The strange twisted tale of Reverend Kenneth Moales, Jr. the Paul Vallas defender, Mayor Bill Finch campaign treasurer and Chairman of the Bridgeport Board of Education took another strange turn yesterday when the Connecticut Post reported that Moales’ 1500-seat church, the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit, never acquired a certificate of occupancy when it opened in 2009 and still doesn’t have one today.
Not only is Moales’ Cathedral of the Holy Spirit one of the properties facing foreclosure due to Moales’ failure to pay an $8 million loan, but the Connecticut Post is reporting the property houses the religious school that is operated by Moales and his church.
Connecticut state law requires that every building have a certificate of occupancy before it can be used. Certificates of occupancy are provided by the local building inspector, on behalf of the state, after it has been determined that all fire and building codes have been met. The law reads that, “Any person who violates any provision of the State Building Code shall be fined not less than two hundred dollars or more than one thousand dollars or imprisoned not more than six months, or both.”
In this case, it is the responsibility of the Bridgeport building inspector, a position appointed by Mayor Finch, to conduct all inspections and issue certificates of occupancy.
According to the Connecticut Post article, when confronted with the news, Kenneth Moales Jr. said, “We have one. We have a temporary one.” And when he was told that there was no certificate of occupancy issued for the building, Moales said, “It’s not a problem.”
The Connecticut Post goes on to report that a Bridgeport building official “acknowledged it would be a violation of state law to occupy a building without a certificate of occupancy” but then explained that “he is not in a position to determine whether the church and Moales are operating illegally.”
The Connecticut Post story added, “When it was pointed out that the building has been used for the past four years as both a house of worship, drawing hundreds from around the area every Sunday, and a kindergarten-through-grade-six school, [the building official] said he was not aware of that.”
Meanwhile, Mayor Finch’s spokesperson told the Connecticut Post, “Mayor Finch was aware that the building was being utilized, having attended events at that site; however, he had no reason to suspect that an appropriate CO had not been issued.” The spokeswoman added, “A local chief elected official or chief executive officer exercises no jurisdiction or authority in such matters.”
What makes the story even more disturbing is that while the Connecticut Post is reporting that the building that lacks a certificate of occupancy houses a kindergarten-through-grade-six religious schools, documents show that the Love Christian Academy, a school that is registered to be kindergarten-through-grade-eight was supposed to be located at 1065 Central Avenue, another property owned by the church.
Furthermore, licensure documents filed with the Connecticut Department of Public Health show that Moales’ mother and sister presently have a “pending application” to expand their Kingdom’s Little Ones Academy to service 45 children and house it in the building the lacks the necessary occupancy certificate.
Other state licensure documents report that the Little One’s Daycare center (with 62 children) is presently located at 1277 Stafford Avenue and the Kingdom’s Little Ones Academy (with 15 children) is located at 1243 Stratford Avenue. Both buildings are owned by the church and like the building that is supposed to be housing the religious school, these properties are also facing the same foreclosure proceedings.
At this point, it is not known whether the two daycare facilities are in buildings that have been properly inspected or have valid certificates of occupancy.
The complete Connecticut Post article can be found here: http://www.ctpost.com/local/article/State-Church-must-close-without-paperwork-4680439.php