WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Court to Rule on Injunction on Vacant Keokuk Church

Aug 26, 2014

It’s up to a judge to decide whether it is legal to remove the windows from a former Keokuk church that has been deemed unsafe to enter.

Keokuk wants to tear down this church because it considers the building unsafe, but a group said it's in the process of restoring it.
Credit Jason Parrott

Christvision, Inc. owns the building at the corner of 4th and High Streets.  It has not been used in years, even prior to the "unsafe" designation by the city over its deteriorating conditions.  However, there have been signs of life in the past year thanks to an apparent change of leadership for Christvision.

Christopher Dailey testified during a hearing before District Court Judge Michael Schilling Monday that he was elected president of the organization in August 2013.  Dailey said a new Board of Directors was also named about that time.

He said since then there have been plenty of improvements.  They include painting of the exterior doors, regular mowing of the grass, and replacement of the sign.

It was the group’s latest action, though, that drew the ire of the city and led to Monday’s hearing.

Keokuk Mayor Tom Marion testified that he was informed on Thursday, August 14, that someone was removing the windows from the church.  He said he found about half of the windows were missing and no one would tell him or Code Enforcement Officer Kathie Mahoney where they had gone.

The city responded by filing a temporary injunction to block the removal of the rest of the windows.

Marion said no one had permission or the proper permit to remove the windows.

Dailey testified the windows were removed so they would not be damaged when a new roof is installed this year.  He said they would be restored before being replaced.

The city argued during the hearing that Dailey did not have the authority to remove the windows because at that point he was not considered president of the organization in the eyes of the Iowa Secretary of State’s office.

During the hearing, Dailey informed the city the windows were being stored in a nearby, vacant home.  He said he did not plan to start any restoration work until the temporary injunction was settled.

Judge Schilling said he would issue a written ruling on the injunction within the next 7-10 days.

There is also a separate lawsuit between the city and Christvision.