Is Bridgeport Board of Education Chairman Kenneth Moales, Jr.’s financial empire collapsing?

“I have the financial means to give my children the best. Why would I not give my children the best? … The best for my sons is at Fairfield Country Day,” said Moales, adding that he has 400 children from his church, the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit, in the public school because he doesn’t have the means to send them all to private school.”  (CT Post 4/9/2013)

Humble is certainly not a word one might use to describe Kenneth Moales, Jr., who served as Mayor Bill Finch’s campaign treasurer and now serves as the Chairman of Bridgeport’s Board of Education.

On the other hand, a bully might be more appropriate considering that when one member of the Board disagreed with him a few months ago, Moales asked if she was “special ed,” while calling another Board member Tonto.  And those were relatively mild displays of his aggressive behavior considering that doesn’t even count that time he returned to a meeting in March to tell a fellow Board member, “I assure you, you will regret doing that in front of my wife and kids.”

Whether it is his connection with Mayor Finch, his role on the Board of Education or his position as Pastor for the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit and Prayer Tabernacle Church of Love, Inc., there is no doubt that the term self-assured is applicable in describing Mr. Moales.

In addition, when it comes to Bridgeport politics, Moales is certainly recognized as an important political player.

What is less known is that his financial empire appears to be on the verge of collapse.

According to foreclosure documents filed with Connecticut’s Judicial Branch, less than 72 hours before Moales took the helm as the chairman of the Bridgeport Board of Education, his church was scheduled for Public Auction.

Just hours before the auction was to take place, a deal was reached pushing off the pending foreclosure until the fall, giving Moales a chance to start paying back millions in unpaid principal, interest and penalties that have accrued to the property.

The Church, located at 1231- 1243 Stratford Avenue in Bridgeport is just one of ten properties Moales lists as part of Prayer Tabernacle of Love, Inc. and the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit operation.

According to the church’s website, the properties include the Bishop Moales Fine Arts Center and Kingdom’s Little Ones Academy which are both located at 1243 Stratford Avenue, Kingdom’s Little Ones Christian Daycare, which rents space from the church at 1277 Stratford Avenue, Love Christian Academy, the church’s religious day school which is at 729 Union Avenue, and the House of Virtue which is on Central Avenue in Bridgeport.

The two daycare facilities are the ones run by Moales’ mother and sister and are the entities that received the massive increase in state funding thanks to Governor Malloy’s early education initiative.  With the new contracts, the daycare facilities are expected to see taxpayer -funded revenue in excess of $1 million.

The Chuch’s website goes on to explain that the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit / Prayer Tabernacle Church of Love, Inc. operates “a 1,500-seated sanctuary for praise & worship with a joining recreational facility,” a Christian Daycare and School for academic and spiritual excellence. Pre-K – 12th grade,” as well as, affordable housing units, a financial literacy program and Mary Moales’ senior citizen assisted living facility.

But lurking behind that façade of success are significant financial problems.

The City of Bridgeport’s Water Pollution Control Authority brought the foreclosure action as part of its attempt to collect over $4,000 in outstanding water and sewer fees that haven’t been paid.

But more shocking than the failure to pay the City is the fact that behind that debt stands a number of other lenders and companies seeking money from Moales and his church.  Leading the list are three mortgages totaling over $8.2 million with a lender based in Missouri, at least five local contractors who haven’t been paid for services rendered and at least four federal IRS liens for nearly $400,000 for failure to hand over payroll taxes.

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.

Considering the appraised and assessed value of the ten properties owned by the Prayer Tabernacle Church of Love, Inc. is only a fraction of the $8.2 million owed to just one of the parties seeking money,  an initial review of the court records raises far more questions than it answers.

Check back for more on this expanding story in the coming days.

In the meantime, Mayor Bill Finch, “Superintendent of Schools” Paul Vallas and Board of Education Chairman Kenneth Moales will continue their efforts to authorize more charter schools, distribute more high cost contracts  and further undermine Bridgeport’s public education system.