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Objections filed against Morris Brown land sale to Invest Atlanta-Friendship

By Maria Saporta

Two entities have filed a legal objection to the joint proposal of the City of Atlanta and Friendship Baptist Church to buy nearly 36 acres of Morris Brown property.

The African Methodist Episcopal Church, the major creditor of Morris Brown College’s debt, is objecting to the $14.6 million sale because it says it holds debt of $18.6 million.

The AME church also is objecting to the fact that the proposed sale does not  specify how or when the “net proceeds will be distributed.”

It also is asking for the right to “assert additional objections” until the final sale and urges U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Barbara Ellis-Monro to deny Morris Brown selling the land to the city’s Invest Atlanta and Friendship. That objection was filed on May 27.

The second objection was filed by Clark Atlanta University, which has had a long-standing agreement with Morris Brown College on its “reversionary property rights.”

The property used to belong to Clark Atlanta. Its agreement with Morris Brown was that if the property were to no longer be used for the college, it would revert back to Clark Atlanta.

The sale of the property does not take into account Clark Atlanta’s reversionary rights, according to the university’s objections.

“Atlanta Clark Atlanta is interested in working with Invest Atlanta towards a plan to redevelop a portion of the Debtor’s campus that will benefit CAU, the Atlanta University Center, and the City of Atlanta, by seeking authority to sell the Reversionary Property without CAU’s consent, the Debtor is impermissibly seeking to sell property that the Debtor lacks the authority to sell,” the objection stated. “Said differently, the Debtor is requesting authority to sell an interest in property that is not property of the Debtor’s bankruptcy estate.”

Clark Atlanta filed its objection on Thursday, but it received an extension from Morris Brown to be able to file after the May 27th deadline.

The bankruptcy judge is scheduled to review the proposed sale and the two objections at a hearing on Thursday at 1 p.m.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, who attended the Atlanta Regional Commission meeting Wednesday, said he had heard that Clark Atlanta was filing an objection.

“I’m going to withhold comment until there is a conclusion,” Reed said. “I think we have shown our level of seriousness based upon our offer. We have put forth a good faith effort.”

Maria Saporta

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.



  1. MatthewCharlesCardinale May 29, 2014 2:14 am

    Sounds like Morris Brown has a Fee Simple Subject to a Condition Subsequent, and Clark Atlanta has a reversionary interest.  To A in fee simple so long as it is used as a college, then to O in fee simple absolute.  I predict Clark Atlanta prevails.Report

  2. Burroughston Broch June 1, 2014 4:45 pm

    MatthewCharlesCardinale Expect Hizzoner to shop for a judge who will throw the judgements his way. Given the present price of US judges, that may be a problem.Report


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