Living Waters - Up for sale!
- Saint Petersburg Times
June 28, 2004
Judge Approves Living Water Church Sale
As IRS investigators seek more records in a criminal inquiry
involving Living Water Church co-founder Ronald Clark, a bankruptcy
judge Thursday approved the sale of the church property for $3.4-
The sale, to New Jerusalem Christian Church of Seffner, was approved
despite a bank appraisal showing the 16-acre church property on
Interstate 4 is worth $3.9-million.
"This was considered a distress sale," said Buddy Ford, Living
Water's bankruptcy attorney. "I would have liked to get $3.9-
million. But this was the best bid we got."
Living Water, a once-thriving, 2,000-member non-denominational
Christian church, sought protection from creditors in bankruptcy
court last October. By then, the church's checking account balance
had dwindled to $60 and the congregation had fewer than 500 members.
Congregants left as details emerged from the divorce of Ronald and
Belinda Clark, the couple who founded Living Water in 1988. Ronald
Clark accused his wife of being mentally ill, unfaithful and a thief.
Belinda Clark claimed in court papers that her husband had a secret
plan to sell the church and funnel the proceeds overseas with the
help of church board chairman Melvin Myer.
Ronald Clark, who has resigned as Living Water's pastor, has retained
Clearwater criminal defense attorney George Tragos and has denied
violating any IRS rules.