BOSTON – On October 3 a Chicago Court issued on an order that “froze” temporarily the sale of the nave of the historic community of The Holy Trinity.
It is reminded here that on September 10 the sale of the nave had been authorized for the price of $2.5 million dollars to the Religious Organization Universal Life Church as The National Herald had reported.
On the initiative of Spiros Kezios, a real estate businessman, and a group of members of the Holy Trinity parish, a lawyer was found that specializes in bankruptcies and proved to the court that the sale of the nave was illegal because it did not have the authorization of the general assembly of the Community.
According to court documents the group that filed the motion is constituted by the following members of Holy Trinity: John Karamitsos, Stavros Haidos, Olympia Haidos, Maria Vlahos, George Horaites, and Spiros Kezios.
In a telephone interview with TNH Kezios said “the hearing on Thursday October 3 was to overturn the September 10 order which approved the sale of the Holy Trinity church to this buyer – Universal Life Church – for $2.5 million dollars. The court issued the Order preventing the sale of Holy Trinity until it hears legal arguments from both sides as to whether or not the sale should proceed or should be canceled.”
He added that “we based our argument on the fact that the general assembly of the parish didn’t approve the sale of the church. We found a new bankruptcy attorney who filed the motion in court. The bank and the buyer will be filing motions in support of their position and we will reply, objecting to their position, and we will have a court hearing on October 15 for the judge to rule.”
Asked if they have the money to buy the church back, he said “we feel we have about $2.1 to $2.2 million dollars and we need to raise the difference over the next ten days. We need to raise about four to five hundred thousand dollars to give us a little cushion in case some unexpected expenses.”
Asked if they will be able to raise the money, Kezios said, “we are hoping for it. Already there have been several people who have contacted us and they have expressed an interest donating money before, but when they heard that on September 10 they court approved the sale they said ‘well it’s lost, its gone,’ but now they have been notified that we have a small window of opportunity and they are coming back and are putting up their money and making commitments again.” They hope to have the money in escrow accounts next week. “We will try to collect donations because when we submit our offer we have to submit proof that we have the money,” he added.
Asked what Metropolitan Nathanael has done to save the parish, Kezios said “he notified all the churches to pass an extra tray for Holy Trinity and supposedly reached out to some wealthy Greek people to get some money for us. He did find someone who offered that if Holy Trinity was to rent another church, he was willing to pay the rent. We are going to ask him if the person…instead of paying the rent…can make a payment every month to help the church to cover its bills until it stabilizes, because the number one priority is to remove ourselves from this nightmare and then down the road the church can control its own destiny. There is value in that nave, more than $2.5 million.”
Asked if he notified the Metropolitan of this latest legal development, Kexios said, “his attorney was present in court and I am sure she notified him. I haven’t. I don’t know if anybody from the church notified him.”
Kezios said, “there is one person who is going to give us half a million dollars and he doesn’t want any loan payments at all for five years and that is the most difficult part. The easy part is for the other loan to be paid in full in four and one half years from the rents the parish is getting from the Chicago public schools that are renting the church’s school. The school’s rent is $14,800 a month and is being taken by the bank. If we settle with the bank that $14,800 will be used to pay the loan.”
He also said that “all donations to save the Church are deposited in a restricted account that can only be used to pay the bank and save the Church. In the event the Church is unsuccessful, the donations will be returned.
Donations can be mailed to: Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church; 6041 W Diversey Ave, Chicago, IL 60639.
Donations can also be made in the GoFundMe Page of Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church of Chicago.