brother/Sister organization since they are ‘controlled by the same person or persons that control the filing organization.'”
There are a lot of questions involved here and it’s big news, right before the election.
But there’s virtually no national coverage apart from Fox News; nothing by the networks shows up in a Google search. Certainly not the coverage that his opponent got for negative information about him.
But there is local coverage of the problem, apart from Fox and the conservative sites, so the people who will be voting are going to see it, even if the national media tries to sit on it or shut it down. It isn’t going over well.
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