DETROIT – Perfecting Church has fired back at a lawsuit from the City of Detroit, claiming the unfinished church is nothing more than an eyesore.
That massive church at 7 Mile Road and Woodward Avenue has sat unfinished for nearly 20 years.
It’s prompted the city to file a lawsuit, but now the church and its leader, Pastor Marvin Winans, are firing back. They claim they’ve spent a lot of money to restart construction.
And they say, ironically, the city’s desire to start construction is doing the opposite, holding it up, and that they say it costs the church big money.
Winans believes in Detroit’s renaissance, so 20 years ago, he proposed spending $60 million on a 15-acre cathedral complex, including a massive church, a 1,100-vehicle parking deck, and 70 nearby condos.
Last month, the City of Detroit sued Perfecting Church after determining the fence-encircled, unfinished building was unsightly blight and looking to take over the project if it isn’t finished soon.
“This is not a public nuisance,” said Perfecting Church Attorney David Jones.
Read: City of Detroit sues Winans for Perfecting Church, 20 years after project started
Jones told Local 4 Perfecting Church hired construction teams and architects last year and claims Detroit City Attorney Conrad Mallett and his lawsuit are themselves the problem now.
“I think he’s flexing his muscle because I think there is legitimately a concern that the project has been out there for too long,” said Jones. “But I think he overstepped his bounds with regard to the filings and the allegations.”
Mallett sent a letter telling Bishop Winans he needs to clear up a lot of city code enforcement correction orders and offer proof the church is up to code.
Jones says they’ve already done much of that.
“We invited inspectors to come to look at the project, and they saw that it was not in as bad a condition as I guess they assumed, so we want to be left alone and finish the project,” Jones said.
Jones says the construction teams stopped work after the city filed its suit.
The church also says while the city accuses it of not responding to its requirements, the city isn’t responding to the church either, particularly when it comes to answering freedom of information requests for city documents.
There’s no schedule set yet on when a judge will hear the case.