ICYMI: Inside Warnock’s Secret Low Income Apartments

Monday, October 17th, 2022

ATLANTA – Today, the Washington Free Beacon released another report on Raphael Warnock’s secret low-income housing in Atlanta.

“A low-income apartment building owned by Raphael Warnock’s church is plagued by pests, maintenance problems, and filth, according to residents—and at least two people have sued the building this year after the elevator allegedly collapsed on them.”

“The allegations follow a Free Beacon report that found Columbia Tower had attempted to evict at least eight low-income residents over unpaid rent since the start of the pandemic—including one tenant who owed just $28. Warnock serves as senior pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church, which, through a charity it controls called the Ebenezer Building Foundation, owns 99 percent of Columbia Tower, according to records obtained by the Free Beacon.”

“The news raises questions for Warnock, who has campaigned as an ally of low-income Georgians and people with disabilities. It could also draw new scrutiny to Warnock’s compensation from the church, which paid him a $7,417-per-month, tax-free housing allowance last year—an arrangement that allowed him to circumvent federal limits on outside income for U.S. senators.”

“Residents said they had no idea their building was owned by Ebenezer Baptist Church, or that it had just received a $5 million grant from Georgia in August to fund building repairs. The grant was bankrolled by funds provided to the state from the American Rescue Plan, legislation that Warnock voted in support of in March 2021.

‘It’s not being seen here. They’ll cut the grass and the bushes, and fix the elevator sometimes,’ a resident said. ‘But the vents haven’t been blown out for years. The dust, it’s sickening, actually.’

‘They change the furniture. The furniture is new or different from when I moved in here, but that’s the most I’ve seen. I haven’t seen any upgrades or anything like that,’ the resident added.

Ebenezer ended 2021 with over $1.2 million in cash and ‘cash equivalents,’ according to audited financial statements obtained by the Free Beacon. Throughout 2021, the church received ‘general undesignated offerings’ of $4.3 million and rental income of $202,000, the financial statements show.
Also in 2021, Ebenezer paid Warnock $120,964 in salary and housing benefits while he served in the Senate. That same year, Ebenezer incurred just over $69,000 in ‘repairs and maintenance’ expenses across all its program areas, including pastoral services, local ministries, and support services, the financial statements show.”

“Raphael Warnock needs to honestly answer for the awful conditions he subjects his tenants too,” said campaign spokesman Will Kiley. “Warnock gets thousands of dollars a month for a housing allowance but forces his residents to live in filth. To make matters worse, he threatens to evict anyone who is even $50 late on rent. Warnock has failed to give a single direct answer related to his property and he must be held accountable.”