A federal bankruptcy judge has approved a reorganization plan that will allow the Liberty Jewish Center to stay in its synagogue in the Greengate section of Baltimore County but will turn the building over to a trustee who will sell the synagogue and attached property.
The center turned to the bankruptcy court when faced with a foreclosure on its synagogue by Resolution Trust Corp., the federal agency that took over Yorkridge-Calvert Savings and Loan last December.
The plan calls for the center's headquarters, as well as its former home in Randallstown, to be turned over to a trustee and sold. But the plan gives the center a lease with an option to buy part of the Greengate property.
"It gets to use the part that it wanted to use, and the creditors get paid," said Michael Schwarz, an attorney for the center. He said the secured creditors will be paid off dollar for dollar from the land sales, and unsecured creditors will be paid with proceeds of future fund-raisers.
The century-old congregation ran into financial trouble after it moved from Randallstown to its home on the groundsof the former Mercantile Club. The center had planned to reduce its mortgage by selling its Randallstown building to a interdenominational Protestant church and selling excess land from the Greengate property to a developer.
But the church, Zion Temple Fellowship, wasn't able to raise the $600,000 asking price for the Randallstown building, and the developer walked away from the deal for the Greengate land. That left the Liberty Jewish Center in arrears on its loan when the government seized Yorkridge-Calvert.
"We were delighted with the cooperation of the RTC's attorneys," said Jon Singer, Liberty Jewish Center's treasurer. "We got off to a shaky start, but they bent over backwards and worked in a spirit of cooperation and mutual benefit."
Mr. Singer said publicity highlighting the David-and-Goliath aspects of the Lierty Jewish Center's confrontation with the agency charged with cleaning up bankrupt savings and loans helped soften the government's position.
"No one wants to see them get their pound of flesh from a poor little synagogue out in Randallstown," Mr. Singer said.