Sunday, August 19, 2012

A Decade Long Religious Con Job

Majesty Building
I rarely write inflammatory (what some might call trolling) titles to a post, but this building you see before you deserves it. I've been seeing this building next to I-4 just east of Altamonte/436 and Crane's Roost for nearly 12 years, and never knew who owned it. Today on a trip up to Lake Mary with my wife I saw it yet again. That's when I told her I wanted to stop by on the way back and poke around the property, and photograph any parts of it if I could.

What I discovered was this still unfinished eighteen story (I counted) white elephant, overgrown with weeds and yet still under slow-motion construction. It looks impressive with its exterior glass curtain walls, but that impression is quickly lost when you see the unfinished lower stories and look inside to the unfinished interior spaces.

A quick check via Google leads to an article written in 2010 by the Orlando Sentinel about the Majesty Tower. Based on what I read in the article it's owned by SuperChannel 55 WACX, a feel-good religious organization providing Christian inspirational content in exchange for donations. The project was started in February 2001 with $13 million hard money in the bank and another $38 million in pledges. The project was started with the $13 million but slowly ground to a near halt when the pledges didn't come through. I have no idea why they dried up, but the article goes on to note that SuperChannel 55 President Claud Bowers has been paid very well (up to 2010), and managed to invest $338,000 in a Longwood residence, a $311,000 Montverde house, a $450,000 Lake County condominium, and through an LLC, a golf course lot in Minneola worth $273,800. In short, he's "invested" nearly $1.4 million up until 2007 that he owns. Not bad for doing God's work. This is a far cry from what Christ commanded of his disciples in Matthew 10 when he sent them out to do His work. Starting at verse 9, He said:
Do not get any gold or silver or copper to take with you in your belts — no bag for the journey or extra shirt or sandals or a staff, for the worker is worth his keep. Whatever town or village you enter, search there for some worthy person and stay at their house until you leave.
I wouldn't ask that today's ministers live as Christ originally commanded them, especially in a land as rich as ours. But it's one thing to live comfortably, another to live as outlandishly as Claud Bowers. It's no wonder pledges dried up; people are not fools. And I know for a fact that many ministers do live as close to Christ's original command as they can. My wife's father was a Methodist minister in Harrisburg Pennsylvania who lived essentially paycheck to paycheck, but with a joyful attitude. I never met him for he passed away long before I started to date my future wife, but I would have been proud to know him just like I'm proud of my wife.
Majesty Building
Majesty Building
Majesty Building
Majesty Building
The Orlando Sentinel article, written in 2010, said that Bowers expects the tower to be ready for tenants by October 2012. It won't be. The area around the building is heavily weeded, and as you can see from the photographs the interior of the building is still a hollow shell. I don't know what it will take for both SuperChannel 55 and the city of Altamonte to get sick of this "pay as you go" construction project and demand it either be finished in a timely fashion or else sold to someone who will finish it.

3 comments:

  1. Wow. Makes those con jobs in "Lost" like done by amateurs...

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  2. He claimed while doing a telethon for Daystar TV Network recently that he was wealthy before he started the TV station.

    Paraphase
    He said during his plea for money for Daystar "I got into this (Christian TV)because I wanted to, I was wealthy when I got into Christian Television, I wasn't broke, but I wasn't satisfied... I learned to make money in the world...that $40 million office building in Orlando FL is all about the passion I have to unlock the resources of God...and I will do it in my lifetime.

    ReplyDelete
  3. well my $2.900 will be repayed or law suit recently questioned him of this after reading blog.he sent me a picture of when he broke ground and a letter confirm construction almost finished.sadly this is a red flag gracefully want my money returned as I am not rich and on disabilty.

    ReplyDelete

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