Horace Sheffield talks about power cut to church and old school building over money owed to city

DETROIT (WXYZ) - Friday morning, Reverend Horace Sheffield of New Destiny Christian Fellowship Church in Detroit, plans on meeting with officials for the city of Detroit in hopes of working out an agreement on money Sheffield's non-profit organization owes the city's public lighting department.

"There were deficits across the board from the very beginning," said Sheffield about the charter school that he blames for the financial problems that pushed the city to cut power to the old school building at 8100 West Davison.

For the past four years, Sheffield says he's used part of the building as his church, but Sheffield says he stopped preaching at the church last month so that he could run for congress. He said others have stepped in during his absence, but they recently decided to move the church to another, yet to be determined, location.

Sheffield is the executive director for the Detroit Association of Black Organizations (DABO) and he says DABO is renting the old school from Detroit Public Schools.

Sheffield says his church has a sub-lease from DABO to occupy a portion of the building.

Sheffield tells Action News that the now defunct charter school, The Andrew Young Early College Academy, entered into a contract with DABO that would have DABO managing the school, but not the academics.

"They didn't have the ability to pay us," said Sheffield. "They left us with an empty building and additional costs over and above the utilities."

The school opened up in September of 2012 and was closed by January of 2013, according to Sheffield who concedes that some of the money owed to the city's lighting department may have been debt that existed prior to start of the charter school.

Sheffield says he has sunk a lot of his own money into trying to keep DABO afloat. He says DABO acquired its debt trying to help train young adults so that could be able to earn a living.

"Are we going to stay in debt? I hope not," says Sheffield who plans on visiting city officials on Friday to see if he can work out a payment agreement. "It's my hope and prayer that I will be able to overcome this, and once I win my congressional seat, I could go out and raise some more money to make certain that all the bills are paid.
 

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