Church claims city demolished building without asking

Ann Knef Feb. 21, 2007, 2:06pm

An East St. Louis church claims the city wrongfully and illegally demolished its building at 1101 State St. in January 2005, according to a lawsuit filed Feb. 13 in St. Clair County Circuit Court.

Seeking in excess of $50,000 in damages, Harvest Church of Our Lord claims it did not consent to the demolition.

According to the complaint, Edward L. Vinson and Raymond Cason complained of improprieties within the city's Regulatory Affairs Office to the FBI in July 2005, several months after the city filed a $18,020 lien on its property for the cost of demolition.

"Defendant has failed to account for the proceeds of sale of property, including the bricks owned by Harvest Church of Our Lord, and any transfer or sale made, or profits realized," the complaint states.

Harvest Church, which acquired the property from First Baptist Church in 2003, also claims the city has failed to account for property it owns including hardwood, oak floors, laminated beams, 12 new ceiling lights and fans, 15 stained glass windows, furnishings, new air conditioner, tools, floor joists, and roof, and any transfer or sales made, or profits realized.

The suit claims that the city's demolition contact, George Edwards, was fired on Dec. 29, 2006.

Edwards was indicted in January on charges he attempted to extort $150,000 from an unnamed professional athlete who allegedly impregnated his 23-year-old daughter.

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