Judge signs off on deal giving Healing Ministries Church until Sept. 6 to get out of Charleston County school building

A judge signed off Tuesday on an agreement that will evict Charleston County School Board member Chris Collins’ church from a school building in one month.

Healing Ministries Church and the school board consented to the deal last week, and Chief Magistrate David Coker approved it in court Tuesday.

“I appreciate y’all agreeing to a resolution in this case prior to your arrival,” he told both parties’ attorneys.

Their court hearing lasted less than 10 minutes. Collins, the church’s pastor, was not present.

The church’s attorney, Richard Burke, said Collins would be willing to talk to the newspaper about this situation soon, but that couldn’t be arranged Tuesday.

“I regret it got this far down the road,” Burke said.

If the church doesn’t leave the former Charlestowne Academy building in North Charleston by Sept. 6, the school district can get law enforcement to remove it from the property without a hearing.

Coker asked Burke whether the church understood that the agreement could result in the church’s belongings being put on the street if it fails to leave by Sept. 6. Burke said the church understood.

The church has paid $664 per month to use the former school since February 2010, and it will have to pay rent and maintain insurance until Sept. 6. It also will have to turn over the premises in a “broom swept condition,” according to the agreement.

The board decided in November to end the church’s lease on June 30 after the church appeared to break its lease, but the church still hasn’t left the building. The district had started the process of evicting the church.

“It’s a good resolution for everyone involved,” said Chris Staubes, the attorney representing the district.

Reach Diette Courrégé Casey at @Diette on Twitter or (843) 937-5546.

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