Evangelical Lutheran pastor sued for sale of $2M parsonage apartment

Bystanders walk by the building at 108 E 82nd Street, New York, NY 10028 [Photo: Google]

The Metropolitan New York Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has sued one of its pastors for signing a contract to sell a 2 million dollar Manhattan cooperative apartment, which he was given to use as a parsonage more than 30 years ago.

The synod is now asking the Supreme Court of New York to block a transfer of the title in that sale to prevent untold damage.

In a complaint filed in the Supreme Court of New York, the Synod argues that money damages alone will not repair the damage that would be done if defendants transfer title to the apartment.

Those listed as defendants in the lawsuit are Pastor Gregory Fryer, the longtime leader of Immanuel Lutheran Church in New York City; the cooperative identified as East 82 Corporation; Douglas Elliman Property Management, the residential real estate firm; Brown Harris Stevens, and John Doe and Jane Doe.

The complaint contends that Fryer, who has been the pastor at Immanuel Lutheran Church since 1991, began living in the pre-war apartment in 1993.

A real estate listing shows that the apartment has three bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, a formal dining room, “custom made built-in bookshelves, high beamed ceilings and pristine hardwood floors.”

The synod notes that even if Fryer or Immanuel have sought approval for the sale under the law, “they cannot establish that the purposes of defendant Immanuel nor the interests of its members will be promoted by the sale, lease or exchange of the apartment.” The defendants say the suit also “cannot establish that the synod, the ecclesiastic governing body, has consented to the transaction.”

Representatives of Immanuel Lutheran Church were not immediately available for comment when contacted by The Christian Post Wednesday.

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