(Written by Jonathan Pelto and Carmen Lopez)
In about 100 days, Reverend Kenneth Moales, Jr. and his Cathedral of the Holy Spirit and Prayer Tabernacle Church of Love, Inc. may well be facing the foreclosure and public auction of property owned by Moales’ church, located at 1231-1243 Stratford Avenue.
The loss of the church property would mean the loss of the space that Moales’ mother and sister use for their taxpayer-funded daycare centers.
But despite the very real possibility that the centers would lose their space, Bridgeport “Superintendent of Schools,” Paul Vallas, is recommending that the Bridgeport Board of Education renew the grants to the Kingdom’s Little Ones Academy and the Kingdom’s Little Ones Christian Daycare.
That grant is expected to provide Moales and his family with more than $1 million in taxpayer funds, a growing portion of which goes to Moales’ church as rent.
Of course, Moales will have to recuse himself from the debate and vote at tonight’s Board of Education meeting, due to his conflict of interest.
However, considering Moales serves as Chairman of the Bridgeport Board of Education and was Mayor Bill Finch’s campaign treasurer, it is unlikely that the Democrats on the Board of Education who are loyal to the Finch operation will take action to ensure Connecticut taxpayer funds are properly protected.
The Kingdom’s Little Ones Academy and the Kingdom’s Little Ones Christian Daycare are two of a dozen community organizations that provide Bridgeport with 1,158 subsidized daycare spaces.
These daycare spaces are funded through Connecticut’s School Readiness Grant, which brings in a total of $11.4 million to Bridgeport. Ironically, the Bridgeport School System is the “fiduciary agent” for the grant program, meaning it is their responsibility to take all necessary steps to ensure that the funds are spent appropriately.
However, rather than separate out the money for Moales and his family to ensure the day care spots are available for the full two-year period of the grant, Paul Vallas and his Chief Administrative Officer, Sandra Kase, have recommended that the Board of Education simply approve the entire grant program that runs from July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2014.
In addition to the potential loss of daycare spaces, there is the very real concern about how the money is being spent. According to the most recent IRS forms on file, of the $1 million that is expected to go to the Moales day care facilities, approximately $83,000 is passed along to Moales’ church in the form of rent.
The rental payment to Moales’ church has more than tripled since 2006 when the amount spent for rent was only $25,000.
Overarching the entire controversy is the fact that the spaces Moales rents to his mother and sister are part of a property this is facing potential foreclosure due to non-payment of loans, bills and taxes.
The liens include one from the City of Bridgeport’s Water Pollution Control Authority, which brought the initial foreclosure action, in an attempt to collect over $4,000 in outstanding water and sewer fees that haven’t been paid.
Other debts include mortgages totaling over $8.2 million with a lender based in Missouri, as well as liens from local contractors who haven’t been paid for services rendered.
In addition, Moales and his Prayer Tabernacle Church of Love, Inc. are facing a separate action brought by Bridgeport’s Community Bank for failure to pay over $225,000 on an outstanding line of equity that was taken out on his mother’s house, but guaranteed by the church corporation.
Furthermore, the WPCA has just returned to court a lawsuit seeking to foreclose on the 729 Union Avenue property for failure to pay the sewer use fees to the WPCA. That property, which is the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit, contains the same blanket mortgages as are present on the Stratford Avenue properties, which house the Centers.
In addition there is a tax lien from the State Department of Revenue Services listed in the complaint filed with the court. The state lien is recorded at Volume 8711, page 341 of the Land Records of the City of Bridgeport in the amount of $29, 703.65.
There is also a plethora of mechanics liens filed against the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit.
Paul Vallas and the Bridgeport Board of Education have a legal responsibility to protect taxpayer funds and ensure that Bridgeport’s children receive the daycare services that have been funded. However, they appear poised to ignore the evidence, and give Moales even more tax dollars.
Should the Board of Education approve the grants to the Moales family, it would certainly be revealing a unique definition of fulfilling one’s fiduciary responsibilities.