The low-income apartment building owned by Sen. Raphael Warnock’s (D., Ga.) church on Wednesday dropped its effort to evict a Vietnam War veteran following a Washington Free Beacon report that he had paid his back rent.
Columbia Residential, which manages the Columbia Tower at MLK Village on behalf of Ebenezer Baptist Church, voluntarily dismissed its eviction lawsuit against Phillip White. It is the first time the management company has reversed course on an eviction suit since the Free Beacon exposed Warnock’s connection to the evictions in early October. Warnock maintains that there have been no evictions from his church’s apartment building.
White told the Free Beacon on Nov. 17 that he feared the threat of being cast out onto the streets of Atlanta during the peak of winter. Six other residents of the church’s apartment building still face the threat of eviction as of Monday morning, according to Fulton County Magistrate Court records.
Columbia Residential dismissed its case against White on Wednesday without prejudice, indicating the property manager reserves the right to try the case again in the future. White, an African-American Marine veteran who served two tours in Vietnam, was served the dispossessory notice in September for $192 in unpaid rent. Columbia dismissed the case just two days after the Free Beacon reported that the Marine veteran had made a $542 rent payment on Nov. 2.
The eviction scandal has become a centerpiece in Warnock’s runoff campaign against Republican challenger Herschel Walker. The Walker campaign released a campaign ad Monday featuring White saying the Democratic senator treats him "like shit."
Columbia Tower at MLK Village has received more than $15 million in federal and state funding since 2005 to shelter the chronically homeless. Warnock, who receives a $7,417-per-month housing allowance from Ebenezer Baptist Church, has slammed "vicious and venomous" critics of his church who brought the scandal to light, saying they "attack the church of Jesus Christ."
White could not be reached for comment Monday morning. He doesn’t own a phone, and does not have regular access to the internet. The six other residents that still face eviction from Ebenezer’s apartment building also couldn’t be reached for comment. A security guard prevented the Free Beacon from accessing the property on Nov. 17, saying the owners "don’t want no media in the building."
Ebenezer Baptist Church and Columbia Residential did not return requests for comment.
Published under: Georgia Run-Off , Herschel Walker , Raphael Warnock