Faith Deliverance Temple declared that the Parramore church is ready to fight against eminent domain by Mayor Buddy Dyer and the City of Orlando for the new Major League Soccer stadium. In major breaking news about the ongoing battle, the church announced that its leaders have retained Brigham Property Rights Law Firm and Shannon Keith Turner, P.A. to defend the church’s property rights against the City’s use of eminent domain.
“When the City of Orlando initially approached my family to negotiate a voluntary acquisition of the church’s property, we resisted because we did not want to sell. However, the City informed us that we wouldn’t have a choice as it would be using its eminent domain power to take the property,” said Jonathan Williams, son of the church’s founders.
“When it became apparent we wouldn’t reach an agreement with the City, we made inquiries about how we might fight off eminent domain. We hired attorney Andrew Brigham and made our decision to defend the church’s property rights. We would rather stay on the property and continue to use it for our church, than have it taken,” he added.
Attorney Andrew Prince Brigham issued a strong words against the City of Orlando’s use of eminent domain against the church. “The City’s proposed taking is not for a public purpose,” Brigham said. “The City is simply a conduit for eminent domain to take from one private entity, a church, and transfer the use of the property to another private entity, a soccer franchise. The Constitution of the State of Florida and Florida’s Eminent Domain Code were amended in 2006 to prohibit such an abuse of power.”
“The City’s Memorandum of Understanding and Facility Use Agreement with Orlando Sports Holdings, LLC, the MLS franchise, is prima facie evidence that the new stadium is less about the City’s ownership or control and more about the soccer club’s ownership or control,” he added. “It’s a classic example of the tail wagging the dog.”
In another statement, Pastor Kinsey Shack said, “Faith Deliverance Temple does not want and has not wanted to sell its property. We have been serving Orlando for nearly 40 years and have been at this very location more than 30 years.”
Church co-founder Catherine Williams said, “My late-husband, our family, and church members together built this building and our community from the ground up.”
The controversial eminent domain attempt by Mayor Dyer has been garnered national media attention, including the Washington Post calling the use of eminent domain likely “illegal” and Fox News headlining a “God Versus Major League Soccer” story, while ESPN even covered the gentrification concerns regarding the new proposed stadium.
The latest news that the Church is ready to fight back will not be welcome with officials from the City of Orlando or the Orlando City Soccer team. This will likely further complicate matters as well as public relations in the neighborhood as well. The MLS stadium construction has already been delayed from the original plan.