Florida City Threatens Hispanic Church with $5k Fine If They Hold Prayer Services

Florida City Threatens Hispanic Church with $5k Fine If They Hold Prayer Services

Freedom to worship at risk in Florida?

Javier Manjarres
Javier Manjarres
|
February 6, 2021

The Village of Palm Springs, Florida appears to be stepping all over religious freedoms by threatening to fine the Hispanic Cidra Church $5,000 per day if they hold a prayer service or revival the group has scheduled to take place this month.

According to the church’s pastor Fernando Cortez, when he stopped by the Village of Palm Springs office to apply for a permit for the event —an event that is scheduled to be held a the very facility they hold their weekly meetings or services — he and the church were threatened with the fine.

In a written statement to The Floridian, Pastor Cortes said that he was “told by a member of the Village of Palm Springs that it will need 15 days to review and even if we present it, it will not be approved because we did not comply with many things that apply to that special permit.”

Cortes said that “the person in charge of permits in Palm Springs” who identified herself as “Kim” had contacted him on Friday and told him “that even if I bring the permit, she will deny it.” Cortes added that “Kim,” which we can assume is Village Clerk Kimberly Wynn, sent a letter to the church’s landlord “threatening to fine them and also US to fine (sic) US $5,000 “

The Floridian obtain a letter from the church’s landlord, 839 Congress Ave, LLC,  to the church asking for the church to “indemnify” them from liability with a $10,000 payment for the 2-day event.

The church responded to the landlord:

Good afternoon Ms. Alba,
 
I am responding to your attached email and am doing so on behalf of Randy Skinner and Sean Feucht Ministries. We are in agreement with the indemnification provision in your letter; however, we are not in a position to wire funds to you to secure that commitment.

We understand the amount was derived at by fines threatened by the Village of Palm Springs today. Please note that there is no basis in our opinion for the Village to seek to impose any such fines as this event is legal and is covered by First Amendment and religious freedom protections.

That being said, if there is any fine levied and due after full legal proceedings take place, which we will defend and pursue vigorously on behalf of the church, Sean Feucht Ministries and the property owner, those will be covered by the indemnification provision.
 
As you are aware, the church is insured. In addition, attached is the ministry’s proof of liability insurance for the specific event. It is well insured and covered.
 
Thank you,

Gregory S. Kino

In a video from the group released on Twitter where it makes the allegation against the Village of Palm Springs, on member of the church stated that “they want to shut us down” and that the group has found “a big movement against the church and against Jesus.”

Pastor Cortes was also on the video and called for all Hispanic pastors to “stay united” on this issue.

The Floridian could not reach the Village of Palm Springs Mayor Bev Smith, or any of the members of the village council for comment.

The council consists of Mayor Bev Smith, Vice Mayor Patti Waller, Mayor Pro Tem Gary Ready, Council Member Doug Gunther, and Council Member Joni Brinkman.

Florida state Rep. Anthony Sabatini (R) told The Floridian that the actions of the Village of Palm Springs was “an outrageous and un-American attack on our liberties” and that “this local government must  be stopped immediately.”

Florida's Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, who like Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, is a huge supporter of religious freedom and the First Amendment right to free speech. CFO Patronis tweeted, "This is outrageous. This is the kind of thing politicians do in New York and California. Not Florida! People have a right to worship - it’s guaranteed in the Constitution."

Javier Manjarres

Javier Manjarres

Javier Manjarres is a nationally renowned award-winning political journalist. Diverse New Media, Corp. publishes Floridianpress.com, Hispolitica.com, shark-tank.com, and Texaspolitics.com He enjoys traveling, playing soccer, mixed martial arts, weight-lifting, swimming, and biking. Javier is also a political consultant and has also authored "BROWN PEOPLE," which is a book about Hispanic Politics. Learn more at www.brownpeople.org Email him at [email protected]

Subscribe to the newsletter everyone in Florida is reading.