The District has paid $50,000 to a minister whose refusal to vacate his small 14th Street NW church briefly delayed construction of the city's planned $38 million municipal office building.
Bishop Edward H. Moore, who had refused to leave his Life Church of Good Hope at 14th and U streets NW, relinquished the small, one-story building earlier this month after receiving a cash settlement.
Moore's storefront church had been the one remaining obstacle to clearing the 498,000-square-foot site for the municipal center. The pastor's refusal to abandon the church until the city found him a new building delayed construction for at least two weeks and may have added thousands of dollars to the office building's final price, according to the contractor who cleared the site.
Earlier this year, District officials sought in D.C. Landlord-Tenant Court to evict Moore from the church, which he and his 25-member congregation had occupied since 1980.
After several court hearings, however, Moore's attorney and James Clay, the new director of the D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development, agreed on March 30 to the cash award in exchange for the building, a spokeswoman for Clay said.
The church has been demolished.
Neither Moore nor his lawyer, Granderson Hill, would comment on the terms of agreement. Moore, however, did say he was "satisfied" with the outcome.
"When I find the building I want, I will reopen the Life Church of Good Hope," he said.
Moore, 53, founded the Life Church 13 years ago on New York Avenue NW, but was forced from that location in February 1980 to make way for construction of the Convention Center.
He then moved his church to the 14th Street building, which was later acquired by the city's Redevelopment Land Agency for the municipal center.