Parishioners seek Howard’s help to get money back after church relocation backfires

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Laketa Williams belongs to a small church called Sure Foundation. The parishioners were looking forward to relocating to a new storefront building in East Meadow, so they put down about $4,600 and now need some divine intervention to get it back.

Laketa says the problem is there were illegal renovations made, so the church can’t occupy what members hoped would be their new home.

“The building was split illegally," she told me. “The way the Town of Hempstead explained it, there was a wall that was separating two units ... and they didn’t file a permit to actually put up that wall.”

The management company United Properties on Hempstead Turnpike basically told Laketa, "Too bad." It wouldn’t give them a refund.

So I went with her over to United Property’s office. We met a manager named George Mangakis. But his position is that it was up to the church to know the suitability of the building it was renting so it could get a certificate of occupancy from the town.

That’s a new one on me, that a management company can rent an illegal unit and then say the renter didn’t do the proper due diligence so too bad. But that’s where things stand.

We checked with the Town of Hempstead Monday just to be sure. But the town copped out. It just said this dispute is a private matter between the parties. That means Laketa’s church will have to go to court to get reimbursed and United Properties will have to tell a judge why it rented the church the unusable space.

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