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Morris Brown’s $20 Million Plan

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Photo by Jean Ross CBS Radio

Photo by Jean Ross CBS Radio

Jean Ross
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ATLANTA (WVEE)-A $20 million plan could help one Atlanta college keep its campus intact, while selling some of its property and paying its debt.  Less than a month after filing bankruptcy Morris Brown College submitted a $20 million plan to the courts.

Of the $20 Million $5 million would be donated to the school to be used post-bankruptcy. $7.5 million would be used to pay off its creditors and the additional $7.5 million would be paid directly to bond holders who control some of the properties. But the college’s board of trustees thinks they have found a better deal for the college that is drowning in $35 million of debt.

FD LLC is offering a deal that is essentially double of what the city is offering. Part of the FD holdings is in the Family Dollar chain. The FD LLC deal would mean that Morris Brown could not only survive but also regain its accreditation.

If the deal with FD LLC goes through, the company would buy Middleton Twin Towers dormitory, Jordan Hall, a previously foreclosed portion of Herndon Stadium, which was built for the 1996 Olympics and the adjacent parking lot between Mitchell Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.

The current deal would still have to be approved by the courts. The school is due in court on August 1 to defend the proposal.

Founded in 1881 by members of the African Methodist Episcopal Church the 37-acre campus that once taught nearly 3,000 students now only holds 35. Of the 16 buildings on the campus only four are now in use.

Two former college administrators, Dolores Cross who served as the president from 1998 to 2002, and Parvesh Singh the former financial aid director, pled guilty to embezzling federal student aid money.

In 2002, the school lost its accreditation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, after the school suffered financial and academic instability. The College is now seeking accreditation from the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools.

Mayor Kasim Reed also offered the school a deal that he says would have helped the city’s efforts to revitalize the area around the Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in addition to helping the school.

Reed’s proposal offered $10 million in taxpayer money, which would buy all of the schools property that was tied up in debt, but would allow the school to rent five acres of the property. Morris Brown rejected the offer because although it covered the schools debt, it didn’t provide any operational funds, which officials felt did not help their efforts to regain accreditation.

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