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Tuesday, Aug 9, 2022
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Judgment Day for Church?

When disgraced religious leader Tony Alamo was hit with a $525 million judgment last month, there was speculation his church’s Santa Clarita Valley compound could be sold off to pay some of the judgment. In fact, Tony Alamo Christian Ministries has already put a three-property portfolio that includes its compound at 13136 Sierra Highway in Canyon Country on the market. But it turns out, the property won’t pay many legal bills. The portfolio has an asking price of just $5 million, according to real estate data firm CoStar Group Inc. – and even that price could be a reach. “That’s a really rich price to pay,” said Ryan House, vice president at the Valencia office of Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. The problem? Essentially, the portfolio, which includes a 28,000-square-foot mobile home park and a 160-acre parcel of vacant land, is out in the boonies in an unincorporated section of Los Angeles County not far from Agua Dulce. “Where that land is at is very far removed. Will someone buy it? Yeah. But it could end up being some random investor that wants to build a house or something,” he said. The church, which still operates at the Canyon Country property but is now based near Texarkana, Ark., did not return calls for comment. Alamo spent the better part of the last 40 years building his church and related business empire, which included a clothing line of sequined denim jackets and other apparel worn by celebrities such as Michael Jackson. His downfall began with a four-year prison term he served in the 1990s for tax evasion. Then in 2009 he was convicted of interstate transportation of minors for illegal sexual purposes, sexual assault and rape. Alamo, 79, was sentenced to 175 years in prison, and a federal judge in Arkansas last month ordered the restitution in relation to the conviction. Another potential play for the land is that a different religious organization could come in, said John Cserkuti, a senior vice president at the Santa Clarita office of NAI Capital Inc. “It’s probably residential, but another religious group is the other play I would see,” he said. “You’ll want someone to come in, scrape the building and do a major renovation.” – Elliot Golan

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