As U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) prepares for a runoff election against Republican challenger Herschel Walker, the church where he serves as a lead pastor is once again attracting negative media attention.
Following claims that a housing charity associated with Ebenezer Baptist Church had sought to evict low-income tenants for past-due rent totaling just a few dollars, the Georgia Secretary of State’s office pursued a probe into the Ebenezer Building Foundation’s charity registration. The inquiry launched last month gave the entity until Nov. 2 to provide an answer.
Worth noting that this apartment building secretly owned by Warnock's church (which pays the senator a $7,417 monthly housing allowance) is adorned with a beautiful 12-story mural titled "Safe Haven"
— Andrew Kerr (@AndrewKerrNC) October 11, 2022
Since then, the foundation has reportedly provided no response — and the Secretary of State’s Securities and Charities Division could issue a subpoena. Georgia officials indicate that the foundation is not properly registered to operate as a charity in the state.
Warnock’s church has been under scrutiny for months, though most mainstream media outlets have downplayed or ignored the controversy.
Audits indicate that the church and the building foundation brought in a combined $1.2 million in cash and related assets last year. Ebenezer also provides Warnock a tax-exempt monthly housing allowance totaling nearly $7,500.
Meanwhile, critics said that they were targeted for insignificant amounts of unpaid rent and threatened with eviction.
One resident at a property operated by the foundation said that while Warnock received a sizable stipend, the charity said she could be evicted for being one day late on her rent.
“It’s disheartening,” she said. “It’s horrible. It’s actually horrifying. We need the help. I understand churches take care of their pastors, but the excess, it’s not good. Not when you have people that need help here.”
Phillip White, a Vietnam War veteran who said he received an eviction notice after missing a rent payment, had a harsher assessment.
“They treat me like a piece of s—,” he said. “They’re not compassionate at all.”
National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesperson T.W. Arrighi asserted that Warnock “has more than a little explaining to do,” adding: “While he collects nearly $90,000 — almost two and a half times the median income in Atlanta — from his church as a housing allowance, he was serving eviction notices in the middle of the pandemic for 28 bucks worth of unpaid rent.”