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Pastors' $1M lake home loses big tax break after 5 INVESTIGATES report

Updated: September 05, 2019 06:43 PM

The senior pastors who bought a $1 million dollar lake home, which they later put in their church's name, did not disclose they were selling their church to a developer when they were granted a property tax exemption on their new luxury estate.

The Carver County Assessor's office revoked that tax break Thursday for the 10-acre lakefront property owned by Resurrection Life Ministries.

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"It certainly raised red flags," said County Assessor Keith Kern.

The decision comes a day after 5 INVESTIGATES exposed questionable real estate deals in the church's name that also raised red flags with former parishioners and nonprofit experts.

In the church's name: Pastors face questions about purchase of million-dollar lake home

Bill and Sharon Predovich, the married couple who started the church 30 years ago, paid cash for the house on Sept. 28, 2018 — the same day their church received $1 million from a developer who was buying the church's property in Eden Prairie.

In recorded sermons posted to the church's website earlier this year, Sharon Predovich said the sale was part of a plan guided by God in which they would move to what they called "micro churches." Future Sunday services would be hosted at individuals' homes — including their new lake house on Reitz Lake in Waconia.

The Predoviches later moved that home into the church's name and then applied for the property tax exemption from Carver County, claiming the 4,200-square-foot home, which includes an in ground swimming pool and sand volleyball court, would be used as a parsonage – living quarters for the church's senior pastors.

But Carver County Assessor Keith Kern said you typically cannot have a parsonage without a physical church, and he was unaware that the Predoviches had sold their church until he was contacted by 5 INVESTIGATES.

After meeting with the Minnesota Department of Revenue, Kern decided the lake home in the church's name does not qualify for thousands of dollars in yearly tax breaks.

"We've come to the conclusion that because of the sale of the church, the necessity of a parsonage is deemed minimal," Kern said. "Does this property further the cause of the church's mission? Is it an integral part of the overall church function? Would the church's mission be affected with or without this property? And the answers were no."

Bill Predovich did not return messages seeking comment on the county's decision. He previously told 5 INVESTIGATES "nothing is secretive about what we're doing" and that the purchase of the lake home was "approved by the whole [church] board."

Predovich is not required by law to say who's on the church board, but former parishioners said the lack of transparency raises concerns.

"I think people should know. They're members there, they've given their money there. And now where's it going to?" said former member Elaine Slechta who left the church in 2007.

Longtime member Jeff Proctor said he and his wife declined a request to host a micro-church at their home, and still have questions about the church's finances as well as how the Predoviches will use that money going forward.

"We were all really disappointed …they kept us all in the dark about the sale of the church," Proctor said. "As long as the money is being used to spread the gospel – if they're spending it on personal things, I have a problem," he added.

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Eric Rasmussen

Copyright 2019 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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