An Eastern Henrico congregation didn’t get the new church it wanted, but it’s at least getting its money back from an unsuccessful bid on a property near Manchester.
Mountain of Blessings Christian Center last week reached a settlement with the bankruptcy estate of Richmond Christian Center and a local auction house to recoup the six-figure deposit it put down last year when it sought to purchase a 37,000-square-foot building at 214 Cowardin Ave.
The settlement, approved by a federal bankruptcy judge on June 30, will return to Mountain of Blessings $196,000 that had been held in escrow since November’s auction by auctioneer Motleys Asset Disposition Group.
Mountain of Blessings made the winning bid of $2.15 million to purchase the property, which is home to Richmond Christian Center’s main sanctuary. The sale was ultimately blocked when bankruptcy trustee Bruce Matson argued that it was not in the best interest of RCC or its plan for Chapter 11 reorganization.
RCC put the property up for auction as part of a drawn-out bankruptcy that was initiated in late 2013 to block foreclosure on its real estate holdings.
The settlement comes after Mountain of Blessings chose to walk away from a lawsuit it filed to force the completion of the sale.
Bill Baldwin, an attorney with Thorsen, Honey, Baldwin & Meyer representing Mountain of Blessings, said recently that his client just wanted to get its money back and move on.
Mountain of Blessings, which still holds its services at 4700 Oakleys Lane, between the Shops at White Oak Village and Richmond International Airport in eastern Henrico, had a six-figure renovation in mind for RCC’s building.
A lingering dispute, however, still exists between the trustee and Motleys over whether the firm should be paid its brokerage fee for the auction, despite the sale never coming to a close due to the trustee’s stance.
Roy Terry, an attorney with Sands Anderson representing Motleys, said his client believes it did what it was hired to do: bring a willing and able buyer to the table.
“Motleys performed a service and is entitled to be paid,” Terry said.
The trustee disagrees and a hearing is set on the matter for Aug. 24.
The sale contract called for Motleys to receive a 10 percent commission on the sale, with a certain percentage to be divvied to two other brokers that were involved.
Christopher Perkins, a LeClairRyan attorney working on behalf of RCC’s trustee, said the church’s bankruptcy estate is working on restructuring a loan with the church’s main lender and intends to file a reorganization plan soon.