Morris Brown News 3-29-09


mb-news

Morris Brown Acknowledges Foreclosure
of Jordan Hall Remainder of Campus
Not Affected Community Support
Intact with Endorsements from
Georgia Elected Officials

Sunday of Hope — March 29 – A Day of Recognition for Morris Brown in Georgia Churches

Atlanta, GA (March 3, 2009). Frederick Douglas Jordan Hall, a Morris Brown College classroom building that also houses the Ruth Hall Hodges Art Gallery, was placed into foreclosure by Valstone Asset Management on Tuesday, March 3. Purchased in the 1980’s and named after one of the AME Bishops, Jordan Hall was used to secure indebtedness for a $13.1 million bond issuance in 1996. Morris Brown has been unable to fulfill its obligations owed to the lien holder under the terms of the agreement; and one of the properties, used to secure the Deed to Secure Debt and Security Agreement, was purchased at the foreclosure sale for $900,000 by the trustee (U.S. Bank) for the bond holder. “A conscious decision was made by the Board of Trustees of Morris Brown College to acquiesce to the lien holder in the firm’s (Valstone) decision to foreclose on Jordan Hall. When considering other alternatives, it was more prudent to take the route of the foreclosure sale on this particular portion of the campus. This permits us to stay alive to fight for another day,” said Bishop William DeVeaux, Chairman of the Board of Trustees.

Morris Brown College continues to face financial challenges having raised $150,000 just a week ago to make a payment to Atlanta’s Watershed Department. The balance of the water bill must be paid by March 19 and the mounting of on-going monthly debt often turns into financial emergencies. Yet, the water is still flowing and approximately 200 students are in their classes at Morris Brown. Faculty and staff are still coming to work and teaching students who obviously want to learn; but times are hard. “This is certainly not a great day for the Morris Brown family and the Atlanta community; however, the glass is not empty, said Dr. Sonny Walker, Vice Chairman of the Morris Brown Board of Trustees and Chair of the special committee addressing the emergency financial needs of the institution.. “Given the right set of circumstances, Morris Brown could be in a position to buy back this property. Let us all understand, here and now, that Morris Brown retains the capacity to meet the educational needs of the students; and this sitting board of trustees is vehemently dedicated to finding solutions.”

A SUNDAY of HOPE, on March 29th, for Morris Brown College will take place in the churches, synagogues, and mosques throughout Georgia appealing for prayers and contributions. The “Yes We Care” campaign that was launched by The Reverend Dr. C. T. Vivian was an excellent initiative that lifted the plight of the college into national recognition. Dr. Stanley Pritchett, President of Morris Brown College, said “We are taking the campaign to church leaders requesting that they send out a call to their congregations asking all who believe in social responsibility and stewardship to give, in support of students who seek and deserve the nurturing environment at Morris Brown, and to join us in making a commitment to the legacy of this institution.” The Georgia SUNDAY of HOPE will kick off a national campaign toward the ecumenical community in the coming months.
“Students are in class and Morris Brown College is open for business,” said Dr. Pritchett. “We are making strides toward securing interim funding which will enable us to relieve the strain of weekly financial crises. If given a chance for survival, the college has a new mission and a new direction; but the need for large donations is critical – especially from the Atlanta community.” Pritchett added.

The Georgia Association of Black Elected Officials (GABEO), under the leadership of Representative Tyrone Brooks, president of GABEO, joined the fight for the survival of Morris Brown College and pledged, “We have long range plans to work with Morris Brown and to create, among other programs, a “Stop the Violence” initiative for the benefit of the metropolitan region.” Atlanta City Councilpersons Ivory Lee Young and C.T. Martin participated in a recent press conference, along with Brooks where Councilman Young called for Atlantans to “get out of your comfort zone; take the time to learn what is going on at Morris Brown and let’s give Morris Brown a stimulus.”

Donations will be received at Morris Brown College; in addition, donations may be made to Morris Brown by sending a check, payable to the “Morris Brown Recovery Fund,” to Capitol City Bank, 562 Lee Street, SW; Atlanta, GA 30310, or by visiting any Capitol City Bank Branch located at 2358 Cascade Road, SW Atlanta; 5674 Memorial Drive, Stone Mountain; or at Hartsfield-Jackson Airport, Suite S-4. Donations can also be made on line at www.morrisbrown.edu.

Media Contact:
Bunnie Jackson Ransom
404-226-8000 (cell) 404-505-8188 (office)