David Yarnes, VP at Morningstar Ministries, recently provided an update on the status of the old PTL Tower at their partners meeting. In it, he referred to the pending lawsuit with York County, claiming the county spread false information that prevented Morningstar from securing future tenants for a retirement community in the renovated tower.
This lawsuit was filed one year ago, but to understand my frustration with the situation, you must go back nearly a decade.
In 2006, we were told by our house-building company that the tower would be razed later that year. As the time drew closer to tear the building down, Morningstar provided the county with a plan to renovate it. One year went by with no changes. A second year went by with no changes. A third year came – and in late 2009, the county wanted answers as to the status of the project.
Morningstar asked for more time and said they had secured the tennants necessary to fill the completed tower. Signs even appeared in the area proclaiming “Coming Soon.”
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A year passed with no changes. Another year passed with no changes. In 2012, the signs came down. Keep in mind that during this entire time, there was a simple way of proving the means were there to renovate the tower – by showing the county financial proof. By opening their books. Morningstar didn’t do this, and, running out of ways to delay the project, they entered mediation, eventually filing a lawsuit.
In eight years, the story has changed many times. It started with plans to renovate the tower, complete with an artist’s rendering of the “new” building. Then it morphed into a vow to at least make exterior cosmetic changes. Then it changed again to a claim that the economic downturn made it fiscally irresponsible for them to proceed with any expensive plans. After many pleas to show progress, MorningStar now claims the county sabotaged the project by spreading falsehoods about Morningstar’s means to complete it.
Again, a simple opening of the books takes care of that issue. Yet they stay closed. Several delaying tactics have been used, often, in my opinion, based on a flimsy premise.
At the end of the day, many stories have been presented and many excuses made, but one thing stays the same: Since at least 2006, no improvements have been made to the tower. Decay has actually done more to the tower than Morningstar has.