Vegas Church: Bankruptcy

One of Henderson’s largest churches filed for bankruptcy protection last week after deciding to stop making mortgage payments on its main campus.

According to court documents, the Board of Directors at the Church at South Las Vegas determined that the donations received from church members would be better spent on expanding the church and other pursuits than on making payments on its existing building and land, which are significantly upside down.

The first hearing for the bankruptcy petition was scheduled to take place this morning in the Nevada District of U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

Church board members decided to stop making the monthly mortgage payment of about $52,000 in May, after an appraisal of the church’s main campus in the Seven Hills neighborhood, at 3051 W. Horizon Ridge Pkwy., placed its value at $2.4 million.

The church owes about $7.6 million, according to court documents.

“Given the vast differences between the outstanding principal balance of the note and the present value of the Seven Hills Campus and the source of funding as voluntary donations of church members, it is simply impossible for the church to continue to sustain the monthly note payments,” the church’s chief financial officer, Deborah Whittington, said in a court declaration.

Whittington said the church has taken in a monthly average of more than $356,000 in member donations during the first six months of 2011, but spends $321,000 per month on payroll and other expenses, leaving only $32,000 for the $52,000 mortgage payment.

Whittington said church officials attempted to restructure the loan with First Bank, but have been unable to do so.

First Bank filed a suit to initiate foreclosure proceedings against the church in June.

In its filings, the church reported $963,000 in the bank, but of that, almost $647,000 were member donations designated for church expansion, and the rest is committed to church operations, the day care and next year’s Easter service.

The church claims 4,000 members, with average weekly attendance of about 3,500 between the Seven Hills location and a satellite campus that operates in space leased from Foothill High School on College Drive and U.S. 95.

via Church Seeks Bankruptcy Protection.


  • Garrett S. July 21, 2011 Reply

    “the Board of Directors at the Church at South Las Vegas determined that the donations received from church members would be better spent on expanding the church and other pursuits than on making payments on its existing building and land,”

    Sooooooo dduuuuummmmbbbb

  • Dee July 21, 2011 Reply

    This is so wrong on so many levels. Bottom line appears to be they are choosing to walk away from an obligation. BTW, how about most of their income going for payroll? There’s something fishing going on here. Wonder if Nevada bankruptcy laws will make the church’s books a matter of public record?

  • Dennis July 21, 2011 Reply

    What would the Lord do without our precious buildings… 2 years from now after all these legal proceedings have ripped the church apart, my guess is most of the staff who created this will either be in sales or some other place in the U.S. building their new church empire. Very sad!!!!

    • Rope September 19, 2011 Reply

      I told my grnadomther how you helped. She said, “bake them a cake!”

  • Danny July 21, 2011 Reply

    Bankrupt is right! How have our church leaders become so morally bankrupt? Mortgage is a vow to pay. We know how God feels about vows. I cant see any way that this pleases God. If a church is finically strapped, there is no sin in that. In our church history, we have had many times when we could not pay our little mortgage. But you don’t pay 356,000 in salary if you cant pay 50,000 in mortgage. Simple as that.

  • Pastor Rob July 21, 2011 Reply

    Amen to all the above! What a tragedy, travesty and terrible witness. May the Lord forgive us all our horrible decisions.

    • Janai September 22, 2011 Reply

      Shiver me timbers, them’s some great inforatmion.

  • Mark July 21, 2011 Reply

    That church signed documents promising to pay that loan back.

    That church has the cash to pay.

    That church chose to not pay.

    That church lied.

    Isn’t there a commandment covering this issue?

    Is Christianity just a game that we play or is there anyone taking their faith seriously?

  • Dennis July 22, 2011 Reply

    My friend Brian said it best:

    A monthly mortgage payment of $52,000?!?!?! I puked in my mouth.

    What could “The Church” do with that kind of money if they just had a simple building or rented a building each week for gatherings? We as the Church spend billions of dollars every year on buildings that are mostly used on Sunday mornings. Do you know how many buildings are vacant on Sunday’s that could be used to house churches for mass, service, or whatever you want to call it? The last I checked schools don’t meet Sunday morning and most movie theater don’t start showing movies until the afternoon. So there’s a little inconvenience of moving some things in each week, boo hoo! Toughen up little soldiers.

  • Jan July 23, 2011 Reply

    Thousands of people all over the US are struggling to make obligated monthly payments of some sort.
    What would happen to our banks if we ALL decided not to pay our monthly bank notes.
    SHAME on you Benny Perez for defrauding the system, and misappropriating church funds, and doing this is GOD’s name. It’s peopl like you that give Christianity a bad name. You allowed greed and arrogance to lead you. Man up and pay your bills like the rest of us, or suffer the consequences.

  • ezra July 24, 2011 Reply

    The wicked borrow and do not repay. What a bad example this church is being for society at large. If the church cannot take the high road even if it is hard to do, how will society do any different?

  • Pastor Steve August 3, 2011 Reply

    this makes me sad, my wife and i were apart of this church in 2007… never seent his coming. very disapointed

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