Ebenezer is not hard-up for cash—audited financial statements obtained by the Free Beacon show that Ebenezer closed out 2021 with cash and “cash equivalents” exceeding $1.2 million—and it is unclear why Columbia Residential moved so aggressively to evict its tenants.
Columbia Tower residents, who told the Free Beacon they were unaware that Ebenezer Baptist Church owns their building, described living under the rule of landlords who don’t hesitate to go to court to evict them and their neighbors, even if they’re just a few days short on rent.
“They treat me like a piece of shit. They’re not compassionate at all,” said Columbia Tower resident Phillip White, a 69-year-old African American who says he served in Vietnam and received an eviction notice on Sept. 20 for failure to meet a $192 rent payment. It was Columbia Tower’s second attempt to evict White, who received his first eviction notice in September 2021 for $179 in past-due rent. That case was dropped after White paid up, plus an additional $325 in fees, he told the Free Beacon.
The eight Columbia Tower residents who have been served dispossessory notices since early 2020 owed, on average, just $125 a month in rent, and five lawsuits sought rent less than one month late. Two resulted in court-ordered evictions carried out by the Fulton County Marshal’s Department. Six other eviction lawsuits were either voluntarily dismissed by the building administration or closed out by a judge for inactivity. Four others, including White’s, were filed in late September and remain open.