Georgia has launched an investigation into a charity controlled by the church that pays Sen. Raphael Warnock (D., Ga.) a $7,417 monthly housing allowance and owns an apartment building that is trying to evict tenants, the Washington Free Beacon has learned.
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.
Ebenezer Building Foundation identifies Warnock as its principal officer in its Form 990s and says it delegates all management duties to Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Warnock pulls a salary on top of a lucrative tax-free housing allowance as he serves in the Senate.
“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’s investigation was launched after the Free Beacon reported Tuesday that the Ebenezer Building Foundation owns 99 percent of Columbia Tower at MLK Village, a low-income apartment building in downtown Atlanta that moved to evict disadvantaged residents during the pandemic. One lawsuit, which resulted in a court-ordered eviction, sought just $28.55 in past-due rent. The lawsuits were filed during the same timeframe Warnock attacked his political opponents for failing to safeguard struggling Georgians against pandemic-era evictions.
Warnock campaign manager Quentin Fulks on Thursday responded to the Free Beacon‘s reporting, calling it a “desperate” attack on the “spiritual home of
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