Mayor Kasim Reed said in a press conference Friday at Mount Vernon Baptist Church has asked for $15.5 million, down from $20 million, to buy their church to make way for a new Atlanta Falcons stadium.
The church rejected a previous offer of $6.2 million from the Georgia World Congress Center Authority.
The GWCC and the church are still apart by $8 million, but Reed said he'll be working to fill that gap with private funding.
On Aug. 6, the city announced they would purchase Friendship Baptist Church for $19.5 million. The church board members will have to ratify the agreement.
However, the news conference to announce positive movement in the deal turned negative.
Mayor Reed responded harshly to critics who accused him of a land grab.
The mayor was visibly angered by those accusations and took time to defend himself and his administration.
It all has to do with plans to relocate one of the churches to an empty dorm at the bankrupt Morris Brown College, to make way for the stadium.
At a rally Thursday, Vincent Fort and former city councilman and radio talk show host Derrick Boazman accused the mayor of trying to take advantage of the historically black college by buying up its property, while it's dealing with bankruptcy.
The mayor responded by rattling off a list of ways he's helped the financially strapped college since taking office, then accused Fort, who used to work at the college, of a money grab himself.
"I've done more than Vincent Fort has ever done for Morris Brown. The only thing he's done is collect a check from them," said Mayor Reed.
"I think that comment is reckless. Accuse someone of a money grab and what I'd like to do is for the mayor to specify, not innuendo, but to say what he meant by that," said Fort.
Fort said the city's tactics torpedoed a potential deal from FD, LLC which was offering $20 million for the school's property. He said there was talk of building an upscale hotel.
The Mayor said in the upcoming week he will meet with the leadership of Mt. Vernon to talk about where they might be able to relocate the church.
Once Mt. Vernon and the mayor reach a deal, it will need approval by the Georgia World Congress Center.
Tuesday, April 20 2010 11:21 PM EDT2010-04-21 03:21:00 GMT
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