No property taxes paid on multimillion dollar condo owned by religious org

Records: So Fla condominium owned by United Christian Evangelistic Association


BAL HARBOUR, Fla. – Who is living in a multimillion dollar, ocean front condo tax free?

The Miami-Dade Property Appraiser's office has launched an investigation into a religious organization after Local 10 began asking questions.

RELATED: Homes owned by churches avoid thousands in property taxes

Records show apartment 15 E in the Palace at 10101 Collins Avenue in Bal Harbour has a religious tax exemption.

No property taxes are paid on the condominium because it legally qualified as a "parsonage," the residence of a religious leader.

Records show the three-bedroom, five-bath condominium is owned by the United Christian Evangelistic Association and has an assessed value is $2.1 million.

"We are in the process of doing the paperwork to issue the lien. We have sent a letter saying you are not entitled to the exemption for several years," said former Miami-Dade property appraiser Carlos Lopez-Cantera.

Lopez-Cantera was appointed Lieutenant Governor this week, but before he resigned as Miami-Dade Property Appraiser, said the apartment no longer qualifies for the exemption and hasn't in years, even though the huge tax break was still on the books.

"It's cheating and every little bit of cheating cost everyone else that much more," Lopez-Cantera added.

Records show Eula Eikerenkoetter, the wife of the late Rev. Fredrick Eikerenkoetter, is listed as vice president of the United Christian Evangelistic Association, owner of the condo.

Lopez-Cantera said Rev. Ike, as he was known, qualified for the exemption but died in 2009.

"Therefore, the exemption was not valid after that happened," said Lopez-Cantera.

But records show the exemption continued year after year.

The Property Appraiser's Office said the back taxes and penalties for the years in question could total $200,000.

Local 10 called Eula Eikerenkoetter several times but was told no comment.

Rev. Ike's ministry reached its peak in the mid-1970s. His sermons were carried on 1,770 radio stations to an audience estimated at 2.5 million. He preached a philosophy of self-empowerment.

Rev. Ike preached from the stage of the former Loews movie theater on 175th Street in Harlem, N.Y.