Re: Obama's Former Pastor Getting $1.6M Home in Retirement
- From: jgrove24@xxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Sat, 29 Mar 2008 12:21:49 -0700 (PDT)
On Mar 29, 12:42 am, Jean Smith <go_term...@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
In article <U9hHj.548$Nc5....@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>,
"Lee K" <lee_keed...@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
Obama's Former Pastor Getting $1.6M Home in Retirement
Financed by his former church.
By Jeff Goldblatt
This was supposed to be the week that the Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr. returned
to the pulpit to preach for the first time since his anti-American sermons
generated nationwide outrage and drew condemnation from his longtime
parishioner, Barack Obama.
But, citing security concerns, Wright canceled his speaking engagements in
Florida and Texas. A spokeswoman at his former church in Chicago said his
schedule is pending.
A two-week FOX News investigation, however, has uncovered where Wright will
be spending a good deal of his time in retirement, and it is a far cry from
the impoverished Chicago streets where the preacher led his ministry for 36
FOX News has uncovered documents that indicate Wright is about to move to a
10,340-square-foot, four-bedroom home in suburban Chicago, currently under
construction in a gated community.
While it is not uncommon for an accomplished clergyman to live in luxury,
Wright's retirement residence is raising some questions.
"Some people think deals like this are hypocritical. Jeremiah Wright himself
criticizes people from the pulpit for middle classism, for too much
materialism," said Andrew Walsh, Associate Director of the Leonard E.
Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life with Trinity
College in Hartford, Conn.
"So he's entitled to be tweaked here. So the question really is, how unusual
is this? Somewhat unusual," he said.
According to documents obtained from the Cook County Register of Deeds,
Wright purchased two empty lots in Tinley Park, Ill., from Chicago
restaurant chain owner Kenny Lewis for $345,000 in 2004.
Documents show Wright sold the property to his church, Trinity United, in
December 2006, with the proceeds going to a living trust shared with his
The sale price for the land was just under $308,000, about $40,000 less than
Wright's original purchase two years earlier.
Public records of the sale show Trinity initially obtained a $10 million
bank loan to purchase the property and build a new house on the land.
But further investigation with tax and real estate attorneys showed that the
church had actually secured a $1.6 million mortgage for the home purchase,
and attached a $10 million line of credit, for reasons unspecified in the
There is apparently nothing wrong with that, according to non-profit tax
expert Jack Siegel of Charity Governance Consulting, who examined public
documents FOX News obtained from the Cook County Register of Deeds and the
Village of Tinley Park.
"At least looking at it from a public document standpoint, there's clearly
not a problem that jumps out or some sort of wrongdoing," Siegel said.
Siegel characterizes the transaction as unusual, however, because of the way
Wright sold the property to Trinity and the way the deal was financed, with
the attached $10 million line of credit.
Because churches are classified as private businesses, Trinity isn't
required to reveal its intended use for the line of credit. Nor, because it's
a non-profit entity, is it required to provide that information to the IRS.
A spokesman for ShoreBank, the Chicago-based financial institution that
secured mortgages for the loans, said the deals were aboveboard.
Wright did not respond to repeated calls for comment, and Trinity United
refused to discuss the specifics of the home it is building for him and the
way the deal was financed.
The church referred FOX News to its denominational headquarters in
Cleveland, which provided a statement of support:
"It is customary and appropriate in many Christian denominations, including
the United Church of Christ, for local churches to offer housing provisions
for retiring clergy, especially in cases where pastors have served long-term
pastorates. We support efforts by our 5,700 local churches to ensure that
retiring pastors and spouses have continuing housing, adequate pension and
health care, as an expression of our continuing appreciation for their years
of service. Each local UCC congregation is free to honor a retiring pastor
in ways it feels most appropriate to address the needs of that clergyperson's
circumstances," wrote the Rev. J. Bennett Guess, spokesman for UCC's
"This is about how these kinds of churches work," notes Walsh. "These
pastors who made big successful churches are real valuable commodities. Is
it morally wrong? Well, Protestants don't have the idea that their religious
leaders should live modestly or aesthetically. We're not talking Buddhist
monks or Catholic priests here. There's no tradition that says they have to
Tradition at Trinity United centers on a congregation that's unashamedly
black and unapologetically Christian, according to the church's website.
There are also no apologies from the church for the home it's building for
its former senior pastor, who nurtured a religious empire that grew to have
more than 8,000 congregants.
By their fruits shall we know them, eh?
Tinley Park isn't exactly Beverly Hills...resale for mansions will be
- Obama’s Former Pastor Getting $1.6M Home in Retirement
- From: Lee K
- Re: Obama’s Former Pastor Getting $1.6M Home in Retirement
- From: Jean Smith
- Obama’s Former Pastor Getting $1.6M Home in Retirement
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